Handling an Interactive Administrative Assistant Interview
When you decide that your eCommerce business is ready for an administrative assistant, you need to find a good one. The traditional method for finding an administrative assistant involves a basic interview and perhaps a secondary interview. This is not a bad method getting answers, but it is easy for a front to be put up. It is also easy for the applicant to give you the answers you want to hear or to oversell or undersell different abilities.
For this reason, you may want to handle your interview in a slightly different manner by including an interactive component. Bear in mind that often times, the interactive component will throw off the applicant. She may be more nervous and prone to make simple mistakes. Allow for this, but do assess the skills demonstrated.
Demonstrating Prowess with a Program
If your business employs a particular eCommerce software, then you need to make sure that your administrative assistant knows how to use it. If he claims that he does, then sit him down and ask him to do some tasks on the software. Watch his responses and his confidence. It will make him nervous, but he should be able to handle the basics that you need.
You may want to make a list in advance of all the things that you want done or that you need knowledge of. Obviously, you should not have him doing actual work. It will be enough if he is just doing a demonstration or perhaps working on a blank project.
Follow up this demonstration with a request for information on other projects that the applicant has done with the program or similar programs. Look for specific details here. This will allow you to balance out what you have seen in the interactive component.
Organize This Space or Batch of Time
Once again, you will want to make sure that you aren’t having the applicant do actual work, as that gets into compensation violations. However, if you need someone who is good at organization, you may want to set up a sample space to organize within a limited period of time.
This could be a series of documents or a set of scattered tasks. Have materials available for the applicant to organize everything. Then allow her the freedom to organize it as she chooses. If she cannot do it in the time allowed, then have her tell you what she would do. This way you can look at the specific recommendations in light of the situation at hand.
Watch for Stress
If you need someone who is flexible and calm, then the interactive component of the interview can be quite helpful. If your applicant is not aware of this part of the process, it will catch him by surprise. Unless he is very good at hiding the truth, it will come out in this activity.
Perfection is not likely at this point, but someone who remains calm, gets the work done, and does not freak out is likely to be a better asset than one who panics.