How to Hire a Great Administrative Assistant

By Robert Half on January 22, 2019 at 1:30pm

Whether they’re fielding phone calls, scheduling meetings, updating spreadsheets, creating presentations, monitoring the company's social media profile or spearheading event planning, a great assistant  helps your office run smoothly. When it comes to administrative assistant hiring, however, finding a candidate with the right knowledge, skills and experience to perfectly suit your requirements can be a challenge.

The following steps can help you hire an administrative assistant who will make your life easier and your company stronger:

Make your list of expectations

Start by creating a list of duties you expect your new administrative assistant to carry out and the must-have skills and qualifications for a candidate to succeed in the role. This exercise can also help you decide if one employee will be enough, or if the workload requires multiple staff members — as well as whether you need to hire someone permanently or simply on a temporary basis to complete specific projects.

Create a perfect job posting

Take the time to write the kind of recruitment ad that attracts great candidates. This primarily involves giving an accurate sense of the role and its responsibilities. A great job posting piques the interest of those who are truly qualified and discourages those who aren’t. A  well-written job description also sets the stage for your new administrative assistant's success by giving them clear guidelines and a good understanding of your expectations from Day One.

Put the word out

While internet job boards and social media are popular recruitment tools, the web alone may not be enough to find the right administrative assistant. Online recruiting is a supplement, but not a substitute, for the value of in-person networks. Consider asking your professional contacts if they know anyone appropriate for the job. Also check with your existing employees; your staff isn't likely to go out on a limb for someone who isn't up to snuff.

Dig into the details

Are candidates polite on the phone and in person? How are their verbal and written communication skills when interacting with you? Are there careless spelling mistakes and typos in their resume? How do they treat others in your company when they arrive for an interview? The answers to these questions offer helpful insights into what a potential administrative assistant may be like when he or she is actually on the job.

Look for the wow factor

When it comes to finding a really great administrative assistant, one of the best recruiting tips is to take note when candidates go above and beyond. This may require you to review their resumes to determine whether they have pursued additional training, maintained professional memberships, earned administrative certifications or taken other steps that simply scream "go-getter."

Make those reference calls

It can be challenging to get feedback from previous employers, but when you do get input, it can inform your hiring decision. Try a straightforward approach with a candidate's former boss — something like, "I'm considering hiring Pam as an administrative assistant at our office and would really appreciate any insights you could share about her to make sure she's a good fit for our company."

Put a recruiter on the job

When it comes to finding a great administrative assistant, an excellent option is to partner with an administrative recruiter who works with a deep pool of talented people and can help evaluate candidates to find the best fit for your needs.

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