How To Hire A Great Assistant

Many people look at resumes and think they have found the perfect assistant but I never found this to be the case. Although it states their qualities and experience, you never really know how qualified a person is until you interview them.

A resume only tells you so much.

I always have a list of 10 questions to ask them and write down what their response is during the interview. Some questions relate to what they know about the job and what they know about the company. I’m always impressed by someone who takes the time to go through my website and learn about the company. It’s a small thing but it shows that they are keen on working for me.

Other questions I ask relate to how they handle certain situations, whether they want to stay in the company long term and what salary they are after. If their salary is way above what I’m prepared to pay then I omit them from my list. There is no point wasting their time or mine.

Finally, I get them to type for me and demonstrate to that they can do research on the Internet. This shows whether or not the potential employee is cool under pressure. It’s a simple task yet some employees get very nervous and start making mistakes. I want someone who is confident. This simple task can weed out those employees who will crack under pressure.

In my experience and those of many other entrepreneurs I’ve come in contact with, a great assistant is somebody that we can trust, both personally and professionally.  An assistant will often be asked to undertake tasks that are personal, for example, organizing dinners, holidays, etc., so they are privy to a lot of personal information.

No boss wants their personal details being aired for the whole company to review.   I cannot tolerate office gossipers, and if a potential assistant is one of them, believe me they won’t last because everything always gets back to the boss.  So although people would love to share some juicy gossip about their boss and their personal lives, if an assistant wants to keep their boss happy and therefore keep their job, they will practice restraint and discretion.

A personal assistant’s personality is extremely important.  Some people want a no-nonsense, serious type of person they know will get the job done.  Personally, I want someone who not only can get the job done, but someone who also has a bit of a sense of humor, is gregarious and has a good energy about them, but can still carry themselves professionally in any situation.

Because you have so much contact with your assistant, exchanging ideas, going to meetings together, lunches, conferences, etc., you need to be able to “click” with that person. Just like any relationship you might have in your life.  If I’m going to spend a lot of time with somebody, I don’t want someone sullen who is just going to bring my mood down.  I cannot afford to have somebody like that around me.  It sucks the life out of me and everyone else around you.

A reference check is always important. An assistant who has worked for allot of companies id beneficial yet if they don’t last long, this sets off red flags for me. I want an assistant who is stable and makes my job easier, not one who jumps from job to job every few months.