Executive Assistant Turned Recruiter: Here’s What I’ve Learned

When I left my position as an Executive Assistant to become a Recruiter, I evaluated how my past role would prepare me to excel in my current one. I asked myself questions like, “How would I identify the best talent for my clients?” and “How could I prepare my candidates to shine in their new role?”


People thought my role as an assistant consisted of only grabbing my CEO’s coffee, answering the phones, and greeting his visitors. Yes, those three seemingly remedial tasks kept the day running smoothly, but I was also there to support my executive in all aspects of the business.


I was on top of what was occurring with my executive’s schedule twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. At any given time, I knew what meeting he was attending, for what project, with whom, while simultaneously booking his upcoming trip to Europe, making sure he ate lunch, and checking to see if he still had a pulse. If that doesn’t sound like a challenge, then I’m not sure what does.


It is a misconception that an assistant is simply a “nice to have.”An assistant is an executive’s backbone—the individual you trust to help run your business and your life. If you are searching for your next assistant, you’re going to want the best person possible working alongside of you.


Here are a few things to consider when kicking off your search:



Having a personal interest in the work that you and your company does is often a quality that’s overlooked when searching for an assistant. You want someone who can be a spokesperson for your organization while also serving as a representative of the brand. As an executive, you know how many people your assistant will be interacting with regarding major projects. Having assurance that your assistant can correctly and confidently speak to those topics is critical. Ultimately, this will increase compatibility which is a major plus.


Supporting Others

One of the most essential traits for an assistant to have is an innate passion for providing support to others. Your productivity depends on the strength of the relationship you have with your assistant and their attentiveness to your needs. You’ll want to identify a candidate who gets pure satisfaction from doing the best job possible, even if the tasks fall outside of their outlined job responsibilities.


Gracefully Assertive

There will be days of complete chaos. Lucky for you, this is where your assistant comes in to keep everything on track. It’s important to have an assistant who is gracefully assertive (as my team and I like to describe it). This person will have the perfect mix of assertiveness and professionalism. They’re someone who can address situations that are of high importance while handling them with the utmost poise and respect.



Some may think that an assistant should match your personality, but from my experience, I’ve found that sometimes opposites do attract. This person is going to be a part of your professional AND personal life. So, when it comes to finding the right candidate, it’s important to get to know them on a personal level. Don’t solely focus on their work history or qualifications—you should still look for someone you enjoy spending time with. If you judge a book by its cover (ie. their resume), you may miss out on someone great.

Given that I was in an assistant position not long ago, my knowledge and passion for administrative roles has allowed me to become an expert in this market. I’m confident to say that given this experience, I truly know what to look for when matching an executive with their sidekick. So, whether you are looking for a new assistant or if you’re a candidate finding your next assistant role, know that there is always someone out there to help make this working relationship the best it can be for both parties involved. Always remember: not all heroes wear capes!

Rachel Friedman

Associate Recruiter, Administrative & HR Services

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