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Master the Art of How to Hire an Executive Assistant: A Comprehensive Guide

By March 16, 2023 No Comments

Hire an EA

As a business owner or executive, you know the value of time management and how important it is to hire an executive assistant with competency and reliability. However, finding the perfect candidate can be a daunting task.

You may be wondering where to find great executive assistants for hire and what skills to look for in potential candidates. The role of an executive assistant is crucial to the smooth operation of any business, as they are responsible for supporting key executives, managing complex schedules, and ensuring the overall success of the organization.

Whether you’re a seasoned c-suite executive or a new business owner, this guide will help you hire an executive assistant who will exceed your expectations and help take your business to the next level.


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Reasons to Hire an Executive Assistant

There are many compelling reasons why someone should hire an executive assistant. Firstly, an executive assistant can help you manage your time more efficiently by handling administrative tasks, such as scheduling meetings and managing emails, allowing you to focus on more important duties.

Additionally, they can help you stay organized by managing your calendar, prioritizing tasks, and tracking deadlines. They can also act as a gatekeeper, screening calls and visitors and protecting your time from unnecessary distractions. Moreover, an executive assistant can provide valuable support in meetings and presentations, taking notes and handling logistics, as well as serving as a liaison with other departments or stakeholders.

The role of an executive assistant is crucial to the smooth operation of any business, as they are responsible for supporting key executives, managing complex schedules, and ensuring the overall success of the organization.

Pro-Tip from The Assist: Prioritize the executive assistant’s hard and soft skills, as they will need to not only manage the executive’s workload but also represent them and the company to stakeholders. Additionally, involve the executive in the hiring process, as they will be the one working closely with the assistant and can provide valuable insights into the necessary qualities for success in the role.


What are the types of assistants you can hire?

  • Virtual Assistant: A virtual assistant is a remote worker who provides administrative, technical, or creative support to clients from a remote location. They use various communication and collaboration tools to deliver their services, allowing clients to delegate tasks and focus on their core responsibilities with ease. This might also mean that the virtual assistant is a freelancer as well, which might be great depending on the tasks you need taken care of.
  • Office Assistant: An office assistant is a valuable member of any team who provides administrative support to an organization from within an office setting. They handle tasks such as answering phones, greeting clients, managing correspondence, and assisting with basic office tasks, contributing to the overall productivity and success of the workplace.
  • Administrative Assistant: An administrative assistant is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative support to individuals or teams in a variety of industries. They are responsible for organizing and managing daily tasks, schedules, and records, ensuring that the office runs smoothly and efficiently.
  • Personal Assistant: A personal assistant is a professional who provides personalized support to individuals or families, handling tasks such as managing schedules, coordinating events, and making travel arrangements. They are highly organized, adaptable, and discreet, providing invaluable assistance to their clients in both their personal and professional lives.
  • Executive Assistant: An executive assistant is a skilled professional who provides high-level administrative support to top executives in an organization. They handle tasks such as managing schedules, coordinating meetings and events, and acting as a liaison between the executive and other stakeholders, playing a critical role in the smooth operation of the organization.
  • Senior Executive Assistant: A senior executive assistant is a highly experienced professional who provides specialized administrative support to top-level executives in an organization. They have a broad range of skills and experience, including managing complex projects, making strategic decisions, and leading teams, and are often responsible for training and mentoring other administrative staff.


Where to Find the Best Executive Assistants

1. Oceans XYZ

Ocean XYZ

Oceans XYZ will do the heavy lifting of scoping your needs, matching you with quality candidates, and will even give you onboarding support to help you establish a sustainable workflow with your new team member.

Why this is a great place to find an EA to hire: You’ll be matched with several quality candidates at an extremely affordable rate, and receive ongoing support to ensure a successful working relationship with your new hire.

Some recent praise for Oceans XYZ:

“We’re really, really thrilled we have our EA+ onboard and have another set of hands to help us out. The level of talent and competence was not expected.”

Want more information? Check Oceans XYZ out here.


2. PriorityVA


Priority VA

PriorityVA evaluates all aspects of your EA needs and then utilizes the tools in its toolbox to ensure those needs aren’t just met, but far exceeded.

Why this is a great place to find an EA to hire: Not only will they find the best EA to fit the needs of your organization, but they also offer you guidance and direction to ensure you’re getting the most productivity from your new executive assistant.

Some recent praise for PriorityVA:

“I have no idea how Trivinia’s Priority VA team did it – all I did was answer a quick questionnaire – but they matched me with my perfect VA, and my investment has already seen 100% return in the most critical of all assets: MY TIME!”

Want more information? Check PriorityVA out here.




BELAY’s modern staffing solutions help leaders accomplish more and juggle less. Since 2010, BELAY has connected over 10,000 business and nonprofit leaders with virtual assistants, accounting services, and social media managers. Our custom matching process pairs leaders with highly-vetted, U.S.-based professionals designed to fit their needs and their organization—and our fractional staffing model ensures you only pay for what you need. In short, we get leaders back to leading.

Why this is a great place to find an EA to hire: Dedicated professionals who bring their experience and expertise to your organization. They’re your personal superheroes. No phone booth required.

Some recent praise for BELAY:

“Kelli is doing a great job. She is very proactive and has already figured out how to stay one step ahead. I love that she is very resourceful and just gets in there to figure things out. I was very nervous about not being able to interview the candidates, but I’m so happy that I trusted the process. BELAY has found me the perfect match!”

Want more information? Check BELAY out here.


