Are you seeking a dynamic and qualified Secretary to join your team? Hiring the right candidate for this role can significantly impact your organization’s administrative efficiency and professionalism.
Whether you’re an educational institution or a business looking to train administrative professionals, learning about the entire hiring process can form the building blocks of hiring a perfect Secretary.
We will explore the essential steps required to hire a qualified Secretary and learn how to create a Secretary job description for hiring a Secretary who can shape the next generation of administrative professionals.
Responsibilities & Role of a Secretary
While the roles and responsibilities of a Secretary can vary depending on the specific needs of the organization and the industry, here are some common roles and responsibilities:
- Administrative Support: Secretaries are often the backbone of an organization, providing crucial administrative support to ensure smooth operations. This includes managing schedules, handling phone calls and emails, and maintaining office records.
- Communication Management: Secretaries are responsible for managing internal and external communications. They may draft and edit correspondence, memos, and reports, ensuring that all communication is professional and accurate.
- Appointment and Meeting Coordination: Coordinating appointments and meetings is a significant part of a Secretary’s role. They schedule meetings, reserve meeting rooms, and ensure all necessary materials and resources are available.
- Document Management: Secretaries often handle document management tasks, including filing, organizing, and retrieving documents. They may also be responsible for document scanning, photocopying, and distribution.
- Data Entry and Record Keeping: Maintaining accurate records and databases is essential. Secretaries enter data, update records, and ensure that information is easily accessible when needed.
- Office Organization: Keeping the office organized and efficient is a key responsibility. This includes managing office supplies, ordering necessary items, and ensuring the office environment is clean and welcoming.
- Travel Arrangements: Secretaries may be responsible for making travel arrangements for employees, including booking flights, hotels, and transportation.
How to Hire a Secretary
Hiring a Secretary is a crucial step in ensuring the smooth operation of an organization. A skilled and efficient Secretary can enhance productivity and contribute to the business’s overall success. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to hire a Secretary:
1. Know Your Requirements
Before you start the process of hiring a Secretary, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your organization’s needs and expectations.
Find answers to the following questions:
- What are the expectations, responsibilities, and required qualifications for the Secretary role in your organization, including any specific educational backgrounds, skills, or certifications?
- Could you clarify the nature of the Secretary position (full-time, part-time, temporary, or permanent), the budget for compensation, and any special requirements such as language proficiency or software skills?
- Could you describe the organizational structure, including who the Secretary will report to, the level of collaboration with other team members or departments, and potential career growth and development opportunities within your organization?
2. Search for the Top Talent
Searching for top talent when hiring a Secretary requires a strategic approach to attract the most qualified candidates. Here are some effective channels and methods to find top talent for the Secretary role:
- Online Job Boards: Post the Secretary job opening on popular job boards such as AdminstrativeJobs, AdminCrossing, or International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). These platforms have a wide reach and are frequently visited by job seekers.
- Company Website: Feature the job posting prominently on your organization’s website under the “Careers” or “Jobs” section. Ensure the application process is user-friendly and provides essential details about the role.
- Professional Associations: Reach out to professional associations related to administrative and secretarial roles. Many associations have job boards or directories where experienced candidates can be found. For instance, you can become a member of the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP), the National Association of Legal Support Professionals (NALS), or the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (AEAP).
- Recruitment Agencies: Collaborate with staffing agencies or recruiters specializing in administrative roles. You can consider using the services of Pocketbook Agency, ExecuSearch, or CoreStaff Services. These agencies have access to a pool of pre-screened candidates and can help identify top talent.
- Employee Referrals: Encourage your current employees to refer qualified candidates. Employee referrals often lead to high-quality hires who fit the company culture well. With 55% of employers witnessing a decrease in hiring costs because of employee referrals, encouraging your existing employees to recommend a Secretary can lower your hiring cost.
3. Look for Educational Qualifications
When hiring a Secretary, educational qualifications are essential to consider as they can impact the candidate’s ability to perform their duties effectively. Here are key educational qualifications and considerations to look for:
- High School Diploma or Equivalent: Many secretarial roles typically require candidates to have at least a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development) equivalent. This educational foundation provides essential communication, math, and computer literacy skills.
- Bachelor’s Degree: In some organizations or executive-level secretarial roles, a bachelor’s degree in business administration, office administration, or relevant areas may be necessary. Candidates with bachelor’s degrees often have strong communication and organizational skills and a broader understanding of business operations.
- Specialized Training and Certifications: Training and certifications can enhance the skills and make them better prepared for the responsibilities of this role. Look for candidates with the following certifications:
- Continuing Education: Look for candidates who have pursued relevant courses or workshops in office management, time management, business writing, and communication skills. These courses can enhance a Secretary’s abilities.
