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11 Essential VA Interview Questions You Need to be Asking

Finding the right candidate starts with knowing the right interview questions to ask a virtual assistant. Learn eleven essential virtual assistant questions to help you find the best VA for your business.
The interview is a vital step in building your dream team. And like anything that has to do with creating a successful business, there's a right way to do it.

Especially if you're looking to hire virtual assistants, who are often in high demand among business owners ready to break free from the pitfalls of time-draining admin work. Knowing the right virtual assistant interview questions to ask is half the battle.

Luckily, you don't need to be an HR expert to ace this.

In this article, we'll help you get it right from the get-go by honing in on the most essential VA interview questions to ask your candidates.

VA interview questions you need to be asking

An overhead shot of a person writing on a notebook whilst on a video call with a woman

1. “What would you like me to know about you?”

The elevator pitch is an underrated skill. It requires creativity, presence, and a good understanding of the self and the job to put it all together.

You've read the candidate's resume, so you don't need them to repeat it back to you. Instead, ask them to tell you what they'd like you to know.

Their answers will give you a glimpse into what they value and naturally open opportunities for you to clarify things about your candidate's background and experience. The next time you open your interviews, give your candidates the stage and let them surprise you.

2. “What's a day in your life like?”

Your candidate will likely focus on all the shinier parts of their professional persona. But asking about what they do outside of work can give even more clues into who they are. It can also help them relax and show a bit more personality at the start.

Do they begin the day with a book? Take care of kids? Do they work mornings because they attend school at night? These small hints can reveal values, character, and attitudes, more than any skill test can.

3. “How did you find out about the role and what do you know about it?”

A female interviewer is at her desk, her laptop open as she glances to the left at a printed resume. A candidate is speaking through the video call.‍

You know you've got a good VA candidate if they've done their research about your company. Even better: being able to describe it to you in their own words.

This question will help you gauge how serious they are about the job while giving you a natural jumping-off point to clarify the role and the company if needed.

In a Forbes article called "Jobseekers Are Calling All The Shots. Here’s What They Want," purpose is revealed to be one of the top things candidates are looking for. By explaining how the role fits into the goals of the organization, you'll give your candidate a better understanding of the part they play.

4. “What’s your expertise?”

Virtual assistants come in all kinds. Most fall into two categories: generalists and specialists.

Whichever you're interviewing, you need to be able to flag your candidates and confirm where their expertise lies.

For example: if you're looking for a VA who specializes in everything LinkedIn, they should be pitching themselves to you as such. At this point, you'll already know if you have someone with potential in the room.

Up to you if you'd like to keep going or cut it short; just make sure you let them know why. It'll save both your time and theirs.

5. “What is your availability?”

While your VAs play a vital role in maintaining your business, remote employees may require a bit more planning to work with. Whether you're fine with an asynchronous setup or need a collaborator in the same time zone, it's ideal to have everyone on the same page.

If you need to be working synchronously, ask your candidates if they're willing to adjust (and to what extent). You'll avoid running into problems in the future by clarifying things at the start.

6. “What tools do you use to get the job done?”

Experienced virtual assistants are familiar with the tools of the trade — more than that, they're continually learning, training, and keeping up with the fast pace of tech.

You don't need to be familiar with a bunch of tools, but they do. Ideally, you're looking for candidates who 1) have at the very least a working knowledge of a VAs toolkit, or 2) the capacity to self-teach.

Anything less, and you might have to put in extra training hours for your recruits.

7. “Can you list 1-3 people you’ve worked with and tell me how they will rate you from 1-10?”

A team working together at the office

If your candidate has a good track record, they'll be happy to tell you all about it. This question is your opportunity to understand how your VAs perform with a team or manager. The question works even if you're interviewing someone who’s applying for their first virtual assistant job.

You're looking for at least a rating of 8 and above. 6 and below may shed some doubt on the quality of their work, while ratings of 7 may reveal a so-so performance.

Whichever number they give, feel free to probe into their reasoning.

8. “What are you good at professionally? List at least 5.”

Because most virtual assistants are multi-faceted —  with unexpected skills that may benefit your organization — asking this question gives you an overview of your candidates' skill set, from their perspective.

