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Tips for hiring an executive secretary

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Many business professionals would not be able to maintain the organization of their offices were it not for their executive secretary. Executive secretaries manage everything from answering phones to scheduling appointments. Some executive secretaries take on financial responsibilities of payroll and hiring of new employees while other executive secretaries are responsible for maintaining the technology that exists within the business, running the programs that are being used and trouble shooting any technological errors. The list of what executive secretaries can help you as a busy business person with are endless. This is why it is so important to hire the right executive secretary for you.

Hiring an executive secretary presents many of the same challenges that hiring any employee would. There are some basic educational requirements that must be met and obviously the person that you are looking to hire should be available to work during the hours that you will need her. But there are some unique skills that your executive secretary will likely need to have. As job requirements for an executive secretary will vary between job fields, below is a list of basic skills and requirements that you should look for and ask job candidates about when hiring an executive secretary.

  • Computer skills - In today's technological world, chances are that more times than not you will need to have an executive secretary that at least has a basic knowledge of the computer. Obviously, if your business deals primarily with computer or internet based clients, the skills of your executive secretary will need to be more advanced. Think realistically about what computer skills the job you are looking to fill will require, keeping in mind that certain things can be taught.
  • Communication/phone skills - Chances are that your executive secretary is going to be answering your phones for you. Keep in mind that the skills needed to do this are particularly important because how your executive secretary handles her responsibility to communicate well will reflect directly on you.
  • Look for skills pertinent to the line of work that you are in (or at least a working knowledge of the industry) - Your executive secretary needs to know about what line of work you are in if he or she is to avoid looking foolish to your clients and customers. A good executive secretary applicant will have done her homework and will come to an interview prepared to answer basic questions about how your company operates.
  • Education level - Education is important in any line of work and of course we would rather hire college graduates and honor roll students than those whose educational records are less than perfect. It is alright to be picky and to require a high level of education, however you must also keep in mind that those with a great deal of education are generally not going to be applying for the entry level type job of an executive secretary.
  • Appearance/work ethic - Again, your executive secretary is a representative for you and for your business. In many cases she will be the first contact that anyone has with your office. Make sure that her appearance and work ethic are in synch with what you yourself believe is appropriate.
  • References - We have all given lists of references to potential employees at one point or another. Unfortunately very few employers ask the right questions when talking to those listed references or they fail to call any references at all. References are also called "character references" for a reason. Be sure that when checking the references of you potential executive secretary that you ask specific questions about her character which includes such things as punctuality, respectfulness, pleasantness to work with, etc.

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