4. Analyze Their Work Experience
When hiring a Secretary, a comprehensive analysis of their work experience is paramount. This entails examining their job titles, tenure at previous positions, and the specific responsibilities they’ve undertaken, including calendar management, document preparation, and communication tasks.
Assess the scale and complexity of the candidate’s previous responsibilities. Were they responsible for supporting multiple executives or managing office operations for a large team?
Understanding the scope of their work can help gauge their ability to handle the demands of the new position.
Additionally, evaluating their problem-solving skills, adaptability to change, and references’ feedback provides insights into their potential as efficient and reliable administrative professionals.
Determine the candidate’s familiarity with office software and tools. Look for proficiency in software like Microsoft Office Suite, email platforms like Mailchimp, calendar applications like Calendly or Google Calendar, and any industry-specific software or databases.
5. Conduct a Comprehensive Interview Process
Conducting a comprehensive interview process is crucial when hiring a Secretary to ensure you select the best candidate for the role. Here’s an expanded explanation of how to conduct such a process:
- In-Person or Virtual Interview: Invite promising candidates for an in-person or virtual interview. This interview is an opportunity to delve deeper into the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and compatibility with your organization. Ask interview questions related to their work history, responsibilities in previous roles, and any achievements or challenges they’ve faced as a Secretary.
- Technical Skills Assessment: If computer proficiency is a crucial requirement for the position, consider conducting a technical skills assessment during the interview. Evaluate their ability to efficiently use word processing, spreadsheet, and email software.
- Scenario-Based Questions: Present hypothetical scenarios related to the daily responsibilities of a Secretary and ask candidates how they would handle each situation. For example, you can inquire about managing a busy calendar, handling confidential information, or prioritizing tasks.
- Behavioral Interview Questions: Use behavioral interview questions to gain insight into the candidate’s past behavior and how it aligns with your organization’s values and needs. For example, ask how they’ve handled conflicts, met deadlines, or supported team members in previous roles.
- Questions About Career Goals: Ask about the candidate’s career goals and aspirations. Understanding their long-term objectives can help determine if the role aligns with their professional development.
6. Cross-Verify Their References
Cross-verifying references involves reaching out to the individuals listed as references on the candidate’s resume and conducting reference checks to confirm the information provided by the candidate and gather additional information.
The aim is to ensure that the candidate’s qualifications and experiences align with the position’s requirements and to assess their suitability for the role.
Reference checks typically involve contacting the candidate’s former supervisors, colleagues, or acquaintances who can speak to their work performance, skills, and suitability for the job.
During these checks, we recommend asking the following questions:
- How would you describe the candidate’s organizational skills and attention to detail as a Secretary?
- Can you provide insights into the candidate’s communication and interpersonal skills, especially in a professional office setting?
- Did the candidate demonstrate adaptability and problem-solving abilities when faced with challenging situations or changes in the workplace?
These questions should provide valuable insights into the candidate’s professional capabilities and suitability for the Secretary position.
Additionally, consider asking the reference if they would rehire or recommend the candidate for a similar role, as this can clearly indicate their overall satisfaction with the candidate’s performance.
Tips for Avoiding Red Flags During the Hiring Process
To avoid red flags during the hiring process and ensure you select the right candidate, consider the following tips:
- Check Discretion and Confidentiality: Given the sensitive information handled by Secretaries, discuss their approach to confidentiality and discretion. Ask for examples of how they’ve handled confidential matters in previous roles.
- Verify Calendar and Scheduling Proficiency: Since managing appointments and meetings is a core responsibility, assess the candidate’s ability to maintain a well-organized calendar, schedule appointments, and coordinate meetings efficiently.
- Discuss Professionalism and Demeanor: Observe the candidate’s professionalism and demeanor during the interview. Red flags may include unprofessional behavior, lack of punctuality, or inappropriate attire.
- Limited Adaptability to Technology Changes: As office technology evolves, a Secretary should be adaptable to new tools and software. It may be a concern if the candidate seems resistant to learning new technology or lacks enthusiasm for digital tools.
- Inadequate Computer Skills: Given the reliance on technology in modern offices, insufficient computer skills can be a red flag. Ensure the candidate is comfortable using standard office software and can adapt to new tools.
Secretary Job Description
Most employees only scan the job posting. So, when writing a Secretary job description, avoid long and wordy phrases and instead use bullet points and shorter lines. Keeping this in mind can help you create a comprehensive job description:
Job Title: Secretary
Location: [Specify the location of the healthcare facility]
Job Type: [Full Time / Part Time]
Salary: [Salary / Competitive / DOE]
[Provide a brief overview of your company, including its mission, values, and the role it plays in its industry or community.]
