Entrepreneurs

How to Find the Perfect Assistant (It’s Not What You Think)

The perfect assistant will be able to read your mind. They will complete each task laid before them with precision and always get them done well before the deadline. They will bring you coffee, just like you like it and will screen all your calls and emails giving you back hours and hours of your time.

Sounds great right? Over the last 25 years, I have had my share of personal assistants and I have helped thousands of my business coaching clients just like you find their perfect assistants. So, today I wanted to share my tips to help you find one as well.

Understand That No One Is Perfect

But wait David, what happened to the mind-reading, coffee making, call screening genius that you just mentioned?

They don’t exist. And the perfect assistant for you might be a horrible assistant for someone else. So the first step to finding the one is to understand that there is no perfect candidate. The hiring process instead should revolve around how you work and what you like as a boss.

Understand Your Personality

Before you start looking for a great personal assistant, it’s important to understand how your personality will come into play here. Are you an introvert (people drain you)? Are you an extrovert (people energize you)? Are you friendly and social? Are you quiet and self-contained? Are you patient? Are you empathetic? Or are you brusque and to the point?

Let’s say for example, that as a leader you lean towards being brusque. The right assistant for you will need to be someone that has a thick skin and is able to take direct feedback. If you hire someone who tends to be reserved and shy, they may not last very long in the position. So understanding yourself is the first step to finding the right fit for the position.

Understand Your Preferences for Communication

The next thing you want to think about when you are looking to hire an assistant is how you like to communicate with a team member. Do you prefer to send written instructions, do you like recorded audio or would you prefer the ability to have an active conversation over the phone or in person?

And on the flip side, how do you like to get updates from your assistant. Do you want the information batched- for example an entire day or week’s updates in one email? Do you like to receive several updates throughout the day or week regarding different projects? Do you like detailed updates or just the bottom line facts? Do you want someone who can handle the bad news themselves or do you want someone who will run to you as soon as a fire starts?

If you prefer written updates, often and as detailed as possible you might want to find an assistant who is an excellent writer and pays attention to detail. If you just want the bottom line, that might not be a huge concern of yours. So understanding how you will work together will help you find someone that meshes well with your style.

Once you have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t for your particular personality, it makes it a lot easier to find the assistant of your dreams.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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