Are all APs pretty much the same? No! There are actually several types of APs who can specialize in different areas and skill sets.
For any executive or business owner looking for their own administrative professional, we’d always recommend taking a closer look at the type of AP that will best suit your needs. When you are matched with the right type, they “get” you, engage well, and become your “wizard behind the curtain.”
Let’s look at a few different administrative professional types and how they might help you:
Types of administrative professionals
Which of these administrative professionals sounds like the one you need?
Traditional administrative professionals
Traditional administrative professionals (APs) are finely tuned to the world of details, facts, and figures, and thrive when left to their own devices. With a strongly developed sense of dependability, traditional APs are willing to take on large workloads under their own personal supervision.
Enthusiastic about constructing a well-defined process, traditional APs welcome and accept freely any constructive criticism a client might have and will often identify trouble spots long before anyone else notices.
Director administrative professionals (APs) are compassionate and energetic communicators with an adaptable nature, comfortable in one-on-one relationships and organizing larger-scale projects.
Highly attuned to the needs and feelings of the client, director APs are able to find out what is most important to the client and can find a way to facilitate that to great effect. Director APs thrive in situations with many moving parts and are the perfect person to become a hub for multiple lines of communication.
Consultant administrative professionals (APs) are intelligent and quick-witted thinkers with in-depth knowledge of their chosen fields, combining insight with daring thinking. Precise and clear communicators, Consultant APs will always let you know the best possible path to progress.
Deeply fond of working on tricky projects, consultant APs will be quite content to pick up those “impossible” tasks you have and will keep cracking away at them until they find a solution.
Of course, you can’t always neatly label every AP under one “type.” Some people are a cross between these types, so when you’re deciding who you need, consider the traits that are the most important. Do you need someone who mostly works on administrative basics, or do you need someone capable of a strategic role?
Find the right personality fit
One of the keys to working successfully with an administrative professional is to actively engage with them. One of the keys to engaging well is to find the right personality fit…
The nature of the AP role means that they should be working closely with you every day. You could argue that personality fit is THE most important consideration because without it, you simply won’t gel. The “ideal” fit will mean working harmoniously and developing a great understanding for how to communicate and work effectively.
When we hire APs onto the Worxbee team, we spend a lot of time during the hiring process on determining personality type and how the candidate prefers to work. Skill set is obviously very important, but it’s difficult for people with clashing personalities to work well together!
For example, sometimes you get the action-focused people who are full of energy and snap into work at a moment’s notice. On the other end, you have people who prefer to examine a problem carefully from all angles. If you’re a high-energy leader, you might be frustrated by someone who doesn’t match your energy. On the other hand, you might deliberately look for someone who takes a more considerate approach in order to balance your dominant traits. That’s why it’s important to give thought to your own personality and what you need to make a good match.
Define your personality needs
Here are some questions to consider when you’re defining AP personality needs:
- What drives me at work?
- What are my values and personality traits?
- What do I value in the people I work with?
- What personality type/s can I definitely NOT work with?
- What are examples of the types of people I usually work well with?
- What are some keywords I’d use to describe my personality?
Some companies hire an administrative professional to work with more than one manager. If this is the case, collaborate and find common ground on what you value in terms of personality.
Define cultural fit
Cultural fit is about your company as a whole, rather than just the individual. Administrative professionals are often the face of the company to vendors, clients, or any other organizations - it’s important that they’re representing your company in a way that’s congruent with your values.
The first step is to have a clear definition of your company culture. What are your core values, mission, and goals? How do you represent the company on your website or in other media? What do you expect of your employees? What is your organizational structure like? Do you have a clear hierarchy? Are you formal, casual, or somewhere in-between?
One thing to remember is that the AP is looking for a good cultural and personality fit too. No one wants to figure out in the first weeks on the job that working together isn’t a good fit after all. Doing the pre-work to define what cultural and personality fit means is of benefit to both you as the client and to the prospective AP.
Engage with your AP
When you engage well with an administrative professional, they truly become the “wizard behind the curtain” - the person you quickly find you can’t do without because they just “know” what you’re thinking, sometimes even before you’ve thought it!
If you’ve hired for AP type and personality type, the next ingredient for a great working relationship is to make sure you are set up to engage effectively. Know your preferred communication style and channels, let your AP know, and make sure they understand how they can get hold of you when they need to. We find having good communication tools and systems in place is key, as well as being clear about how and when to communicate.
Define and communicate expectations from the beginning. APs might be wizards, but they aren’t mind-readers! Let them know your hopes, goals, and expectations; give them as much context as possible.
Get help with hiring the right AP
We’ve just touched the surface of what it takes to find the right type of administrative professional to work with you. Hiring success comes down to a lot of time and effort spent on defining who you need, then going out and finding them!
Of course, many businesses just don’t have the time or resources to find the best APs on their own, and that’s where a company like Worxbee comes in. We have years of experience in the AP field and scour for the best administrative professionals, matching them by skills and personality to the right clients.
We can help you to find your own “wizard behind the curtain!” Talk to us today about how we can help you.