What to Look For When Hiring an Executive Secretary

Last Updated Nov 4, 2008 12:39 PM EST

You are a CEO and you need to hire an executive secretary or personal assistant. What qualities do you look for?

It is a critical question because efficient, smart and well-organized assistants can often mean succcess or failure for chief executives. The boss man or woman may be a creative visionary or an incredible leader but without someone by his or her side making sure that things go on time and well, a lot of that talent can be wasted.

Here are a few attributes:

  • Efficiency. Keeping people, paper, meetings, travel and emails in order and on time helps the boss do the job.
  • Professional attitude. Maintaining an even strain between pleasant civilities and not becoming too familiar is a hard thing to pull off.
  • Discretion. Any office is a hive of gossip. The best source possible is the one closest to the boss. So, don't be a source.
  • Intelligence. Having a sophisticated worldview and being able to anticipate and solve problems helps.
  • Avoid personal entanglements with the boss. They can be toxic, even if they only give the appearance of scandal.