Executive Assistant

Networking Tips for Executive Assistants and Administrative Professionals

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Networking is a great way to meet professionals from different fields and areas of expertise. According to LinkedIn, 70 percent of people are hired through a connection. Almost 80 percent of professionals consider networking an essential factor in their career success.

As an existing or aspiring executive professional, networking can help you expand your circle and expose you to opportunities that can further your career.

Where Can You Find Networking Groups/Events?

The traditional form of networking involves attending a conference or a business event. However, today the concept of networking has expanded to other mediums. Most social media sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) promote online events and webinars that offer opportunities for people to network and expand their circle.

While it can be hard to mingle with a group of strangers, you can reap many benefits once you overcome that initial hesitation. Here are some tips you can use at the next networking event.

Be Yourself

People can see when you are being forceful or trying to be someone you are not. Be your authentic, confident self!

Prepare an Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is like a mini overview of your professional accomplishments. It is typically a 30-second pitch that you deliver when meeting new people. The idea of an elevator pitch is to quickly tell someone about yourself and make a good first impression. It is also a great icebreaker as it can give people a topic to talk about. Someone you meet at a networking event may be a C-suite level executive looking to hire an executive assistant. Your pitch can be your first selling point.

Go With a Give-and-Take Mentality

Networking isn’t about finding people who can place you at their companies. Instead, it is about building mutual connections. Share your background, interests, and career aspirations with people and show interest in their careers. Offer help if they need it.

Share Contact Details

If you have met someone who can help you in your career or know someone who can help you, make sure you exchange their contact information. Typically, people exchange their business cards, but you can also add them on LinkedIn.

Follow-Up

After the event, send an email or a LinkedIn message thanking them for their acquaintance. Let them know that you are looking forward to establishing a professional relationship with them.

Suppose you are interested in an administrative or executive assistant career. In that case, executive search companies can help you prepare for interviews and help you get hired successfully at some of the best companies.

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Executive Assistant

How to Effectively Onboard Your New Executive Assistant

By | Executive Assistant | No Comments

Whether you have just found your executive assistant (EA) or are looking for one, onboarding is an essential step in the post-hiring process. Preparation will ensure the process goes smoothly, not just for your EA but also for you.

Being a CEO, your executive assistant will be tasked to take care of all the administrative and executive tasks, such as scheduling calendar meetings, responding to emails, collaborating with different teams, booking flights, and more. Before onboarding, it is vital to equip them with all the tools necessary to carry out their job efficiently.

We have created this guide to help you, a CEO or a leader, successfully onboard your executive assistant. Let’s get started!

Prepare the Paperwork

Before the onboarding begins, you want to make sure all relevant paperwork is complete. Make sure HR has all the required forms. Touch base with HR to ensure the employee is ready to be onboarded. Some example documents include:

  • Offer letter
  • Job title and description
  • Hiring forms (e.g. W2, I-9, etc.)
  • Tax form
  • Direct deposit details
  • NDA

Contact the IT department

Get in touch with IT to ensure the employee’s badge is ready and has access to the building and required rooms. Also, check if their email address is set up and have access to all the essential folders/files. IT should also set up their workstation with the necessary equipment.

Executive assistants typically use software and applications like Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, Google Meet, TravelPerk, Slack, Smart Receipts, Asana, SnagIt, and more. IT should provide them access to the tools and resources needed to get the job done efficiently.

Prepare the Workstation (If on-site)

If your executive assistant is hired for an on-site role, their workstation should include everything they will need to operate. Some of the essentials include:

  • A desk, chair, lamp
  • Monitor, keyboard, mouse
  • Printer
  • Keys
  • Stationery items (sticky notes, notepad, stapler, pins)
  • Company merchandise (e.g. mug, glass, T-shirt)

Provide Access to Required Files and Folders

As the CEO or the leader, there are files and folders that only you have access to now. However, your executive assistant will need to use some of these files for their day-to-day tasks. When providing them access, remember to discuss confidentiality.

Are you thinking of hiring an executive assistant for yourself? Executive search firms can help you find dynamic and forward-thinking executive assistants who can effectively assist a team of leaders and CEOs in any domain or industry.

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Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant Interview Questions That Provide Real Insight

By | Corporate Culture, Executive Assistant | No Comments

Interviewing a candidate for a job is one of the most crucial steps in finding the right fit for your team or company. While you can’t find out everything about a candidate in an hour interview, there are certain questions that can give you a better insight into what the candidate is all about.

If you are a high-level official (C-suite) looking for an executive assistant to join your team, you know how important it is for the candidate to be the right fit.

