Asking for References With a New VA Hire

The process of hiring someone onto your digital team should be managed with the same care and due diligence that you would expect in a traditional hiring situation, and checking for references is just one in a series of steps that shouldn’t be missed.

Reference checks are a great way to get to know the candidate that you have in mind.

By speaking with a former client, employer, or organization that your potential hire may have worked at as a volunteer, you are able to get an unbiased, outside perspective on the individual. You are also able to establish things that are harder to discern from, for example, a resume.

Hiring the perfect person is a myth. Mistakes happen.

What is key in a successful working relationship, is the way these mistakes are managed. In this video, I talk about the importance of asking the right questions with exactly this in mind.

Transcript: 

Hello, fans of betterbizacademy.com!

You can head over to the website today to read my list of 70+ tasks that you can outsource to your virtual assistant – totally free. And, as always, I have great tips right here on my YouTube channel about delegating, outsourcing, and managing a digital team. This week, let’s talk about how to appropriately get references from your new virtual assistant and what to say once you have them.

To Check or Not to Check?

A brand new virtual assistant may not have past clients that you can call and ask about their experience; they may give you a reference to a former employer or somebody they used to work with in a volunteer capacity.

Sometimes, I don’t even ask for references; this depends on where the person came to me from. If another colleague has directly recommended this person, I already have a great reference, so I’m not going to contact anyone else for reference. Alternatively, if I feel like I’ve done enough research about the potential new VA and talked to them, I am not going to ask for reference. But if you’re choosing to hire somebody in a very high level capacity in your business – like an online business manager – I would strongly recommend that you ask for references.

What to Ask a Former Employer

Once they are provided, have a conversation, if possible, for five to ten minutes with the reference that’s been listed. Ask them about their experience with this person. I particularly encourage you to ask them to tell you about a time when this individual was not able to fulfill a promise, and how they handled it. This will give you insight into what happens when your potential hire makes mistakes. Because guess what – mistakes are going to happen. The idea of hiring the perfect person who never has any slip ups or missed deadlines – that's a myth.

This is why you should at least find out how the contractor tends to handle it when they’ve made a mistake. A reference can tell you a lot about the person you’re looking to hire. Did they own up to the situation and accept personal responsibility? What systems and procedures did they implement afterwards to prevent the problem from happening again? No matter how you approach this, it's very valuable to talk to other people who have actually worked with this virtual assistant, project manager, or online business manager.