They answered phones and greeted visitors. It was often considered an entry-level position with no experience required.
Times have changed and today's secretaries need more skills and background for the job. In essence, they can make your company run more smoothly or hinder its success.
It makes sense to spend more time and focus on recruiting the right person for the job.
Skills to Look for
Since the secretary is often the face of the company for vendors, customers and other people, he or she needs to have good communication skills.
This means being friendly, approachable and helpful. It also means the person must have the ability to provide answers to questions or know how to find them.
Technology is constantly changing and a secretary should be able to adapt.
He or she needs to know how to work with basic office equipment such as computers, printers and fax machines. It may also require experience with cloud storage, website management and other technology-based tasks.
A secretary must be organized.
From ordering office supplies that may be found from major retailers like Walmart to setting up appointments through online calendars, secretaries have a lot of responsibility.
They have to manage and handle multiple tasks at the same time and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
How to Recruit the Best Secretary
Finding the best person for the job is not as easy as running an ad in the newspaper.
If you want someone with experience and the skills you need, you may want to look in other places.
For instance, recruiting agencies may offer a good solution, especially if you are looking for a temp-to-hire person. It takes some of the responsibility off your shoulders.
Professional secretaries, also called administrative assistants in many industries, are posting their profiles on LinkedIn.
You can connect with them on the site and find a qualified candidate who might not even be looking for a job but is willing to consider your offer.
Take the time to look for the person that will be the right fit for the job.
As an essential part of the team, you want someone that is compatible with the company culture and other staff members. This person plays a key role in making the daily routines run smoothly.
Your secretary is also the person you go to when challenges come up, whether it is an impromptu meeting with a potential client or an unhappy customer.
No longer is a secretary just an entry-level position that can easily be replaced by a new employee.
Today's secretaries must have complex skill sets that contribute to the company's daily routines and overall success. He or she can help your company grow and thrive.
Know exactly what you need in a secretary for a business and make it a priority to find the right person for the position.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including opening a business and human resources.