We have compiled some interview questions that can help you better assess and filter your candidate so you can make an informed decision.

Technical Questions

Describe your computer skills. What software do you use to organize your tasks and improve productivity?

Skilled executive assistants can organize data in spreadsheets, schedule calendar meetings, and create well-written emails. Apart from Microsoft Office and Google WorkSpace, executive assistants are well-versed in many other softwares.

What process do you follow to book domestic and international travel?

As a CEO or a leader, traveling is an essential part of your business. The executive assistant you hire must be familiar with everything that travel entails, including keeping note of delays, cancellations, layovers, car booking, and more.

Describe a great executive assistant in 3 words.

Summarizing a whole role in 3 words can be tricky but the words they will choose can give you an insight into what they perceive the role to be.

Behavioral Questions

Tell me about a time you worked on projects with similar deadlines. How did you handle it?

This question is a good judge of how your candidate prioritizes tasks and handles pressure. As a CEO, schedules change pretty quickly and your ideal candidate is someone who can refocus and readjust according to the changing needs.

Give me an example of a time you had to solve a complex issue for an executive. Did you get any help?

While executive assistants are great at handling tasks on their own, they also need to collaborate with people on other teams to complete tasks. Therefore, people’s skills and team-building skills are also crucial to this role.

How do you handle conflict?

No workplace is free of problems. When dealing with different people in different departments, your executive assistant can come across difficult people or scenarios. A cool, calm, and, collected person knows how to handle conflict and avoid drama in the workspace.

Are you looking for a top executive assistant to manage your day-to-day tasks efficiently? We can help you find dynamic and well-rounded individuals for your team.

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Executive Assistant

How to Make Travel Plans for Your Boss

By | Corporate Culture, Executive Assistant | No Comments

Business travel is crucial to a business’s long-term success. Business travel brings in clients, opportunities, and helps a company expand its foothold. As an executive assistant, when your boss is traveling, the responsibility of taking care of all the travel-related logistics falls on your shoulders. From booking flights to reserving hotels— there are a lot of things that go into planning a streamlined travel itinerary for your boss.

In this article, we will cover some useful insight on how to effectively make travel plans for your boss.

Find out the budget

Every company has an allocated travel budget. Make sure you know how much can be spent on the trip. Businesses sometimes have partnerships with companies that offer travel at discounted prices— check if there is a better deal available.

Check travel requirements

Every country has specific requirements for visitors who are traveling for business or pleasure. Depending on which country your boss is traveling to, there may be certain travel requirements that he will have to consider. For example, does your boss need a visa to travel to that specific country? Does he need certain vaccinations? Keep such contingencies in mind and begin planning a few weeks in advance to cater to these requirements. Also, make sure your boss’ passport is on a date and has empty pages in case a visa is required.

Know your boss’ preference

Some bosses are particular about certain aspects of travel. For example, they may prefer an aisle seat over a window or want a digital boarding pass rather than a printed copy. Ask your boss what their preferences are and plan the trip accordingly.

Create an itinerary

Before travel, sit down with your boss and create a travel itinerary for the travel days. What will his schedule look like on day one? Who will he meet and at what time? Details such as getting into the shuttle and getting to the airport, to meeting an executive for lunch—everything should be listed down in the itinerary. This will give your boss a clear idea of what’s next and remove any confusion or miscommunication between you both.

Research the culture

With international travel, you need to keep certain things in mind. Every culture has norms, e.g. way of greeting, eating, or even tipping. Briefly update your boss on these details.

Account for the unexpected

Unexpected changes can happen during travel. Maybe your boss’ flight gets delayed. What should you do in that situation? If it’s an overnight delay, you would have to book a hotel for him. In another situation, their flight may reach earlier than expected, and you now have to coordinate the new time with the pickup service and the hotel staff. Always be prepared for the unexpected!

Working as an executive assistant can be challenging yet rewarding. If you are planning to further your career as an executive assistant, consider working with executive search firms that can place you at some of the top companies.

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Executive Assistant

The Best Executive Assistants Have These Things in Common

By | Corporate Culture, Executive Assistant | No Comments

Executive assistants are the force majeure on every successful executive’s team. The EA serves in multiple roles, such as scheduler, gatekeeper, coordinator, strategic liaison, advisor, manager, and problem solver – all before lunch!

In addition to running the office, the great executive assistants support the busy executive with their days’ professional and social demands. The scheduling doesn’t stop there. They will make sure there’s also time for family obligations. Assistants are successful only when their executives meet their goals and responsibilities.

Suppose you’re an executive in today’s dynamic business world. You need an expert executive assistant to help you meet the demands of your role in the company while still maintaining a work-life balance.

