How do you hire an executive assistant? This post answers this question and more.
An executive assistant is not just a regular assistant that would assist you with office tasks.
There’s more to being an executive assistant than just handling administrative and clerical tasks.
This is why the need to hire the best person for the job when planning to hire an executive assistant is non-negotiable.
In this unique guide, you’ll find out just how you should go about hiring an executive assistant for you.
Stay with us till the end to find out some bonus tips that would help you enjoy a good working relationship with the executive assistant that you hire.
How To Hire An Executive Assistant
While you may want to be on top of your business’s affairs, running everything and calling all the shots in your organization, you most certainly cannot do everything yourself.
Hence, before you completely burn-out due to stress, hiring an executive assistant is one of the best steps to take.
As a business owner, the executive assistant you hire should be someone with the right qualifications, experience on the job, and high competence-level.
However, finding the right employee for a job vacancy is easier said than done.
In fact, research reveals that top CEOs and hiring managers are finding the hiring process more challenging as the year goes by.
Finding the right candidate for specific roles in your organization/business might the challenging but not impossible.
What it requires is the right approach towards your hiring process.
So, to ensure that you take the right steps in your decision to hire an executive assistant; this guide will discuss;
- Who is an executive assistant?
- Roles and responsibilities of an executive assistant?
- Required/desirable skills and qualities for an executive assistant?
- Mistakes to avoid when hiring an executive assistant
- Steps to hiring an executive assistant
- Things to keep in mind when working with the new EA
First off, Who Is An Executive Assistant (EA)
An EA provides professional and administrative support to top executives or high-level administrators in an organization.
This kind of assistant handles tasks or responsibilities that directly impact the success of any organization.
Hence, they are considered a vital aspect of the organizational body/management team.
An EA is mostly thought of to be a Personal assistant (PA) or an administrative assistant.
This is due to slight similarities in their duties; providing assistance or assisting with specific tasks.
Even more, an EA and a PA’s duties tend to overlap with each other.
Hence the confusion between these two roles.
An executive assistant (EA) is specifically assigned to assist top-tier executives in an organization.
Overall, an executive assistant’s duties involve higher corporate and administrative tasks than a PA or an administrative assistant.
Roles and Responsibilities of an EA
Knowing the roles and responsibilities of an EA will help you clearly define your expectations from the executive assistant that you hire.
Hence, the roles and responsibilities of an executive assistant include but are not limited to.
- Acting as an intermediary between the executives and internal or external colleagues
- Scheduling/organizing meetings and booking meeting rooms
- Handling correspondence on behalf of managers/executive officers where necessary
- Making travel arrangements and detailed travel itineraries for executives in an organization
- Notes and minutes taking in important board meetings
- Compiling reports and giving presentations
- Managing filing and database systems and improving on them when necessary
- Preparing financial statements, reports, memos, invoices letters, and other important documents
- Handling basic bookkeeping tasks
- Filing and retrieving important corporate records, documents, and reports
- Researching and preparing documents for review and presentation on behalf of executive members or board of directors
- Using various software, including word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software, to prepare documents and presentations
- Performing office duties such as procuring office supplies and managing a records database
- Providing virtual assistance to executives when necessary
- Also, providing general administrative support and more.
The difference between the executive assistant that you hire and other unqualified candidates for the job are the skills the qualified candidate possesses.
Overall, the skills an EA possesses would make him/her outstanding and efficient on the job.
Hence, let’s consider some of the required skills the executive assistant you hire should possess.
Required/Preferred Skills A Good EA Should Possess
Required skills are skills that any candidate applying for the position of Executive Assistant should have.
These skills include;
- Prioritizing tasks
- Excellent time management skills
- Organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Discreteness and ability to manage sensitive information
- Computer and basic administrative software proficiency
- Leadership and team management skills
- Administrative skills
- Interpersonal skills
Preferred skills are those skills that are nice to have that would help any Executive assistant to be outstanding on the job.
Some of these “nice to have” skills include;
- Analytical thinking and problem solving
- Taking initiatives, brainstorming, and ability to think outside the box
- Emotional intelligence
- Great communication and interpersonal relationship skills
- Networking skills
- Negotiation skills
- Trustworthiness, reliability, and dependability
- Strategic planning
- among other things
Now you know some of the necessary skills to look out for when searching for an ideal executive assistant to hire.
You’re all set to start your hiring process.
However, just before you start, there are some mistakes you should avoid when hiring an executive assistant.
