How to Hire an Assistant

One of my favorite Top Producer’s Edge coaching clients is also one of the top producers in his field in the state of Alabama. We’ll call him Bill. Before beginning coaching, Bill came home one day before sunset. His daughter said to him, “Daddy, why are you home? The sun hasn’t set yet.”

Ouch! That will break your heart!

Bill decided that something had to change. As with many parents weighing out decisions, he knew he couldn’t let his income drop, but he needed to start spending more precious time with his children. Like most top producers, Bill understood the value of coaching so he joined our program.

Even with him seeking our assistance, it still wasn’t easy to convince Bill to hire an assistant. Like most people, he had previously bad experiences with others, so he was hoping there would be another road he could try first. Since a prerequisite of joining our coaching program is that you agree to be coachable, committed, and ready for a change, Bill let me walk him through this 10 step process. It is designed for hiring the most amazing, the most incredible, the envy of all other bosses, administrative assistant.

I am thrilled to report that today, just 1.5 short months after hiring his assistant, Bill is working fewer hours, production is up, and he took a full day off of work to take his son fishing. This is something he has never been able to do!

Are you ready for this experience yourself? 

  1. Write out a Top 10 list of the characteristics you absolutely need in your next assistant.

    • Take the time to think this through thoroughly. You don’t need to settle for less. If you don’t know what your ‘Must Have’s’ are, then how will you know when you see it?
  2. Write out a list of basic questions and follow-up steps that will help you weed out your first level of applicants. Use this list for your over the phone first interviews.

    • Basic question example: Why are you leaving your current position? How proficient are you with Microsoft Word? Outlook? Accomplishments at previous positions?
    • Post 1st interview follow-up steps examples:
      • Take a typing test and email the results to me.
      • Send your card to me via Outlook.
      • Send a thank you card so I can see a handwriting sample.
      • Write a couple of paragraphs about why you think you would be a good assistant in Microsoft Word, attach it to an email, and send it to me.
  3. Write out the list of 2nd Interview Questions that will seek more details about their work habits, ability to work well with others, ability to work under pressure, or any other things that you feel you need to know to ensure they fit into your original Top 10 List.

  4. Start tracking everything that you do during the day.

    • In the evening, write out step-by-step exactly what to do in the order it needs to be done. This will become your “Policies and Procedures” to help in quickly training your new assistant.
  5. Write out the ad you will run and run your ad!

    • For an administrative assistant, you will typically get plenty of applicants if you run your ad on Craigslist or with your local newspaper’s online classifieds section.
  6. If at all possible, find someone else who can vet the resumes you receive by comparing them to the Top 10 List you give them. If they can also do the first interviews and ask for the follow-up steps for you, then that will help you a ton.

    • You should receive at least 50 resumes. Narrow those down to 20 who will receive 1st Interviews. 1st Interviews can be as short as 10 minutes.
  7. After receiving the follow-up assignments, select three to have in for 2nd interviews. Have another friend or colleague do the 3rd interview with the final two to three candidates so your views aren’t partial or jaded.

  8. After selecting your candidate, invite them in for a “Selection Conversation.”

    • This conversation is basically letting them know what 3 to 5 things that they can count on from you. Also, the 3 to 5 things that you will need to be able to count on from them, in order for you to have a good working relationship. If they agree to these things, then you can offer them the position. Have them sign a sheet that lists the job description and expectations for the position. If you think it is not acceptable for them to take personal calls, check Facebook or answer personal texts/emails during the day, then now would be the time to cover it.
  9. Have a welcome party the first day on the job.

    • Show them around the office for introductions and to get the lay-of-the-land. Go over the step-by-step “Policies and Procedures” you have written out for each task they will be responsible for.
    • Be careful not to overwhelm them with too much responsibility all at once. After showing them how to do something, let them do it and then do a check to ensure they are understanding the task exactly as you would like to have it done.
  10. Schedule regular and frequent times for you to meet with your new assistant for “Policies and Procedures” review.

    • This will enable you to check for understanding and delivery. These meetings can get fewer and shorter the longer your assistant is with you, but you should always maintain a meeting at least once a quarter for a “Policies and Procedures” review.
      • The #1 rule for happiness in delegating these responsibilities is to remember that you are the boss. You’re the one that hired them. You are responsible for explaining the task to them completely and ensuring that they fully understand. If they mess something up, don’t get mad at them. Instead, ask yourself, “What did I not teach them that would have made this better?” If you do this, then you will find in a very short time that you have the best administrative assistant that is the envy of all bosses!


2 Responses

  1. Great content Kitty! I love the 10 steps. In addition to local papers and craigslist, and is also a great place to look for a virtual assistant or in office assistant. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kitty, this is a great post!

    You should get together with Monica and have her help you/or Hazel with setting up your WordPress to be able to share your blogs on Facebook and repost your blogs.

    Keep the good articles coming!

    Dustin Hillis Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting™

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    “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” – JC

    From: Kitty Barrow – Professional Sales Coach <[email protected]> Reply-To: Kitty Barrow – Professional Sales Coach <[email protected]> Date: Monday, March 18, 2013 6:06 AM To: Dustin Hillis <[email protected]> Subject: [New post] Okay, I’ve wised up and I realize I need to hire an assistant. How can I make sure I don’t screw it up?’

    Kitty Barrow posted: “Whew! Was it THAT hard? As a recovering Control FREAK, I totally understand your hesitation about relinquishing control. But THAT’S OK – admitting there is a problem is the 1st step to a cure. 🙂 One of my favorite Top Producers Edge coaching clients “

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