How to Write an Effective Executive Assistant Job Description
— Dec 31, 2018 —
A job description is what draws the majority of potential applicants to consider a position. It needs to be accurate and thorough, while remaining succinct. When you’re writing the job description for an Executive Assistant position, it’s important to know the basics of writing an effective job description, as well as how to highlight different elements of the position to attract the right candidates.
So, what constitutes a good Executive Assistant job description?
Of course, first and foremost is the job title. A job title should be descriptive and accurate, and not stray from the keywords your candidates are going to use in their searches.
Make sure that you are actually looking to hire an Executive Assistant and not an Administrative Assistant, if that is what you plan on naming the position. There is no use in misnaming a position, as it will only attract applicants with inappropriate levels of experience, and likely lengthen the hiring process.
You can add descriptors, such as “Executive Assistant to the CEO” if you believe that doing so will attract more of the candidates you’re looking for. Just make sure to keep “Executive Assistant” in the title.
The next part of writing a good job description is letting applicants know exactly what the day-to-day experience of this position will look like. You’ll want to describe all of the major responsibilities of the job, and provide as accurate a picture as possible of the percentage of time each responsibility will take up.
For instance, do you imagine that your Executive Assistant will spend 60% of their time managing calendars, 20% arranging meeting spaces, and the final 20% booking travel? Or does the position include management of lower-level administrative positions?
Detail each part of the job, but avoid getting too deeply into the minutiae. Tie similar tasks into a single bullet point, where possible. If you can give a full picture of the job in 3-4 lines, that is ideal, but make sure not to exceed 15 lines on the high end.
Applicants understand that you can’t possibly lay out every single thing they will ever be expected to do as part of this job. What’s important is that you provide as realistic a description as possible, as this manages expectations on the part of candidate, and provides a rubric for future performance reviews.
Qualifications and Competencies
The qualifications and competencies needed from the candidate are the next piece of the description to tackle. Think of qualifications as tangible skills, whereas competencies are qualities or abilities, often based on the candidate’s personality. These should be kept separate in the Executive Assistant job description.
You might notice that many job postings divide this even further, with separate sections for “Required Qualifications” and “Preferred Qualifications.” This is a great way to make the job description more readable if the “Qualifications” section is too long on its own, and also important if you are worried that some qualified candidates might not apply because they don’t have the exact qualifications specified.
Qualifications to consider listing include college degrees or other accreditations, software experience, and work experience. Be specific when it comes to qualifications, especially if you are hiring an Executive Assistant who needs to be very experienced. If you need someone who will hit the ground running, with 5+ years’ experience working with C-suite executives, don’t be afraid to say so.
Competencies are a little less rigid, but also important. Choosing a few key competencies lets applicants know what sort of personality type will thrive in this Executive Assistant position. If the employee will be assisting 5 executives, and needs to be great at multitasking and prioritizing, note exactly that. On the other hand, if they will be working closely with the CEO and the Board of Directors, and must practice discretion, that is similarly important to mention.
The competencies you list give color to the position beyond strict qualifications, and the more thought you put into what traits your ideal Executive Assistant would have, the better.
To further give potential applicants a realistic and detailed idea of what the company looks like, you can detail the company’s structure as it would pertain to them. As touched upon earlier, there are many ways an Executive Assistant can relate to other members of the company.
This is a good place to note how many people they will assist, and who they will report to. If anyone will be managed by them, touch on that again here. You can also mention any opportunities for advancement, if applicable.
Should you disclose the salary on the Executive Assistant job description? In the professional opinion of the C-Suite Assistants recruiting team, based on our experience, it is better not to list the salary on the job description. As the purpose is to cast a wide net and to attract the right candidates with the appropriate level of experience, you do not want to deter candidates if they are slightly below or above your range,. You want to encourage qualified candidates to apply. You should of course have a salary range in mind and then can screen out candidates at your discretion based on their salary expectations. This gives you more flexibility and more options in the long run.
Writing the perfect job description is the critical first step in finding your Executive Assistant. The whole recruiting process can be daunting. If you want help finding the right person for the job, we’re here to help! With over 15 years’ experience staffing Executive Assistants, we are confident we can help you find an amazing person.
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