How to Hire a Secretary

Does your growing business need a secretary? Beyond providing standard administrative assistance, secretaries serve vital roles within an office setting.

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

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Secretaries searching for jobs on Indeed*

248,744  

Job seekers that clicked secretary jobs

1,409

Total number of employers with active secretary jobs

2,705       

Secretary jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring secretary?

  • Common salary in US: $13.94 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $7.25$26.75 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, secretary jobs in the US are moderately competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 92 job seekers per secretary job.

Why hire a secretary?

A secretary is an essential role to fill in nearly every industry. Because secretaries can wear many hats, their presence is beneficial for companies of all sizes. Their flexibility and multifaceted professionalism make a great secretary invaluable.

• Improve office procedures
• Ensure filing of documents
• Develop organized procedures for office workflow

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance secretary

When you need a secretary, you have the option of hiring one full-time or freelance. Full-time secretaries work well when you need support consistently each week, such as a business that regularly receives phone calls and walk-in clients during normal business hours. A full-time employee typically works the same schedule and knows the ins and outs of your business.

If you only require a small amount of administrative support or have inconsistent needs for a secretary, hiring a freelance secretary helps fill those irregular needs. Seasonal businesses might need extra help during the busy season, which is an ideal time to bring in a contractor secretary. For example, an accountant might require an additional secretary only during tax season to handle increased customer calls and check in clients for tax appointments.

What are the ranks of secretaries?

Some organizations have multiple secretaries with different ranks. The hierarchy often determines the responsibilities of each secretary and helps the office run efficiently, with each person handling specific tasks. The duties of each rank can vary between organizations based on specific needs and the titles they decide to assign. Here are some common ranks of secretaries:

  • Secretary: This is an entry-level position responsible for filing, data entry, answering phones, greeting clients and handling other tasks as assigned. Specific duties often vary by organization, with secretaries typically supporting the entire office.
  • Administrative assistant or secretary: The administrative assistant title is often used interchangeably with secretary. This role sometimes has more responsibilities than a secretary, such as billing, budgeting and meeting coordination.
  • Executive assistant or secretary: An executive assistant provides support to one or more managers or executives, handling their administrative duties, including scheduling, communications, travel planning, meeting coordination and other assigned tasks. 
  • Office manager: This position handles the overall office operation, ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently. Office managers might supervise other secretaries and handle managerial tasks, such as hiring, disciplinary action and dispute resolution.

Where to find secretaries

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

  • Hire from within. Promote a clerk or other entry-level employee to a secretary role, or promote a current secretary to an administrative assistant, executive assistant or office manager position.
  • Ask your employees. Encourage your employees to refer someone with secretarial skills. If your employees have high job satisfaction, they’re more likely to recommend your company to people they know.
  • Partner with community colleges. Many secretaries enter the field with only a high school diploma, but some take courses at community colleges, especially for specialty fields, such as legal or medical secretaries. Post flyers on campus or develop relationships with instructors at a local college to recruit highly qualified secretaries.
  • Post your job online: Try posting your secretary job on Indeed to find and attract quality secretary candidates.

What are the ranks of secretaries?

Some organizations have multiple secretaries with different ranks. The hierarchy often determines the responsibilities of each secretary and helps the office run efficiently, with each person handling specific tasks. The duties of each rank can vary between organizations based on specific needs and the titles they decide to assign. Here are some common ranks of secretaries:

  • Secretary: This is an entry-level position responsible for filing, data entry, answering phones, greeting clients and handling other tasks as assigned. Specific duties often vary by organization, with secretaries typically supporting the entire office.
  • Administrative assistant or secretary: The administrative assistant title is often used interchangeably with secretary. This role sometimes has more responsibilities than a secretary, such as billing, budgeting and meeting coordination.
  • Executive assistant or secretary: An executive assistant provides support to one or more managers or executives, handling their administrative duties, including scheduling, communications, travel planning, meeting coordination and other assigned tasks. 
  • Office manager: This position handles the overall office operation, ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently. Office managers might supervise other secretaries and handle managerial tasks, such as hiring, disciplinary action and dispute resolution.

Writing a secretary job description

A thoughtful description is important for finding qualified secretary candidates. A secretary job description includes 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 secretary 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 secretary jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Administrative assistant
  • Office assistant
  • Secretary
  • Clerical
  • Administrative
  • Front desk
  • Assistant
  • Secretary receptionist
  • Government
  • School district

Interviewing secretary candidates

Strong candidates for secretary positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

• Maintaining accuracy of documents and records
• Typing acumen
• How they juggle many tasks at once

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

FAQs about how to hire a secretary

What's an alternative to hiring a secretary?

Secretaries handle paperwork, scheduling and other administrative tasks for everyone in the office. If you don’t have enough duties for a full-time secretary, you might have everyone else do their own paperwork and help out with answering phones and greeting walk-in clients. This option can spread your employees thin and keep them from their main work responsibilities, however. Some businesses use professional answering services to handle incoming phone calls.

How do I keep my secretary happy?

Treat your secretary as a crucial part of the team, not just a helper who’s there to do whatever you ask. Be polite to your secretary, and show appreciation for how much your secretary does to keep the business running smoothly. Provide the proper tools and equipment to allow your secretary to do the job well and efficiently.

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