An administrative assistant typically handles frontline strategic functions that HR or operations employees used to handle. Examples include event planning and onboarding new hires.
An administrative assistant also is responsible for maintaining a positive office culture. This is critical for recruiting and retaining the best talent. It helps motivate employees to stay engaged and productive.
Because an administrative assistant needs to keep things running smoothly, they require various skills to succeed. They must be able to perform at a high level in any situation.
Discover four skills to look for in a trustworthy administrative assistant.
The ability to effectively convey messages on the phone, write emails, and speak with employees is required. This may include writing companywide communications or creating visual presentations for an executive.
Talk with each candidate about the methods they use to clearly communicate ideas and information. Look for examples that show clarity and directness.
Working on multiple projects at once requires the ability to keep everything in order. Knowing where everything is and how to quickly access it saves time and reduces stress.
Find out which methods each candidate uses to stay organized. For instance, they may finish a project as much as possible before beginning a new one. A candidate might write reminders to finish the previous project and where they left off. Or, they could have stacks on their desk or the floor to remember what they are working on.
The ability to improvise and find fast solutions is important. For instance, no matter how much planning goes into events, issues tend to arise. This may include a last-minute change in the number of attendees budgeted for. Or, there might be a problem with the monitor display right before the event begins.
Ask each candidate what their methods or thought processes are to quickly resolve issues. Their ability to quickly solve problems is important to anticipate and resolve issues.
The increasing use of technology requires the ability to both use and train on it. Examples include communication apps, calendaring systems, billing systems, travel reservation platforms, HR systems, and employee engagement software.
Learn which types of technology each candidate is experienced with. They may be able to reboot a crashed computer, publish a blog post on WordPress, or restart the internet.
Find out how each candidate increases their technological abilities. Perhaps they begin by making a list of frequently used technology. Then, the candidate determines which tools, software, platforms, or systems they are least experienced with. Next, they block off an hour each day to experiment with the technology. During this time, the candidate gets to know the systems and uses the vendor’s Help and Community pages to learn more. They also use chat interfaces or phone lines to have their questions answered.
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