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How to know you’re hiring the best assistant?

Find out these tricks that will help you to find the best assistant

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I don’t know why it’s the case, but there isn’t a lot of respect out there for assistants. For some reason, managers don’t think very highly of the people they hire to manage the affairs. That’s strange to me. If I ever gave anybody the keys to the kingdom, I’d make sure I showed them I respected them and that I appreciated them. I’d also want to make sure that they were the perfect person for the job. I mean, who wants to give the keys to somebody who forgets to feed the dog or runs off with the silverware?

Maybe it’s because of when people generally need assistants. They hold off on it as long as possible and then when they’re absolutely swamped and start looking only once they’re desperate for help. Obviously, at those moments they don’t have much time or energy to spare. And so the task becomes one of secondary importance. So don’t do that. Instead:

Take the time to interview people properly

This means sitting down for longer than ten minutes. It also means not worrying about the next meeting or the next call you have to make. The interview with the potential assistant isn’t the distraction. The other stuff is. So make sure that you’re focused on the right thing at that moment in time.

Just as importantly, don’t just wing the interview. Instead, make a list of things that you want your assistant to do and then run through them with the person. Do they have experience with such things? Do you feel they’re flexible and quick enough to learn if they do not?

Make sure that your personalities will click

Are you serious and always focused on work or are you more lighthearted and prefer somebody with which you can discuss the finer points of wine? Do you need somebody who can deal with people with poise and sincerity or are you looking for somebody who can shut the gate on all those pesky people you really don’t want to see?

In short, what kind of assistant are you looking for? If you write a short paragraph that captures the soul of the person you’re looking for, you’ll find that you can then consider the person in relation to what you’ve written. Then you’ll be much more likely to find somebody who fits more closely with what you’ve written down. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, consider getting some help from academic writing service.

And remember, you’re hiring an assistant, not a friend (or a lover). Yes, you do need to like them, but the more important quality is competence and ability. Because it’s better you think they’re alright and they do a great job than that you think they’re great but they do an alright job.

Do they have broad experience?

Assistants often need to do a lot of things and need to take action proactively. For that, you need somebody with a broad range of skills and abilities and a go-get-em attitude. So look for these qualities in the resume of the people that apply for the job. Specifically, look for leadership positions and any other measures to find out if they can motivate themselves.

These don’t necessarily need to be in jobs. If they’ve held leadership positions in charities, clubs or other organizations that will often do just as well, as there they also needed to demonstrate a proactive attitude and problem solve on the fly. And those are exactly the skills you’re looking for.

Of course, don’t take a person who has gone too broad and where you see no real growth in their resume, as these types of people are often still not sure what they’re trying to do. That raises the chance that they’re going to realize after six months working in your office that this isn’t what they want to do either, at which point you have to look for yet another assistant.

Instead, look for somebody who seems to be following a path with the jobs and activities they’re undertaking fitting into a wider narrative into which being your assistant fits.

Take your shortlist outside the office

Once you’ve narrowed down your decision, a good idea is to meet your shortlists several times with the last one being in a non-work setting. This last test is important as you want to discover how this person will behave when they’re outside of work. Often people are different people in a restaurant or a bar than they are in the office. That can matter to you, especially if you’re working with secrets that you don’t want other people to find out (and they will go through a lot of effort to find out).

Also, you’ll just be able to get a rounder, more complete view of the person you’re looking to hire. Do you still like them in a non-office setting? If not, then it might be necessary to consider somebody else on the short list. If so, well congratulations, you’ve just found yourself an assistant.

Last words

Ultimately, you’ll want to take the time to find somebody who you can work with together closely. After all, that’s exactly what you will be doing. Assistants have a lot of power and influence as they can often decide what and who does and doesn’t get through to you. For that reason, you want to make sure you actually trust them to do what’s right. If you don’t have that instinctive trust in your gut, then keep looking.

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Page last edited Nov 24, 2017 History

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