An office manager is a pillar in most companies. This position is a true Jack or Jill of-all-trades and go-to for anyone and everyone for efficient and effective problem solving. Finding the right candidate to fill your office manager role can be a godsend, finding the wrong candidate can leave major gaps in your business operations.
The key is that hiring the right office manager doesn’t always come down to experience, as much as it does traits.
Here are 5 important skills and qualities to look for when hiring an officer manager:
1. Omniscient awareness
If you can find a candidate with eyes in the back of their head, you should probably hire them on the spot. Until one comes around, you should at least settle for someone with exceptional intuition and awareness. Awareness for an office manager should be intuitive, regardless of how complex the workday gets. Office managers need to ensure that the office is operating efficiently, professionally and accurately. This requires a constant understanding of what all employees/customers are doing, where deadlines are at and what extraneous surprises occur.
· Attention to detail
· Lateral thinking
· Proactive recognition
· Effective workflow and employee management
· Time management
· Task prioritization
2. Endless adaptability
Few job descriptions are longer than officer managers’. Day to day, even hour to hour, an office manager may be required to wear a dozen different hats for their companies. All while maintaining their composure. The best office managers are able to provide scheduling support, marketing advice and execution, bookkeeping, HR support and even close a sale in a given day or week. Lean on hiring a candidate that displays signs of adaptability.
Get to know each candidate’s resume intimately. How versatile is this candidate’s experience? How many tasks has this candidate had to juggle at once for a previous employer?
Adaptability can be a sign that a candidate has these attributes:
· Forward thinking
· Quick learner
· Great researcher
· Problem solver
· Multi-talented to handle the endless tasks required by office managers
3. Unwavering stability
When everything else seems disorganized and chaotic, an office manager needs to be a source of stability. During busy seasons, your office manager should ensure that your team doesn’t feel overwhelmed and stays on task. If a conflict arises between coworkers or customers, the office manager should be the first person to step in and deescalate the situation.
You never know what the day may bring, but knowing that your office manager is a strong, stable individual will help you feel that any surprises will be handled the right way. Search for candidates that display stability in the way that they hold themselves and speak. Speaking with previous employers/references is also a great way to reveal how consistent and stable a candidate is.
Stable candidates also tend to do well with these aspects of work:
· Conflict resolution
· Composed and professional
· Consistent productivity
4. Technical savvy
POS systems, fax machines, printers, CRM software, emails, computers, tablets, etc. The list of technology that is required in modern business operations goes on and on. It’s the office manager’s responsibility to ensure productivity remains consistent and this requires a high degree of technical savviness or at least, ingenuity and a commitment to solving problems. If the office manager is the go-to for answers to your employees’ questions, they should be the first one to learn new technology, so that they can teach their coworkers.
Candidates don’t need to have experience with your specific systems and processes if they can display a natural knack for technology. Consider how candidates talk about technology in their previous experiences. If it’s with chagrin and frustration, you may want to keep looking.
If a candidate is technically savvy, there is a good chance that they will be able to:
· Quickly adapt to new technology
· Master current office tech
· Learn new systems and software more easily
5. Exceptional communication skills
An office manager may be as client facing as a receptionist/sales person, but also is responsible for managing employees. This requires the ability to connect with various personalities quickly and effectively. Look for candidates that can not only communicate articulately and professionally, but that also have the ability to relate with others by listening to and understanding their concerns.
Don’t just look for candidates that say all the right things and sound professional. Really consider how easy it was to communicate with a candidate. How natural did the conversation feel? Was the candidate truly engaged in what you were saying? Did the responses feel genuine and unique, rather than practiced?
Candidates with great communication skills will likely also have:
· Good written communication
· Great listening skills
· Proficiency in managing patients/customers
· Exceptional phone management
· The ability to motivate employees
Final tip for hiring office managers
The responsibilities that office managers have can be extensive and susceptible to change, especially in companies that are experiencing significant changes or growth.
If you’re hiring an office manager, look for candidates that possess the 5 skills outlined in this article, or at the very least, a willingness to acquire and improve these skills. Most importantly, let them know that their responsibilities may change over time, and that is exactly why their willingness to adapt and learn new skills will be essential.
Looking for ways to manage your workplace more efficiently? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your office.