10 Signs Your Virtual Assistant Was Not the Best Candidate for the Job

10 Signs Your Virtual Assistant Was Not the Best Candidate for the Job

So you’ve decided to hire a virtual assistant? Great! But how do you know when you’ve chosen the right VA for your business? Since there are plenty of different functions that VAs can serve, there are so many different ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a VA. But there are a few clear-cut ways to tell if you’ve chosen the wrong VA. Here are some warning signs to look out for.

Your VA was not the Best Candidate If:

They Have No Experience

A good VA doesn’t need to be able to run every single aspect of your business on an expert level. But they should still have some experience in the area where you need assistance, whether that means that they’ve done those tasks as a VA or in another position. If your VA can’t offer any references or examples of work they’ve done in the past, that’s a sign that they might not be the best fit.

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They Don’t Have the Right Skills

Even more specifically, you should look for experience or skills in the exact area where you really need assistance. For example, if you need help organizing your schedule and responding to emails, then you need to look for someone with strong organizational and communication skills. If you need someone to run your social media accounts, then you need someone who understands those platforms. Even if you’ve found a VA with lots of experience and positive references, if they don’t have experience in the exact area where you need assistance, they’re not going to have a huge positive impact on your business.

They Aren’t Reachable

A good VA should be like your right hand man. If you can’t get ahold of them or if they take days to respond to your urgent emails, they’re not going to be very effective.

They Don’t Listen

And once you do get a hold of your VA, they should be receptive to your ideas and instructions. After all, you’ve hired them to assist you in your business needs. So if you find that your VA is bad at listening or following instructions, how can you expect them to actually get things done to the standards that you’d expect?

They Don’t Offer Ideas

While a good VA should absolutely listen to your ideas and instructions, a great VA should sometimes also offer ideas of their own. They don’t have to just go off and make changes on their own. But if they need you to hold their hand and walk them through every process you want them to take care of over and over again, they’re not going to do you any good. Instead, a good VA should be able to work independently and come up with their own processes for getting their work completed efficiently, and sometimes even offer their own ideas for your approval.

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They Don’t Understand Your Target Audience

If your VA is involved in any sort of customer facing activities, like posting on social media or responding to emails, they need to be able to understand your target audience. If your company targets baby boomers, but your VA responds to emails with language that’s popular with millennials, that could get confusing for people. Or it could even alienate some of the people you communicate with.

They Aren’t Receptive to Feedback

Even if your VA isn’t perfect right away, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be effective for your business overall. But if you offer them feedback about how to do their job more effectively, and they either get defensive or don’t take it seriously, that could be a problem. Everyone needs room to grow and improve in their jobs. And if your VA isn’t even willing to listen to feedback to help them get better, then you’re going to be stuck with an ineffective VA for too long.

They Deflect Blame

And in those situations where your VA makes a mistake or does something incorrectly, they should ideally own up to it. Those mistakes can be great learning experiences. But if they lie or deflect blame, then they’re likely to just keep making those same mistakes and not allow you to hold them accountable for their work.

Their Personality Isn’t a Good Fit

Even great VAs aren’t going to be perfect for every business. Some people just aren’t the best fit. They might prefer a different type of communication than you and your team do. They might have a different working style that doesn’t fit with your process. Or you just might not get along that well. Those can all be warning signs that the VA you’ve chosen isn’t right for your business.

They Don’t Update You with Results

Once you’ve hired a VA and they’ve started working on the areas you’ve requested, they should regularly keep you updated on their activity. For example, if you’ve hired someone to manage your social accounts, they might update you with metrics about growth and interaction. Or if you’ve asked them to manage your schedule, they should check in with you for important updates.

Virtual Assistant Photo via Shutterstock


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

4 Reactions
  1. I agree with all the things you pointed out in here. It can be hard to find the right person for the job but you should not settle for just anyone.

    • Right – you have to really decide if the person is going to be a good fit for your specific needs.

  2. I agree and being an online business manager (virtual assistant) the majority of my new clients tell me the horror stories of their previous virtual assistant not living up to their job description nor the role hired for.

    • Wow! Seems like hiring the wrong virtual assistant is really a prevalent issue for businesses