Is your workload becoming too much to handle as a business owner? Or do you want to scale up your business. Then you should definitely hire an assistant right away.
But wait! you don’t know how to go about hiring one, right?.
This is why you’re searching the web, looking for guidelines on how to hire an assistant.
Well, since you’re reading this blog post, you’re in luck because you’ve found this just in time.
We understand that the process of finding and hiring the right employee for your organization can be painstaking, let alone an assistant that will be charged with handling some important aspects of the business.
So many things could go wrong if you hire the wrong person for the job.
However, there’s no cause for alarm as this blog post will tell you all you need to know about finding the right assistant and walk you through the process of hiring one.
Stay with us till the end of this blog post to find out all the necessary details you need to know.
How To Hire An Assistant – An Overview of What You’ll Learn Here
There are so many important aspects to hiring an assistant, from understanding the role you’re hiring someone to fill, knowing how it impacts you/your business, things to look out for, where to find and hire one.
Hence, this blog post will discuss the following;
- Who an assistant is, and what does an assistant do?
- Perks/benefits an assistant can bring to you or your business.
- Things to know before you hire an assistant
- Where to find the best candidates for the job
- How to hire one
So let’s dive right in.
First, Who is an Assistant?
Obviously, an assistant is someone that assists another person in doing one thing or the other.
In this context, anyone can be an assistant as long as they understand what you do and the processes involved.
However, in the business or corporate world, an assistant does more than assisting and cannot be just anyone.
An assistant assists with specific daily, corporate or personal tasks in a more professional context.
Assistants provide supports and help their employers handle burdensome tasks and more.
There are a lot of things personal assistants are professionally and personally equipped to do.
More so, the kind of support personal assistants will be required to fulfill may vary depending on the duties they are required to fulfill, either administrative or personal duties.
Hence, let’s discover what makes up an assistant’s duties before you hire an assistant.
What Does an Assistant Do?
Here are some of the duties of an assistant. This also makes up the job description for this role.
First, let’s establish different types of assistants; hence, their duties may differ slightly from each other.
Given this, we’ll look at the different types of assistants and their roles.
This is because a clear understanding of their job descriptions and responsibilities will help you identify what you’re looking for in the assistant you intend to hire.
The four types of assistants include;
- Administrative assistants
- Office assistants
- Personal assistants
- Executive assistants
These are individuals that handle and co-ordinate the administrative duties of an organization.
An administrative assistant’s duties and responsibilities involve but are not limited to the following;
- receiving and directing phone calls to relevant members of staff
- Scheduling meetings and appointments
- Notetaking and writing minutes in organizational meetings
- Ordering, monitoring, and taking stock of office supplies
- Serve as an effective channel of communication for staff and external stakeholders.
- Preparing documents for meetings and business trips
- Processing and directing mail and incoming packages or deliveries
- Greeting and directing visitors and new members of staff to the organization
- Writing and issuing emails to teams and departments on behalf of teams or senior members of staff.
- Researching and booking travel arrangements for staff members
- Continually improving administrative processes.
This is quite similar to an administrative assistant.
However, an office assistant is responsible for handling organizational and clerical support tasks.
An office assistant’s duties are similar to that of an administrative assistant.
However, there are some duties that an office assistant might be required to perform that cannot be required of an administrative assistant.
This is because an administrative assistant is more on top of the organizational ladder than an office assistant.
Hence, when you hire an office assistant, here are some of the responsibilities that may be expected of him/her.
- Receiving incoming calls and other messages on behalf of top management staff in an organization.
- Managing and compiling important files and documents.
- Keeping records of important information.
- Updating paperwork and maintaining important documents.
- Assisting in organizing and maintaining office common areas.
- Undertake general office clerk duties and run some errands.
- Maintaining supply inventory.
- Maintaining office equipment as needed.
- Assisting with client reception as may be required.
- Creating, maintaining, and entering information into databases.
Another name for personal assistants is personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS).
These are professionals who assist their employers specifically with personal and business-related tasks as may be required of them.
Unlike administrative and office assistants, personal assistants’ duties are to attend to their bosses’ work and personal needs and not the entire team in an organization.
