Everyone says their workplace is fast-paced right? But as a recruiter, I’ve placed candidates in busy offices that would make the typical employee’s head spin.
Sometimes, the fast pace is directed by the leadership team and company culture. They’re decisive and they act quickly on those decisions.
Otherwise, it’s a fast pace as directed by the industry. Industries such as entertainment, events industry, foreign exchange trading, logistics, air traffic and others are always hectic due to the very nature of the organisation.
Recently, I met an executive who brought a new meaning to fast-paced. A typical week for this executive included:
Not to mention numerous projects, deadlines and pressures on a daily basis.
If the candidate confidently reassures you they are great under pressure, how do you really know? It’s only till their feet are under the desk that you find out for sure how they cope. It’s a combination of four factors:
Some organisations seek extensive industry experience, while others focus on attitude and personality. There’s no wrong or right here, but for a fast-paced workplace there are a few benefits to industry experience that will help your EA settle into the role:
When recruiting for a fast-paced environment, there are a few questions you can ask to determine how the candidate truly handles high-pressure workplaces. If you simply ask the question: can you handle it? Be assured you’ll hear a resounding ‘yes.’ So, you need to ask a few left-of-centre questions to determine the true nature of the candidate.
Try questions such as:
If the candidate has experience in a busy workplace, they’re much more likely to succeed and even thrive in your fast-paced environment. The previous experience listing on the applicant’s CV may not give much away about the nature of the workplace. So, the best way to find out is to speak to referees. It’s an important element of the process that can often be overlooked or left till the final stages. You can ask referees about the workplace to determine if it has a similar pace to your own. Also asking about the CEO or c-suite executive they worked for, to determine if they were demanding, frenetic and busy.
Understanding why the candidate left their previous role is important too. If they left because they felt the business was chaotic or overwhelmingly busy, then perhaps they’re not the right fit for your position. Understanding the difference between a conducive fast pace and a stress-inducing hectic environment is key here too.
Of course, all EA position descriptions call for strong organisation skills. But in a fast-paced environment, it’s crucial. It’s also important to look for a decisive character. In a busy office, your EA will need to make quick decisions without wavering.
The skillset you should be looking for will include:
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