When hiring an administrative assistant, how do you find that top-level professional with the necessary aptitude, determination and savvy to help maximize your business? In essence, the key is to stop thinking “executive assistant” and start thinking “assistant executive.” Then, paint your perfect candidate picture.

June Martino started out as Ray Kroc’s bookkeeper. She later took on the roles of corporate secretary, then treasurer and then director. Finally, she became part owner of McDonald’s Corp. Are you starting to get that picture now?

Build an Accurate Job Description

Your job description for an executive assistant should be so detailed that if someone found a candidate based on it, they’d approach you saying, “I have the perfect match!”

  • List all job duties. This includes every regular task including data entry, scheduling, handling phones and emails, making travel reservations and so on. If an assistant will be expected to complete personal tasks such as arranging family vacations, include this as well. Then there will be no surprises.
  • Consider the personality type you’re looking for. This can make a significant difference to smooth office operations. Is the ideal candidate serious with a “no-nonsense” attitude or lighthearted with a sense of humor? There are places for both. Determine which one you need.

Know Your Candidates

Be sure that whomever an administrative assistant would be reporting to is actively involved in the interviewing process and really gets to know the leading candidates.

  • Learn about their past experiences and future goals, as well as their lifestyle, work style, learning style and communication style. In addition to having a personal conversation, arrange for a behavioral assessment such as the DISC or Activity Vector Analysis.
  • Meet more than once with top choices. Include one meeting over a meal so you can see how they act outside the office setting. Involve other key team members so you can get their reactions before making a final decision.

Verify References

Checking references is more than just a formality. It can reveal information that leads to eliminating a candidate, even in what you thought was the final stage of your hiring process.

  • Establish trust with each reference. It’s critical to get answers that go below the surface level. Introduce yourself, explain the specific opportunity up front, and build rapport. References will be more forthcoming if it feels like a conversation.
  • Seek both quantitative and qualitative information. Ask about an employee’s employment track record, skills, competencies and performance. Learn all you can about their personal style, strengths, liabilities, interpersonal abilities and approach to work.
  • Ask open-ended questions. These encourage more detailed descriptions and help keep a conversation going.

Hire For Succession

The ideal administrative assistant is a top performer whose value as replacement talent helps drive your business forward.

  • Look for a problem solver. Their ideas and leadership skills should shine through. Determine their problem-solving instincts by asking behavioral questions that directly tie their past performance and experience into the work they’d be doing at your organization. Look for specific, measurable results.

Partnering with a recruitment specialist from Magellan Search & Staffing can be an invaluable asset as you successfully hire your next administrative assistant. If you are looking for an administrative staffing agency in Philadelphia, contact our team today.