We seek a competent, experienced Secretary to join our team and provide efficient administrative support. The ideal candidate will be organized, detail-oriented, and capable of handling various administrative tasks. As a Secretary, you will play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of our office and facilitating effective communication.
What You’ll Do:
- Provide comprehensive administrative support to ensure the efficient operation of the office. Maintain accurate and organized records, including filing, scanning, photocopying, and document retrieval.
- Manage internal and external communications, including drafting and editing correspondence, memos, and reports.
- Schedule and coordinate appointments, meetings, and conferences.
- Reserve meeting rooms, prepare meeting materials, and ensure the availability of all resources.
- Accurately enter and update data in databases and spreadsheets. Ensure data accuracy and completeness.
- Keep the office environment organized and tidy.
- Ensure that guests are directed to the appropriate personnel or meeting locations.
- Make travel arrangements for employees, including booking flights, accommodations, and transportation as needed.
- Prioritize tasks and responsibilities effectively to meet deadlines and promptly address urgent matters.
- Maintain strict confidentiality regarding sensitive information and documents.
- Utilize office software, email, and other relevant tools proficiently.
What You’ll Bring:
- Proven experience as a Secretary or in a similar administrative role.
- Proficiency in office software (e.g., Microsoft Office Suite).
- Strong organizational and multitasking skills.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal abilities.
- Attention to detail and high level of accuracy.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality.
- Adaptability and willingness to take on new tasks.
Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:
- High school diploma or equivalent (additional qualifications are a plus).
- 3 years of relevant administrative work experience.
- Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
- Proactive and positive attitude.
- Adaptability and willingness to learn and grow in the role.
Benefits and Perks:
- Competitive salary and compensation package.
- Health and dental insurance coverage.
- Retirement savings plan (e.g., 401(k)).
- Paid time off and holidays.
- Professional development opportunities.
- Employee assistance program.
- Friendly and collaborative work environment.
- Opportunities for advancement within the company.
How to Apply:
Interested candidates are invited to submit their resume and a cover letter highlighting their relevant skills and experiences to [email address]. Please use “Secretary Application – [Your Name]” as the subject line.
[Your Company Name] is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to apply.
Closing Date: [Insert closing date for applications]
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for further consideration. Thank you for considering a career as a Secretary with [Your Company Name].
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Secretary?
The cost of hiring a Secretary can vary depending on location, level of experience, and specific job responsibilities. Here are some cost considerations when hiring a Secretary:
There may be expenses related to recruitment, including job listings, background checks, and interview-related costs. Here’s a breakdown of the cost:
- Online Job Boards: Most job boards charge a fixed fee for using their platform and posting your job. For instance, the employer’s website, AdministrativeJobs, Nexxt charges $299 monthly for using their platform. Interestingly, AdminCrossing offers a free listing, and their paid plans start at $399 per month for three active job slots, whereas IAAP charges $399 for a 30-day job posting.
- Professional Associations: Most professional associations have job boards and directories where you can find qualified Secretaries, but you may have to pay a membership fee. For instance, ASAP offers a free membership fee, and their paid membership starts at $199 per year, while NALS membership starts at $85 per year. The annual membership of AEAP starts at $44.
- Recruitment Agencies: The cost of using a recruitment agency when hiring a Secretary can vary depending on several factors, including the agency’s fee structure, the level of service required, and the location of the agency. These agencies typically charge a placement fee, which is a percentage of the Secretary’s annual salary. This fee can range from 15% to 30% or more of the candidate’s first-year salary. For example, if the Secretary’s annual salary is $40,000, and the agency charges a 20% placement fee, the cost would be $8,000.
Salary and Benefits
The primary cost in hiring a Secretary is their monthly salary, which can vary based on location and experience. The average salary of a Secretary is $40,276 per year, which includes $2,053 per year of additional pay.
This additional pay depends upon the bonus and incentives received by the Secretary.
Apart from the base salary, you typically provide benefits such as health insurance, dental coverage, retirement plans, and paid time off. The cost of these benefits can vary based on the organization’s policies and the employee’s needs.
Technology and Equipment Costs
When hiring a Secretary, it’s crucial to provide the necessary technology and equipment to enable them to perform their duties efficiently. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the technology and equipment costs to consider:
- Software: Consider providing standard office software, such as Microsoft Office Suite, for Word Processing, spreadsheet management, and email communication.
- Communication Tools: Secretaries often need access to tools like office phones, smartphones, or headsets for efficient communication within and with external parties.
- Office Supplies: Stocking up on essential office supplies such as paper, ink, toner cartridges, pens, notepads, and other stationery items is a recurring cost. Office supplies keep the workspace running smoothly and ensure the Secretary can carry out administrative tasks effectively.
- Specialized Software: Depending on the industry or specific job requirements, there may be a need for specialized software or tools. For example, legal Secretaries might require legal document management software.