3 Tips for Hiring Administrative Professionals

January 12, 2018

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Posted by: Kirsten Quarman



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To succeed in the role today, administrative professionals need to be able to juggle a multitude of duties. They need to be friendly, tech-savvy, and extremely organized, and that’s just scratching the surface of what is required of them.

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With such a crucial role to fill, your strategy for hiring administrative professionals needs to be top notch. Here are three of our top tips to help you hire the right person the first time around.

1. First Impressions Do Matter

You’ve always been told not to judge a book by its cover, but in the case of your new administrative assistant, this may actually be sound advice.

When clients first walk through the door of your business, the first person they’ll see is your assistant. If they aren’t able to make a great first impression, you may want to think twice about hiring them.

This means paying special attention to how they present themselves to you. While they don’t need to be dressed to the nines, they do need to be able to reflect your company and your brand—and this means dressing appropriately for the occasion. If your organization is upscale and they come to the interview wearing a t-shirt, this could indicate a lack of fit with your company.

You’ll also need to pay particular attention to how they greet you. A firm handshake, eye contact, and a friendly hello can be a great indicator of how they’ll treat your clients when they walk through the door of your business.

2. Test Their Technical Skills

It’s important for you to know your administrative assistant has all of the skills listed on their resume. They may have written down that they’re proficient in Microsoft Office, but there’s a difference between knowing how to create bullet points in Word and knowing their way around an Excel pivot table.

Your administrative assistant will be your lifeline, and you need to be confident in their skills. During the interview, plan to set aside some time for skills testing.

Even if they don’t necessarily succeed right away or know everything you require, you’ll get a better idea of their skill level.

3. Don’t Overlook Their Soft Skills

Soft skills can be just as crucial as technical skills in an administrative professional. Again, they’re going to be the face of your company, and a grouchy, non-communicative individual isn’t likely to succeed in the position.

To test for soft skills, ask questions during the interview directly relating to their teamwork skills, communication skills, and organization skills. While technical skills are crucial for success, these can always be taught during the training stages. It’s far more difficult to teach your assistant to be friendly and organized or to work well with others.

You can even test how prepared they are by asking them to simply bring a copy of their resume with them to the interview or to review a particular page of your company’s website. If they forget, it can be an indicator of their performance on the job.


Kirsten Quarman

Kirsten Quarman

Kirsten has 25 years of global recruitment experience, working for global and national staffing companies. As Vice President, Western Canada for Talentcor, Kirsten oversees our Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg branches. Some of her specialties include administrative, light industrial, skilled trades, sales & marketing, customer service, supply chain, accounting, human resources, insurance, and legal. Outside of work, Kirsten enjoys mastering new skills and achieving goals she sets for herself each year, like learning new sports and exercising.

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