Proficient in Microsoft Office, check. Experienced in calendar management, check. Ability to handle expense reports and travel arrangements, check and check.
If you are an administrative professional, possessing the majority of the skills listed above (or the ability to perform other basic admin functions) usually means you have a good chance of landing an interview for a job. However, while these technical skills are certainly marketable and will help you catch the eye of a potential employer, they won’t necessarily secure you the job. Why? According to Komal Shah, a Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division, an increasing number of employers are putting more weight on a candidate’s personality fit when making a hiring decision.
“A lot of candidates possess the right technical skills for a given job, but it’s much more difficult to find the right cultural fit for an organization, and more importantly, the team they will be supporting,” comments Komal. “Ultimately, it’s the candidate’s personality that will allow them to be successful in the role, and to find that fit, employers are changing the way they approach the hiring process.”
For office support professionals looking for their next job, this means 3 things:
1. Be prepared for new interview techniques:
As employers put more emphasis on personality fit, they are starting to change the way they interview. In order to find the right fit, results from our 2015 Regional Hiring Outlook have found that employers are asking a new set of questions: behavioral-based questions and personality-focused questions. As a result, office support professionals should put just as much interview prep into answering questions aimed at getting to know their personality as they would for questions about their experience and technical skills.
2. Emphasize your soft skills:
Though your technical skills are certainly important to discuss on an interview, the hiring manager will be looking out for signs that you would work well with the team or executive you will be supporting. To show employers that you’re the right fit, it’s important highlight any of the soft skills and personality traits (i.e. initiative/drive, interpersonal communication skills, team player, analytical thinking skills) that have allowed you to become successful in your career and overcome challenges.
3. Be open to temporary assignments:
In order to ensure a new hire is the right fit before making a longer-term commitment, more and more employers are utilizing temporary-to-permanent hiring strategies. “What this essentially means is that organizations are hiring admin professionals on a probationary basis to filter out candidates who are not a fit for the role – allowing them to have more time and resources to devote to those who are a good match and are offered full-time positions,” explains Komal. “However, as a job seeker you derive the same benefits from taking on a temporary or temporary-to-permanent assignment. Not only do you get the opportunity to gain experience at different work environments and utilize different skills, but you also get the chance to ensure the employer meets your needs and is a good fit for your long-term career goals before accepting a more permanent position.” With this in mind, and the fact that the number of temporary assignments available in the marketplace is quickly growing, now is the perfect time to start looking into these types of opportunities.
If you are planning on kick-starting your job search this year, these tips will give you the tools you need to land yourself a new position. Just remember, to find the best opportunity, all you need to do is be yourself!