In a company, the post of an executive assistant or secretary is one of the ones that you should pay special consideration to. We spend a lot of energy trying to hire just the right CEO or CFO or any other role in the c-suite team, but sometimes don’t understand the importance of hiring just a good as a support system for them. A c-level’s role is impacted greatly on how efficient, effective and pro-active the team is that is supporting them. And the goals are accomplished by the team, lead by the c-level executive you spent so much time hiring. Understanding the importance of this role, will make you realize, and adjust your hiring process if necessary, to ensure that this person has the role you need to bring out the best in the c-level roles. So, the same as you have to keep in mind some considerations for the CEO hiring process, which you can read more about on the Jason Hanold WordPress page, you need to do the same when hiring an executive assistant. So these are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right fit.
Setting the right environment
The c-level executives need much more than a good assistant; it’s a whole setting that has to be orchestrated to ensure that the executives have everything they need to accomplish corporate goals. Offering a space where leaders can be flexible, where they have all of the technological tools needed to store, process, protect and retrieve information, where their team is composed of managers that can direct day-to-day activities with common sense and proactivity, and in the same light communication experts that listen well and share the executive’s message to everyone else. The executive will need a complete support team that is behind him or her and that is on board with trying to accomplish unified goals that go in line with the company’s corporate values and vision.
Start off on the right foot
From the interview with a potential candidate, you should start to ask the right questions, to truly find out if this is the candidate that is fit to support your CEO or any other c-suite. One thing which is important to find out is why they got into working in this area and field in the first place. This will be essential to understanding the person’s future goals, intentions behind wanting to work at a particular time, place or even role. By understanding this, you also understand the motivations that is driving them and will drive them on a daily basis, if hired. Once you know their intentions, then you can begin to explore what they feel is their biggest success. How they can point out why they feel this is the most successful moment in their professional careers and what made it a successful moment in their careers will be very telling as to what they feel is success and how they strive to achieve it. At the same time, it will be important to find out their biggest mistake, and again how they handled the situation. No one is perfect, but knowing how to deal with delicate issues, classified information or simply holding your own under pressure and tough times will all come in handy as the top boss’s assistant. Before choosing a candidate, get a glimpse of the whole profile, what they consider to be their top assets and how they could use them to help their c-level executive succeed.
Characteristics to look out for
Some characteristics are essential in any assistant, and even more so in an executive one, due to the long hours, and sometimes big work load it will most surely mean having someone flexible, but that at heart, and most importantly, is naturally aimed towards wanting to serve others. An excellent assistant will want to help their executive get everything they need done and know that if he or she is successful, so are they. They will need to personalize their service and support, to adjust to the executive’s likes, dislikes, and way of working. This will mean being on top of the details like calendar and appointment management, anticipating needs, instinctively prioritizing personal over professional, pushing and pulling back when needed, and knowing exactly what’s on your plate and how to help you get things done. Of course, you’ll need someone you can trust, and that means maintaining a high level of confidentiality. Finally, they will need to have excellent communication skills because most times they will be your voice.
An executive assistant is an extension of their boss and will need to be someone that can reflect his or her values and can speak for them at any given moment. From the hiring process, it is essential that the hiring staff realize the great impact that the profile they select can have on the executive, and how to ensure that their personalities, working ethic and values match.