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How to hire a stellar executive assistant


An assistant's actions and abilities should reflect the professionalism of the organization.

At some point in a business’s growth, executives find they have more on their plate than they can handle. There simply are not enough hours in the day to address travel arrangements, client concerns, mailing out collateral and responding to prospective customers questions and still have free time left.

Hiring an executive assistant is a major decision, and should be approached as such. Unfortunately, many executives spend little time in recruiting and interviewing applicants for the position, which can be a mistake with serious consequences. The assistant is the individual that the world will meet before getting to you, and is the gatekeeper of the office. Rushing the onboarding process can be a costly mistake.

“People think it’s a simple thing, that it’s no big deal to hire an assistant-but that’s a problem,” Joan Burge, author of Become an Inner Circle Assistant, told Forbes. “You have to put time and effort into it if you want to get the right person. The idea should be to get a very good match, a person who will stay and grow with you.”

Ideally, an executive assistant should have extensive knowledge on the organization and its industry, as well as have advanced organizational and communication skills. Many executives are surprised at just how much they come to rely on their assistant in their day-to-day professional life.

Before rushing a hire that could negatively impact your reputation, it is important to ensure that all candidates hold the skills necessary to excel at the position. A computer skills assessment test or clerical skills test can be performed online, and ensure that your future assistant is knowledgeable and effective.