An admin assistant can be a critical support to your business and, as such, it is important when trying to hire a new team member you know what skills to look for. When working with an experienced administrative recruitment agency such as Oriel Partners, we match candidates very carefully with the requirements of our clients, saving you time during the recruitment process. However, it is still important to know what to look for when interviewing prospective candidates and which skills are needed for an admin assistant you are hiring for, some of which we explore in this article.
Perhaps the most obvious administrative assistant skill of all is organisation. An admin assistant needs to be highly organised to manage their time effectively and get all their tasks complete. Often an admin assistant will support a team by taking away their admin function so they can focus on the job at hand. Therefore, it is integral that an admin assistant can stay on top of their workload with good time management skills.
There are many ways an admin assistant can show their organisational skills, both through previous examples in the workplace and also through tools they use, such as making lists, utilising specific apps or flagging their inbox effectively - a good candidate should be able to demonstrate methods they use to show you their organisational skills. You should expect their cover letter to mention that they have strong organisational skills.
Often an admin assistant is the first point of contact for a team so it is important they can communicate effectively both internally and externally. With so much communication done over phone and email rather than face to face, you can easily arrange a test as part of the interview process to show this skill. However, when meeting potential admin assistants, you should quickly be able to see their communication style. Do they look you in the eye? Are they friendly, polite and professional? How do they articulate themselves? If the candidate is going to represent you, it is vital their first impression is a positive one.
Attention to detail
This is one skill you can often look out for on a CV before even meeting the potential admin assistant. Any grammatical, formatting or spelling errors are a clear sign of a lack of attention to detail. A key skill of any admin assistant is to be able to spot errors and see any discrepancies, to ensure any documentation is accurate and embarrassing mistakes are removed. This is important whether it is numerical work using Excel, being more creative in PowerPoint or just basic correspondence in Word.
Often an admin assistant will be doing different tasks or working on multiple projects for several people, particularly if they are supporting a team. Therefore, not only is prioritisation important, an admin assistant must be confident at multi-tasking and managing these demands at any one time. An admin assistant who has a means of staying on top of all of their duties will be more successful and less likely to let anything drop. This is particularly important when working to tight deadlines.
Stay calm under pressure
A key skill needed for an admin assistant is being able to stay calm under pressure. This will help an admin assistant to think clearly on their feet, be good at creative problem solving and perform their role to their highest ability. Admin assistant roles are often very busy, supporting multiple people all with urgent demands, and being able to remain composed will help an admin assistant to navigate their workload.
As with any role we are looking to hire, a positive attitude is key to a successful admin assistant position. We interview all candidates who we submit to our clients and get to know them as best we can, gaining a thorough understanding of their skills, experience and motivations to be able to place them in the most suitable role. Being a hardworking team player, with a positive attitude is always going to be a character trait we look for when sourcing the highest calibre of candidates for our clients.
For a full rundown of all the hard and soft skills an admin assistant requires, take a look at our admin assistant job description template, which can be customised to suit the specific role you are hiring for.
Looking To Hire An Excellent Admin Assistant? We Can Help You!
If you are looking to find your ideal administrative assistant, we would love to help. Oriel Partners is not industry-specific; we work with clients across all sectors, both corporate and creative, on a temporary, contract and permanent basis. Our clients range from global multinationals to small boutique firms, all requiring the same personal support and high calibre candidates. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to hear from you!