What every outstanding executive assistant has in common

Are you ready to look for your EA? You may already have a checklist of characteristics and skills in mind. They could include anything from being bilingual to understanding zoning regulations for commercial buildings.

However, recruiters who screen candidates for EA roles have identified the traits required of top assistants. The best executive assistants are a combination of several characteristics.

When it’s time to hire an assistant for your executive office, look for:

  • Superb communication skills in speaking, writing, and listening. This includes posting on social media as appropriate, listening to team member concerns, and reporting potentially volatile situations.
  • Tech-forward thinking that includes a willingness to recommend and use new technologies.
  • Vast networking capabilities because an EA won’t know everything, but they always know someone who does. It’s one of their secrets in getting so much accomplished.
  • A sense of professionalism that mirrors your corporate culture. Your EA will be ready to meet and greet stakeholders, lead a meeting, or conduct an interview at a moment’s notice.
  • An ability to handle stress in any situation. Meeting tight deadlines, coordinating travel itineraries and making sure you’ve signed your kids’ field trip permission slips are all part of a day’s work.
  • The person who will best represent and sell your brand. You can count on your EA to represent you and your company the way you do.
  • Collaborative skills include involving a variety of stakeholders in tasks. Great EAs rely on teams to make their magic happen, and the person in this position knows how to delegate for maximum efficiency.
  • Someone with sharp anticipation skills. Every EA’s superpower is its ability to anticipate your needs before you even articulate them.

Finally, confidentiality is critical when hiring for the role that will support your work. Executive assistants keep delicate information a secret. Your EA will be loyal and discreet, much the way we recruit candidates for your executive assistant position.

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Woman Assistant

Tasks You Should Be Delegating to an Assistant

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

A study by Harvard Business Review shares that senior managers and executives work in excess of 60 hours per week. The study also suggests that most executives spend large portions of their weekends and vacation time working as well. Admittedly, senior executives have a lot to do—investor meetings, managing teams, planning, crisis management, project tracking, email triaging, etc.

With increasingly fewer hours to spend on personal development and with family, time can often feel scarce. Putting in long hours can feel like the solution, but it isn’t. Throughout the day or week, executives spend time on tasks that do not require their specialized skill set and eat into their productivity. These can be accomplished by an assistant instead.

Let’s look at the tasks an assistant can execute on your behalf, so you can prioritize the things that truly matter.

What Tasks Should You Delegate To Your Assistant?

Here are some of which you could delegate to your assistant.

Managing Emails

Do you regularly check your emails to ‘stay on top of things?’ While it may seem like the least time-consuming activity, a study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that an average of 13 hours a week are spent checking emails!

A large percentage of emails clogging your inbox is just promotional or spam, and having an assistant to sort through them allows you to focus on important tasks that require your active attention.

Bookings and Reservations

If you travel frequently and spend hours searching for accommodations, the best deals on flight reservations, refunds, car rentals, etc., then perhaps it’s time to consider delegating these tasks to an assistant. An assistant can make all your reservations ensure that your travel and food-related preferences are met, and your itinerary is optimized so that you can focus on your meetings and relax in your downtime.

Organizing Appointments and Scheduling Meetings

Organizing appointments and scheduling meetings is another task that requires more attention than necessary. Constantly updating your calendar, searching for openings to schedule meetings, re-scheduling previously set appointments—these are tedious tasks that genuinely don’t require your attention and can easily be handled by an assistant.

Research and Reports

Most senior executives spend an unnecessary portion of their time collating data and making reports and presentations. An assistant can take the burden of research off you, irrespective of whether you want information on the background of a particular client or if you wish to gather data for a meeting. Yes, assistants are trained to be adept at research, and you can make informed decisions without spending hours sifting through data based on their findings.

Personal Errands and Support

Your assistant can handle multiple personal errands for you—from booking doctor’s appointments to scheduling children’s birthdays, shopping for presents for important occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, house warming parties. Assistants can also help you stay ahead of overdue communication, check on aspects such as car repairs, manage your social media, and more.

Managing everything alone is a Herculean task, but it doesn’t have to be. An assistant’s support can be crucial to taking small-but-significant things off your plate, ensuring your day goes smoothly. Work with us today—we make finding the proper support for you easier.

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Woman Executive

How Top Leaders Manage Their Time and Increase Impact

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

According to Allan C Stam, the Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, leadership is the art of getting things done. And while many leaders are adept at resource management (people, money, etc.), they struggle to find time to get things done.

Experts suggest that a time audit, time management measures, focus on sustainable productivity, along with a reduction of phantom workload can help people get things done efficiently and eliminate workplace stress.

