Ask Dr. Karen - December
Dear Dr. Karen,
We’re about to hire a department assistant and I need
help. All of the temps we’ve had haven’t been quite
right. How do I find someone terrific to work with us?
Your search for the right assistant has to be tailored
to your department’s needs.
Skills are great. More important are work behaviors and
attitudes. It’s a good idea to bring in the new person
for a try-out day to observe them in action.
The assistant is where “the rubber meets the road” in
representing you to the world. Here are a few questions
that you should consider asking yourself when assessing
a new hire.
1 - Do they have a pleasant and patient voice and
approach? Present problems that might occur when they
meet your visitors in the future. The more someone
spends time with the candidate you’ll see how they
respond to calls and requests. The Up-Front Skills mean
the most: Phone Skills are paramount: Have someone do
telephone role plays with the prospective candidates.
Watch how the candidate treats visitors. You want a
gracious, personable person who doesn’t talk too much
but just enough.
2 - Do department personnel travel a lot? Then you need
to pose the problem of theoretical situations when there
are requests while someone is traveling.
3 - Can this person take care of a situation with a
“band-aid” for the moment until they get guidance? Can
they handle uncertainty?
Action: Get it done skills without moving too fast.
Follow up: The assistant needs to know when they have to
get back to you. There has to be follow up.
Rules of the road: What does this person think is
important in the way they represent you? How do they
speak about you? Can they "think on their feet" and have
the best interest of your department in mind when doing
Department needs: Ask all the members of the department
what they need and what they don’t want in the
assistant. This is a team hire!
Let me know if you have questions,