Virtual administrative assistants are associated with clerical and administrative responsibilities and perform various tasks. The popularity of this position has increased with the increase in businesses and startups in the past few years.
Traditionally, administrative assistants were thought to hold generic duties and tasks, such as scheduling, bookkeeping, organizing events or meetings, and more. However, today, the responsibilities have expanded to new horizons.
While the above-mentioned generic tasks persist, the role overall has changed drastically. Administrative assistants are now playing the role of co-pilot in the administration of any business or organization.
They even handle tasks and mentor various departments, be it finance, talent acquisition, hiring, and operations. In a literal sense, an administrative assistant is proficient in assisting with administrative tasks.
Some of these assistants are not department heads but work with them like their right hand. While, in some instances, they are recognized as administrative professionals.
Look Out For These Skills When Hiring An Administrative Assistant:
Hiring a skilled administrative assistant is crucial because a knowledgeable one will minimize your work stress, and a non-skilled one will bring contrary results. Given below are some of the segments showing how an efficient and competent assistant can prove to be beneficial to your business:
- Unburden your hectic schedule
- Simplify and organize clerical duties
- Conduct smooth communication within a department
- Mentor and supervise a project
- Nullify your weaknesses
- Interact with clients, and the list goes on.
Holding responsibility for such a crucial role, you must be careful to get the right candidate on board. So, let’s dive deep into the top ten skills you should look for in a person while hiring an expert assistant.
- A Research Specialist
Being an administrative analyst means people from various departments will approach them for any complication. You would want them to be prepared with a full-proof solution. So, how will that happen?
It is possible with their research skill. Being a research specialist will help them seek a relevant solution and the available resources and tools.
Research is not something that is required only for troubleshooting but also to cover other levels of your business, including keeping up with market trends. Research is a skill that helps your business to be consistent and relevant to the customers, hence escalating the growth and profit.
If you are think the scope of research in your business is limited, then you are wrong. There are several types of research that your Administrative assistant can help in, some of which are as follows:
- Interview research
- Focus group research
- Ethnographic study
- Case study
- Website traffic analysis
- Correlational study
- Casual and comparative research
- Experimental research
- Online research
2. Problem Solving:
When looking for an assistant to handle your business's administration, you must ensure their problem-solving skills and critical thinking ability. You cannot avoid problems if you own a well-established company or a startup. To overcome such obstacles, you need an excellent problem-solving mindset.
However, problem-solving alone wouldn't be helpful unless you add a pinch of creativity to it.
- What is creative problem-solving?
Gone are the days when problem-solving skills were in demand. Now is the time for "creative problem-solving."
Creative problem-solving helps a person improvise in the solution and adjust according to available resources. In addition, it enables a person to seek a solution that is convenient to the business yet, simultaneously compelling.
With problem-solving skills, it becomes easier to deal with internal and external issues, such as doubts amongst the clients or customers.
Following are the areas where creative problem solving and critical thinking come in handy:
- Reflecting the assertive image of the company
- Concerning client relations
- Employee relations
- Goal-oriented actions or decisions
- Resolving issues
- Troubleshooting, and many more.
3. Emotional Intelligence:
Emotional intelligence, also termed as Emotional Quotient or EQ, is implied to the knack for perceiving, using, understanding, and managing the emotions of both yourself and others.
Being an administrative assistant makes them a representative of the organization they are working in. In addition, they will be the first to interact with the clients or customers, making it even more crucial for them to possess a high emotional quotient.
Being emotionally intelligent is not confined to the state of emotions but includes no-verbal cues.
Let us understand this with a simple example. Consider two different people:
Person A- Someone who can deal with other people having different moods. They can work under stressful conditions, and when working in a team, they remain unaffected by their attitudes. They can maintain a healthy relationship with members, clients, and customers, and people find this person approachable.
Person B- Someone who cannot deal with people in bad moods, is under stressful conditions and is unable to maintain their work pace because of anxiety and nervousness. In a team, they quickly get manipulated or influenced by team members. Unable to establish healthy relationships with clients, members, or customers.
Now, consider both people and think about which person you would hire for the position as sensitive as an administrative assistant.
Obviously, it will be Person A. The skill that made you select Person A over Person B is none other than Emotional Intelligence.
Given below are some of the advantages of hiring an emotionally intelligent candidate for your team:
- They seem more approachable and make it easier for others to work with them.
- They can manage their own emotions as well as that of others.
- They are helpful in conflict resolution.
- They can make stress manageable.
4. Organizing and planning:
Organizing and planning skills are top-notch skills you must consider while hiring an administrative assistant for your business. These skills are helpful to your business at two different work levels:
There are always some ongoing projects or tasks, and it often gets so hectic that you feel numb and clueless about where to start.
Here is when your administrative assistant can save you with their organizing and planning strategies. In such instances, these skills help prioritize the workflow of different tasks.
Organizing tasks and projects is yet another effective way to avoid any last-moment rush and hence, avoid work stress and burnout.