While there’s no universal formula, here’s a list of five strategies to help leaders manage their time well and increase their impact.

How Leaders Manage Their Time Efficiently

Senior executives will agree that leadership is a mix of clarity, purpose, knowledge, and fortitude.

Here are some ways you can maximize your impact.

Plan Realistically

You can’t plan every second of every day. Things are bound to go wrong, and plans will change. This is normal. This is life.

And while we can’t control everything, we can create efficient schedules to increase our productivity, set deadlines to remain focused, and deal with procrastination-triggering stress wisely. Other strategies to consider include goal setting and downtime—starting early and frequent breaks—which can help increase productivity levels.

Prioritize Purposefully

Do you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to complete everything on your list? Then maybe it’s time to revisit how you prioritize.

Ask yourself these questions so you can be more purposeful when prioritizing:

  • Is it important or urgent?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much effort will it take?
  • Can you delegate it to someone else?
  • Is this expected of you, or do you want to do this?
  • Would someone in your team perform a task more effectively than you?

If you can assign tasks that do not require your active attention to someone else, you can focus your time and energy on being more productive.

Delegate

A “can do” attitude is a valuable attribute, but a “can do it alone” attitude is not. Leaders have teams for a reason—each team member has a strength or skill that makes them valuable, and leveraging these strengths helps leaders better manage their time. Should executive-level help be required, hiring an executive assistant is prudent.

Assistants can be gatekeepers, email organizers, calendar setters, stand-ins for meetings, researchers and more. Simply getting the right kind of help and delegating tasks that don’t require your expertise and time can bringa degree of efficiency to your day.

Find Your Rhythm

By “find your rhythm,” we mean pay attention to how your individual productivity works:

  • What motivates you?
  • What hours of the day are you most energized?
  • What environment helps you focus better?

Once you understand the optimum conditions that boost your productivity, you can maintain these conditions. This way, you can remain consistent in your work.

This also expands to discipline. Motivation comes and goes, but a disciplined schedule will keep you on track for success.

Boundaries Are Important

Even the best planners can feel overwhelmed if boundaries aren’t established and maintained. Overpromising or taking on too much can lead to delivery shortfalls and unintended consequences such as client dissatisfaction. Leaders can exemplify sustainable productivity by being realistic about how much can be achieved, saying “no” when appropriate, and reinforcing boundaries.

Better time management is key to personal growth, goal achievement, and creating a productive work environment.

Being a leader entails shouldering many responsibilities, and we at understand that it isn’t easy. We can help you find an efficient assistant so you can delegate by design and get the maximum out of your time.

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Are You a Great Boss?

By | Corporate Culture, Leadership | No Comments

Are you a great boss?

Think carefully about your response. Your answer to this question matters significantly, especially when you’re hiring an executive assistant. In our work connecting top executive suite talent, we’ve learned that A-list executive assistants know precisely the type of boss they’re looking for.

We’ve also discovered that the interview is reciprocal. While you’re interviewing for your next assistant, the EA candidates we send out are interviewing you. They’re gauging whether you’re the type of person they want to work for.

And they’ve told us what characteristics they want to see in their next boss.

7 Characteristics of a Great Boss

As much as executives may share similar communication and management styles, each person is uniquely different. Your beliefs, experiences and values can affect how you manage your employees.

During an interview, executive assistant applicants try to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a way to gauge whether their skills fit your leadership style.

Great bosses are known for:

  1. Communicating frequently, honestly and with transparency. They don’t play “gotcha” games, and they state positive or negative facts without blaming or yelling. They provide honest feedback and give specific praise.
  2. Distributing the workload equitably. They don’t overload the employee who never complains about having too much work, and they don’t play favorites by letting others have a lighter workload. They also don’t micromanage.
  3. Putting together exceptional teams. They find and retain the best and brightest employees, which improves the skills of all team members. The camaraderie experienced among team members keeps them together, and they become stronger as a whole.
  4. Avoiding blameTheir approach in righting a wrong is to identify the challenge, correct it and move on. They’ll hold employees accountable, but they don’t look for fault.
  5. Finding greatness in those who work with them. The best bosses recognize and reward employees for work done well. They also make sure their employees have the training and development opportunities to excel and move forward in their careers.
  6. Demonstrating integrity. They are professional and honest – the kind of person employees trust. They also build trust by doing the right thing for the right reason. If they say they’ll do something, they follow through.
  7. Showing compassion for others. They understand that employees have lives outside the workplace. They’re sympathetic when personal needs occasionally infringe on the workday, possibly allowing for remote work options when an employee has to keep a sick child home from school.

