When hiring admin treat it like an investment. Your admin will be your business partner and will grow with you. As Burge says, “You can get desperate to fill the position, and then you pay for it later by having to start the search all over again.”
When to Hire
You need to understand why this hire will move your business forward. In order to take your business to the next level, you need to make hiring a support team a priority.
Harvard Business Review noted that during the Great Recession many companies cut administrative staff in an effort to save money only to cost themselves more in the long run. They failed to realize that the admin staff helped managers get more done in a day, and that offset the cost of the assistants.
Answer these questions:
Nick Loper, author of Virtual Assistant Assistant: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with Virtual Assistants, recommends taking at least two weeks to log your activities. “This will give you a detailed picture of where your hours are actually going, and you’ll be able to itemize delegation opportunities from that list,” he says. “It will also give you an idea of the approximate number of hours a week you’ll initially be hiring for.”
Signs you need to hire an administrative assistant:
Think how much time can executive assistant save you in a day. How much is your time and your focus worth? Consider what your weaknesses are so you can find an assistant that makes up for what you lack. Make sure their personality works well with your own.
Before you even place a job ad or begin interviewing, make a list of the duties you expect you’ll ask your assistant to complete regularly.
Look for someone who will be a problem solver. You’ll be able to determine that by conducting behavioral or situational interviews. That is, by asking candidates to describe specific kinds of past experience, or how they would handle a future situation. Ask if the person has faced a certain situation in the past, how they handled it and what the outcome was.
If you are a Real Estate agent.
An assistant who holds a real estate license and can therefore do many of the sales activities to help run your business. While this option is very convenient for showings, open houses, and sales calls, you must consider that if they are any good at sales, they won’t want to be your assistant for long. Or, you may end up paying a poor salesperson to not sell homes. If you get someone who is good at sales, they’ll either leave or they’ll want a bigger piece of the pie. If you choose a licensed assistant, understand that your model will likely end up looking more like a team. There are exceptions, but not many.
What to look for in admin:
Admin's DISC profile:
Moderate to low level of the D dimension in the DISC profile, which helps him or her make more deliberate and careful decisions with details and tasks.
Moderately high I dimensional scores, which makes him or her personable extroverts who work well with a wide variety of people.
High levels in the S dimension, which contributes to him or her being great stabilizers, consistent and reliable.
High levels of the C dimension, which makes him or her bulldogs for details, neurotic for accuracy and sticklers for making sure everything is done by the book.
The Interview: Key questions to ask.
What office experience do you have?
Have you worked on or as a team member before? Tell me more about that. What did you like about the team concept? What don’t you like about it?
What do you think your greatest strengths are? Weaknesses?
What is the longest you have ever worked for one employer?
Do you have reliable transportation?
Do you have adequate childcare and a backup system if the child gets ill?
What computer skills do you have, what is your computer experience?
Are you familiar with social media, websites, online marketing, branding, etc.?
Share an experience of working independently and accomplishing a task.
Do you work better from a checklist or memory?
What does a great administrative assistant look like? I would argue that it has less to do with the things you can see on the surface and more (much more!) to do with the invisible traits you can’t readily see. Although things like experience and a solid understanding of technology are important, those are also things that can be learned or earned. What truly makes the difference between a mediocre assistant and a stellar one is his or her deep personality traits. It’s important how they think and make decisions.
While you do want those team members’ input, always ultimately trust your own instincts. If the candidate looks great on paper but something just doesn’t feel right, go with your gut. Don’t hire the person.
While a mini‐me might work in some cases, it’s generally better to find someone whose skills complement yours. Not only should you be open to the idea of hiring an assistant with different strengths, you should make it a priority. Your least‐desired tasks – whether it’s preparing marketing materials, filing, or managing your website – are just the things that your assistant should be able to tackle with enthusiasm.
Can you afford it?
You should have a firm handle on your income and budget before deciding whether hiring an assistant is the best use of your dollars. Yes, your assistant will free up your time to spend on business development, but your return on investment may take awhile. In the meantime, bills must be paid. Calculate how much it will cost to secure ample office space, purchase technology, and train your assistant. And then figure out if you can afford it.
If you want to really take your business to the next level hire earlier than you think. Most people wait until they have all of these things happening before they hire. Hire someone before you’re overwhelmed, before you’re working nights, before your follow-up is falling through. If you wait until all of these things are there, you’re at critical mass. You’re in danger territory. You’re at risk of having bad client experiences that people talk about.
A great assistant can give you the freedom to create a fantastic business, but it’s harder than it looks. You need to like managing people and most solo-preneurs don’t. Read our blog about delegation process.