Hard skills can be developed through education, training, and experience. They often are linked to certifications, degrees, and previous roles.
Understanding which hard skills to look for in an executive assistant helps you hire the most qualified applicant. Clarifying these skills helps you create job postings, narrow down which applicants to interview, and determine which one should receive a job offer.
Hiring an executive assistant with essential hard skills increases the odds of success in the role. Having the right assistant helps increase productivity and lower hiring costs.
Look for these top hard skills when hiring an executive assistant.
An efficient executive assistant understands the executive’s work style and how to appropriately schedule their time. For instance, if the executive is more productive in the morning, the assistant should schedule meetings in the afternoon. Then, the executive can accomplish what they want during the day and better prepare for the meetings.
During the interview, you should discuss the applicant’s experience with calendar management. You also could test their ability to make your schedule more productive to see how successful they are.
A skilled executive assistant plans schedules and logistics for meetings, conferences, off-site events, and business outings. The assistant also handles lodging, transportation, paperwork, and other arrangements to ensure everything goes smoothly.
You could provide the applicant with a scenario of a last-minute business trip, then ask which steps they would take to carry out this request. Pay attention to the organization of the process to determine success.
An effective executive assistant plays an active role in meetings:
- Before the meeting, the executive assistant creates a detailed agenda regarding the discussion points.
- The assistant reminds the executive of meeting participants, topics previously covered, and other relevant information.
- During the meeting, the executive assistant guides the team through the agenda and keeps them on track.
- The assistant takes notes to ensure the findings, decisions, next steps, and accountabilities are set.
- After the meeting, the executive assistant provides the participants with the minutes.
- The minutes help the participants recall the discussion points, carry out the assigned duties, and follow up during the next meeting.
You could ask the applicant to take notes during the interview as they would for an executive. Then, you can determine whether their notetaking style would fit your needs.
An experienced executive assistant plans, coordinates, and carries out tasks for the executive. The assistant also sets clear objectives and deadlines, anticipates challenges, and manages team members to ensure projects are finished on time.
You might ask the applicant about projects they handled in previous roles. Or, you could provide them with a scenario involving a mini-project with coworkers to see how they perform. Focus on how the applicant organizes the project to determine their planning abilities.
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