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What Hiring Managers and Administrative Assistants Can Learn from Chipotle


Recently, Paul Petrone wrote an article about Chipotle’s hiring practices on LinkedIn, and what characteristics they seek in new hires.  Hiring managers search for candidates who not only possess the required skills, but also 13 characteristics that are highly coveted and in line within Chipotle’s vision.


Upon researching further, we found that the employee characteristics that the Mexican chain restaurant considers of value are very similar to qualities of successful administrative assistants.  Whether you are hiring administrative personnel, or looking to learn more about the characteristics that make administrative assistants successful, this list, although, not all-encompassing, is a great place to start.

Here is Part 1 of Characteristics Assistants and Chipotle Employees Share


Whether it’s a receptionist or an executive assistant, ambition is critical to succeeding in any administrative role.  The beauty of administration is that there is no limit to what can be achieved because as the company grows, so do responsibilities.  The more an administrator is willing to take on, the more likely the person or department they support is to succeed, the more responsibilities they are given; and the cycle continues indefinitely.  The amount of ambition a person has is directly correlated with their desire to be successful, and success-driven individuals are the types of individuals companies want to invest in.


Happiness is not a characteristic that is limited to support personnel, but it is especially important for administrators.  Receptionists and executive assistants alike are often the first point of contact for clients and customers, and if they are not happy, we can guarantee the client/customer on the other end won’t be either.


Intelligence is just as critical of a characteristic for high-level administrators as it is for receptionists.  Discretion and good judgment are both forms of emotional intelligence, a trait that is imperative to being successful as an administrator.  Of course, the intelligence expected of an executive assistant and a receptionist may be different in practice, but they are certain intelligences that cannot be overlooked or underestimated.  Just as an executive assistant may need to manage a heavy calendar or do an Excel spreadsheet, a receptionist may need to know how to handle a disgruntled caller, or whether a delivery person is in the right place at the right time.


William Feather once said, “Politeness is an inexpensive way of making friends.”  In any business, but especially within the field of administration, how you get along with others is perhaps the single most important aspect of any role.  Administrators work to oil the machine, to reduce friction, increase efficiency, and generally “get stuff done.” We have all heard the expression you get more with honey than with vinegar?


Respect goes hand in hand with politeness.  It’s an unfortunate truth that administrative professionals are not always given the respect, gratitude, or credit they are due.  However, when you give these three things to others and respect yourself, the likelihood of it coming back around increases.  Administrators are the face of the person or department they support, and their actions will either reflect poorly or positively not only on their supervisors, but also the company.

These characteristics are important for both hiring managers and current administrative professionals to keep in mind.  Hiring an administrative assistant can be truly beneficial to a company’s bottom line, and becoming a successful administrative assistant can be a rewarding experience.  Success is not based solely on tangible skills, but also on the intangible characteristics of the individual.

 Keep reading Part 2 of Characteristics Assistants and Chipotle Employees Have in Common

Image By Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr: Lunch counter, 1954) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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