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6 Executive Assistant Skills to Look For in Applicants

6 Executive Assistant Skills to Look For in Applicants

Executive assistants or EAs play a vital role in organizations, often responsible for a wide range of tasks. From calendar management to budget tracking, executive or administrative assistants help your organization with their diverse skill sets. 

Ideally, executive assistants are adept at not only handling routine tasks but also navigating the unexpected with high levels of proficiency and adaptability. 

Consider these must-have skills for executive assistants.

6 Executive Assistant Skills

The executive secretary of past years has been upgraded to a strategic partner with the right blend of skills to make your day-to-day routine more organized, manageable, and productive. These modernized executive assistant skills can be part of your criteria when screening applicants.

1. People skills


First on the list of skills for an executive assistant (EA) is interpersonal expertise. This skill is not just about friendliness. It’s about knowing how to deal with different people, even individuals of other cultures. Executive assistants often find themselves bridging gaps between teams of varying backgrounds, and excellent people skills allow them to navigate potential misunderstandings with finesse.

In terms of global expansion, recognizing the importance of formalities or subtleties of non-verbal communication in certain cultures becomes crucial when coordinating with international counterparts. An executive assistant’s skill in this department is valuable in building professional relationships based on respect and cultural sensitivity.

When assessing this skill, an emotional intelligence assessment can gauge how well EA candidates fit in a globally interconnected workplace.

2. Communication skills 

Beyond people skills, communication prowess is essential for an executive assistant’s role. You want someone who knows how to communicate clearly in a written and verbal medium.

Consider the scenario of drafting emails. Your executive assistant is responsible for crafting clear, concise messages that leave zero room for misinterpretation. It’s also the EA’s job to convey urgency or importance appropriately. Administrative assistants who handle high-stakes phone calls and brief stakeholders can effectively manage important business matters.

Since your assistant represents you, you need someone eloquent and well-spoken to uphold your reputation. Consider implementing grammar tests to evaluate applicants’ communication skills.

3. Basic computer skills


Technology is an integral part of daily life in today’s digital workplace, which calls for an executive assistant with a working knowledge of technology and business apps. This skill is especially important for financial-related tasks. 

For example, precise management and summarizing data is possible with your assistant’s mastery of Excel since the program can efficiently organize and represent complex information. Plus, your assistant’s ability to navigate virtual meeting platforms like Zooms helps you keep up with the rising trend of hybrid workplaces.

Screening applicants through a computer skills assessment can help you land the right executive assistant in an era where digital fluency is necessary for effective business operations.

4. Crisis management skills

Executive assistants with crisis management skills can maintain composure while developing practical solutions in high-pressure situations. 

Take last-minute travel plans, for example. These situations can lead to challenges that may need swift resolution. An assistant with solid crisis management skills can promptly anticipate these potential issues and provide alternative arrangements, ensuring your schedule remains unaffected.

From sudden scheduling conflicts to technical glitches during crucial virtual meetings, their capacity to manage crises defines an executive assistant as a reliable and resourceful problem solver. Crisis management skills, as measured by a timed cognitive test, can help see which applicant can think on their feet.

5. Project management skills

Project management can be a major part of an executive assistant’s role. EAs often oversee multiple initiatives and executives simultaneously, requiring prioritization skills and a good work ethic to meet competing deadlines without compromising quality. 

Having this administrative skill shows which assistant has leadership mastery. They can collaborate with different teams and specialists to launch a multifaceted event where everyone does their part and contributes to the project’s success. 

Strong project management skills transform an executive assistant into an indispensable player who can help your organization attain its organizational objectives. It’s best to conduct a thorough reference check before hiring applicants for EA roles.

6. Organizational skills 


An executive assistant can make your work easier and more organized with their organizational skills. They optimize your schedule to help you accomplish as much as possible in a day and resolve any scheduling conflicts. Their task prioritization skills also help align your routine with the company’s priorities.

Impeccable paperwork management, traditional or electronic, is a necessary organizational skill. If you need a specific document or file, your EA can find it easily and quickly without wasting time. 

Navigating Success with a Proficient Executive Assistant

Proficient executive assistants are assets that can help your organization, thanks to their unwavering professionalism and strategic problem-solving skills. With these characteristics, you can effectively execute your visions and elevate your business’s success.

Need an executive assistant? EmployTest is here to help you identify your ideal EA candidate through pre-employment assessment tests. Check out our pre-employment test sample to learn more.