If you need someone available from 8am and the VA in question normally starts at 9am, you need to know this! It may be they would be willing to work from 8am, but will charge a higher rate. Get absolute clarity from the beginning to avoid frustration or disappointment further down the line.
While often overlooked, this question is something you should ask as it lets you know how long it will take your VA to get back to you via calls or emails when you need something. Always remember that communication between you and your assistant is vital. Therefore, anything that concerns it should be established and made clear early on.
A good virtual assistant should be able to pick up on your needs and be perceptive enough to identify the source of a problem. This comes from understanding both you and your business. Asking questions to better understand the problems you're facing is a good sign.
If you prefer liaising by telephone but the VA prefers email, then it's not going to be the easiest working relationship. Find out what methods are available to determine if they are suitable for you too.
This is a must. If you need them for a specific role, you've got to have examples of similar work. If they can't give an exact example, then it's up to you whether you decide to continue anyway (because after all part of your decision will come from gut instinct). It's also important to point out that for some VA's providing examples of work may be tricky if they've signed non-disclosures, so what I'd suggest is asking them to complete a ‘test' job to help you decide. Most VAs will be happy to oblige if it's a piece of business they want.
This is necessary for obvious reasons. If you want someone to do something for you, like design a website, for instance, common sense dictates that you choose the person who knows exactly what he or she is doing. Otherwise, what's the point of hiring someone who cannot satisfactorily perform the role you want him to fill in? As such, you should determine if a prospective VA is qualified to assist you and has the specific skill set that matches the job description.
As a final question and depending on your particular business, you may require your VA to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Most VAs' shouldn't have a problem with this, but it's worth confirming before appointing.
This is not so much about the answers themselves but more about the way a prospective VA answers the question. A capable person, whether he is a virtual assistant or not, would be aware of his own strengths and weaknesses and will be able answer this question without a problem.
But if the applicant believes that he has no weakness, then obviously, you might want to move on to the next candidate. This basically means that that person is not open to growth and change. He might also have problems with accepting accountability or constructive criticisms in case he makes mistakes.
Not only will these questions let you know the things your VA is passionate about, which is something that can be quite handy in the future, they also say a lot of things about you as an employer.
It basically shows that you are genuinely interested in knowing the person not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. The mere fact that you took the time to ask questions that aren't deeply work-related gives the VA the impression that you're someone who's approachable and easy to get along with.
Depending on your business needs, you may rely on a virtual assistant to coordinate with other team members. However, some virtual assistants consider working with other team members to be outside the scope of their assignment. Make sure your expectations are clear. Again, having diverse past work experience is generally an asset.