Hence, their duties and responsibilities are closely tied to helping their boss (e.g., the manager) make their work and personal life easier by handling tasks in these areas.
A personal assistant’s duties include but are not limited to;
- Monitoring emails and giving adequate response if required
- Managing and staying on top of communications.
- Answering phone calls.
- Organizing travel and itineraries.
- Organizing and planning meetings.
- Managing schedules on behalf of their employer.
- Updating their employer about important schedules, meetings, and events.
- Taking notes and writing minutes during meetings.
- Running errands and performing Various ad hoc.
- Meeting and liaising with clients.
Executive assistants’ job descriptions and responsibilities seem similar to that of administrative and personal assistants.
However, an executive assistant sits at the helm of affairs in the organization’s structure than administrative, office, and personal assistants.
Executive assistants assist administration or organization executives in handling top-level administrative tasks.
Their duties include;
- Providing general administrative support
- Basic accounting/bookkeeping
- Calendar/ schedules management
- Client relations/receiving corporate visitors in the organization as may be required.
- Designing and maintaining a filing system
- Organizing meetings/corporate events
- Filing and keeping corporate records
- Making travel arrangements and bookings
- Preparing reports, financial statements, memos, invoices letters, and other important documents.
- Processing expense reports
- Taking minutes in meetings
- and more.
Now that you know the various types of assistants and their duties knowing the kind of assistant you want to hire for your business should be clearer.
Hiring an assistant as a busy business owner could be one of the best decisions you could make for your business.
Benefits of Hiring An Assistant
- Firstly, you’ll benefit from the support as many tasks would be taken off your hands.
This means less workload, less stress, and an improved work-life balance.
- Hiring an assistant will also lead to more productivity.
This is because tasks and projects will be completed timely and organizational goals will be achieved.
Consequently leading to more productivity.
- It would also increase work efficiency for you and the rest of the team.
With your assistant effectively, daily clerical and administrative tasks, workflow, and operations in the organization become smooth.
Thereby leading to more efficiency in the organization.
- Overall, you’ll prevent your team from burning out.
Making your team handle administrative tasks in addition to their specified roles can be quite tasking and may make them burn out in the long-run.
So, hiring an assistant in the office can help you prevent this.
However, there are a couple of things you should know before you take this major decision.
Things to Know Before You Hire An Assistant
Clearly Define Your Business Needs
It would be a major mistake on your part if, after hiring an administrative assistant, only to discover that what your business need is an office assistant.
This would amount to wasted time and effort.
Hence, ensure you understand your business needs and make a decision that best suits that needs.
Consider if You Have the Capacity to Hire An Assistant
Speaking of capacity, we mean the necessary resources such as office space, equipment, and finances.
When you hire an assistant, you increase your number of employees, and the payroll automatically increases.
Hence, you need to consider these factors thoroughly.
Whatever your findings are, you can then make the best decision that suits the current state of things.
For instance, if you have limited office space, you could consider hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA).
This way, you eliminate the need for office space and equipment as most VAs work remotely.
Similarly, if you have limited financial resources, rather than hiring a full-time assistant, freelance assistants will be better as you’ll only pay them when they work for you and not on a full-time basis.
This will be a more cost-effective decision to make.
Research Assistants Pay Range and Decide on How Much You’re Willing to Pay
After considering your financial resources and researching the expected pay range, deciding how much you’re willing to pay becomes easier.
It’s important to be clear on this and set your expectations from the onset to prevent surprises.
More so, while you decide on how much you’re willing to pay, try not to set your mind too low below the expected pay range so that you don’t compromise quality work for a low price range.
This is because most times, setting low pay rates attract amateur or sub-par professionals seeking to get the job done and earn some money to live by.
Educate Yourself with the Necessary Qualities to Look Out for
Before you hire an assistant, it also makes sense to know some of the best qualities to look out for that differentiates makes an assistant outstanding.
Some of the qualities to look out for include;
- Excellent communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Flexibility and adaptive to changes
- Great working with teams/Interpersonal relation skills
- Co-ordination and professionalism
- Ability to pay attention to details
- Positive mindset and attitude
Overall, these are some of the things to look out for to hire the ideal assistant for your business.
