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The Top Freelancing Countries for Entrepreneurs to Tap Into

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January 15, 2023

10 Questions You Should Ask When Interviewing Virtual Assistants from Top Freelancing Countries 

As an entrepreneur, you know how important it is to focus on high-value work that drives your business forward.
But as your business grows, so does your workload, leaving you less time to focus on the tasks that matter most.
That’s where virtual assistants come in.

Over the years, more and more entrepreneurs have hired overseas virtual assistants from top freelancing countries like the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Ukraine, and other foreign countries to offload some of their work.
These virtual assistants can provide cost-effective support for your business, allowing you to 
hire talented Filipino individuals that speak excellent English for as little as $520 per month (P28,821), with the most-qualified freelancers paid much more than that.

Consider these updated facts about freelancers in the Philippines:

  • Health and fitness are relatively prevalent interests of self-employed people & freelancers.
  • 36% of self-employed people & freelancers have a low annual household income
  • Learning new things has more importance to self-employed people & freelancers than to the average online individual.
  • Self-employed people & freelancers are more likely to have gardening and plants as a hobby. 
  • Self-employed people & freelancers remember seeing ads in video portals more often than the average online individual.

By understanding these insights, you can better tailor your marketing efforts and communications to resonate with this target group.
Whether you’re promoting a product, service, or job opportunity, keeping these insights in mind can help you connect with self-employed people and freelancers in the Philippines more effectively. (
*Source: Statista)

However, hiring a virtual assistant can be challenging, especially since you won’t be able to meet them in person.
You’ll need to rely on video or chat interviews (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime) to gauge their expertise and personality.
That’s why it’s important to have a system in place for interviewing and managing virtual teams.

If you’re considering hiring a virtual assistant, asking the right questions during the interview process is essential to ensure that you hire the right talent for your business. 

In the following guide, Payoneer and expert consultants will share top tips and best practices for hiring and managing virtual assistants.
You’ll learn how to prepare for the hiring process, how to conduct effective interviews, and how to manage your virtual team for maximum productivity and success.

With the right virtual assistant, you can offload tasks, save time, and focus on growing your business.
Stay tuned for our upcoming articles to learn how to hire the best virtual assistant for your business in 2023 and beyond.

self employed around the world

Source: Statista Where People are Self-Employed Around the World 2019 – Top Freelancing Ranking of Countries


  1. What is your core expertise?

This question lets you quickly determine whether the interviewee has the basic skills and services you need for your business.

For example, if you’re looking for a virtual assistant to manage your business’s social media accounts, you need someone with experience in social media management and scheduling tools, as well as necessary skills in graphic design and copywriting.
By asking about the interviewee’s core expertise, you can gauge whether they have the skills you need to help your business grow.

Remember, asking about core expertise can help you identify any areas where the interviewee may excel beyond what you initially thought you needed.
For example, if you’re looking for a virtual assistant to handle customer service, and the interviewee’s core expertise is in sales, they may have valuable skills and experience that can benefit your business unexpectedly.

This core expertise question is a crucial step in the virtual assistant hiring process.
It allows you to quickly gauge whether the interviewee has the skills and services you need while also identifying any additional strengths they may bring to the table.

core expertise

  1. Do you have experience with a specific skill? (based on your business requirements)

When hiring a virtual assistant, it’s important to get into the specifics of the tasks you need to be done.
Focus on the job requirements to ensure that the candidate’s skills match your business needs. For instance, if you need a social media virtual assistant, you must ask whether they have experience managing the specific social media platforms you require, such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

As social media platforms continue to evolve, it’s crucial to keep up with the latest trends and features.
It’s imperative that the virtual assistant you hire has the necessary experience and skills in the specific social media platform you need. This will save you time and avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Moreover, it’s also important to determine whether you’re willing to hire someone and train them.
Some virtual assistants are generalists and can quickly learn new skills if you teach them. This question can help you gauge whether the candidate is open to learning new skills or if they’re looking for more specialized roles.

When sourcing virtual assistants, it’s worth noting that the quality and availability of virtual assistants can vary depending on the country you’re hiring from.
To ensure that you’re hiring from a top freelancing country, consider the freelancing ranking of countries. This will help you identify which countries have the most skilled and available virtual assistants to meet your business needs.

Always ask candidates about their experience with a specific skill you need in your business.
This is crucial when hiring a virtual assistant. It helps you identify whether their skills match your requirements and whether you’re willing to train them, and it ensures that you hire the right talent for your business.

