Four common mistakes to avoid when hiring secretarial staff

Three people sitting around a table talking


Secretarial staff are absolutely crucial to a well-run office as they help support the entire team, allowing them to do their jobs effectively. If you’ve chosen a great candidate, their transition into the business will be seamless, and you’ll be left wondering what you did without them. If you’ve made a bad hire, however, it could leave you and your team exposed, impacting negatively on your reputation with clients and internal stakeholders. As the leading secretarial agency in London, these are five common mistakes we’ve seen during the hiring process.

Discounting the phone interview

A phone interview offers a great opportunity to streamline the recruitment process, however it’s also a quick way to screen out any potential candidates who don’t have a fantastic phone manner. A secretary will be answering the phones constantly, so you can use the conversation as an informal way to test this important skill. If you can’t understand them clearly, or feel they are too abrupt and not as friendly as you’d like, then they may not be the best fit for your business.

Not tailoring your questions

If you’re putting together questions for the interview, make sure to keep them open-ended as this will give you more comprehensive insights into their approach to situations. Some important questions when it comes to secretarial recruitment in London surround communication with clients, as this person will be speaking to people from around the world. Don’t be afraid to reference a tricky situation specific to your company and ask the candidate how they would handle it.  Whether it be a phone call to an angry customer, or an email to a senior individual, make sure that this person is suited to manage every situation.

Young modern men in smart casual wear shaking hands and smiling while working in the creative office

Failing to test their skills

Add a skills test to the recruitment process to ensure that their experience matches your requirements. This could include a proofreading and spelling test; a prioritisation test of emails or a to-do list; a diary management exercise; or a letter-formatting test. This will ensure you’re not left in the lurch by someone who interviewed fantastically but can’t deliver practically in the role.

Ceasing communication after the job offer

Some hiring managers believe their job is done when the candidate accepts their offer. This is untrue, especially when hiring secretarial staff. Some candidates will have a notice period of up to three months, so during this time it’s important to maintain communication and make initial introductions with the members of the team. Encourage them to take the new starter out for a coffee in the lead-up to their start date. Then, after they’ve started, put time in the diaries for a proper catch up with the remaining members of the office.

A great secretarial agency in London like Tiger can help you find your fantastic next hire. Get in touch today if you’d like to talk to our expert team about your requirements.

Author David Morel Tiger Recruitment Team

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