There are many business leaders who feel that they don’t have enough time during the week to get everything done. In such cases, the idea of hiring an executive assistant might feel like something that’s worth exploring.
Hiring an executive assistant can ease the load and contribute to your company’s growth and increased productivity as they can carry a range of responsibilities such as keeping an executive on track with their short-term and long-term priorities. They can leverage their abilities and strengths to establish good relationships with different departments and stakeholders, and act as a key person for the facilitation and development of important projects.
When looking to hire an executive assistant, either an in-person or a virtual assistant, it’s important to know that there’s no one-size-fits-all job description and the role should be adapted to the specific needs and culture of each organization, especially the executive whom the executive assistant will assist.
Below we share some of our best tips for finding and hiring a great executive assistant who will provide high-level informational, administrative, and clerical support to key company executives.
Create An Effective Job Description
The first step to finding the perfect executive assistant candidate is creating a compelling job description that will stand out to top applicants. Due to their busy schedules, hiring managers and executives overlook and fail to recognize the importance of writing a unique job description. They share generic job description posts that don’t attract great candidates who are interested in building unique and successful corporate careers that stand out from other opportunities.
When creating a job description, make sure it communicates two key things: Why should candidates care about what your organization does and why should they be excited about working with you?
This can take many different forms like growth opportunities, a unique company culture, and so on. You must try to describe the details of the role so that you can stand out and attract the most motivated applicants in the candidate pool.
Narrow The Field
After posting the job advertisement, you should monitor your recruiting efforts closely and evaluate your progress not only by the number of inquiries receives but also their quality, that is, whether the candidates exceed your basic requirements.
When looking through the cover letters and resumes, look carefully to see whether applicants have the core skill set and attributes required for the executive assistant position. When working as an executive assistant, they must be able to demonstrate initiative, be well-organized, and have problem-solving skills so try to look for evidence of this in their job history.
Involve Your HR Manager
A good human resource manager has experience in reviewing resumes, screening candidates, organizing interviews, and fine-tuning job interview questions. This is why you should consider having your HR manager more involved in the screening and hiring process for the executive assistant position.
They’ll be able to screen all of the resumes received from interested applicants, choose the ones they consider are worthwhile and make time to properly prepare for the interview. Letting your HR manager handle the initial steps will save you a lot of time as they’ll be able to fashion their questions in a way to elicit the most revealing answers and gather valuable information in a short amount of time.
Even if you don’t have a full-time HR manager on your staff, you can always outsource one and still allow your company to achieve objectives and have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Assess Candidates With The Right Qualities
The process of finding and evaluating candidates for executive assistant positions can be complex. In short, the two main factors to properly evaluate applicants that will be most suitable for this role – focusing on evaluating the right qualities that predict success in this role and directly measuring candidates on these qualities, meaning carrying out more than just interviews and reference checks.
By focusing your assessment on concrete abilities and traits such as problem-solving, behavioral traits, communication skills, and tech-savviness, you’ll have a far greater likelihood of selecting the best executive assistant from your candidate pool, and better odds of having a positive assistant engagement.
Even though structured interviews are very important, they are not sufficient for ensuring you make the right executive assistant hire because such interviews are based on hypothetical discussion rather than concrete proof that the person will perform well in practice. Therefore, besides performing reference checks, try to see samples of applicants’ actual work so you can be sure that they’ll be able to perform the tasks.
Navigate Successful Placement
Once you choose your candidate and install them in the position of executive assistant, it might be tempting to boast and move on to other job tasks. However, spending time onboarding candidates as much as possible is important as you want everyone to settle into the relationship.
This stage can be tricky since many executive assistants tend to struggle when learning the personality and preferences of the executive. Providing the right amount of support is crucial as the executive assistant will be more likely to learn the ropes which will make both parties more satisfied in the end.
The job of an executive assistant demands a high level of trust and special chemistry, so finding the right candidate can be quite a challenge. By using the tips above, you’ll be able to find a true professional to perform office duties and manage communications and make the right hire for your business.