Blog What to expect from a great executive assistant

What to expect from a great executive assistant

May 5, 2023

5 min read

Proactiveness is what separates a good executive assistant from a great executive assistant.

Supporting a team of executives is not an easy task. It requires soft skills and trained abilities to succeed. This success would be impossible to achieve without proactiveness, which is a trait that we look for in all of our executive assistants. As this article is being written, we are currently working with +50 EAs who are continuously looking to exceed expectations, so we know from experience what to look for in a great executive assistant.

On a daily basis, proactiveness looks like someone who is consistently looking to provide a solution even if they are not given a specific direction by their managers. Below, you will find a list of 10 key differences to keep an eye out for, with detailed examples to understand what the trait looks like in practical situations.

Understanding what a great executive assistant looks like, comprehending why hiring one is a smart move, and figuring out ways how to find an EA for US startups is crucial for any team’s development.

Table of Contents:

  • Why hiring a great executive assistant is a smart move
  • 10 Key differences between a good EA and a great EA
  • How to find great EAs for US-startups

Why hiring a great executive assistant is a smart move

In a competitive, cost-saving world, our gut reaction to hiring your next executive assistant might be to say no without giving it much thought. We’re here to tell you that hiring a great executive assistant is actually a smart move that will change your leadership for the better.

Over 60% of startups fail due to misalignment from the team of founders. This staggering statistic compels us to understand how crucial it is to not just perform, but also manage. In this sense, founders and executives can benefit from having an EA that clears their schedule so that they can have the time to communicate effectively. Besides meeting regularly to discuss important issues, effective communication also requires abilities and techniques in async communication that EAs are skilled in.

Executive assistants are strong thinkers and if they’re also proactive, can help a team of founders to find solutions to potential problems that executives might have visibility on because they are already overly engaged.

Misaligned teams also result from inefficient team management, something that many fast-growing companies struggle with. An EA can also give support in this area like organizing and delivering gifts or celebrations for team members, and in some cases, a company can rely on an EA for HR recruiting and onboarding processes.

Hiring a great EA is a smart move, and even smarter if you can do it fast. Having an executive assistant is a smart move as long as the recruiting, hiring, training, and onboarding process doesn’t take too long. The usual time from zero to onboarded is +3 months, which can make the process too time-consuming. This is why Viva offers a < 24-hour onboarding process of fully trained executive assistants.

10 Key differences between a good EA and a great EA

We’ve built this comparison table with the objective of encouraging you to raise your standards when hiring an executive assistant and to have visibility on what greatness looks like. Having a good executive assistant is a smart move, but hiring a great executive assistant is undoubtedly superior. The traits are divided into soft skills and tasks specific, to help readers understand them more easily.

Soft skills of a great executive assistant

Good EA vs great executive assistant

Task-oriented skills of a great executive assistant

A good ea vs a great executive assistant

Just as you would with any other hire, executive assistants should be held to high standards. Why? Because they are a crucial team member working directly with executives, carrying through plans that promote productivity. Also, a mediocre executive assistant is worse for your schedule than not having any management at all. In the end, an executive assistant who is not good at their job gives you more to do instead of solving problems, leaving you with a load of work that the EA should be accountable for.

Forbes magazine states that “It’s extremely hard to hire a great assistant these days. Consider yourself lucky if you happen to come across one of these unicorns.”

Sometimes we may think that the most difficult part about hiring an EA is having a convincing enough argument or allocating the cost. Actually, it’s about finding that “unicorn”: a great executive assistant. Viva specializes in finding these unicorn executive assistants to work with teams across the United States, making sure that you are working with EAs that proactively seek to give value to the team.

How to find the best executive assistants for startups in the US

As stated above, strong candidates are not easy to find. Besides being time-consuming, the recruitment process depends on well-proven vetting processes that guarantee success. The good news is that there are great executive assistants out there who want to give a great use to their many talents and skills. These are success-driven individuals who are looking for fast-paced growth, just like you.

Our recommendation is to start your search at Viva. Instead of going through an arduous hiring process, executive assistants at Viva have been carefully vetted, received intense training, and can be onboarded in <24 hours.

Being smart about the use of your time and your budget resonates completely with hiring top-level professionals that will change the way that you do work for the better.

Book a call to find out more.

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