GB Ep 87: How to Test General Virtual Assistants

I’ve talked about hiring virtual assistants in the past, but before you take the plunge, it’s important to think about what you should be testing them on. If you’ve never hired a VA before, note these down and be sure to make the effort upfront to hire a good one.

  • Check their English [01:31]
    • There’s some free English tests online you can run them through to see what they score.
  • Typing test [01:40]
    • With this you can see how accurately and how quickly they type. For me, anything less than 50-60 words per minute is a little slow. (It’s actually not that bad, I just have high standards.)
  • Test their working knowledge of Google Docs [01:58]
    • I give them very specific instructions to write certain things in certain places, lock different columns, color coding, etc.
    • You could ask them to do more complex work like splitting cells up and inserting formulas.
  • To test their English, I like to ask them to transcribe audio interviews that I’ve already done. [02:25]
    • I have them do about three paragraphs and send it back to me. Here I can see if they’re able to follow instructions, and how enthusiastic they are about the job with their turnaround time.
  • Get them on a Skype call to see if you like them and they fit in your company’s culture and core values. [02:58]
  • Put them through a one-week test to see how they do in a real-life working environment. [03:17]
  • By running a potential virtual assistant through these tests, you’re not putting too much on the line. You spend a bit of time upfront interviewing them, but even if you pay them for one full month on a per-project basis, the most you’ve lost is $500 – not $5,000. [03:24]
[spoiler title=’Transcript’ collapse_link=’true’]

Today we’re going to be talking about a general virtual assistant test.

To those of you that have seen me talk about a little bit about VAs in the past especially general Virtual Assistants, it’s important to think about what you should be testing them on. Just keep in mind, their English isn’t top notched. So if you ever heard any of these suggestions, these would be good to note down if you’re trying to hire a VA. And VAs, you can bring them on for $500 a month for full time work.

The first thing you want to do is check their English. So they have English test online that are free. You can run them that English test and see what their score. Then you can run them a typing test as well to see how quickly they type and how accurate they are. Generally, anything less than 50-60 words per minute is a little on a slower side for me personally. It’s actually not that bad but I just have high expectations for that. You can also run them through a Google Docs test where I just ask them very specific instructions where they should write something in Row D, lock the first column, put some color on another one, just to see how they really know how to use like Google spreadsheets or just spreadsheets in general. Maybe, you can ask them to do something a little more complex like split some cells, whatever formulas you want to use, just you can tell them to do it.

What I’d like to do to test their English, is I like to ask them to transcribe audio interviews that I’ve done already. And maybe, I’ll ask them to do 3 paragraphs or so. And, they’ll send it back to me. Here is where I can see if they are able to follow instructions first of all. I can see how quickly they, how enthusiastic they are about the job. If people are turning it around quickly, then you can tell them that they are really motivated. If not, this person doesn’t look that excited, maybe I’ll pass on this person.

Then, you want to also get them on, obviously you are going to be talking to them on the phone, on Skype. Get them on Skype, have a conversion with them, just to see how they are and see if you really like them. If they’re in the US, would you like to hang out with them? You pass on to their general culture type of questions and then, you want to see if they fit your core values as well. You ask them questions around the core values. You can ask them some situational questions as well. And the big thing is you run them through a one week test. Put them through the ringer. See how they actually do it in a real life working environment. And the good thing about this is you’re not putting too much online. I mean, you spent some time interviewing this person but you’re not investing a lot upfront because you pay this person on per project basis for the trial. Anyway, if you’re losing the whole one month, you’re losing like $500. You’re not losing a couple of thousand dollars or even worst, what the full time hire in your respective country.

So, just keep that in mind. These are some things to do when you’re testing on a VA.


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