Finding executive assistants with the right qualifications and experience can be difficult. Despite their title, executive assistants do more than just assist with office tasks. They get to know your likes and dislikes, understand your decision-making process, prioritize tasks, provide support, and ultimately make your work life easier.
How to Find an Executive Assistant:
1. Decide what level of support you need.
If you want to find a good executive assistant (EA), the first step is to figure out what type of support you need. Most executive assistants fall into one of three categories:
Level 1: A level 1 executive assistant provides basic office support. They are responsible for answering telephone calls, filing paperwork, printing documents, and running basic errands.
Level 2: A level 2 assistant manages all of the above tasks as well as additional administrative duties. They schedule meetings, organize travel arrangements, and may also assist with smaller projects.
Level 3: At level 3, an executive assistant is intimately integrated with the daily duties of the executive. They fill a more strategic role in the company and may assist with decision making, spearhead projects, participate in meetings, and even oversee projects.
2. Create a unique job post.
Once you know what type of assistant you are looking for, the next step is to create a tailored job post to attract the perfect candidate. A well-written job post not only lists the required skills and experience needed for the role but also "sells" the position by highlighting your company's achievements.
Think about what top executive assistants are looking for when they apply for a job and what you are willing to provide. Be sure to include this information in your job ad to make your company stand out. Research suggests that executive assistants look for positions where they have the opportunity to grow within the company and earn a competitive salary. They also prefer structured work hours, a comfortable work environment, and work that is both engaging and rewarding.
Use our executive assistant job description as a guide for your job posting and think about what duties and responsibilities you want your EA to take on. It is also important to think about what duties they may be doing six or twelve months down the line. Your job posting should include a brief introduction about your company and then a concise summary of the position you are wanting to fill.
3. Advertise the position.
Once you have created a killer job post, the next step is to advertise your position. Recruiting can be a lengthy process which you can streamline by knowing the best places to post your job. Advertising internally is always an option for larger corporations as well as posting your job ad on your corporate website. If you structure your website data correctly, your ad can be indexed by Google for Jobs and reach a wider audience.
The most effective way to hire executive assistants is to post your ad on job boards. Depending on your budget, you may want to start with the larger and more popular job boards such as Indeed. You can also access a more targeted audience by posting on administrative assistant job boards. Posting on multiple job boards will increase your chances of finding qualified candidates in your area.
4. Screen your applicants.
Once applications start rolling in, you may want to use a resume parser or applicant tracking system (ATS) to sort through the applications and create a shortlist of candidates with the right skills and experience needed for the role.
When the application process is complete, it is a good idea to screen potential candidates with a short screening email or phone call to verify key details. This is your opportunity to eliminate candidates whose experience does not match up with their resume.
5. Check references.
Obtaining reliable information from former supervisors and work colleagues is a good way to avoid a bad hire. While many applicants get frustrated with a lengthy recruitment process, checking references is a crucial step considering the importance of the role and the intimacy of the professional relationship you will have with this person.
6. Conduct remote interviews.
Before you recruit an executive assistant, you should conduct at least two rounds of interviews. The first interview should be a short phone or online interview in which you verify salary expectations, expose potential red flags, and find out if the candidate has any questions for you. Questions that you may want to ask executive assistants include:
- What strategies do you use to manage your time during a normal workday?
- What office software are you familiar with, and how would you rate your computer skills?
- How do you prioritize tasks given to you by top executives?
- How would you deal with an angry client demanding to speak to an executive who was unavailable?
- How do you anticipate the needs of an executive?
7. Conduct in-person interviews.
At this stage of the recruitment process, you should have vetted your candidates thoroughly and eliminated those lacking the experience and qualifications for the job. A final face-to-face interview is needed to solidify your decision and gauge the personality of the applicant. Using strategic interview questions, you can find out a lot more about the candidate and see if they are compatible with your management style.
8. Consider candidates with the right personality fit.
With regular hires, personality preferences play a limited role beyond that of a culture fit for your company. When you hire an executive assistant, you will want to make sure their personality meshes with your own. Even if a candidate has the qualifications and experience for the role, their demeanor, interpersonal skills, and personality may not be suitable for your needs.
Consider what type of person you will want to work with. Should they be forceful or accommodating, eager to please, or someone who will ask thoughtful questions when you propose ideas?
9. Conduct pre-employment testing.
Pre-employment testing has become an integral part of the recruiting process. Many candidates expect and anticipate this process which serves to confirm the aptitude and personality of the applicant. Pre-employment tests can be done online through an external company or conducted at your office.
These tests can be tailored to suit your needs and evaluate candidates on language, mathematics, industry skills, personality, typing, vocabulary, problem-solving, and more.
10. Make an offer.
Once you have found the perfect candidate for the job, you should make them an offer straight away. Remember that qualified executive assistants are in high demand and will most likely be propositioned by multiple organizations. If you have established a rapport with the candidate and you are prepared to offer them a great package, they should accept your offer.
Where can I find qualified executive assistants?
What should you look for when hiring an executive assistant?
- Excellent communication skills.
- Willingness to learn.
- Outstanding organizational skills.
- Ability to multitask.
- Ability to remain cool under pressure.
What do executive assistants look for in a job?
- A good salary.
- A fair benefits package.
- The opportunity to grow.
- A comfortable work environment.
- Work that is engaging and rewarding.