You may not realize it, but hiring a receptionist or administrative assistant may be one of the most important hiring decisions you can make. After all, your receptionist or administrative assistant is often times the first person to interact with a potential Customer or Client and establishes the tone for the remainder of their interaction with your organization.
In fact, I would argue that this position plays such an important role in the Customer's Experience with your organization that the terms receptionist, administrative assistant, and executive assistant don't do justice to the impact this individual can have on the customer. Instead, I prefer the title Director of First Impressions
Whatever you choose to call this position within your organization, one thing is certain - it is absolutely imperative that you hire the right person for the job.
If you are serious about hiring the best admin assistant possible, there is a highly scientific process called job benchmarking that will allow you to rest assured that you are hiring the best receptionist or Director of First Impressions for the job.
Job benchmarking starts by identifying the key accountabilities and results the position will be responsible for in your organization.
After these key accountabilities have been carefully identified it is now time to look at the personal traits that are necessary to realize the results the position is responsible for. These traits take the form of one's behavioral style, values and motivators, and their personal skills and attributes.
After these unique traits have been identified, it is time for the most important part of the job benchmarking process: measurement and comparison. With the use of a scientifically validated employee assessment test, these traits can be measured in each of the candidates you are considering for the position and then compared to the job benchmark results to determine how well each candidate fits the job.
In our years of experience working with organizations to hire the right administrative and executive assistants for the job, we have come to find a very unique combination of behaviors, values, and personal attributes that are highly predictive of success in this pivotal position.
To give you a better idea of which personal traits you should be looking for in your next admin assistant or Director of First Impressions and how The Rainmaker Group can help you identify the best candidate for the job we would like to share with you the most important behaviors, values, and personal attributes needed for success in this position.
- Customer Orientated - Receptionists and administrative assistants have to live to serve the customer. This can be a customer of the traditional sort visiting your office for an appointment, or it could be an internal customer from another department. Whatever the case may be, customer service is at the core of this position.
- Frequent Interaction With Others - With the high degree of emphasis on customer service, comes frequent interaction with others. It is important that the next administrative assistant you hire enjoys frequent interaction with others.
- Organized Workplace - A receptionist is like the nerve center of an office. It is absolutely critical that this individual have great organizational skills to ensure the smooth flow of information throughout your organization.
- Traditional / Regulatory - A successful administrative or executive assistant is someone who focuses on doing things the "right" way according to his or her organization's culture and standards.
- Utilitarian / Economic - With the wide variety of tasks and duties an admin assistant will take on, it is important that this individual be focused on efficiency and making the best use of their time.
- Theoretical - The most effective administrative assistants are those who have a good understanding of their organization's business and "how things work." This requires a thirst for knowledge and the desire to learn something new each day on the job.
Personal Talents and Skills
- Self Management - A receptionist often works without direct supervision and is expected to accomplish tasks without constant delegation. For this reason your receptionists must be skilled in managing their time at work effectively.
- Flexibility - An administrative assistant can be called on to do any number of wide and varied tasks. This individual must be flexible and able to respond effectively to these requests.
- Planning and Organization - Again, organization is critical in this position. An unorganized admin assistant can literally cripple an organization's operations.
- Interpersonal Skills - Given the high frequency of interaction with others, receptionists must have great interpersonal skills that make visitors feel like they are welcome guests to your organization.
- Diplomacy and Tact - This position often serves as a gatekeeper to upper managers and executives and can also bear the brunt of an upset customer's anger. For this reason it is important that this individual be able to handle difficult situations with diplomacy and tact.
Understanding the make-up of the perfect administrative assistant is only one part of hiring the best possible candidate. To hire the best receptionists and admin/executive assistants these traits must be measured with a pre-employment personality test before a hiring decision is made.