A good executive assistant is worth their weight in gold. This amazing person will organize your work life so perfectly that you’ll always be in the right place and on time.
They will act as a gatekeeper, preventing unwanted visitors or phone calls from slipping through, and if you need a last-minute gift buying, just ask.
It’s their job to anticipate your every need. Unfortunately, finding the right candidate isn’t always easy.
Not only must the person be excellent at their job, but they also need to be a good fit personality-wise.
Given you’ll be spending a lot of time with your assistant, it is important you get on well with them.
In addition, they have to be a good fit for the company’s image. An executive assistant who can’t dress appropriately or is incapable of talking to people from different backgrounds won’t mesh well at all.
To make sure you hire the best fit for the job, here are the top qualities to look for in an executive assistant.
Exceptional Organizational Skills
An executive assistant must be highly organized to manage multiple tasks, appointments, and deadlines effectively.
Look for candidates who have a proven track record of managing complex schedules and juggling priorities.
They should be able to use the latest software applications and have no problem syncing all your devices with your calendar.
Strong Communication Skills
Communication is key in any role, but it is especially important for an executive assistant who acts as the bridge between the executive and the rest of the team.
Look for candidates who can communicate clearly and professionally, both verbally and in writing.
You need an assistant who can pass on messages to and from the rest of the executive team, as well as clients and junior members of staff.
Your assistant should always be polite yet professional. The last thing any executive needs is an assistant who is rude or mumbles when they talk.
Be A Good Gatekeeper
Executive assistants are the people standing between their executives and everyone else, whether this is clients turning up hoping for an impromptu meeting or other members of the executive team.
As an executive assistant, it is your job to decide whether people are allowed into your executive’s office, either in person or over the phone.
There will be times when you have to maintain the gate, which means holding phone calls or not letting visitors in.
This is actually quite tricky and you need to be able to withstand pushy and persuasive people.
There are likely to be some callers, for example, who don’t appreciate being told they can’t speak with the person they want to speak to. As such, you will need to have a thick skin.
An executive assistant represents the executive they work for, so professionalism is essential.
Look for candidates who present themselves well, demonstrate good judgment, and maintain confidentiality.
Assistants who happily exchange salacious gossip around the water cooler need not apply. What is said in your office needs to stay in your office.
Professionalism also extends to appearance. Whether the candidate is male or female, they must dress suitably for the role.
It isn’t appropriate to turn up wearing untidy, dirty, or inappropriate outfits for the office. Attire should always be smart, in accordance with the company dress code.
Hair should be tidy, makeup on point, and while some degree of personalization is acceptable, the person shouldn’t stand out too much.
An executive assistant must be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and handle unexpected challenges.
Look for candidates who have a flexible mindset and can thrive in a fast-paced environment.
The best executive assistants can think outside the box and are not afraid to take initiative when the situation calls for it.
If you are not there, you need an assistant who can handle pressure and deal with issues on your behalf.
An Ability to Multi-Task
Good executive assistants are excellent at multi-tasking, which is important as their list of duties is often never-ending.
Executive assistants will have to answer phone calls while booking business travel or rearranging your meeting schedule.
Multi-tasking takes great skill as well as a good memory, as often, things happen all at once and executive assistants must tackle multiple tasks at the same time.
A great executive assistant is proactive and anticipates the needs of the executive before they arise.
This applies whether you want to hire someone to work directly in the office or utilize a full-service executive assistant service.
Look for candidates who can think critically to solve problems and who are willing to do what it takes to protect their executive from issues that may arise during the course of their job.
They are the kind of person who can anticipate that you might need a strong coffee at the start of the day or put a hold on all calls if you are very busy.
Pays Attention To Detail
The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, and an executive assistant must pay close attention to detail to ensure accuracy and avoid errors.
Look for candidates who demonstrate meticulousness in their work and have a keen eye for spotting inconsistencies, whether this is when typing a letter or proofing the latest company brochure.
Time Management Skills
A competent executive assistant must be able to manage their own time, as they often have to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines while working autonomously.
They may also have to manage junior employees in a larger organization, which entails managing other people’s time too.
Team Player Mentality
In any organization, employees need to be team players, and that applies to an executive assistant, too.
Look for someone who can collaborate effectively with colleagues at all levels, and who demonstrates good interpersonal skills, empathy, and a positive attitude towards working with others.
Remember, finding the perfect executive assistant might take time, but investing in the hiring process will pay off in the long run.