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Look for a Good Cultural Fit When Hiring an In-House or Virtual Executive Assistant

2 Mins read

When looking to hire an Executive Assistant (EA), whether in-house or virtual, one of the criteria that should rank as high as experience, technology prowess, ability to multitask, and being proficient in scheduling, is whether the candidate would be a good cultural fit for the business.

Leaders looking to bring onboard a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) often make the mistake of not putting enough emphasis on finding someone whose personality and work style complement the business or organization. Just because a VEA may not be “down the hall” does not diminish the importance of hiring someone who fits culturally.

While not having a physical presence in the office, a VEA is a big part of the team, and plays a critical role. He or she will communicate across all levels of the business, will manage proprietary information, be the gatekeeper of an executive’s schedule, and will handle correspondence both internally and externally for the organization.

No matter if your next Executive Assistant is in-house or virtual, consider the following when interviewing to determine if he or she is a good fit culturally:

  1. Alignment with Company Values: Assess how the candidate’s personal values and work ethic mirror those of your company. This alignment is crucial for seamless integration and long-term satisfaction on both sides.
  2. Interpersonal Dynamics: Consider how the candidate’s personality will mesh with the executive team and the broader organization. The right EA should be able to navigate various interpersonal dynamics effectively.
  3. Adaptability to Company Culture: Look for signs of the candidate’s adaptability and willingness to embrace your company culture. An EA who is enthusiastic about your company’s vision and ways of working is more likely to succeed.

Assessing cultural fit is crucial in ensuring your EA seamlessly integrates into your organization and contributes positively to the team dynamic. Here are some expanded tips on how to evaluate this fit during the interview process:

  1. Inquire About Work Style: Ask candidates to describe their preferred work environment and how they organize their tasks. This can give you an insight into whether their approach aligns with your company’s pace and work culture.
  2. Discuss Collaboration: Understanding how a candidate has worked with teams in the past can provide clues about their ability to collaborate within your organization. Ask for specific examples of how they’ve contributed to team projects or resolved conflicts.
  3. Explore Values: Questions that prompt candidates to talk about what they value in a workplace or in their career can reveal if their principles align with your company’s mission and values. This could be as simple as asking what they appreciated most in their previous role or what they’re looking for in a company culture.
  4. Seek Examples of Adaptability: Given that company cultures often evolve, a candidate’s ability to adapt to change is important. Ask them to recount a time when they had to adjust to a significant change at work and how they managed the transition.
  5. Understand Motivation: A candidate’s motivation for applying to your company can also indicate cultural fit. Explore why they’re interested in your company and the role, and what aspects of your company culture they find most appealing.

By incorporating these aspects into your interviews, you can gain a deeper understanding of how well a candidate might blend into your organizational culture. No matter if you hire an EA or VEA, and there are pros and cons with each, bring on someone who will ensure a harmonious and productive working relationship.

Kenzie Biggins is CEO of Worxbee, a provider of specialized Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) services tailored to enhance the productivity of leaders and professionals across diverse industries, empowering them to focus on their vision, strategy, and high-impact initiatives.

Executive assistant stock  image by Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock

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