Are You Ready to Hire a Remote Personal Assistant?

Hire a Remote Personal Assistant
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As remote jobs inundate the job market, it is time to explore practical ways to benefit from hiring remote employees. Today's top candidates are seeking telework opportunities and proving that the freedom to work from home increases productivity.

If you are looking to hire an executive assistant, you are well aware of the personal and professional importance of the role. Despite their crucial role, they can accomplish most of their tasks remotely. As you embark on the journey of finding an executive assistant for hire, you will have a talent pool that is wide and deep. In the day and age where you can hire nearly anyone for any job, your next assistant is just a few clicks away on virtual assistant platforms.

Before You Interview

Whether hiring your first-ever assistant or looking for a successful replacement, the key to hiring the right candidate is in the interview. The tone you set in the interview will set the stage for your relationship with your assistant from the start.

Before scheduling interviews, take note of your preferred leadership style. Any interviews should be a reflection of your style of leadership. Whether you are direct, casual, or strictly professional, your new assistant should know what to expect before work begins.

An executive assistant is a crucial role in your organization. This person will impact your day-to-day activities more than most people on your team. Their ability to organize, schedule, and handle tasks will determine the success of your days. Because this role is so crucial to you personally, you should take the time to choose the right candidate for you.

Ready to start interviewing? Here's what to look for.

Key Traits of a Successful Executive Assistant

Being a world-class executive assistant requires a unique skill set. Only some people can handle this high-stakes job. You are looking for a self-motivated, assertive, independent worker with both confidence and the ability to be flexible. Not only do they need to be able to handle details flawlessly, they need to be clear communicators and precise instruction followers. At a minimum, they should excel in the following three areas:

  1. Communication Skills

    Communication is always an essential skill. It becomes even more critical when your assistant works remotely. Not only are they communicating with you, but they will be communicating on your behalf to your colleagues. Find someone whose communication style reflects the same standard you hold yourself to.

  2. Problem-Solving Skills

    You don't have time to handhold. Your remote assistant will need to be able to execute tasks with minimal instructions from you. You want someone who is sharp, can solve problems, and look for creative solutions.

  3. Outstanding Character

    You are hiring an executive assistant to help you handle an incredible amount of stress. The person who can take this on must be someone you can trust implicitly. You want someone with a killer work ethic who is highly organized and efficient. They need to possess a natural discretion regarding your privacy and be trustworthy with confidential information.

On top of the skills you seek, you also need to jive with the person you hire. With a role that impacts your personal and professional life, you must trust and like the person you choose.

How to Identify The Perfect Candidate

After establishing a job description, the tricky part is finding the right person. You will interview candidates who desperately want your job and will say what they think you want to hear. Asking great questions is an art. The key is to form questions that cut through to the core issues. Concise, prepared questions will allow you to see how your candidates think through problems. You will also catch a glimpse of their communication style and their capacity for integrity. Here are some questions to ask:

Standard Questions

You will use these same questions with every candidate. You can easily compare your candidates by using a standard bank of questions. They should be specific and unique to the role you are hiring for. You should be inquiring about the traits you need. Whether you are looking for an energetic and motivated individual who can accomplish a lot or an organized and efficient person who can keep your life in order, your questions will help you find them.

One of the keys to asking questions is to draw out the heart behind the answers. If you are looking for strong organizational skills, ask them to tell you about a time they implemented a system of organization and its impact. Ask them why they did it and what their motivation was. Develop questions that force people to elaborate and explain their motives and values.

Examples of some standard questions you can use in interviews are:

  • How would your former boss describe you and your work style?
  • Can you describe your long-term (5+ years) career goals?
  • What is your biggest professional accomplishment and why?
  • What are you most proud of, professionally or personally?

Personal Questions

Once you've covered the basics, it is time to dive into more personal questions. These are questions you will tailor to each candidate's resume. Ask questions about their work history. Have them describe their successes, failures, and most significant accomplishments. Inquire about their favorite job and why they love it. Never be afraid to ask them to elaborate; as people talk, you will begin to understand where they are coming from and what motivates them.

Here are examples of personal questions you can use for interviews:

  • Can you tell me about your work history? Have them elaborate on gaps in work history, frequent job changes, or long-held positions.
  • How have your previous roles prepared you to step into this one?
  • Can you explain any other experience that has prepared you to work for me (volunteer, education, etc.)?

Don’t Forget a Problem Solving Question or Exercise

Because of the nature of an executive assistant role, problem-solving is exceptionally important. Presenting your candidates with a complex problem will show how they create solutions. Explain to them a situation they could find themselves in while working for you, and ask them to explain how they would handle it and why. Have them walk you through the steps to come to a solution. You will witness their problem-solving process and identify key values they prioritize.

It’s a big step to hire a personal assistant since it’s a role that can potentially change your entire approach to work. A great assistant will relieve pressure from your day and free you up to tackle important tasks. By conducting thoughtful and detailed interviews, you will find the perfect person for your role.