This is to avoid regrettable situations after hiring and when working with the newly hired executive assistant.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring an Executive Assistant
Not Clearly Defining What You Want/ Why You’re Hiring
This right here is the foundation of a thriving or troubling working relationship with your executive assistant.
Clearly defining what you want or why you’re hiring is necessary for setting things straight and avoiding misunderstandings.
When you’re clear on what you want to achieve by hiring an executive assistant, it makes it easy to identify the right candidate for the job.
Also, it helps you set your expectations right.
So, before you jump right to hiring an executive assistant, ensure that you do the following to define what you want or why you’re hiring;
- Identify your needs.
Do you need someone to help you with administrative, personal, clerical, or highly corporate tasks.
- Ask yourself; what corporate goals are you aiming to for?
- Will hiring an assistant help, you achieve them better?
- Are you willing to work with someone assisting you every step of the way, achieving your goals?
Not Clearly Defining What You Need/ What You’re Looking For
What you want most times is different from what you actually need.
Hence, identify what you need so you can find the right executive assistant that meets those needs.
Here are some steps you can take to identify what you need as you plan to hire an EA.
- Make a list of everything you do as an executive member of the organization/CEO
- Further breakdown the list into categories.
Categorize your tasks into;
– tasks you like to do yourself
– tasks you don’t like to do
– most overwhelming tasks
– tasks you can hand over to someone else
– things you must do yourself
– and tasks you want to avoid doing completely
After doing this, you’ll have a clean list of things you need your new EA to assist you with.
Consequently, making up the Executive Assistant’s job description.
- Next, think about your personality type and the kind of person you would want to work with you.
Since you’ll be entering into a working relationship with the new EA, it’s only best to hire a personality type you’re compatible with.
So, think about all the qualities that resonate with you that you want your EA to have and write them down.
After doing all this, you should have a detailed job description and requirements for the executive assistant you’re planning to hire.
Not Considering What it Would Cost You
Indeed, you need an executive assistant to assist you with corporate tasks within and outside the organization.
However, have you taken time to think about what it takes?
Before you jump straight to hire an executive assistant, think about what it would cost you in your budget and other resources.
Do you really have enough finances to include an executive assistant in your payroll in terms of budget?
Hence, research and find out executive assistants’ earnings, determine your budget, and decide what you’re willing to offer.
Also, sometimes you may need to provide some training and additional resources for the newly hired executive assistant to be efficient on the job.
This might add some extra expenses to your operational costs.
Hence, check to see if you can afford the cost of hiring an executive assistant before you hire one.
This is so that you do not end up ruining your business or tarnishing your reputation.
This could happen if you fail to meet up to your commitments to the new EA due to financial constraints.
Deciding to Hire Based on Availability, Interest, and Affordability
Using the wrong criteria to evaluate a potential executive assistant can make you end up with an unfit candidate for the job.
Hence, you shouldn’t just hire any executive assistant that’s available for the job offer.
Also, you shouldn’t pick anyone as an ideal candidate for the job because of his/her interest in the job or affordability.
Rather you should look out for the passion for the job, competency, and proven track records.
Overall, you should be more interested in how the new hire will help you achieve organizational goals rather than how affordable his/her services are.
Micro-Managing the New Hire
This is another mistake you must avoid.
You shouldn’t be eager to hire an executive assistant if you like to be in control of everything at all times.
Mirco-managing the new EA would only be counterproductive in helping you achieve your goals.
Your decision to hire an executive assistant is to get some assistance with important tasks in your organization.
Hence, you must be prepared to let go of some control and avoid micro-managing the new hire.
Overall, be prepared to trust the new EA with certain responsibilities/duties you hired him/her for.
These are some mistakes to avoid if you want to have a smooth hiring process and working relationship with your assistant.
Now, let’s find out how to hire an executive assistant.
Steps to Hiring an Executive Assistant
Before now, you’ve identified what you want to achieve by hiring an executive assistant.
You’ve also identified the various aspects you’ll need the newly hired executive assistant to assist you with, i.e., the job description and what it would cost you.
Hence, you’re clear on the kind of assistance you need and what the right candidate for the job should be like.
Given this, you’re all set to start your search, find, and hire the best executive assistant for you.
Using the information you have above, here are some simple tips on how to go about it.
Create a Detailed and Compelling Job Description
A job description is an outline of the roles and responsibilities of a job vacancy.
It is what informs interested applicants what a job role entails.
This is an important document that would attract the right candidate for the job.
