Hiring Executive Assistants
Executive assistants play a direct role in the success of a business by providing administrative and business support to an organization's executives. It is up to them to plan, organize, coordinate, and control all administrative and operational activities, and handle any day-to-day scheduling conflicts. Highly efficient, these professionals are invaluable to the smooth running of a team, office, or business. Executive assistants are the “eyes and ears” of a company and are privy to important insights about company culture, performance, and future direction. For many firms, they are the very first hire outside of the core team, with many managers relying on the skills of their assistants to do their jobs effectively. The average base salary for the position is $57,386 per year in the United States and can go up to $63,959 based on background and experience. These professionals usually begin their career as a receptionist or part of an admin assistant team and work up to operations management or senior executive assistant positions.
Qualities and Skills of an Executive Assistant
Unlike administrative assistants, executive assistants provide professional advice and recommendations, in addition to working on a variety of clerical tasks daily. The role might require them to work as representatives on behalf of executives, liaising with individuals and businesses, and coordinate public relations activities. They serve as the primary point of contact for internal and external stakeholders on various matters. They also serve as a link between the board of directors and senior management teams, organizing and coordinating executive outreach and external relations efforts, and overseeing special projects. The executive assistant should enjoy working within a small, entrepreneurial environment that is goal-driven, results-driven, and community-oriented. The ideal hire should be adept in exercising good judgment in a variety of situations, with strong organizational skills along with excellent verbal and written communication skills, and also have the ability to maintain a balance amongst multiple priorities. The executive assistant should be able to work independently on projects, from conception to completion, should be able to work under pressure, and should be able to handle a wide gamut of activities and maintain confidentiality in all matters.
Hiring the Right Executive Assistant
An executive assistant must have a professional demeanor at all times. While exceptional analytical and multi-tasking skills are crucial to this job, a prospective candidate must also have stellar interpersonal skills, convey a positive, can-do attitude, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. The minimal educational requirement for the position is a high school diploma. However, employers now also prefer candidates who have completed post-secondary courses or have earned a college or university degree in administration, secretarial studies, or even business. Most positions require experience between 3 and 5 years working in an office environment, preferably as an administrative assistant. Having a basic knowledge of the sector in which the applicant wants to work is a plus. Executive assistants should be open to stepping outside of their job description, taking additional responsibilities, and willing to work irregular and extra hours. In other words, their work schedule is entirely dictated by the executive they assist and the workload of the organization.