Broker Check

Tips for Hiring a Terrific Assistant

July 25, 2017

Tips for Hiring a Terrific Assistant

An outstanding assistant can be indispensable to an organization, which is why hiring the right one is so important. A great assistant can save you time, handle your projects, reduce your work load and act as a liaison between you and your clients. A new hire who doesn’t work out can hurt your productivity and even your reputation. Here are some tips to consider:

Partner with a recruiting professional

Many advisors look to partner with a recruiter who has access to a talent pool and can help evaluate candidates based on your specific criteria. Additionally, many broker-dealers have an HR recruiting program that can be tapped into.

Write a clear job description 

Take time to write a job description that will attract great candidates. The job description should give applicants clear guidelines and provide an accurate sense of the role and its responsibilities from day one. The more detailed the description, the more effective it will be in attracting the right candidates.

Help get the word out

While internet job boards and social media are popular recruiting tools, this may not be enough to find you the right applicant. Ask your professional contacts if they know anyone appropriate for the job.

Phone Interview

Once you have looked over your first batch of resumes, it’s time to start the phone interview process. The phone interview is a great way to assess the applicant social skills. Keep in mind the person you hire will likely your first point of contact for the office.

5 Must-Have Skills

Once you have lined up some candidates and scheduled interviews, you need to identify which candidates have the core skills you need in a reliable assistant.  

  1. Good Communications Skills — This is a critical skill because in order to be successful, a good assistant will have to interface with clients, employees and vendors on a daily basis.
  2. Time Management and Multitasking Skills — Assistants are commonly working on multiple tasks simultaneously, so it is important that a candidate has great multitasking and time-management skills.
  3. Excellent Writing Skills — Your assistant will likely do a lot of writing for you, particularly emails, so you want to be sure the candidate writes well and doesn’t make unnecessary spelling or grammar mistakes.
  4. Good Understanding of MS Office and Other Common Software Products — A large part of an assistant’s job will be using software like Microsoft Office. A strong knowledge of this software is essential for efficiency and productivity.  
  5. Reliability — Because assistants often help with critical tasks, it is important that they are reliable. Failure to complete an important task on time can be damaging to the client/advisor relationship.  

The ‘Wow’ Factor

Look for examples where they have gone above and beyond professionally. For example, have they pursued additional training, maintained a professional membership or earned an administrative certification.

Meet With Top Candidates Outside The Office

Before making your final choice, meet the top candidates at least one more time outside of the traditional office setting. This will let you learn more about the candidate’s etiquette outside of the office. A business lunch is a good option.

ProScan Survey

Have your top candidates take the ProScan survey. This 15-minute survey will help an advisor gauge a candidate’s personality attributes and provide valuable insight into how a new hire would fit into the office.

Listen to Your Gut

Trust your instincts. If a candidate looks great on paper but you don’t have a good feeling about them, trust yourself and continue searching for someone better.

Once you’ve hired the right person, this is a relationship you will want to develop. Support their training and encourage their personal development.

Contact Iron Point for a no-obligation coaching call on finding an outstanding assistant.