Hence, you should make this as specific as possible.
Also, just as you need an executive assistant, other executives or CEOs are in the same position as you.
Hence, you can say that finding the right candidate for the job is quite competitive.
Given this, your job description should be compelling enough to attract the right candidate for the job.
However, be careful not to overpromise things so that you can’t deliver as it might discredit you as a business owner.
Overall, you should write your job description clearly and concisely.
It should also sell your organization as the perfect place for your ideal candidate to work.
This is achievable if you think of the job description as an ad that markets your company to the job position’s potential candidates.
Advertise the Position/Job Vacancy
After preparing a brilliant and compelling job description, you don’t just leave it at that.
You need to advertise it.
There are a couple of ways to go about this.
You could do word-of-mouth advertising.
This would involve telling people, close friends, or business associates about your search and requirements for an executive assistant.
By doing this, you could get referrals with proven track records of previous working experience.
Otherwise, you could post your job description (Job ad) online using various social media platforms and administrative job boards.
For a more effective search, post your job ad on social media platforms where potential job seekers reside.
Some of these platforms/administrative job boards include;
- Facebook, etc.
By posting your job ad on any of these platforms, qualified potential candidates can see the opportunity.
Hence, they’ll reach out to you if it catches their interests.
Screen and Shortlist Applicants
After posting your job ad, you’ll get tons of applications from various professionals interested in the role.
Now you can’t just pick anyone with a fancy application and job profile to be your assistant.
You have to screen these applications to come up with a clean list of shortlisted candidates for the role.
The candidates you shortlist should possess the right skills and experience required for the role.
Hence, make a shortlist of the ideal candidates for the job, contact and schedule an interview.
Interview the Selected Candidate(s)
This is your opportunity to assess the candidates’ personality and competence level thoroughly.
The interview process could involve a series of tests to assess knowledge and competence level.
Also, it could involve one-on-one question and answer sessions.
You could use a set of pre-prepared questions for the interview process.
Likewise, you could think outside the box and ask questions relating to real-life applications of certain skills on the job.
Overall, it could be a remote or in-person interview, depending on if it’s a remote or an in-house position.
Whatever the case may be, ensure that you assess the potential candidates for the job.
Validate/Evaluate Successful Candidates
Candidates who successfully pass the interview process would be deemed successful.
However, it doesn’t end there.
You still have to do some background checks on the person you intend to hire as your executive assistant.
So, you should check in with references, previous colleagues, bosses, or clients if provided.
This would help you determine the validity of potential employee’s claims.
This might seem like a long or rigorous process.
However, it’s worth it considering the sensitivity of the job role.
Discuss Job Offer and Hire
At this stage, you’re sure that the successful candidate is ideal for the job role.
So, it’s time to push things a little further.
After a successful interview process, it’s time to discuss that job offer in detail and finalize the hiring process.
You’ve done a great job catching the interest of the ideal candidate with your compelling job description.
Now it’s time to seal the package with attractive offers and benefits.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you go through this process.
- Do not overpromise what you cannot keep up with, as it will tarnish your image and reputation.
- Remember, executive assistants are high-in-demand professionals, so many organizations compete for their attention.
- Never compromise quantity over quality by opting for cheap labor.
Keeping these in mind, negotiate and settle on a reasonable price.
After this, discuss working conditions and offer the job.
Start With Trial/Training Periods
This might not be necessary for situations where the new hire is a pro with long years of experience.
In this case, all you need to do is familiarize the new hire with the organization’s culture and other guidelines.
However, if the new hire is fairly new in this field, you might want to test his/her skills with a trial period.
After that, you may need to put the new hire through some training and onboarding process.
This might take a few days, weeks, or months, depending on your organization’s culture.
Tips on Working with the New Executive Assitant
Now that the hiring process is complete, here are a few things to keep in mind;
- Effective communication is essential, so pass information clearly and timely to your new EA.
- Also, trust is important, so don’t be afraid to trust the new EA with the responsibilities you hire him/her for.
- Even more, always provide feedback where necessary.
- Lastly, a good leader is a good listener, hence be open to ideas and feedback from your new EA.
Conclusion on How to Hire an Executive Assistant
Seeing this, you may begin to think, “such a big deal for hiring an executive assistant.”
Well, an executive assistant is an essential part of the success of any organization.
So you’re right, it is a big deal.
However, we’ve made the process much simpler by including links to some job boards where you find and hire an EA.
Just click the link to start your search and hire an executive assistant.
Best of luck!