Choosing the Right Virtual Assistant: Essential Traits for Successful Collaboration

A Virtual Assistant is an individual who works remotely to support business owners and professionals by providing administrative, technical and creative assistance to their clients. Ultimately, the scope of VAs’ skills can be wide-ranging, depending on their client’s needs. But what about their personal traits – their distinguishing qualities? What traits are desirable in a Virtual Assistant?

A positive attitude always looks for the good

Modern business wisdom tells us, “Hire for attitude and train for skills.” We agree! It’s the number one trait we look for in our Virtual Assistants. For VA Central, a positive attitude is everything. Passion and enthusiasm trump existing know-how, because skills can be learned, but a positive attitude can move mountains. It enables people to manage stress, overcome challenges in a productive way, achieve goals and maintain overall mental and physical wellbeing – and it inspires others.

Cultural fit creates a positive work environment

After attitude, a good cultural fit is at the heart of what we look for in our Virtual Assistants – based on their alignment when it comes to our values, beliefs and our professional work ethic.                    VA Central has a very particular culture – and so do the clients we recruit for.  We are a young, dynamic and growth-minded community. We are a lot of fun, very supportive of everyone in the team and highly competent in what we do. We believe that age is a state of mind. Our most mature VA is in her late 60’s. The estate agents for whom we recruit have a variety of cultures and their own requirements but, in the main, they are highly professional and fast-paced and tech-driven.

A wide range of skills but common attributes

A Virtual Assistant, particularly one working for a UK-based estate agency, has responsibilities that may include general office administration, scheduling appointments, sales and letting negotiation, overseeing lead generation channels, conducting property research, social media management, creating marketing materials and financial administration.  While these responsibilities each require different skills there are several common traits that serve our VAs very well.

Here are 10 essential qualities we look for in our Virtual Assistants:

  1. Self-discipline: Self-discipline is one of the most important traits of an ideal Virtual Assistant. It allows them to manage their own time correctly and keep track of deadlines. They have the ability to work independently and follow through on tasks without being micromanaged.
  2. Resourcefulness: More than the ability to make decisions and act on one’s own, resourcefulness is the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. Since our Virtual Assistants work remotely, they need the ability to solve problems.
  3. Proactivity: Virtual Assistants that are experts in a particular role should proactively stay on top of industry trends, what’s happening in the marketplace and the latest technology. This could be a game-changer for their clients’ business.
  4. Impeccable ethical standards: Virtual Assistants are expected to have certain work ethics or values that underpin their professional conduct. Honesty, integrity and confidentiality are three of the important traits we look for in our VAs.
  5. Attention to detail: Virtual Assistants often liaise with clients, schedule important bookings and reply to emails. This takes investing the time and attention to look for and correct mistakes – a person who goes the extra mile to make sure every detail is sorted out and correct.
  6. Creativity: Not only describing the ability required by graphic designers or content creators, but creativity is also a soft skill that requires an openness to innovation and mental flexibility when finding solutions to problems.
  7. Flexibility: VAs must be able to adapt to changing circumstances and be flexible in their approach to work to deal with different challenges and demands from different clients and projects.
  8. A desire to learn: We look for someone who loves learning new skills. They’ll help push your business forward in a multitude of ways. The more they understand, the more valuable they will become, especially if you’re using tools or processes with a high learning curve.
  9. Kindness: Any work environment will benefit from a team that works well together and is committed to developing solid professional relationships that enhance communication and collaboration. Contributing to a culture of kindness at work can lead to better collaboration and teamwork – and make work more enjoyable.

And the tenth quality we look for is in our Virtual Assistants is well-developed communication skills. While the ability to communicate is a soft skill that can be nurtured, rather than an innate characteristic,  it is central to working as a Virtual Assistant – especially because working remotely means having to use technology as a communication interface. It involves the ability to listen actively, be quick on the uptake in understanding team and client needs, and to respond professionally and courteously.  Communicating well fosters an important sense of trust and professionalism in a Virtual Assistant’s business relationships.