For the CMO, Team Management

What to Look for in a Marketing Executive Assistant

Hiring a marketing executive assistant can give a busy CMO the bandwidth needed to focus on the most strategic parts of the job. But what background, experience, and skills are essential for your right-hand person?

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The CMO of a Fortune 500 company recently said at a networking event that his most valued colleague, and most important asset in getting his job done, was his executive assistant (EA). For the busy CMO, having a trusted assistant can help you stay organized, provide a sounding board, and provide extensive capacity to your ability to lead your marketing department. If it’s time to hire an executive assistant, what should you look for in a candidate?

Strong administrative skills: Perhaps, first and foremost, it’s important to define—and prioritize—what strong administrative skills look like for this position. The number one oversight executives make when hiring an assistant is prioritizing other areas, such as marketing knowledge or personal fit. These are important, but at its heart an EA job is administrative in nature. Think about what tasks you’ll delegate to this person, such as calendar management, correspondence, travel arrangements, or event management. With these responsibilities in mind, it’s possible to make sure candidates have the right skills to get the job done.

Personal and team rapport: In order to be an effective assistant, it’s essential that the person be able to develop the right rapport with both you and your team. If you’re brisk and efficient or warm and informal, hire someone who complements that work style. Think beyond your own needs to your team fit. Assistants often handle sensitive situations and interact with your most important relationships. Consider those dynamics when evaluating candidates and ensure you’re hiring someone that you, your most important colleagues, and your valued clients will be comfortable interacting with.

Interest in marketing: Working in marketing has unique requirements. From the ability to track the latest technology to strong writing skills, an interest in or familiarity with marketing can give a candidate an important edge. Ultimately, your executive assistant may continue to work in the administrative field, but understanding the demands of marketing helps them integrate seamlessly into your workflow.

Complementary skills: Where do you need the most help? This question can help prioritize the way you vet candidates. One executive I spoke with recently needed assistance managing her social media accounts. Hiring an assistant with the necessary skills allowed her to delegate this important task and other related duties. Other skills that might be useful include a good writing ability, comfort in managing technology, conducting online research, and handling e-mail or correspondence.

An executive assistant can help you get more done and provide critical support during your busiest times. Hiring an EA for the marketing department requires balancing a variety of factors, from administrative skills to an understanding of the discipline. Take the time to design the right position, and recruit an experienced and talented individual who can help you achieve your goals.