How to Hire a Great Administrative Assistant

By Robert Half on October 4, 2021 at 7:00am

Whether they’re fielding calls, scheduling virtual meetings, helping remote employees understand new software, creating presentations, supporting office reopenings, assisting with purchasing or monitoring the company's social media pages, a great administrative assistant can help your office run smoothly. When it comes to administrative assistant hiring, however, finding a job candidate with the right knowledge, skills and experience to perfectly suit your requirements can be a challenge.

The following steps can help you hire an administrative assistant who will make your job easier, your team more efficient and your company stronger.

Make your list of expectations

Start by creating a list of job duties you expect your new administrative assistant to carry out and the must-have skills and qualifications for success in the role. This exercise can also help you decide if one employee will be enough or if the workload requires multiple team members — as well as whether you need permanent or contract talent to complete specific projects.

Create a clear and compelling job posting

Take the time to write the kind of recruitment ad that attracts great candidates. This primarily involves giving an accurate sense of the role and its responsibilities. A great job posting piques the interest of those who are truly qualified and discourages those who aren’t. A well-written administrative assistant job description also sets the stage for your new administrative assistant's success by giving them clear guidelines and a good understanding of the work environment and your expectations from Day One.

Put the word out

While internet job boards and social media are popular recruitment tools, the web alone may not be enough to find the right administrative assistant to hire. Online recruiting is a supplement to — not a substitute for — your own personal network. Consider asking your professional contacts if they know anyone appropriate for the job. Also check with your existing employees for referrals; your staff isn't likely to go out on a limb for someone who isn't up to snuff.

Dig into the details

Are candidates polite during video or in-person interviews? How are their verbal and written communication skills when interacting with you? Do they project confidence and a positive tone? The answers to these questions offer helpful insights into what a potential administrative assistant may be like when they’re actually on the job.

Look for the wow factor

When it comes to administrative assistant hiring, one of the best tips for evaluating interviewees is to take note when they go above and beyond. Look carefully for resume red flags and ask interview questions that will help you to determine whether they have pursued additional training, maintained professional memberships, earned administrative certifications or taken other steps that indicate they’re a go-getter.

Make those reference calls

It can be challenging to get feedback from previous employers, but when you do get input, it can inform your hiring decision. Try a straightforward approach with a candidate's former boss — something like, "I'm considering hiring Pam as an administrative assistant at our office and would really appreciate any insights you could share about her to make sure she's a good fit for our company."

Research salary ranges for administrative assistants

Take time to research salary trends for administrative assistants before you launch a job candidate search. The Robert Half Salary Guide provides real-world salaries by location and can help you determine what level of compensation administrative professionals in your city might expect to earn.

According to the guide, the national average salary for an administrative assistant is $43,500 for someone with average experience and most of the necessary skills for this position. Other considerations in hiring administrative assistants are the perks and other incentives your firm offers.

Connect with a recruiting company for administrative assistant hiring

When it comes to finding a great administrative assistant, an excellent option is to partner with a specialized recruiter. Robert Half Talent Solutions works with a deep pool of skilled professionals and can match you with the administrative and customer support you need, whether it’s for contract or permanent placement. We also make it easy to hire administrative assistants who can work remotely.

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