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Executive Assistant Skills: Insights for Business Owners

In recent years, the role of executive assistants and the required skill set have evolved. From simply answering the phone and greeting office guests, they have evolved into strategic partners, problem solvers, and confidants.

They are more valuable than ever before, and their function has become more strategic than supportive.

Today’s leaders rely on the executive assistants skills for more than just administrative support. They rely on their experts for technical expertise, strategic advice, and critical analysis.

Depending on the field of activity, an executive, administrative, or office assistant can perform different functions. They may be the right-hand man of one or more company executives or they may assist the entire office. 

Their role covers a wide range of issues such as internal communications, project management, event planning, and more.

But finding someone who can multitask, communicate with different departments, and perform a variety of tasks can be difficult.

So, what skills does an executive assistant need and what are the indicators to determine the most effective one for you?

We will talk about this further.


Traits of the Right Executive Assistant 

A significant increase in work-related stress is usually the first, and perhaps most obvious, sign that it’s time to find an executive assistant.

As your business grows, new responsibilities continue to stack up. Tasks you used to be able to handle easily start falling by the wayside.

An executive assistant (EA) is a very valuable employee. If you are planning to expand your team, it is important to understand what skills and qualities the best executive assistant should have.

A top-notch executive assistant working in a fast-paced environment is more than just an administrative assistant. After all, they offer a wealth of experience that can help a leader succeed.  

Great executive assistants have the following traits:

  • Creative problem solving
  • Social and emotional intelligence
  • Anticipation of needs
  • Resourcefulness
  • Desire to see others succeed
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to set priorities
  • Excellent communication skills

Employers tend to look for candidates who can handle a heavy workload of various tasks and projects. 

HireUA will always help you find the right candidates. It is a staffing agency providing recruitment solutions to businesses around the world. 

A professional team will select specialists who can multitask, pay attention to details, and prioritize.


Executive Assistant Skills: Comprehensive List

Being an executive assistant is a challenging job. 

They have a specific set of skills to make office work easier for everyone.

They help schedule meetings, keep a file on each employee, track their activities at work, make phone calls on behalf of the boss, organize meetings and events, and send and receive mail.

So, if you’re on the lookout for a candidate for these positions, there are some basic skills that your ideal executive assistant hire should possess:

#1: Penchant for Conversation

An executive assistant is similar to a spokesperson and their words are considered the words of their boss.

Therefore, excellent expert-level communication skills with proper phone etiquette and a well-honed language are required. 

You must be convinced of your employee’s outstanding abilities.

For example, wanting to test the feasibility of an idea or get a second opinion on something important. So assistants should be able to express their point of view honestly.

#2: Impeccable Organization & Prioritization Skills

This is a prerequisite for executive assistants because they have a fast-paced and ever-changing role.

Hence, they cannot afford to waste any time when they are disorganized. 

Assistants help their boss in prioritizing tasks. This allows the manager to minimize distractions and focus only on the most pressing issues and activities that have the highest impact.

#3: Multitasking

Well, multitasking is a myth because our brains can only do one complex job at a time. However, some degree of multitasking is essential in the role of an executive assistant.

Now you can do it by combining two simple tasks.

For example, the assistant is on a call and the person on the other end has put the call on hold. You can answer some emails or place an order. 

#4: Mastery of Technology

Executive assistants need to be good at technology skills because they need to create company reports, perform data entry, manage calendars, and more.

It is also desirable to be able to work with a customer relationship management system, virtual help desk, and customer service platform.

Thus an executive assistant should have in-depth knowledge of operating systems, software, browsers, etc.

#5: Determination & Speed

Being an executive assistant is like running at a fast pace all the time. They don’t have time to be slow or fuzzy.

They must be able to assess the situation, gather the necessary information, ask important questions, and then act quickly.

#6: Flexibility

The work of an executive assistant is broad and varied. Things change and assistants need to adjust and react accordingly.

They need to be able to quickly change what they are following. For example, when you need to urgently complete some other task. 

The assistant pauses their work to quickly finish the newly assigned work. But then also be able to return to what they were doing before.


executive assistant skills

Executive Assistants Skills: Performance Indicators

The job of an executive assistant is rarely boring. Their tasks go far beyond just creating files and answering calls, and their main goal is to optimize basic tasks to release the executive’s time for business development.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential for evaluating the performance and development of executive assistants.

They indicate the most important skills and responsibilities required for successful work.

It is important to know which KPIs apply to executive assistants. This will help you identify the best person in the field and plan strategies to improve performance together.

Here are 9 key indicators that are important in an executive assistant:

1. Organization

Your assistant needs good organizational skills. This will help manage their time and documents, and keep to a strict schedule.

Executive assistants not only keep track of their work but also think about the needs of those they help.

2. Coordination

The next important responsibility of good assistant managers is coordination.

This includes making arrangements to expand the team and bring in new partners, finding resources, etc.

You can always ask for an overview of what worked well and what you can do differently next time.

3. Communication

Communication skills are always an indispensable item for all executive assistants.

