Administrative assistants are the glue that keeps many companies together, and when they are good at their job, the company works like a well-oiled machine. A great administrative assistant takes pride in their job and usually treats the company as more than just a place to get a paycheck. The problem is that not all administrative assistants are great, and the ones there to do the bare minimum for a check can end up slowing down operations and costing your company a lot of money. So how do you sort through applicants to ensure that you are getting the best administrative assistant for your company?
Make a List of Job Duties
Your first step is to make a clear and concise list of job duties before posting the job availability. Being forthright with the work responsibilities, software used, hours, and other requirements help to weed out people who aren’t qualified or lack the will to want to be qualified. You may need to update the list from time to time as job requirements change or software is updated, but the core of this list will likely always remain the same, so you will only need to write it once.
You get what you pay for, so keep that in mind in the hiring process. If you want to attract the top talent, you must pay them as though they are the top talent and continue to pay competitively after they are hired or risk losing them to the next highest bidder. While take-home pay is a significant factor in job acceptance, it is not the only aspect of the job that potential hires look at.
The disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic led many companies to find unique ways to retain and attract employees. Of course, benefits like insurance, paid time off, and sick leave are expected, but other benefits will attract new hires in the 2020s. A few examples include hybrid work weeks where some or all of the work is done from home, being able to bring pets to the office, and enhanced break rooms with entertainment and snacks. Virtual administrative assistants are a growing part of the office landscape and many companies are finding that they can offer these remote positions and still get the same results.
There is something to be said for experience when finding the right administrative assistant. Someone experienced in this position has probably seen and overcome more challenges in the office and picked up many helpful tips and tricks along the way. That being said, experience should not be the only factor involved in your hiring process. There could be a young rockstar out there who is just waiting for a chance, and there could equally be a tenured assistant who knows the minimal amount of work they need to do to keep their job.
Look for Stand Out Skills
The job market has changed, and the internet has afforded us all possibilities to better ourselves and gain skills outside of the workplace. Some of these skills may not transfer well, while others could be a windfall for your office. So ask about any skills, no matter how small or seemingly impertinent they are to the hiring process. For example, a bilingual assistant can open up new growth avenues for your business, or someone who has mastered Mary Kondo’s course in tidying can help organize the office and make it more efficient.
Set Your Pride Aside
Some bosses may be intimidated if they see that an administrative assistant is more skilled or schooled in a particular area than they are, but they shouldn’t be. The whole point of hiring an administrative assistant is for them to do the jobs you can’t or don’t have time for. So, if they happen to have more experience in Excel or a Master’s degree, don’t be scared; embrace what someone with that kind of knowledge and experience will bring to your office.
Double Check References
Unfortunately, people lie on their resumes, thinking that people will never actually check them. It is vital to check and double-check references, especially for an administrative assistant position. You want to know if they were poison in the office at their last job, or if they said they were a Microsoft Office expert but couldn’t figure out how to open PowerPoint at their last job. Hopefully, all you will hear is how great they are and how said their former employer was to see them go.
Once you have whittled down the candidate pool, invite them into the office for a skill-based interview. Anyone can answer cookie-cutter questions about where they see themselves in five years or what kind of tree they would be, but it’s a lot harder to fake skills. Instead, ask situational questions to assess how they would deal with challenging situations and assess their problem-solving skills. Have them answer phones, enter data, transfer calls, or whatever else they will be doing daily. While you are there, you can pepper in a few standard interview questions and get to know their personality a bit.
Get Professional Help
If you are not sure about the hiring process, there is no shame in getting some professional help. Virtual Assistant Canada has the skills and resources to help you find the best professional assistants for any office environment. Like you are an expert in what you do, we are experts in matching assistants to jobs for the perfect partnership. Some job sites offer similar services, but they don’t specialize in matching qualified assistants to clients, and it is more common that unqualified applicants make it through the cracks.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Everyone is human, and you can’t expect an assistant to be perfect, especially on the first day. A great administrative assistant will be able to learn on the job, and they will become an integral part of your team. If you are ready to hire an admin assistant now, reach out to us, so we can match you with vetted and capable employees that will keep your office running.