Simple Steps for Hiring Top Administrative Talent

Just like candidate resumes can look the same for recruiters, many listings for admin positions come across as “same job, different company.”

These generic and cut and paste sort of descriptions may yield candidates, but they fail to really speak to your company culture, what it takes to succeed in the role and at an employer and why top administrative talent should want to work for you instead of the competition.

Every new hire can create competitive advantage, and the thing about entry level talent is, you’re looking largely for potential – which means speaking not what candidates can do for you, but what you can do for the candidate, both in the short term and as a potential career destination.

Aspirational language, unique messaging and a differentiated employer brand will inevitably lead to better matches – and better hires – than the cut and paste approach too many employers currently take when recruiting for administrative roles.

Use Skills To Screen Out Candidates 

In addition to attracting higher quality applicants, another simple step for more effective administrative hiring is to include more specific minimum requirements for the role and adding as many prerequisites as you think are required to get the talent you really want, not simply one who checks the few boxes required in most employers’ administrative job postings.

Obviously, candidates will continue to apply for positions whether or not they’re qualified, but for the most part, this is an easy tactic for reducing overall volume by increasing the criteria for which candidates must self select. More requirements also means resume screening and candidate selection can be much more streamlined and much less subjective, reducing time to fill while also increasing quality of hire.

There is a fine line here between too few and too many requirements, however, so if you notice that after adding additional requirements or skills that there’s a noticeable drop off in applicants, or if there just isn’t a high enough supply of applicants to keep pace with hiring demand, you can always scale back your self-imposed barriers to entry as needed.

Chances are, though, if you’re realistic, that’s not going to be required.

It’s All in the Title 

There are a million openings (literally) for “administrative assistants” (or some vanilla variation) posted every year. That’s why a simple way to stand out from the competition is to consider giving these positions a more eye-catching – and enticing – job title.

Creativity can go a long way here, but make sure it’s not too grandiose or misleading – unless you’re a retail bank, it’s not realistic to advertise for entry level roles with VP type of titles.

You also do not want to trick, fool or mislead your candidates as to the fact that the role, ultimately, requires the same sort of administrative work as positions with more mainstream sorts of titles. Instead, you want to appeal to more highly skilled applicants, or those who desire a company with opportunities for career growth and want more than just another job.

The best way to do this is by choosing job titles that align with internal career paths or professional job levels within your company, and providing a clear picture of where these jobs fall within the greater organizational hierarchy (and how to climb the ladder).

The Best of Both Worlds

Instead of simply hiring a dedicated admin, many companies have found success in hybridizing these support roles with other job openings. This is effectively killing two birds with one stone if done right, meeting multiple organizational needs with a single hire.

Consider distributing many of the administrative responsibilities you’d assign to a dedicated headcount more evenly amongst your current team; while this can often require a little bit of heavy lifting to reorganize your employees’ workforce and workload, you’re able to ensure that the most critical administrative tasks and duties are deputized to employees you already trust and know are qualified to handle them.

If many of these duties can be delegated or minimized for your new hire, you may be able to change the candidate profile towards a higher impact, higher qualified candidate who brings more to the table than someone whose job duties are restricted to support or admin duties.

Make sure to ask your current team what their greatest needs are in a new hire, and whether or not those supersede their willingness to take on more administrative work in order to facilitate filling these capability gaps. You’ll be surprised how seldom you’ll get any pushback from workers on a trade off that almost always pays direct dividends for everyone in the department.

Word of Mouth Matters the Most

It’s surprising that no matter how crowded or competitive the online recruitment marketing industry has become, almost80% of job openings are actually never even posted to the public. Businesses instead rely heavily on professional networks and personal recommendations to fill open roles, which means for these mostly SMB employers, word of mouth is critical for recruiting success.

As any experienced recruiter knows, referrals and personal recommendations yield higher quality, more qualified candidates than simply posting a job and praying for the best. This goes for administrative positions, too; always make sure to ask your current employees for referrals and reach out to your network for recommendations before opening the online floodgates.

Most of the time, you’ll find you don’t have to even post a position to find the right fit for any administrative role – assuming you can make word of mouth work for you. If you can, it’s the most powerful message any employer can send – and the most likely to resonate with the kind of administrative candidates your company is looking for.