How to Hire an Administrative Assistant

Does your growing business need an administrative assistant? Beyond triaging emails, organizing files, managing complex schedules and performing other routine clerical duties, an exceptional administrative assistant is a key member of any office environment, providing vital support to other team members and keeping your business running smoothly and efficiently.

Here are some tips to help you find great assistant candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Administrative Assistants searching for jobs on Indeed*

2,804,901

Job seekers that clicked administrative assistant jobs

27,948

Total number of employers with active jobs

55,023

Administrative assistant jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring?

  • Common salary in US: $15.88 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $7.25$30.05 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – March 2021

Common salary in US: $15.88 hourly

Why hire an administrative assistant?

Hiring an administrative assistant can help you get more done. When you delegate routine office tasks to an administrative assistant, you prevent crucial, time-consuming tasks—like invoicing, scanning, filing and scheduling—from falling through the cracks. This frees up time for you to focus on increasing revenues and growing your business.

Contributions of a great administrative assistant:

  • Expertly create and adjust schedules, book appointments and arrange meetings
  • Leverage software programs to develop crucial presentations, memos, letters, spreadsheets and reports
  • Resourcefully manage complex office situations with discretion and confidence
  • Communicate effectively with internal and external clients, answering and directing emails and phone calls
  • Maintain databases and paper or electronic filing systems to keep accurate records

Deciding between a full-time vs. freelance administrative assistant

Freelance administrative assistants are available for hire online for employers who are in need of temporary assistance, whether it’s due to an increased workload or an extra project. Hiring freelance assistants comes with a variety of benefits over full-time assistants, including lower hourly costs, savings on employee benefits and possibly higher productivity from an at-home worker. 

For employers who need an administrative assistant all the time, it may be cheaper to hire a full-time employee. This also allows the employer to hold their employee to a higher level of accountability than with a freelancer.

What are the types of administrative assistant?

The phrases “administrative assistant” and “administrative secretary” may be used interchangeably by employers, though assistants are often held to higher standards than secretaries. Here are some of the various jobs performed by people in this profession:

  • Administrative secretary: Answers and returns phone calls, prepares and organizes documents and files, and schedules appointments and meetings
  • Administrative assistant: Performs the same tasks as administrative secretaries and may also be involved in meetings and managing the office’s spending
  • Administrative specialist: Takes on the same responsibilities as administrative assistants and also conducts research, plans conferences and organizes communication in the office
  • Executive assistant: Plans events, arranges methods of travel, prepares and processes expense reports and keeps minutes for meetings
  • Legal and medical secretaries: Perform many of the same duties as administrative assistants, such as answering phones and scheduling meetings, but have a focus on a specific profession

Where to find administrative assistants

To find the right administrative assistant for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Post a help wanted sign: Posting a help wanted sign can attract the attention of members of your community who may be looking for a job and fit the requirements for the position.
  • Promote or hire from within: Conduct interviews with some of your current employees to find one who may meet the job’s requirements. Internal promotions may also be cheaper than hiring outside candidates. 
  • Search for experienced assistants: Interviewing candidates with prior experience in a similar position can reduce the time required to train a new employee. 
  • Post your job online: Try posting your administrative assistant job on Indeed to find and attract quality administrative assistant candidates.

What are the types of administrative assistant?

The phrases “administrative assistant” and “administrative secretary” may be used interchangeably by employers, though assistants are often held to higher standards than secretaries. Here are some of the various jobs performed by people in this profession:

  • Administrative secretary: Answers and returns phone calls, prepares and organizes documents and files, and schedules appointments and meetings
  • Administrative assistant: Performs the same tasks as administrative secretaries and may also be involved in meetings and managing the office’s spending
  • Administrative specialist: Takes on the same responsibilities as administrative assistants and also conducts research, plans conferences and organizes communication in the office
  • Executive assistant: Plans events, arranges methods of travel, prepares and processes expense reports and keeps minutes for meetings
  • Legal and medical secretaries: Perform many of the same duties as administrative assistants, such as answering phones and scheduling meetings, but have a focus on a specific profession

Writing an administrative assistant job description

A thoughtful description is important to finding qualified administrative assistant candidates. An administrative assistant job description should include a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your administrative assistant job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on administrative assistant jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • administrative assistant
  • office assistant
  • administrative
  • clerical
  • receptionist
  • data entry
  • assistant
  • secretary
  • executive assistant
  • front desk

Interviewing administrative assistant candidates

Exceptional administrative assistants will be confident answering questions about their past work experience, strengths and weaknesses, and career goals. Hire the right assistant for your company by asking meaningful interview questions that reveal a candidate’s qualifications, skills and unique personality traits that make them a great fit for the role.

Topics for assistant interview questions:

  • Dealing with interpersonal conflict
  • Office management systems, equipment and procedures
  • Customer service experience
  • Time management techniques

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of administrative assistant interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire an administrative assistant

What qualifies as administrative experience?

Candidates who have prior experience will have held positions with secretarial and clerical responsibilities, such as those involving communication and organization.

What is KPI for administrative assistants?

KPI stands for key performance indicators. They’re helpful to determine the quality of an administrative assistant’s work and can be used during the hiring process to find quality candidates.

Do I need a degree to be an administrative assistant?

Candidates for administrative assistant positions should hold at least a high school diploma or GED. It’s not uncommon for employers to require a minimum of an associate’s degree.

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