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What should you look for in an executive assistant?

As a business professional, you're constantly being pulled in a million different directions at once. And once you reach the executive level of your organization, those responsibilities only multiply and there is more stress to deal with – with much higher stakes. 

It's nearly impossible to try to get everything you need to do done on your own, which is why executive assistant jobs are so high in demand right now. 

As The Chronicle Herald recently pointed out, the administrative professional of today's business landscape is becoming a staple in the organizational performance and success of a company. These employees play a critical role in daily operations and, as such, must be chosen with careful consideration. 

Determining your expectations for an executive assistant 
When you're looking to hire an executive assistant though, it can be tough to know what to look for that indicates how successful and valuable a candidate will be as your employee. Of course, most of the job functions that executive assistants will be expected to perform aren't unlike those of a personal assistant. For example, they will be able to:

  • Answer phone calls
  • Schedule appointments
  • Coordinate calendars
  • Book travel arrangements

All of these functions require excellent organization skills, as well as an adamant attention to detail. Then there is also a business-oriented aspect to executive assistant jobs that usher in the need for distinct qualities and traits, including superb written and communication skills, a high level of professionalism, critical thinking, computer skills and more. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be a requirement that the person you hire as your assistant has at least some background or experience working in the field. 

No one knows what type of skills and experience your executive assistant will need to perform their duties more than you do. But in your search for this ideal candidate, make sure that you are not overlooking applicants because you are prematurely discounting them due to their on-paper qualifications. 

Moving beyond the resume
There are undoubtedly administrative, computer and communication skills that every executive assistant should possess – but at the end of the day, remember that a resume only tells you so much about a person. 

It's important to make sure that you hire someone who you get along with, someone who has strengths that can supplement your weaknesses. You need to decide which qualities are most pertinent to the specific functions of this role – as well as which skills gap you are currently missing in the execution of your duties – then prioritize the list of requirements for executive assistant candidates based on that.

The amount of time spent determining the perfect candidate for the position will have a significant influence over how satisfied you are with the person chosen to end up filling it.

But if you had the time and freedom that allowed you to dedicate so much in the search, vetting and interview process, you probably wouldn't need an executive assistant in the first place.

And that's where we come in. At Colonial Domestic Agency, we sort through all the resumes from candidates interested in being your executive assistant so you don't have to. Not only will your life and job become a lot easier with the right assistance, by using our staffing agency, the process of finding that person will too. Contact us today to learn more!