Invest the time and the resources to find the “right” assistant for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to headhunters and recruiting firms. You may also choose to approach assistants whom you admire for their professionalism and work ethic that are already working elsewhere. Don’t be shy to use LinkedIn and your professional network to consider all the possible options out there so you can find the “right” assistant for you.
Here’s a couple of suggestions to consider when hiring an assistant:
- Intelligence. Will he/she be a strategic work partner for you in the office and while you are away from the office? Will you be able to talk with this person freely to build upon ideas, work through business dilemmas, and to keep you organized? Will you trust this person to act on your behalf?
- Work Style/Personality/Fit. Do you share a similar work style? Will your two personalities work well together or will they compete with one another? Don’t hesitate to use assessments such as the DISC, The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Meyers Briggs, StrengthsFinder, and others so you can get to know one another better. Don’t hesitate to just sit down and have a good lengthy conversation about preferred work styles and personality.
- Work Schedule. Do your work schedules align? If you prefer to work 8-7 p.m. and your assistant needs to leave by 3:00 p.m. each day, the assistant’s schedule may not be the best fit for you. Do you expect your assistant to be available before or after work or on the weekends? Would this expectation be on occasion or regularly? If so, please make that very clear in the interview process.
- Duties. What will your assistant be responsible for? What are you willing to offload? If you need ideas, let me know. I can help you to generate a list of items that you can offload to your new amazing assistant so you can focus on the bigger picture items. Will you want your assistant to work on personal requests unrelated to your professional career?
- Professionalism. Your assistant is an extension of YOU, your department, and the company. Will this person dress appropriately, act appropriately, and communicate appropriately within the guidelines that you’ve established?
- Don’t Rush to Make a Decision. Spend time with this potential assistant. Spend an hour interviewing the candidate or even two hours. Consider connecting with the candidate on more than one occasion. Meet the candidate for a formal interview and then reconnect with them for a second interview or meet them for lunch.
Here’s a couple of potential questions to ask when interviewing potential assistants:
- Tell me about yourself.
- How have you prepared yourself for this interview today? What do you know about the company? What have you learned about me?
- Why have you chosen a career as an assistant? What are your professional short-term and long-term goals?
- Share with me one of your most significant career accomplishments.
- What types of things do you not like to do?
- How do you like to be managed?
- Describe your professional network. How do you build and sustain relationships with people?
- What types of people irritate you?
- Describe your skills related to technology including hardware, operating systems, computer programs, apps, social media, tablets, and smartphones.
- Describe your relationship with your current or former executive/manager.
- What type of office environment do you thrive in?
- Why are you looking for a new position? What would have made you stay in your current or last position?
- Outside of the standard assisting skills, what unique talents and skills will you bring to this position or to the organization?