Expect to hear tools they're familiar with, soft skills, and technical ones. If there's an answer you're looking for but not hearing, this is the perfect time to clarify.

One more thing: make sure they list at least five! Giving a minimum lets them stretch their imagination, especially for self-professed specialists who may have more to offer than initially thought.

9. “What are you bad at professionally or not willing to do? List at least five.”

Same as the previous question, you want to give space for your candidate to give you an honest overview of skills they don’t have or aren’t willing to learn. These two distinctions are important to make: you can train promising VAs for a particular task, but no amount of training will make a task easy if they aren't interested in doing it in the first place.

Let's say you're shortlisting a VA to facilitate webinars. They're familiar with Zoom? Check. They're detail-oriented? Check. But oops, looks like this candidate has stage fright and isn't willing to host one on their own.

Knowing these details will save you tons of time (and headaches) later.

10. “What was the biggest challenge you solved as a VA and how did you solve it?”

One of the biggest things any business owner should be looking for in a virtual assistant is flexibility and persistence. Someone who has solved a big challenge and can reverse-engineer it.

Here, asking them to walk you through a difficult situation in their professional life can help you gauge how they handle pressure.

11. “What questions do you have for me?”

And if they don't have any — mark that as a red flag! Great virtual assistants are curious about your organization and eager to understand your goals better. They're probably already imagining what they need to do to improve the business.

Best practices for a successful interview

A person smiling at his laptop after a successful interview

Since you'll probably be doing a bunch of interviews, why not make the experience fun, interesting, and insightful for everyone? Remember: interviews are a two-way street. While you're learning more about your candidates, they're also learning more about you and forming their opinions on your company.

Here are three tips to make every interview count.

Tip 1: Spend your time wisely

Your time is important! Creating an interview process will benefit both you and the candidate. Avik Das, for example, in the Hiring for Tech newsletter, breaks down a 60-minute interview like this:

  • 10 minutes (logistics)
  • 40 minutes (problem-solving) —
  • — and 10 minutes (wrap up).

How much time you'll spend in the initial interview is ultimately up to you, but it's a good idea to stick to whatever you set. Whether it's a 15-minute call, 45-minute, or 1 hour - try not to go over the clock or under on a whim.

Tip 2: Make sure your interview questions support the JD

No one virtual assistant looks the same, so it's a good idea to crosscheck your candidates' interview answers with the role you've described in the job description.

At the end of the day, you want to hire someone who can solve problems. So make sure you're screening candidates with that specific task or skill set!

Tip 3: Before you forget–write your feedback down!

An interviewer is reading a resume while sitting across from a candidate. Both their faces and torsos are offscreen.

Congrats, you're done with the interview! But just because it's over doesn't mean your work is done. While it's tempting to dive right back into the thick of things, the post-interview phase is perhaps one of the most vital parts of hiring.

Why? Imagine having a pool of shortlisted candidates who all seem right for the job. But you don't 100% trust your memory. How will you be able to distinguish them?

If you're doing interviews with a teammate, it's a good idea to have a quick 5-10 minute debrief to make sure everyone's on the same page. If you're doing it alone, a sheet where you can tally up numerical grades for each question can do you wonders.

When it's finally time to choose, it's the small details that can spell the difference.


Finding the right person for your business can feel challenging at times, but with the right preparation and the right support back you up, you'll be surprised by how fun and rewarding the process can be.

If you’re looking for results, then look no further. Let us know what your ideal hires are like and start interviewing awesome virtual assistants today.

FAQs about interviewing virtual assistants

What questions should I ask a virtual assistant?

Check out the 11 VA interview questions to ask that we've provided above. Other than that, you want your questions to support the tasks you need help with in your job description.

What skills should a virtual assistant have?

Because VAs can either be a generalist or a specialist, the skills your virtual assistant needs can vary. Typically, most VAs should have good communication, creativity, and management skills to support your business.

What happens after I interview the shortlisted candidates?

Pick your best candidate, and we'll hire them for you! Once that's done, you can already start onboarding your candidate and introducing them to the team. Learn more about our headhunting process here.

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