  1. Tell me about your experience as a virtual assistant.

When interviewing a potential virtual assistant, it’s essential to ask open-ended questions like “Tell me about your experience as a virtual assistant.”
This question will help you assess their communication skills, which are crucial in remote work.

It’s also important to consider where the candidate is from.
Hiring from top freelancing countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, or India allows you to access a pool of talented and cost-effective virtual assistants with excellent English language skills.

During the interview, ask the candidate about their experience working as a virtual assistant in one of these top freelancing countries.
You can ask about their previous clients, the tasks they have experience in, and the tools and software they’re familiar with. This will help you assess their skills and compatibility with your business needs.

It’s good to ask about their willingness to adapt to your business’s specific requirements.
For example, some virtual assistants are generalists, while others specialize in specific areas. Make sure the candidate is open to learning and adapting to your business needs, whether they’re a generalist or specialist.

Overall, asking about a candidate’s experience as a virtual assistant is essential in hiring the right talent for your business.
By considering VAs from top freelancing countries and asking the right questions, you can find a skilled and cost-effective virtual assistant to help your business grow.

  1. How many clients do you have right now?

Believe it or not, this is an essential question to ask when hiring a virtual assistant.
Many virtual assistants enjoy the freedom of working with multiple clients simultaneously. However, ensuring they have the time and energy to commit to your business needs is important.

If you’re hiring a virtual assistant full-time, you want to make sure that they can dedicate themselves to your business needs fully.
If they’re already working with several clients, they may not have the time or mental space to provide you with the attention and focus you need.

On the other hand, if you’re hiring a virtual assistant part-time, you want to ensure that they have the flexibility to accommodate your business needs around their other client work.

It’s also worth asking about their availability and preferred working hours to ensure that they can work with your schedule.
Virtual assistants may work better in the morning or evening, depending on their personal schedules.

how many clients

  1. How many hours a week can we work together?

During a virtual assistant interview, asking about their availability and commitment to the required hours is important.
As a business owner, you already know how many hours you want to offload to a virtual assistant each week, which you may have included in your job ad.

However, time management is critical to a productive working relationship, and it’s important to ensure that the virtual assistant can commit to the hours you need.
Payoneer studies show that effective time management is essential in building a productive working relationship with a virtual assistant.

Suppose the interviewee confirms their availability for the required hours per week. In that case, it’s critical to consider their answer to the previous question about their current client load.
Suppose they already work with several clients. In that case, it’s necessary to ensure that they have the ability to provide you with the attention and focus you need and that their workload is manageable.

Plus, it’s worth discussing whether a fixed daily schedule or a flexible, output-based setup works best for both parties.
Some virtual assistants prefer a set schedule, while others prefer a more flexible arrangement.

  1. What is your preferred schedule?

preferred schedule

When interviewing a potential virtual assistant, it’s important to consider their preferred schedule, especially if they live in a different time zone.
For example, if you’re from the U.S. and your virtual assistant is from the Philippines, note that the time difference is usually between 12 to 13 hours.

To ensure that the virtual assistant can work with you during your preferred schedule, be clear about your time zone and ask if they are willing to work during those hours.
Keep in mind that this may require the virtual assistant to work at odd hours, which may only be suitable for some.

It’s also worth considering the virtual assistant’s availability during your business hours, as communication and collaboration are essential for a productive working relationship.
As a result, you may need to adjust your schedule or find a compromise that works for both parties.

Moreover, it’s essential to discuss how the virtual assistant plans to manage their work hours and communicate their availability to you.
This can include setting clear expectations around response times, availability for urgent tasks, and time off.

  1. You have a deadline today, but your laptop or smartphone crashed, what would you do?

Asking a potential virtual assistant how they would handle an emergency is essential in determining their problem-solving skills and communication ability.
For example, suppose your virtual assistant is working on a deadline, and their laptop crashes.
In that case, it’s crucial to understand how they would handle the situation and communicate any potential delays.

Many virtual assistants from top freelancing countries may have backup laptops or devices, or access to an internet cafe, but it’s important to assess their ability to communicate effectively about the issue. The right answer would be for them to inform you immediately about the problem and any potential impact on their work in the upcoming days.

Effective communication is critical in a virtual setup, especially when working with someone from the other side of the world.
By discussing potential emergencies, you can set clear expectations around communication and ensure that you’re both on the same page in case of any issues.

