The Benefits of Hiring An Executive Assistant
15 March 2017
Hiring an excellent Executive Assistant can be an entirely essential bit of recruitment work. The modern EA does so much more than any stereotypical notions of a PA – they can really keep your business ticking over.
They can lead teams, head up senior management meetings and make really difficult strategic decisions. Sure, they can also answer your emails and maybe pick up your lunch but they are equipped to take on much more than this.
Therefore, hiring someone who really understands the demands of the role and can fulfill them, can transform your day-to-day.
We spoke with Denise Irvine, a recently placed Executive Assistant within Scottish Golf. She is a stellar example of how a EA can be a real asset to a business. Her career has taken her to the Rio Olympics and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
She told us that a good Executive Assistant has to be willing to work hard and push themselves – and that’s how they will become a valuable asset to any Executive and, indeed, a business.
“It’s all about you as a person – how much you’re willing to commit in terms of the level of work. This job has so many different aspects to it. You’re really working within a broad spectrum of the business: You can become involved in so many different levels of operation.
“You have to be a strategic thinker and a planner to handle being an Executive Assistant. It’s much more like being a Project Manager and many people do develop in to a more operational role.
“You also have to be capable of networking. Not just for yourself, but to be a good representative for your Executive.”
Denise was placed in her current role by our Managing Consultant, Jackie MacGregor. Jackie has over fourteen years recruitment experience to her name and knew immediately that Denise would be an outstanding Executive Assistant for Scottish Golf.
She said: “Not only was this a very exciting role to recruit for, it was also a very unique requirement. Every EA role we work on is unique, it isn't just about the skills and experience, but about the individuals and their attitude, believes and personality.
“Denise has an enviable CV, her experience made her top of the shortlist, however it was her commercial awareness and her ability to understand what makes Scottish Golf tick that made her stand out.
“And let’s not forget her tenacity - she made sure she knew everything about the Senior Exec Team and the business before each interview. She really did her homework.”
It was Jackie’s experience that enabled her to not only understand what this modern role means to a business, but to put forward only the very best candidates that she knows will make a success of the position.
She continued: “A top Executive Assistant is an extension of the team or individual they are working with. They are always one step ahead and prepared for all eventualities, and more often than not they know the person they are working with better that that individual knows themselves. Building that relationship with whoever they are supporting is crucial to get the best out of your EA.”
What Denise and Jackie also made clear is that there is a distinct difference between the traditional notion of a PA and this more modern, hands-on role.
Denise said: “I can lead senior management meetings or make decisions about any problems they may present to me. I’m also involved in planning, budgeting and strategic thinking. I am very much involved in policies and procedures. If I see something that I can put together and implement to make the business better, there is a level of trust that I am equipped to do that.”
Jackie added: “Every PA and Executive Assistant role is different. Whilst on paper the responsibilities are similar, each role has its own nuances and it is these factors that help us to ensure we recruit the right person. This certainly isn't a typical role.
“Scottish Golf are entering a very exciting time for the business, they are creating strong foundations for the future of the golf and Denise really shared this passion and drive with the CEO, Blane Dodds. Denise is bringing a lot of her experiences to the role and she will, without doubt, make this role her own.”
One thing is clear: No matter what stage your business is at, having an experienced and organised Executive Assistant in your team can prove invaluable. The level of support and strategic thinking that an EA brings with them is an essential asset for any company. It goes way beyond making teas and coffees and popping a few meetings in a diary, as Denise proves.
If you are interested in recruiting a highly skilled and knowledgeable Executive Assistant, get in touch with Jackie MacGregor by clicking here.
Written By Mary Palmer