You may also have certain attributes you might want in an assistant.
Keep them in mind as you search for the best candidate for the job.
Another important thing to consider before looking at how to hire an assistant is where to find one.
Where to Find the Best Candidates For the Job
First, you could ask for recommendations from your friends and business associates.
This is a good way to start as you’ll get recommendations from people with first-hand experience of the capabilities of the assistant being recommended.
Also, you could visit job boards or platforms where most potential employers and professionals with strong profiles meet.
Some of the best ones include;
- Priority VA
- Virtual Staff Finder
- ZipRecruiter, among others
Visiting any of these platforms will give you a wide variety of options/candidates you can choose from.
4 Simple Steps to Hiring An Assistant
You’ve gone through the necessary prerequisites for hiring an assistant, which includes;
- Understanding who an assistant is, knowing the different types and their various duties
- Identifying how hiring an assistant will positively impact you and your business.
- Evaluating your decision and clearly defining the kind of assistant you need, what you’re willing to pay, and establishing the qualities you want in your intending hire.
- Identifying where to start your search and the right places to look for the perfect candidate.
Now you’re all set to start the hiring process.
Here are the right steps to take.
1Post a Job Ad with a Detailed Job Description and Expected Pay Range
The first step is to go on these job boards we examined earlier and get the attention of the professionals in this field.
Hence, you’ll need to create a compelling Job ad with a clear job description and the expected pay range and post it on any of these platforms.
The more compelling and attractive your job description/offer is, the easier it is to attract the best candidates for the job.
However, be careful not to overpromise and embellish your job offer with lies.
This is so that you don’t tarnish your credibility as a business owner.
2Review and Select the Best Candidates
After posting a job description, you’ll get tons of applications from interested candidates.
Hence, you have to review and select some of the best candidates.
When doing this, pay attention to certain things such as the profile, presentation, skills, and working experience.
These are some of the things that could indicate if the preferred candidate is ideal for the job.
3Contact and Interview the Selected Candidate(s)
After scrutinizing various applications you’ve received, you’ll be left with a shortlist of the ideal candidates for the job.
The next thing you should do should be to contact them via the contact details provided in the application and schedule an interview.
This will allow you to further assess and evaluate the intending hire.
- Why do you think we should hire you?
- What are some of your top organizational skills that would be valuable to this organization?
- How do you handle confidential information or documents?
- What has been your experience so far as an assistant working in various organizations?
- How would you react when you’re required to work extra hours to meet up for unforeseen circumstances?
- What program/software have you worked with in the past, and rate your computer skills?
- How would you handle an angry client insisting on seeing the manager?
- And other questions that may be peculiar to your type of organization or tasks.
4Discuss Working Terms and Conditions
After a successful interview section, you’ll know if the intending hire is the ideal candidate for the job.
Hence, you might decide if you want to put the newly hired assistant through a trial period.
If yes, state it clearly to the new hire and inform them of the working conditions during the trial period.
Likewise, if there’s no trial period, the new hire should be absorbed into the company.
The onboarding process might include;
- inducting the new hire into the organization either as an in-house or remote team
- educating them on the company’s policies and working conditions
- introducing them to the rest of the team
- giving out necessary training or guidelines
However, if you’re hiring a freelance assistant, you might not necessarily need to introduce them to the team.
So, discuss working conditions, channels of communications, and other important details you may deem fit to share with the new hire.
Final Thoughts on How to Hire An Assistant
There you have it!
All the basic information and processes you need to find and hire the perfect assistant as a business owner.
Finding and hiring the ideal candidate for the job is one part of the hiring process.
The other and most important part is working with the new employee.
To ensure a smooth and efficient working relationship, you and the new employee both have a part to play.
As an employer, you need to give the new hire the opportunity to prove his/her efficiency.
Hence, do not micro-manage the new employee.
Give out the necessary information needed to carry out specific tasks and provide adequate feedback when required.
Also, practice effective communications to avoid misconceptions and misunderstandings that may destroy good working relationships.
Overall, there’s nothing like a perfect employee.
Nevertheless, by paying attention to some specific qualities, careful scrutiny during the hiring process, and providing the necessary guidelines, you can get the best value out of the assistant you hire.