Assistants communicate with supervisors, other members of the administrative team, and outside professionals when scheduling appointments and meetings.

Skills include the ability to listen and understand the needs and expectations of others. This indicates effective self-expression in both written and verbal forms.

4. Collaboration

The executive assistant must collaborate with both the business manager and other team members.

Effective collaboration means communicating effectively with professionals from different areas to set goals and implement strategies to achieve them.  

5. Initiative

Assistant managers need to be able to take the initiative. From updating familiar systems to implementing new strategies to benefit the company.

Assistants can act independently but always make decisions on behalf of the manager. 

Some opportunities to take initiative include setting personal improvement goals and using creative problem-solving.    

5. Support

One of the primary responsibilities of the executive assistant is to provide support to the manager.

This support work includes preparing meeting materials, scheduling meetings, and maintaining a daily agenda or task list.

Taking care of these administrative tasks helps the supervisor focus on their role while still being able to fulfill their day-to-day responsibilities.  

6. Planning

In addition to coordinating schedules with others, assistant managers also help plan the managers’ day.

They focus on using proper time management to organize tasks throughout the day. This is necessary to keep executives on track with key deadlines and goals.  

7. Documentation

Assistant managers often perform some administrative tasks. Record keeping is one of them.  

For example, they may prepare receipts, record travel expenses, and keep timesheets for themselves, the manager, and any team members. 

Good work includes completing paperwork completely and thoroughly and submitting documents on time. 

executive assistant skills

8. Budgeting

In some cases, executive assistants handle budget information or must work within budget constraints.

For example, when planning trips, dinner parties, and events, an executive assistant may need to keep track of the budgeting needs of the business.  

9. Implementation

In addition to creating strategic plans, executive assistants must also effectively implement their plans.

This means that they are committed to their plan and make active changes in the workplace to implement their strategies.  

Think of these points as a blueprint for hiring senior management assistants. These indicators will help you understand what to look for when recruiting assistants

Keep in mind that the search for an assistant is a long process that requires strict control and a lot of time. But with HireUA, your experience will be easy and efficient. You will get the best candidates.


Executive Assistant Skills Assessment

An executive assistant skills assessment identifies the best candidates who are most suited to work as an executive assistant. It focuses on specific skills.

You can take tests as part of the assessment that includes different types of questions, such as multiple-choice questions, essays, videos, and file uploads.

For example, candidates will be shown detailed scenarios and will have to respond to them by suggesting the most appropriate solution to the problem. 

They can also demonstrate practical skills by uploading videos or written samples according to specific instructions.

The assessment results can show you which candidates have the right mix of analytical, administrative, and communication skills to support your management team.


Managing an Executive Assistant

Managing a personal executive assistant may seem like a daunting task to some. But it’s something you need to develop and address before you start.

Training 

Fully onboarding your executive assistant will give them the insight into your business that they need to succeed. Without a full understanding of your company and its goals, they won’t be able to perform tasks effectively.

They are not full-time employees, and they may have valuable insights and contributions that you would not have thought of on your own.

executive assistant skills

Expectations 

It is very important to clearly define your expectations of an executive assistant from the beginning.

Unlike full-time employees, they should always be in touch and be prepared for frequent one-on-one meetings with their manager. Set your assistant up for success by clearly outlining their job responsibilities.

This will help the employee feel comfortable in their role, as well as allow them to understand what they should ask for help with and what they can do on their own.

Discipline 

For the same reasons, your executive assistants must know what is expected of them; it’s also important to warn them of the consequences if they don’t meet those expectations.

No one likes it when disciplinary action comes as a surprise. For this reason, it is important to make sure that your expectations and the corresponding disciplinary actions are transparent and consistent.

This will help prevent awkward situations from arising that could negatively impact the workplace.

Executive Assistant Skills: The Wrap-Up!

Executive assistants provide invaluable support to your executive team, freeing up your time to focus on strategic goals. Therefore, it is very important to test the skills that are most suitable for this role. 

In general, when it comes to assessing skills, try not to rely on experience or academic qualifications alone. Keep in mind that these skills can be developed or shaped to meet your needs. 

Good advisors not only possess a high level of emotional intelligence, but also a set of interpersonal and non-technical skills such as communication, problem-solving, and time management. 

You can save yourself countless hours of screening and supervising hundreds of candidates by contacting HireUA.

They know exactly what basic skills an executive assistant should have. Therefore, they will find the right candidate for you!

So don’t hesitate and book the call today!

About The Author

Anastasia Marinich

Anastasia was born in Odesa and realized at an early age that her work should be creative & enjoyable.

While studying marketing in her hometown, she moved to Germany and continued her education at 2 universities at the same time.As the saying goes "Choose a job to your heart's content and you won't have to work a day of your life!"

Anastasia obtained a degree in Art and has a knack for it. She takes the same approach to writing. Each text is like a picture with a special message and mood. Everyone will find something useful for themselves!

Today Anastasia lives and works in Germany. She travels a lot, practices Ashtanga yoga, learns new things, and continues her creative journey with the HireUA team!
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