"If you think business and manners don’t mix, try talking with your mouth full.” - Diane Gottsman, Modern Manners & Etiquette Expert, Author, Media Resource

5 Traits of a Great Virtual Assistant

March 20th, 2017 by

Dear Diane,

I am considering hiring an extra set of hands for my company. I have been told by many of my business colleagues that a virtual assistant is the way to go for my particular needs. I don’t know the first thing about what to look for when considering an employee that would not come into the office, more than likely working from the comfort of their own home. Do you have any suggestions on how to start the process?

Thanks for your time,
Jared M.

Dear Jared M.,

More employees today are opting to work from the comfort of their own home. As a business owner, there are many advantages to hiring a telecommuter and employing one shouldn’t be a task that’s taken lightly. You will have to trust them with sensitive business information, so it’s crucial to consider a person’s reputation and character before appointing a cyber staff member as part of your team.

Here are a few important traits to look for when hiring a Virtual Assistant.


One of the main concerns people have with a online workers is not having them physically in the office. When employees aren’t there to conveniently check in on, it can make your job more difficult. It’s imperative to have someone you can rely on to be at their computer working when they say they are. While it involves a great deal of trust, the proof is in the end result. Count success rate rather than time spent at their computer.


Being conscientious is also an important quality to look for in your VA employee. One of the main responsibilities of a Virtual Assistant is to pick up the slack and have an extra set of eyes on a project. It’s worth the expense  to have someone who will pay close attention to special details that may slip between the cracks. A highly organized person who knows how to take direction well will significantly benefit you and your business. Once trained, allow them to show you what they can do.


Having an innovative person on board is priceless. Relying on a virtual team member to get things accomplished when the rest of your staff is busy doing what they need to do frees you from stress. A good virtual assistant knows what is priority and uses their time wisely, keeping the overall project in mind. They must be highly capable and may be asked to perform a variety of duties, or oversee only a specific responsibility and do it well.


One of the most important traits of any employee, including someone who works from home is trust and honesty. You have to be confident you are getting the work complete that you hired them to do. This may involve several interviews and a review of their references. Don’t hesitate to make calls and ask for specifics.


Finally, and most importantly is how well you both work together. A good relationship requires a certain chemistry. You should be able to “click” with them and they should learn, over time, to anticipate your next step. Being on the same professional page is a must when working with someone you don’t see often or at all. It’s essential to your business’s success. A virtual assistant can be an integral part of your team with the right time, attention and grooming.

Best of luck,


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Categories: Ask the Etiquette Expert