Need to hire an assistant? Here are a few guidelines before you do.
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Before you post a help wanted ad:
1. Make a list of very specific tasks that would have to be done by your new assistant. (Filing? Answering emails? Other?)
2. Talk to a payroll service. They make paychecks and taxes much, much easier. Ask them what paperwork you’ll need to file and what paperwork you’ll need for your new employee.
3. Prepare the work space. If you have an office, be sure you have a desk ready-to-go with a computer on it. Make it neat and inviting. Include some brand new general office supplies. (People tend to feel uncomfortable at an interview if it seems like you don’t have a place for them.)
4. Write down your plan for hours, scheduling, and benefits. Will you offer paid vacation? How much? How about unpaid vacation? How many hours a week would you like? Are you flexible? Are you going to offer Health Insurance? How much can you afford to pay? How often will you give raises?
Before the interview:
1. When you look for someone, start by searching word-of-mouth. Friends of friends can be the best employees, if they are qualified and hard-working.
2. If you post an ad to Craigslist, be prepared for a wild mix of candidates. Some will be qualified. Others will not. Some will be crazy. Some might be a good fit.
3. Give as much info in your job description as you possibly can. Especially for a vague position like “assistant.” Describe what, specifically, the job will entail. When posting the ad, I list the approximate starting pay rate so candidates know what to expect before an interview.
4. Write your interview questions. In my opinion, the best interviews are conversations, not “gotcha” questions. You’re searching for someone with the office skills you need, and a personality you won’t mind being around on a regular basis.
After the interview:
1. Offer the job via phone. Make your new employee feel welcome and excited to be hired.
2. Training is important. The best employees are often the ones you’ve spent the most time training. They’ll do well if you’re clear about your needs. If you “just let them figure it out themselves” they probably won’t do things the way you like them done.