The LLoyd blog: hidden talent.

Administrative Professionals: Making Good Choices Whether You are an Employer or a Job Candidate

Fighter pilots have long extolled the importance of having a great “wingmate” at their side – someone who maintains situational awareness by safeguarding the environment and makes the flight both offensively and defensively more capable. So too, great leaders know the advantage of an Administrative Professional who can work in harmony with them to solve problems and bring an organization to new heights. It is rewarding for the leader who functions at a higher level and it is rewarding for the Admin who knows that s/he is making a meaningful difference to help the leader leverage talent and ideas. When this relationship is strong, it is a powerful combination and contributes to the growth of an organization or department.

But hiring a fabulous Admin is not an easy task and shouldn’t be dismissed because it is hiring for a “support” role. Having been in staffing for more than 30 years, I find making that perfect pairing is challenging, yet satisfying. I often describe what I do as akin to “Corporate Matchmaking.”   First you must know the skills and experience the candidate should have to make them successful, but being able to recognize these skills and the chance of a strong culture fit for both the organization and a good culture fit for the executive, is essential.

At LLoyd, we talk about “hiring DNA” which basically means not putting square pegs into round holes – being so blindsided by factors like salary, company name or skills, that the personality factory takes a back seat to the hiring decision.For more information on creating great hires, read LLoyd’s white paper on BUILDING A BETTER HIRE.



Finding the right candidate for the right employer requires some thoughtful questions from both sides of the hiring desk.

To make a great hire, here are some recommendations for Interviewing questions for the EMPLOYER to ask…

  • ”What do you know about our company? What business intelligence have you gathered about us that makes you think you would want to work here?
  • What is the core reason you’ve chosen to leave your present situation? Is there anything that would change your mind about leaving?
  • What type of office environment/relationship with your boss do you excel in? What do you need from your manager and what do you think the manager should expect from you?
  • Describe your work style? Do you do many things all at once or finish a task methodically? How do you arrive at the finish line when completing your tasks?
  • What is your level of expertise in MS Office Suite and how have you have applied these skills?
  • What about your knowledge of newer apps such as Trello, Workzone, Gsuite, AudioNote, Dropbox, Tripit, Hootsuite, WordPress, MailChimp, Slack or SlideShare?
  • How would your former bosses describe your ability to manage your responsibilities?
  • What qualities do you consider to be most important to being an effective Administrative Professional?
  • Why should you be chosen over another candidate? 
  • How do you relax or maintain a sense of balance/self when you’re not on the job? Who are you outside the office?


Admins need to be just as careful about accepting a position as companies are about hiring. Since this is a work collaboration where you are typically working closely with one or more people, you should also ask the right questions to learn if this is a situation that meets all your career needs.

Recommended Interview questions for the CANDIDATE to ask…

  • Why is the position open at this time? How long has this position been open? What have been the challenges in filling this opening?
  • What qualities and hard/soft skills does it take to be successful in this position?
  • Can you describe a typical day for me?
  • Who or What will be my biggest challenge in this position?
  • How soon are you looking to fill the position? When do you expect to make a decision? What is the next step?
  • How does the company view the administrative function?
  • What advice would you give a new employee?
  • If I were to ask past assistants in this role, what would they say is the best and worst part of this position?
  • Describe the work culture here. How long is the average employee tenure?
  • Are my duties all company related or is there an expectation to handle personal tasks for this manager – what are some examples?


Make Good Choices!


Barbara Cohen Farber is the Executive Director of LLoyd Administrative Talent.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.