Hiring an executive assistant is a unique process for every company. Not only does an assistant have to have a set of standard professional skills, but they also have to be the right personality and workstyle fit for the executive they’re paired with.
At Double, we look at thousands of executive assistant resumes every month, and have interviewed hundreds of assistant candidates. Below are the key skills we look for in every Double assistant, as well as a few unique skills you may want to consider when hiring your own assistant.
Top skills for any executive assistants
Great communication skills are a hallmark of an executive assistant. An executive assistant is often like a spokesperson for their executive. They draft and send emails, take and make phone calls, and even respond to internal questions and comments on behalf of their executive.
An executive assistant is also a great person to run ideas by or get a second opinion on a project. A great communicator can relay their point-of-view, ask questions, and succinctly summarize for you.
An executive assistant must be ready to take on niche projects or work they’ve never experienced. They must be comfortable with new challenges and be willing to dive into finding the answers.
Organizational skills are incredibly important for an executive assistant. The role is fast-paced and often ad hoc. The assistant must either have organizational processes in mind to leverage or feel comfortable being onboarded to whatever systems you’re using. If you’re looking to become more organized yourself or as a company, find out about what tools, technology, or tips they use in their own life or that they’ve had experience within the past.
Executive assistants are like gatekeepers. They help limit your distractions by handling your email maintenance, coordinating your calendar, and ensuring you’re able to focus on your most important work.
Part of working with an executive assistant is sharing potentially sensitive information: email correspondence, financial reports, and HR matters, to name a few. Trust, understanding, and maturity all play into the skill of discretion. An executive assistant takes your personal and professional business seriously and will follow the proper precautions to ensure your information is safe.
Unique executive assistant skills to consider
You might need an executive assistant who can help you with financial tasks like light bookkeeping, expense report approval, or working with an accountant. If you’re looking for financial expertise beyond that, some executive assistants do have deeper experience in this field that could be useful.
Depending on how embedded your executive is with your company, you might want to consider an executive assistant with experience in thinking about the bigger picture. A strategic-minded assistant wants to learn about and interact with the employees of your company. They will have an understanding of your business, company goals, and your organization’s structure. Armed with this knowledge, an executive assistant can help you keep a pulse on your team’s engagement, give you feedback on company-wide communication, and provide insights into the challenges and wins of your company at a granular level.
Social media management
Maintaining a social media presence is part of modern-day networking. An executive assistant can help you nurture important conversations, strengthen your online presence, and create a kind of Rolodex of companies or individuals for you to connect with online. While you may not want your assistant to take over social media from a marketing perspective, some executive assistants have experience in replying to inquiries through social media on behalf of an organization.
Double’s approach to hiring the top executive assistant talent
Doubles are on top of it
When interviewing potential assistants at Double, we’re looking for individuals that have experience with calendar coordination, inbox management, travel coordination, and gatekeeping. We consider those key competencies or foundational pieces of any executive assistant’s work.
We also take into account an individual’s knowledge about time management and productivity. Not only is the assistant juggling the tasks on their own to-do lists, often they’re providing their executive with advice on how to take back time in their schedule. Organization goes hand-in-hand with productivity, so understanding how to develop and deploy systems of organization is key.
Doubles are master communicators
Regardless of whether our doubles are emailing, texting, or speaking on the phone, they’re communication skills are clear, timely, and professional. They’re also able to adapt to your personal or preferred style of communication. They understand nuance and take into account how messages should differ according to person or situation.
Doubles are relationship builders
Working with an assistant means building a relationship. Our doubles keep this top-of-mind, approaching their work as a mix of tasks to complete and a relationship to nurture. They demonstrate care, are flexible to your preferences, and remain optimistic. Often, executive assistants have the great skill of being coachable and self-reflective. In other words, they are open to constructive feedback and look forward to understanding how best to support you.
Doubles are technology and productivity experts
Doubles have to be knowledgeable about what technology exists to keep you on track. We’ve found it’s imperative for doubles to have mastery in Google and Office Suites and to be comfortable with learning about and adopting new technology.
Want to skip over the hiring process and get right to delegating with an experienced assistant? Get started with Double, and we’ll match you with one of our vetted and qualified assistants.