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  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?

Howard


Dear Howard,

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 so?

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,

Dr. Karen

 

 

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