A Manager’s Guide to Finding the Right Assistant

A Manager’s Guide to Finding the Right Assistant

Do you have tasks on your plate that you don’t have time to complete?  Have you adjust and re-adjust your schedule, and still have late nights when you are completing tedious tasks?  Or, do you continuously replace assistants? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably need help finding the right assistant. Essentially, there are 3 types of assistants:  contracted, administrative, and personal. The amount of loyalty and accessibility you require determines the type of assistance you need.

Contracted assistants work for you part-time and always handle a specialized task such as online advertising, photography, bookkeeping, filing, and etcetera. While these contracted employees are committed to providing you the best service possible, their loyalty and enthusiasm is limited to their assigned task and project. They are content in knowing what they know and doing what they do. In most cases, there is no desire for contracted assistants to learn your trade. In addition, as a manager, you will have limited access to contracted assistants, whether pay is based on time or on completion of a project. In most cases, contracted assistants will consider you a client.

Administrative assistants can work either full- or part-time. They usually have several skill sets, and may specialize in a particular industry. An administrative assistant’s loyalty varies per person. Some are loyal to the industry, the company, and/or the manager. These assistants will want to learn from you and will look forward to opportunities to move up in their career. There are also administrative assistants that are loyal only to their paycheck. These assistants will do what they need to do to maintain their position (e.g. renew certificates and licenses, work overtime, etc.). Your access to an administrative assistant is generally limited to your business’ normal operating hours.

Personal assistants are almost always full-time employees. They too will have several skill sets and specialize in a particular industry. A personal assistant’s loyalty is to you. Personal assistants usually want to have the same career or lifestyle as you.


Types of Assistants
  Contracted Administrative Personal
Skill Set Specialized Multiple Multiple
Loyalty Little to none Limited Absolute
Availability Very limited Operating Hours Open


These assistants have placed themselves in a position to absorb all that they can from you in order to be successful in their chosen career path. Occasionally, personal assistants simply adore the person they serve, and some may consider it an honor to work for you. Personal assistants make themselves available to you; therefore, your access to them has very little, if any, limitations.

Which one do you need?
If you have a task that you need to have done and are not interested in how it’s done, you probably need a contracted assistant. If you need someone to help you with several different tasks during the working day, an administrative assistant may be a better choice. If your personal and professional lives blend and you need help keeping track of both of them, you need a personal assistant. It’s very common for a busy professional to have both a personal assistant and either an administrative assistant or several contracted assistants.
When choosing an assistant, please be mindful that you are building a relationship with a person. You and your assistant must share the same mindset. If you are a loyal employee that sweats the company’s colors, you should have an assistant that has the same amount of loyalty. If you’re only interested in saving time and money, then find an assistant that is only interested in helping you save time and money. When you know what kind of assistance you need, you will have a better chance finding the right assistant.