How to Hire a Great Secretary For Your Business
One of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make is not being thoughtful enough when hiring lower-level employees for their team. The assumption being that those who earn less do not require as much vetting or interviewing as higher ups in the office. Unfortunately, many companies only discover this is untrue when it’s too late.
Secretary and assistant turnover is notoriously high in many industries because not enough time or effort is being put into ensuring that the right person is hired from the outset. But this doesn’t need to happen to your business. Be smart and practice the following tips to help you find a stellar secretary that will actually stick around.
Solve Your Problems
For many offices, the secretary must serve as a jack or jill of all trades for a myriad of projects. From the banal, such as ordering office supplies, to the technical, like detailed note-taking, the ideal secretary knows when and how to assist in just about every situation. This means that you need to hire someone who is flexible, creative, and most importantly, can effectively do what you need them to do. As part of the hiring process, ask potential hires to troubleshoot a variety of work scenarios. How do they address each problem? Are they able to prioritize? Do they exhibit grace under pressure?
Engage Outside of the Office
Every good secretary knows that even though they have an office job, they won’t always be working in the office. Secretaries must be ready for all kinds of errands, pick-ups, business meetings, and trips — planned or otherwise. Hire someone who is aware of these expectations and is both independent and comfortable being on the go. To watch how they carry themselves in other surroundings, plan a meeting at a cafe or grab lunch together outside of the office.
Meet Again… and Again
As mentioned earlier, one of the problems with hiring lower-level positions is that they are hired after just one brief interview. Think about it. Does it really seem wise to only spend 15 minutes talking to someone you may be working in very close proximity to for the foreseeable future? Do not hire your secretary from a single phone screen or interview. At minimum, invite them to the office for a couple hours. Talk to them in person and also have them meet with other people on the team.
Be Aware of Red Flags
When hiring your new secretary, you’ll want to find someone who can not only do the job well, but also has the right personality fit. To ensure that both needs are met, pay attention to these obvious red flags:
- Multiple or obvious typos and grammatically incorrect language in their resume or cover letter
- Lateness or last-minute changes for interview or turning in assignments
- Is not friendly or polite when greeting you or others
- Not dressed professionally
Go with Your Gut
The voice in the back of your head is there for a reason — much of the time, what that voice is saying is true. Whether you call it gut instinct or intuition, some studies have found that our initial reading of situations and people are usually correct. Which means, if you get a funny feeling about a potential hire, you may want to keep looking.
Finally, whatever you do, resist the temptation to simply offer a job to the first person who seems like they can do the job. You want to invest in a long-term relationship where both parties feel satisfied and confident in the workplace. If you make this your priority, the hiring process may take longer than usual, but it will be time well spent.