4. 33Vincent


Whether you need a little help or a lot, 33vincent’s extensive vetting process allows them to confidently place the right executive assistant to meet your business needs.

Why this is a great place to find an EA to hire: A long-term commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is the foundation of their business model. 33vincent takes an admirably strong stance against systemic racism throughout all aspects of the company and the community.

Some recent praise for 33Vincent:

“Our 33Vincent EA and the entire 33Vincent community are truly service-oriented and consistently not just deliver for our organization, but they go above and beyond!”

Want more information? Check 33Vincent out here.


Skills to look for in a Great Executive Assistant

  1. Organization: The ability to maintain a clear and orderly workspace, manage multiple tasks, and prioritize effectively is essential for any executive assistant.
  2. Communication: Excellent communication skills are a must for an executive assistant, including the ability to write clearly, speak articulately, and listen actively.
  3. Time Management: Strong time management skills are critical for an executive assistant, who must be able to manage the executive’s calendar, schedule appointments, and juggle competing priorities. This might include the ability to multitask.
  4. Resourcefulness: An executive assistant must be able to find creative solutions to complex problems and adapt to changing circumstances, sometimes under pressure.
  5. Technology Skills: Proficiency in various software programs, including Microsoft Office and Google Suite, as well as familiarity with project management and communication tools, is essential for an executive assistant to be efficient and effective in their role.
  6. Attention to Detail: An eye for detail is crucial for an executive assistant, who is often responsible for managing sensitive information and ensuring accuracy in reports and documents.
  7. Initiative: A great executive assistant takes initiative to anticipate the executive’s needs and proactively take steps to address them, rather than waiting for direction.
  8. Professionalism: An EA must possess a high level of professionalism, including discretion, confidentiality, respect for all stakeholders, and other interpersonal skills, in order to represent the executive and the organization effectively.
  9. Problem-Solving: A great executive assistant has strong problem-solving skills, using critical thinking and analytical abilities to identify issues and develop effective solutions.
  10. Leadership: A senior executive assistant or one with more experience may be called upon to take on a leadership role within the administrative team, providing guidance and mentorship to junior staff/other team players and ensuring that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.

There are many more important skills to look for in an executive assistant job, check out this list here.


10 Steps on How to Hire an Executive Assistant

1. Clearly define the job requirements

  • Before starting the hiring process for an executive assistant, determine the specific qualifications, skills, and years of experience required for the role and write the job description. Assess the current work situation to decide whether you will need a full-time or part-time employee.

2. Conduct a thorough screening process

  • After submitting a job posting, start by reviewing resumes and cover letters to identify potential candidates, and then conduct phone calls or video interviews to narrow down the pool.

3. Use behavioral interviewing techniques

  • Ask questions that prompt candidates to provide specific examples of how they have handled situations similar to those they would encounter in the role of executive assistant.

4. Check references

  • Contact references provided by the candidate to verify their employment history and gain insight into their work performance and personality. This is also a great time to check out the candidate’s LinkedIn profile.

5. Look for experience in a similar role

  • Candidates who have experience working as an executive assistant or in a similar administrative role are likely to have the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the position.

6. Assess their communication skills

  • The ability to communicate effectively is critical for an executive assistant. Evaluate candidates’ verbal and written communication skills during the in-person interview process.

7. Consider their organizational skills

  • Look for candidates who are highly organized and detail-oriented, as these skill sets are essential for managing complex schedules and duties.

8. Evaluate their problem-solving abilities

  • An executive assistant needs to be able to think critically and quickly resolve issues that arise. Ask candidates to provide examples of how they have handled challenging situations in the past.

9. Look for a positive attitude

  • The role of an executive assistant can be demanding and stressful, so it’s essential to hire someone who has a positive outlook and can maintain a professional demeanor under pressure.

10. Test their technology skills

  • An executive assistant will likely need to use various software applications and tools to manage schedules, coordinate travel, and perform other administrative tasks. Test candidates’ proficiency with relevant technologies during the interview process.


People Also Ask These Questions About Hiring an Executive Assistant

Q: What are some common interview questions to ask when hiring an executive assistant?

  • A: Some common interview questions to ask when hiring an executive assistant include asking about their experience with managing schedules, handling confidential information, working in a fast-paced environment, and their communication and problem-solving skills.

Q: How do I determine the salary range for an executive assistant?

  • A: To determine the salary range for an executive assistant, consider factors such as the level of experience required, the industry and location of the company, and the responsibilities of the role, and research industry standards and compensation surveys to ensure a competitive and fair salary offer.

Q: How do I ensure that the executive assistant has the necessary skills to fulfill the role?

  • A: To ensure that the executive assistant has the necessary skills to fulfill the role, conduct a thorough review of their resume and application materials, check references, and use skill assessments and behavioral interviewing techniques to evaluate their abilities in areas such as organization, communication, time management, problem-solving, and technology proficiency.

Q: Should I use a recruiting agency to help me find an executive assistant?

  • A: Using a recruiting agency to help find an executive assistant can be beneficial, as they have access to a pool of pre-screened candidates, and can assist with the hiring process, such as job posting, resume screening, and interview scheduling. However, it is important to research and choose a reputable agency to ensure that they are aligned with your goals and values.

Q: What are some best practices for onboarding a new executive assistant?

  • A: Some best practices for onboarding a new executive assistant include setting clear expectations and goals, providing thorough training and orientation, establishing regular communication and feedback mechanisms, and integrating them into the team and company culture.

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