Organizing skills are essential when dealing with official data or any information regarding a project or client. In addition, it helps avoid any dispute or confusion regarding official data and tasks.
Planning the project implementation and organizing relevant resources help deliver the best results.
Knowing how vital organizing and planning are to your business, you must not miss out on this skill.
5. Communication skills:
No form of communication is untouched in the role of an admin assistant. From being savvy over phone calls, writing powerful emails, and projecting confidence when interacting with employees of any level or clients, an admin assistant handles every sort of possible communication.
Often they deal with company-wide communications or even handle presentations on behalf of their boss or as a company representative. That being the case, you cannot trust and rely on someone who dissembles, rambles, and possesses weak communication skills.
So look out for someone who has effective and suitable to-the-point communication expertise. Strong communication skills can be judged by the following three categories:
- Verbal communication
Verbal communication refers to using words to convey a message and can be both oral and written.
- Non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication means delivering any message or information through non-verbal mediums such as gestures, postures, eye contact, and body language.
- Good listener
Listening is a trait of establishing good communication. While communication is a bidirectional process, one must listen while the other speaks. How good a listener you are determines how well you establish your interactions.
6. Ultimate tech-savvy:
Technology has grown its roots everywhere, and the business industry is not untouched by it. Being an admin assistant is no longer confined to those old, traditional, and cliche tools for handling administrative tasks.
It is impossible to have an expert IT person with you every time to resolve all your tech-related issues. So in some small and budding companies, the admin has to take care of tech issues.
It's not crucial to be proficient in tech, but you would want to hire someone with a brief knowledge of technology to resolve minor issues.
Being tech-savvy doesn't imply being able to write huge codes and create apps and projects. It also refers to a person's awareness of the trending tech trends and tools.
Here are some examples of essential tech tools that you can ask the applicant about during the hiring process:
- Slack - a communication app
- Calendly - calendaring system
- Billing systems
- Travel reservation platforms
- Trinet - HR system
- Quantum Workplace, 15Five, TINYpulse - employee engagement software.
Apart from these tool suggestions, a must-have knowledge in an administrative assistant is proficiency in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Being perseverant implies being able to do something despite any problems associated with it.
You can not control everything. The concept goes well with Murphy's Law which states that "anything that can go wrong will go wrong."
The same concept applies to the business industry, which is full of unpredictability. Things may or may not go as expected, and in such times you will need someone to take you out of that mess.
As a business, you are prone to problems like server crashes, employees quitting, projects not meeting deadlines and quality, cancellation of reservations, and whatnot!
It is okay if you are less or not resourceful at all, but what is essential is having such an admin in your team who can stand up to adverse situations and does not crumble under pressure.
Here is how a persevering admin assistant can help you out of any rough time:
- They are good at socializing, which is an excellent way to release some stress-busting oxytocin.
- They do not hesitate to seek help and advice. After all, a new perspective is what helps in resolving any problem.
- They have a strong and stable mindset.
8. Adaptable Persona:
As discussed, administrative assistants have a wide range of work and responsibilities. It means that during an emergency, they can be asked to leave an ongoing assigned project and work on another one on priority. Things can transpose, and change rapidly and the best admin would have no problem adjusting to the change.
While hiring an admin assistant for your business, ask them to reflect on their adaptability. An adaptable admin won’t get affected in new environments or obnoxious situations.
Some examples that reflect an adaptable persona are as follows:
- They don’t freak out in new or unwanted situations. They embrace change.
- They become the change they want to see.
- They are flexible and versatile.
- They are willing to experiment.
- They accept failure and learn from them.
- They are mindful.
- They have an optimistic approach.
- They are good observers.
9. Time management:
Time management is a powerful trait exhibited by professionals. It is based on the concept of planning, organizing, and implementing deliberate control of time spent on specific tasks. This practice benefits those who believe in innovative work instead of hard work.
A candidate that follows an effective time management strategy successfully keeps track of the tasks and completes them without missing out on anything. Time management also helps maintain individual tasks' quality, even if you are juggling multiple tasks at the exact moment.
10. Out-of-the-box thinking:
Trusted administrative assistants are, by default, advisors of senior leadership. At some point, you will look up to your admin assistant to provide new ideas, suggestions, feedback, or even participate in hiring processes.
In such times, you would want them to present an excellent recommendation that best suits and aligns with their understanding of the company. Out-of-the-box thinking, along with big-picture thinking, is an incredible combination that would help you experiment with new ideas.
Having such a person in your team would help you explore creative ideas that are not limited or restricted by the norms and rules.
These are the top 10 skills you shouldn't overlook while hiring an administrative admin, though they are not confined only to the ones mentioned. The skills you must look for in a candidate depend on your specific requirements and objectives.
Hence, it is advisable first to introspect your needs and tasks and then set the skill set for the candidates.
If you are looking for expert admin VAs, visit our website and get your free consultation today.
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