Being the type of boss people want to work for comes down to managing your own emotions before you manage anyone else. That means treating your colleagues and employees with respect as well as valuing their opinions and work.

When you create an inclusive and supportive corporate culture, you’ll discover that the best executive assistant will want to work for you!

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Working from Home

How Administrative Professionals Effectively Work from Home

By | Industry Trends | No Comments

As the world moves toward remote work being normal, the demand for Administrative and Executive Assistants has skyrocketed. Administrative and Executive Assistants serve high-level officials (C-suite) such as a company’s CEO. They maintain project schedules, work in alignment with the company’s goals, and provide daily developments and frequent updates to the higher-ups.

Due to a shift towards remote assistance, administrative professionals can no longer sit outside the CEOs’ office or quickly step in for an update. The dynamics have changed quite drastically.

While working remotely can be challenging at times, here are some ways administrative professionals manage to work from home effectively.

Define Work-From-Home Hours

It’s easy for remote employees to lose track of time when working from the comfort of their homes. This is especially applicable to Executive Assistants working with busy CEOs who often work beyond office hours.

However, a professional work commitment demands prior settlement of working hours. That is why Executive Assistants define working hours and set availability and response times in advance.

Set-Up Regular One-on-Ones

CEOs usually don’t have time for daily one-on-ones. However, effective Administrative Assistants still set up quick daily huddles every morning to go over the day’s calendar and ask any questions they have. They may also schedule bi-weekly video calls to discuss the overall progress and updates.

Decide Communication Modes

Although email and messaging apps such as Slack and Zoom can fulfill basic communication needs, they may not always be effective in every scenario. For urgent needs, Administrative or Executive assistants set predefined modes of communication in order of priority and stick to them.

Computer-Savvy and Using the Right Tools

An ideal Administrative Assistant has a Bachelor’s degree and is well-versed in Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and calendar management. They may also use Trello, Basecamp, and Asana to organize, designate, and monitor tasks.

Executive Assistants deal with people who are constantly working on various projects daily. Therefore it’s also essential for an Administrative or an Executive Assistant to have project management skills to excel in their fields.

Dedicated Workspace

Working from home may provide flexibility, but it can compromise your focus and productivity. A vast majority of remote assistants have designated workspaces at home, allowing them to give undivided attention to work and focus on the tasks at hand without interruptions.

A successful career as a remote Administrative Assistant starts with finding the right recruiting agency. A seasoned recruiting agency provides excellent resources for Executive Assistant interview preparation and matches you with companies that align with your personal and professional goals.

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Female Leaders

Female Leaders Proven More Likely to Coach and Mentor

By | Leadership | No Comments

Women make up more than half of the labor force in the United States and earn almost 60 percent of advanced degrees, yet they bring home less pay and fill fewer seats in the C-suite than men, particularly in male-dominated professions like finance and technology.

Research suggests that the male presence in the majority of senior leadership positions does not indicate that men possess better talent than women, but rather there is no significant indication of better performance in a specific gender. In fact, many studies consider women to be more likely to excel in leadership and mentorship roles.

Female leaders are proven more likely to coach and mentor successfully for many reasons:

Less transactional and more strategic relationships with employees

While men use networking to advance their careers, women tend to use their networks for both support and relationship building. Women’s presence in the upper echelon can enhance the social networking and mentoring opportunities of other women in the organization.

Women tend to be kinder in leadership roles

Kindness is rarely ever associated with leadership. However, some form of reassurance, compassion, and empathy can make a huge difference in your team’s dynamics. According to studies, women tend to be equalitarians, sharing evenly with peers while men tend to be more individualistic. Effective leadership demands kindness. In fact, leadership in itself is an act of kindness.

Women trend more emotionally intelligent

When it comes to empathy and self-regard, women tend to score higher than men. Studies show that women are more likely to identify emotions and subtle cues of emotional expressions.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman considers higher emotional intelligence a major trait of ineffective leaders. A leader or a mentor needs to connect with people at a deeper level to make an impact in their lives. These traits help them support, coach, influence and resolve conflict among individuals and teams effectively.

Most people imagine leadership to be a male-dominant field. For example, qualities such as confidence, independence, and assertiveness are frequently associated with men. We hardly ever think of empathy, kindness, relationship building, or collaboration to be leadership traits. This is a bias handed down to us since our childhoods. It is time we change these narratives and think of leadership as an amalgam of traits that cater to both a variety of qualities and attributes.

Mentoring is critical for team growth and talent retention. Are you doing enough to support your team? Hire a recruiter today to find the next leader for your team!

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