The right administrative assistant can help any organization flourish. When people think about a successful business, they tend to focus their attention on the importance of good leadership, but the value of the people working behind the scenes cannot be underestimated. Administrative assistants can help keep everyone on task and prepared to progress.
When seeking a new administrative assistant, here are seven traits to watch for that ensure you’re hiring a team member who will help drive your group forward.
1. Industry savvy
The best administrative assistants are accustomed to working within a specific industry and bring the knowledge needed to excel. Industry jargon, background knowledge about the field and an understanding of the latest trends differentiate a seasoned professional assistant from an entry-level hire who will need to learn on-the-job. You’re ahead of the game when you hire someone who can already serve as a knowledgeable resource and an integral member of the organization.
2. Technologically knowledgeable
Technology continues to change at lightning speed. Social media, blogging and online communications are now essential for most businesses to remain competitive. Assistants familiar with these tools can help organizations remain visible, particularly smaller companies that lack the resources to hire separate professionals for these different roles.
Technology within most fields is also becoming more advanced as an increasing amount of standard tasks and communications are done online. Assistants who know how to take advantage of some of the latest tools, such as running online meetings, creating webinars or utilizing cloud-based technology, can help their organizations move forward.
3. Excellent communication skills
Communications skills are imperative for an assistant, as they are often the first point of contact between their organization and partners and clients. Administrative assistants who are personable and professional will be able to start building a rapport with others and set the stage for the brand’s success. The right assistant also understands how to handle people who are frustrated or angry and knows how to diffuse the situation and avoid responding in kind.
These skills are also critical for within the office. Administrative assistants should be able to clearly communicate with everyone from the c-suite leadership to assistants in other departments. These skills will help the entire organization run smoothly and successfully.
Administrative assistants are often called upon to handle a variety of different tasks at the same time, so organization is crucial. Skilled assistants will help everyone at the organization stay on top of their priorities.
Organization also applies to the need to keep meetings and events on point. Modern technology offers a variety of apps and tools that the assistant can use to keep themselves and others in the business organized. Evernote is excellent for taking notes, scanning business cards and an assortment of other office tasks. For businesses that have a lot of travel, Tripit is useful to track schedules and flight information.
5. Proficient at time management
Time management is also a critical part of running a successful organization. It is easy for meeting participants to go on tangents or for people to get distracted by side jobs, leading to the possibility of neglecting those most critical to organizational performance. Administrative assistants who understand how to keep everyone on task will make efficiency significantly easier.
Assistants can help those at the organization prioritize their tasks. By breaking down the most critical jobs and providing help when possible, everyone will be able to maximize their time use at the office.
6. Financially astute
Administrative assistants help to oversee what goes on in the business day-to-day. From ordering office supplies to booking vendors, their choices have considerable influence on the organization’s bottom line. Administrative assistants who know how to negotiate costs and minimize expenses are extremely valuable to any company. These support personnel possess good judgment and can be trusted to make the right call to advance the organization as a whole.
7. Brings the team together
Companies work best when they are able to coordinate and communicate. All too often, however, it is easy for everyone to get involved in their own tasks. An assistant who can help bring everyone together will improve the function of the group and help them reach their goals. This can be done by organizing office meetings, keeping intra-office communication tools—such as common calendars—functional and being an enthusiastic go-between to help everyone understand the organization's tasks and the progress being made.
The right administrative assistant can make an incredible difference in the success of an organization. Through their administrative expertise and industry insight, they are able to provide the fuel that keeps everyone moving forward.