Take Advantage of Your Assistant's Opinion When Hiring

By Lombardo, Sam | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 21, 2000 | Go to article overview

Take Advantage of Your Assistant's Opinion When Hiring


Lombardo, Sam, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Do you regularly ask your assistant for his or her feedback on job applicants you interview? If not, this may be a good time to start.

Increasingly, companies are finding that support staff can offer eye-opening observations about prospective hires. In fact, in a recent survey of executives commissioned by our company, 91 percent of respondents said they consider their assistant's opinion an important factor in the employee selection process -- up from 60 percent five years ago.

It's natural that administrative professionals have acquired more hiring clout. Over the years, their jobs have grown increasingly sophisticated and often involve managing projects, coordinating events and interfacing with employees at all levels.

This integral role enables them to provide valuable opinions on a candidate's potential fit with the company. They may also possess knowledge of a prospective hire's pre- and post-interview behavior that can help fill in the picture. To elicit the most accurate information from you assistant, consider these guidelines:

Encourage a candid conversation: When asking administrative professionals for their opinions on prospective hires, make it clear that you're looking for honesty, not accord. Let your assistant know that all comments don't have to be positive ones, nor are you seeking only negative impressions. You should also refrain from opening the discussion with a statement that might bias your employee's response.

For example, by saying, "I really liked that candidate. What did you think?" you may compel your assistant to agree -- no matter how he or she really feels. Instead, behave impartially, and refrain from commenting on opinions as they are delivered. By agreeing or disagreeing with these observations, you may inadvertently prompt your assistant to express a point of view that mirrors your own rather than his or her honest reflections.

Ask specific questions: When discussing a prospective hire, try to zero in on the specifics. Asking targeted questions will help your assistant provide the most relevant information. Here are a few suggestions:

How did the candidate spend his or her time before the interview?

The response to this question can be very telling. Did the candidate review company literature prior to your meeting or engage in some other professional behavior, or was the waiting period spent having a loud cell phone conversation, eating or engaging in some other type of disruptive activity? …

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Take Advantage of Your Assistant's Opinion When Hiring
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