If you are the CEO or President of your company, chances are you require assistance in a variety of forms to keep your work running smoothly. You may already have an administrative support team as well as a personal assistant or maybe you only have one assistant who takes on all responsibilities, but you are just now realizing that you need more help to bear the brunt of your demanding schedule. Maybe you feel you have enough help but somehow your days and weeks are not running smoothly and the support you have is not optimized.

When this happens, it’s important to step back and examine the duties each assistant has taken on and whether you have adequately outlined and communicated these responsibilities to them. It’s also important to understand where there are shared responsibilities between your business and personal life and if other executives or family members are also utilizing the services of the assistant/assistants.

First, if you have a team of assistants, we need to explore the roles taken on by an executive assistant versus an administrative assistant. There is a difference and here we will focus on the role of your executive assistant. Executive assistants are sometimes seen as high-level administrative assistants, and when it comes to their capabilities, it is true that they must have all of the qualifications of an administrative assistant for certain facets of their work. But, their role is much more expansive than that of an administrative assistant and it requires additional skills. An executive assistant’s level of responsibility and the types of tasks performed by them can vary greatly from one employer to the next, but at their core, they are their executive’s right-hand person.

A great executive assistant can handle administrative tasks in the way an administrative assistant would, but is also capable of stepping into more managerial shoes in certain circumstances. They also understand how to manage the crossover between their boss’s personal and professional life and may coordinate regularly with the executive’s personal assistant or home staff. Make sure you know every aspect of your requirements, in order to utilize your executive assistant to the fullest extent possible.

Acting in Your Absence

One of the most important ways that an executive assistant is different from an administrative assistant is in their power to make and execute decisions. Of course, this will vary based on the employer’s needs and desires, but most executive assistants possess the reasoning skills and business knowledge to make decisions and act in their employer’s absence. An executive assistant may give Powerpoint presentations to the board or other stakeholders when the executive is away on other business. They may also be given the authority to make certain day-to-day decisions that employees normally come to their boss to make.

Routinely, executive assistants answer emails and phone calls for their employer, and in the same vein, their response may go beyond taking a simple message. They may be given the responsibility to answer questions, further direct calls and make decisions within certain guidelines. The executive assistant will likely be able to prioritize, particularly when it comes to putting together their executive’s calendar and determining the importance of various tasks, meetings, and assignments. This level of autonomy to make decisions means that a great executive assistant can be a major help to their employer because the executive no longer needs to take time out of their busy schedule to handle these decisions.

Common Executive Assistant Duties

Of course, while there are tasks that an executive assistant will be given permission to perform that an administrative or personal assistant will not, there can be some crossover. If you only have an executive assistant and not an administrative assistant, it is expected that more administrative tasks will land on the executive assistant’s plate. Similarly, if you do not have a personal assistant, your executive assistant may handle some duties that have crossover with your personal life.

At the end of the day, it is up to you what tasks your executive assistant performs, but it is important to communicate clearly during the hiring process what you are looking for, and to continue to communicate openly about any changes in responsibilities or expectations during the executive assistant’s tenure with you. This ensures both of you stay happy, and that expectations are managed.

Some tasks you might expect your executive assistant to perform include:

  • Managing Calendar
  • Creating PowerPoint Presentations
  • Booking Travel
  • Expense Reporting
  • Managing Tax Information
  • Managing Administrative Staff
  • Coordinating with Personal Assistant
  • Making Minor Daily Decisions
  • Acting as a Gatekeeper for the Executive
  • Project Management
  • Planning Meetings
  • Conducting Market Research
  • Planning Events and/or Coordinating with Event Planners

Once you have completed your analysis and determined what administrative responsibilities you want to delegate, you are ready to begin your search for a highly qualified executive assistant. If you still have questions and need help determining responsibilities and how to set up your administrative team, call us. We can look at your description and your expectations for an executive assistant as well as for a personal assistant, administrative assistant or a combination executive assistant/personal assistant. We can also provide you with an informed opinion as to whether your expectations in terms of talent and compensation are in line with today’s market.

Finding a great executive assistant and putting together a streamlined administrative support team can be a daunting task. It helps to have a great executive assistant recruiting firm on your side. As a staffing firm specializing exclusively in administrative support for the C-Suite, not only can we provide guidance, we also have an extensive network of both passive and active applicants to source the best talent for you. Contact us today to get the executive assistant recruitment process started!

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