Moreover, it’s worth discussing any contingency plans they have in place in case of emergencies, such as data backup or alternative communication channels.
This can minimize any potential impact on your business and ensure that your virtual assistant can continue to work efficiently.

  1. What essential skills or traits should a virtual assistant have?

When hiring a virtual assistant, it’s essential to consider both their technical skills and personal traits to ensure that they can work effectively with you and your business.
While technical skills are crucial, personal traits can significantly impact the quality of work and overall working relationships.

Consider the integrity of the VAs as a case in point.
Writers and creators need to provide unique material in a timely fashion—attention to detail, deadlines, and responsiveness matter.

During the interview process, it’s worth asking the interviewee about the essential skills and traits they believe a virtual assistant should possess.
Their answers reveal much about their character and work style and may help identify potential red flags.

For example, if the interviewee emphasizes the importance of good communication, it’s a sign that they prioritize clear and effective communication, which is crucial in a virtual setup. Other essential skills and traits include time management, problem-solving, adaptability, and attention to detail.

It’s also worth discussing any relevant certifications or training the virtual assistant has completed.
This can demonstrate their commitment to developing their skills and staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends.

set of skills

  1. What are your interests?

During the interview process for a virtual assistant, it’s important to get to know the candidate beyond just their technical skills.
Asking about their interests can help build a personal connection – a 
rapport – and show that you value them as a person, not just an employee.

Moreover, learning about their interests can also provide valuable insights that may be helpful in the future.
For example, suppose the virtual assistant manages a small business. In that case, they may have a deeper understanding of entrepreneurs’ challenges, which can be valuable in their work with your business.

By asking about their interests, you can also identify potential areas of collaboration or shared interests that can help build a stronger working relationship.

  1. What motivates you?

Asking your potential virtual assistant about their sources of motivation is crucial in determining their fit for your team.
Motivation is a key driver of productivity, and understanding what inspires and energizes your virtual assistant can help ensure that they’re engaged and invested in their work.

Each virtual assistant is unique and draws motivation from different sources. For example, some may be self-motivated, drawing inspiration from personal experiences, while others may require validation and recognition to stay motivated.
By understanding what drives your virtual assistant, you can tailor your management style to support their needs and keep them motivated.

Moreover, how your virtual assistant answers this question can reveal their self-awareness and ability to work independently. In a virtual setup, it’s crucial to have self-starters who can stay motivated and productive with minimal supervision. You can identify candidates who possess these valuable traits by assessing their motivation sources.

When hiring a virtual assistant, it’s important to consider their technical skills, relevant work experience, attitude, and personality traits.
By understanding what motivates them, you can tailor your management approach, support their needs, and build a long-term working relationship.

Final Thoughts

receiving accounts

In today’s fast-paced business environment, entrepreneurs need to work smart to scale their businesses effectively.
By delegating tasks to a virtual assistant, you can focus on sales and client acquisition, which are crucial for growth.

When hiring a virtual assistant, asking specific questions about their expertise is important to ensure that their skills match your needs.
This will save you time and help you find the right talent for your business.

However, technical skills are just one part of the equation. Building a successful virtual team requires a cultural fit and a shared vision.
By getting to know your virtual assistant personally, you can assess whether they have the right attitude, values, and work ethic to fit into your team’s culture.

At Payoneer, we understand the importance of working with talented virtual teams.
As a leading global payments platform, we’ve helped many businesses and freelancers worldwide grow their businesses and manage their finances effectively.

By following the tips outlined in this guide by our very own consultants, and leveraging the expertise of companies like ours, you can successfully hire and manage virtual assistants that can prop your business forward.

Don’t let limited time or resources prevent you from achieving your goals. Embrace the power of virtual teams and work smart to scale your business.

Learn how to pay your VA with Payoneer

The content provided in this article including any information relating to pricing, fees, and other charges is accurate and valid only as of the date it was published. In addition, changes in applicable regulations, policies, market conditions, or other relevant factors may impact the accuracy of the mentioned pricing and fees and other associated details. Accordingly, it is further clarified that any information regarding pricing, fees and other charges is subject to changes, and it is your responsibility to ensure you are viewing the most up to date content applicable to you. Payoneer will provide the most up to date and accurate information relating to pricing and fees as part of the account registration process. Registered customers can view this information via their online account.

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