In honour of International Women’s Day and the call to #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world, we thought we would do our own reflection on the amazing talent that we have here at Virtalent.

The majority of our workforce at Virtalent is female and there isn’t any particular reason why this is the case, perhaps more due to fact that only 3% of the VA industry consists of male Virtual Assistants according to the UK VA 2016 Industry reportWe have a very stringent recruitment process at Virtalent and, in fact, fewer than 2% of applications we receive are successful.

But why is that?

That’s because we don’t just take on anyone. We like to live and breath the #BeBoldForChange attitude. Of course we want the best Virtual Assistant who has a proven track record and excellent career experience in what they do; this is all taken into consideration. But one of the most important aspects that we focus on is the VA’s attitude.

During the interview process with one of our Account Managers and Co-Founders, Ellie Bekalo, we dig deeper past their career experience and really find out about who they are. We like to interview our applicants, but we also like to talk to them. Emotional intelligence is key to a strong working relationship, especially a virtual relationship where things can often be misinterpreted via emails.

We like to find out about their motivations, why they want to be a Virtual Assistant, what drove them to want to strike out against a normal 9am-5pm job and take that leap of faith to become a Virtual Assistant.

We have first hand-experience of what it takes to be a Virtual Assistant. The job is not easy and it can be one of the toughest, most stressful jobs out there. Our VAs don’t always sit in an office, surrounded by other employees, some VAs have their own professional home office, which means they have to have a level of motivation which is much higher than the average office employee. They need to have the drive to work under their own initiative to be the best they can be. The VA industry is very competitive, and they need to work hard to make themselves stand out from the rest.

It can also be a lonely experience at times and our VAs need to be resilient to tackle these feelings. That’s why at Virtalent, we like to know about their motivations and their hobbies so that we can support them when they get these feelings.

Understanding their backgrounds, family life and the difficulties they have overcome really is key to their success as a Virtual Assistant. Going beyond their qualifications and understanding their personality helps us to match them to our clients. Our VAs are still human after all, and understanding more about the person behind the professional Virtual Assistant is key to a harmonious and successful Virtual Assistant.

We love getting to know about our VAs, whether it’s Elisa’s hobby for cooking traditional Italian meals, or Michelle’s love of languages and travelling to France for her holidays, it’s these aspects that we truly get to know as it helps everyone form a better working relationship.

We resonate the International Women’s Day call of #BeBoldForChange in our entire recruitment process, going beyond the standard and, often boring, recruitment format, asking the questions that really matter, not following the usual corporate format. Taking the time to get to know the person behind the “VA mask” is what makes our relationships work – trust us, it’s tried and tested!

Our VAs form an important part of Virtalent’s team as well their client’s. This is why we value their opinion and involve them with the changes that go on in our business – any changes we make affect them too! Involving our VAs in any decisions helps us to improve the way we do things and allows them to feel support and listened to. Our Virtual Assistants are the “boots on the ground” and they have a better understanding how certain aspects can be improved than even we can sometimes! We want our VAs to feel empowered by contributing to the team effort and this in turn allows them to think of improvements and changes they can suggest to their own clients.

Understanding, listening and empowering is the key to the great working relationships we have with our Virtual Assistants, and what better day to reflect on this than International Women’s Day! #BeBoldForChange

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