At some point every entrepreneur asks the question “How do I clone myself?” Since cloning isn’t actually possible yet, the next best thing is to hire an assistant.

You have likely found yourself here because you are at the point where you think you might need to hire a Virtual Assistant. I’m hoping to give you insight into the top 5 interview questions to ask a Virtual Assistant and also explain why these questions are vital to the successful hiring of your next assistant. But if you’re looking to hire some virtual support, whether you’re an entrepreneur, manager, CEO, or otherwise, you’re now in the position of making a big important hiring decision. The best thing you can do is be prepared by arming yourself with the right questions and the right evaluation points to weed out anyone who isn’t a fit. The top 5 interview questions to ask are:

What are the areas you are skilled at? This is necessary question for obvious reasons. If you want someone to do something for you, like design a website, for instance, common sense dictates that you choose the person who knows exactly what he or she is doing. Otherwise, what’s the point of hiring someone who cannot satisfactorily perform the role you want him to fill in? As such, you should determine if a prospective VA is qualified to assist you and has the specific skill set that matches the job description.

What experience do you have? This question should give you an insight into a candidate’s maturity, professionalism and communication skills. Great candidates may have organisational experience, and a high comfort-level with different working and communication styles. For that reason, candidates with a couple of years of office experience have a tendency to make more efficient assistants than people right out of school. Based on your company needs, you might rely on a virtual assistant to coordinate with some other team members. Some virtual assistants consider working with some other team members to be outside the scope of their assignment. Ensure that your anticipation is clear. Again, having diverse past work experience is usually an asset. This question is pretty open ended and good answers will vary dependent upon your company candidate’s needs and specialties. Good examples include identifying and streamlining inefficient processes to reduce meetings or identifying more costs efficient suppliers of particular goods or services. The best candidates will not only solve the problems whenever you assign them, they will be continuously looking for ways to streamline and improve your workflow to assist you save resources if possible.

How do you handle challenges? This question will give the candidates an opportunity to communicate their problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities, along with their aptitude for succeeding under stress.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? This question is about finding out if the candidate in tune with the spirit of the company and the requirements of the job applied for.

What are your working hours and how many other clients are you servicing on a daily basis? This will help you decide whether or not you think the candidate has time to complete the tasks you want to outsource. You want to make sure that they have the amount of time available in their schedule that you have already pre-calculated.