A good executive assistant can dramatically improve your overall productivity by allowing you to focus more on your specialty area and less on the administrative tasks that can pile up. These key team members are typically your backbone at the office, they are wizards who do it all. They manage your calendar, schedule meetings, prepare presentations and reports to name just of few on a long list.
If you’re in need of a great executive assistant or admin here are a few tips on how to make sure you hire a top-notch candidate.
Define the role
Before you even begin to advertise for the open job, make a list of the duties you expect to ask your assistant to complete regularly, such as typing, scheduling, answering phone calls, and returning emails. You need to create an honest list of responsibilities and duties, so the candidate will know what to expect from day one.
Fine-tune essential skills
You need to know which skills and attributes are essential to your organization- and you. Great candidates should possess strong technology skills, strength in communications, time management, problem-solving, and strong organizational expertise. Find a candidate with all of those skills are you’re golden.
When it comes to finding a really great executive assistant, one of the best recruiting tips is to make sure they align with your culture. As a matter of fact, this rule of thumb should be followed for any and all hires. Always discuss your values and your culture during the initial interview. You don’t want to hire someone and find out within days that they didn’t have a good grasp of your company culture and end up leaving, causing you additional costs and time in replacing and re-training a candidate. Below are some great culture questions to ask during the interview.
Tell me a little more about yourself; what does your typical weekend consist of?
Tell me what your most positive personality trait is, and why?
What values are important to you as a person?
If given the choice of any role here, what job would appeal to you the most?
What type of team do you thrive in?
Ask the right interview questions
You need to ask the right questions to help you dig deeper into your candidate’s work process, and all the skills mentioned above – problem-solving, interpersonal communication, organizational and technical. Keep your questions open-ended and situational.
- Talk about any work experience that is relevant for this role.
- How would you rate your computer skills on a scale from 1-10?
- How much do you know about this company and industry?
- Your CEO has given you sensitive information about a possible merger with another company. Another executive asks you what you know about these plans. How do you handle it?
- What would you do if two people you support gave you conflicting directions?
The best candidates will have smart, spontaneous questions of their own to ask in return, and will have done their research on your company and industry.
Make those reference calls
This is the most overlooked part of the hiring practices, but experts say it’s absolutely essential. It’s important that you contact at least two references. Have a phone conversation and pay attention to the tone of their recommendation, not just its content. Receiving input from previous employers can be challenging, but it can inform your hiring decision. Be straightforward with the former boss and you’ll get the feedback you are looking for.
Put a recruiter on the job
It can be a challenge finding a great executive assistant. If you are feeling overwhelmed or lost in the hiring process, an excellent option is to partner up with a recruiter who works with a large candidate pool of professionals. A recruiter will help you narrow down and evaluate your candidate options to ensure the perfect match is made.