Highly organised, discrete, and trustworthy?
Then you might be exactly the right person to be an Executive Assistant.
It’s not an easy job – alongside their excellent communication skills, EAs need to be tech savvy, well organised and have a high level of emotional intelligence – but it’s a rewarding one, as you get to see the inner workings of the company you work for and manage the day-to-day operations of the business.
What is an Executive Assistant?
An Executive Assistant is a key member of a company's support staff, providing administrative and organisational assistance to high-level executives. They help keep the office running smoothly by managing schedules, handling correspondence, and coordinating meetings and events. If you're a detail-oriented, organised, and proactive individual with excellent communication and time management skills, then a career as an EA may be right for you.
So, let's dive in and find out more about this exciting profession!
What does an Executive Assistant do?
An EA's day is usually full - so they need to have good time management skills to juggle it all. They're often multi-tasking, completing tasks for different members of the c-suite, and helping out the wider team. Here's what a typical day might look like for an experienced executive assistant.
First things first, the day usually starts with checking emails and calendars to make sure everything is up to date and there are no urgent matters that need attention. Then, it's time to get the ball rolling on any tasks or projects that need to be tackled that day. This could include anything from scheduling interviews and meetings, taking phone calls, running expense reports, or coordinating with other team members to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Speaking of interviews, one of the biggest parts of an EA’s day in a recruitment company might be managing the internal interviews. This involves scheduling interviews with candidates, setting up conference calls, and sometimes even conducting initial screenings to make sure candidates meet certain qualifications.
But it's not all work and no play! As an Executive Assistant, you'll often be called upon to plan company events, organise team building activities, and generally keep the office morale high. Whether it's planning a happy hour, coordinating a team lunch, or decorating the office for a holiday, an Executive Assistant is the go-to person for making sure everyone is happy and feeling good about their work.
At the end of the day, an Executive Assistant in a recruitment company is a jack-of-all-trades, handling everything from administrative tasks to HR duties. It's a fast-paced, dynamic job that requires quick thinking, excellent communication skills, and the ability to multitask like a boss. But for those who thrive on challenge and enjoy being a part of a team, it's an incredibly rewarding career choice.
Executive Assistant Skills
As we’ve mentioned, an EA is a jack-of-all-trades, which means they usually have a wide skill set. Some Executive Assistant skills are obvious – an EA needs to be organised, they need to have great prioritisation skills, they need to be excellent communicators, and they need some technical skills. As administrative assistants, they need to be a quick study at new technology, as alongside the usual Office programs, they often need to work with CRMs, finance and invoicing systems, and cloud-based software for incentive and reward programmes.
Let's look at some of the other top executive assistant skills.
One of the things that make Executive Assistants so valuable is their ability to handle just about anything that gets thrown at them. So while we've taken you through a typical day for an executive assistant or a personal assistant, the truth is there's really no such thing as a typical day - especially working in a recruitment company. The best Executive Assistants can adapt to changing priorities. They can be flexible, and still able to prioritise tasks as situations shift.
Executive Assistants with initiative are worth their weight in gold. Someone who goes above and beyond to ensure that their boss's work runs smoothly, who will accomplish tasks without being asked, who can screen phone calls and know who to gatekeep. They anticipate their boss's needs and take proactive steps to meet them. A good Executive Assistant offers more than administrative support - they have the kind of leadership skills that mean their boss can be worry-free.
We mentioned right up front that Executive Assistants need to be discreet and trustworthy. They handle sensitive and important documents and confidential information, so the ability to maintain confidentiality is a must. EAs do inbox management for recruitment leaders, so there will likely be information about peoples' contracts, salaries and possibly personal situations that will require discretion.
It's not all scheduling appointments. Executive Assistants are problem solvers. They're often involved in project management, and play a crucial role in identifying issues and finding solutions quickly and efficiently. They're involved in event planning, travel and accommodation arrangements, and information flow. They have to juggle hybrid working among team members, and with so many responsibilities and duties, they're in the perfect position to spot potential issues before they arise, and solve problems as they come up.
Soft skills are a really important part of an EA's skill set. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is arguably the most critical skill any Executive Assistant can possess. They need to be brilliant at handling relationships – they need to be empathetic, responsive, and able to manage conflicts diplomatically.
EQ is generally measured via these 4 things:
Self awareness - knowing your strengths & weaknesses
Social awareness - picking up on social dynamics, or 'reading the room'
Self management – the capacity to manage emotions under stress
Relationship management – resolving conflict and being a positive influence
EQ makes better communicators, better collaborators and better all-round colleagues.
Could you be an Executive Assistant?
Overall, an excellent Executive Assistant is someone who is reliable, proactive, and adaptable. They possess a unique set of specific skills that enables them to support their boss as well as other employees and keep the organisation running smoothly.
Executive Assistants are a critical component of a recruitment business. They provide essential administrative, time management, communication management, and information management support to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Without an Executive Assistant, recruiters may struggle to manage their workload and may not be as effective in their job roles.
If you're looking for an EA role on an interim or permanent basis, get in touch - we'd love to talk to you!