Be Sure You’re Hired With These Simple Steps

Be Sure You’re Hired With These Simple Steps

The job interview is the best place to present yourself as a capable employee, but how do you land one in the first place? Sometimes you feel like you’re sending resumes and job applications into the void. Give yourself the best chance of getting a meeting with decision makers by following these steps.

Don’t Apply for Every Posting

Sometimes people think if they blast out their resume to every possibility, eventually someone will respond. That’s not the best use of your time and effort. What works better is to make a super-concentrated list and focus on the options that offer the best fit. Take a two-pronged approach.

First, list the companies or types of employer for which you would most like to work. Before you focus your energy and effort on getting them to hire you, you want to know if they’re a match for your long-term goals and career expectations.

Second, identify which of those companies have job postings that match your strengths. You should read the description and say “That’s me!” If you say, “well, that’s at least partly true,” go on to the next job description.

Research, Research, Research

Get in the door by learning everything there is to know about the companies at which you’re applying. Research helps you identify contacts within the company, gives you a better sense of company culture and helps you tailor your cover letter and resume to catch the right manager’s eye.

Look at their website, comb through social media accounts and read what other sources have to say about their products and services. Know how they’re active in the community and what the media has to say about them. As you’re preparing your application materials, note the following:

  • What the company does and why they do it
  • What duties the job you’re applying for includes
  • Who uses the company’s products and services
  • Who are the people in leadership and what is their history with the organization
  • What’s their hiring process

Use Your Contacts

When you’re researching, you might uncover contacts you didn’t realize you had within the organization you want to hire you. If it’s someone you’re close to, give them a call, explain your interest in the job and be specific about your skills and qualifications. If they give you a referral, be sure to follow up with a thank you.

You also might find connections within your professional organizations, alumni association or LinkedIn groups. If you email a request for help give yourself the best chance of success with a clear, concise subject line, thoughtful body text that outlines your qualifications and possibly a link to a pdf of your resume.

Tailor Your Cover Letter and Resume

Use your cover letter and resume to highlight how you fit the job description. For your objective, opt for a targeted section that includes the company name. Hone your qualifications summary by removing statements that don’t match up with the job requirements and being specific about the skills you have that do. Go through your employment history and include language that puts related work experience front and center.

When you’ve finished with your resume, do the same thing with your cover letter. Use the job description and what you know about the company to show how you’re the perfect fit.

Try a Fresh Approach

It’s great so much information is available online, but sometimes you just want to interact with actual Northeast Texans who can help you with your career goals. At Brelsford Personnel, our staff has more than 35 years combined experience with staffing, and we’re trusted by some of the best employers in the area. Find out more about our fresh approach or view our open positions to get started.

How to Answer Interview Questions Like a STAR

How to Answer Interview Questions Like a STAR

We all know that feeling of anxiety that builds up in your stomach before something big happens. We’ve felt the knots that make you feel like you want to pass out, or the fluttering that begs you just to get it over with. Interviews bring out the nerves in almost everyone.

And no wonder, the stakes are high. If you aren’t able to articulate your strengths, you could see your hopes for a better job, more income, less stress and more professional satisfaction go right down the drain. If you’re successful you could land the career you’ve been dreaming about. Calm your anxiety and focus your energy using the STAR method.

What is the STAR Method?

The STAR method is a formula for answering behavioral interview questions in a way that clearly demonstrates your qualifications for the position. It allows you to tell a story that equally answers the question and shows off your skills.

Many employers ask behavioral interview questions to discover how you reacted in past situations. They usually begin with something like, “Tell me about a time when…”

Interviewers ask these questions to get an insight into the type of employee you are, so they can establish whether they wish to hire you. These questions can be overwhelming, but the STAR method gives a framework you can use to answer them.

  • Situation – The first step to delivering a clear and concise answer to behavioral interview questions is to set the stage. Establish a context for the situation by giving the interviewer a little background information. Basically, describe the scene in just a few words or sentences.
  • Task – Next, describe your role and the obstacle you faced. Were you in charge of a project? In a management position?
  • Action – Explain how you overcame the conflict. Try to focus on how you specifically solved the problem, not on those around you. “I did this” rather than “we did this.”
  • Result – What was the outcome and how did it benefit the organization? If you have specific examples, this would be the time to use them. Say something like, “Sales went up by 10%” or “The cost of labor went down by 10%.”

Acing Your Interview

If you have a clear plan for answering interview questions, fear and anxiety have less room in your life. You can speak with confidence. But how do you apply the STAR method?

Prepare for the interview ahead of time by thinking of past experiences that exemplify the values listed in the job description. If you have several solid examples that you have already thought of, then you will be prepared for the interview. If you’re worried about the questions your interviewer might ask, check out How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions? Practicing your responses to these questions may help you succeed when it comes time for your interview.

Brelsford Personnel has plenty of positions to fill. If you’re ready to put the STAR method to the test, be sure to check out our online postings.

Bad Boss or Motivational Leader – Which One Are You?

Bad Boss or Motivational Leader – Which One Are You?

Do you want to know the real reason good employees quit? In the State of the American Workplace report, Gallup CEO John Clifton said, “The single biggest decision you make…is who you name as manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that decision. Not compensation, not benefits, nothing.” So how do you make sure you’re getting that vital part right?

If you’re a manager, your responsibilities boil down to hiring the right people, then keeping them engaged. When administrators rely on their position to keep employees on task, that’s positionship, not leadership. If people do what you tell them to just because you’re the boss and you say so and they’re trying to avoid disciplinary action, they start to feel resentment and apathy.

Most people don’t think of themselves as a bad boss. Usually, they’re just very busy and trying to get things done. The difference is as much about how you think as what you do. Which of the following most describes how you operate in common workplace situations?


Poor managers primarily focus on what’s right in front of them. They feel like they’re always putting out fires, so they have time for little else. They know the next project, deadline or challenge is looming ahead, but they reason they’ll deal with that when they have to, today has enough trouble of its own.

Leaders tend to think long-term by default. Even when they’re solving today’s problems, they’re thinking how they can do so in a way that reaches future goals.

Workflow and Processes

Poor managers measure efficiency on each task in isolation, hyper-focusing on one process or system. Employees complain they micro-manage because they want to control how staff completes every step. They equate success with getting the job done, then quickly moving on to the next.

Good leaders work on hiring, supporting and nurturing the most talented people and helping them identify creative solutions and effective processes. They know one person can’t force several to be consistently creative and productive, but teams can be inspired to do so on their own steam. Consistent growth is as important as getting things done.


Poor managers think pay is motivation. There’s some truth to that – most people show up every day instead of relaxing at home because they have to pay the bills, and everyone likes a raise. But employees don’t stay motivated and engaged just because they get a check with pay in line with their skills and experience. It’s possible to make piles of money and still hate your job.

Good leaders know employees need more than that. They’re motivated to do their best when they’re challenged, supported and cared for. They offer other incentives besides money, so they get better results.

Workplace Relationships

Employees describe poor managers as always busy, hard to have a conversation with, distracted and impatient. When staff members approach them with a need or request, they’re preoccupied, and they dismiss themselves as quickly as possible. When employees hold a different opinion on how something should be done, they might quickly shut them down.

On the other hand, when employees feel like leaders are interested in them and in working with them to find solutions. Leaders are more social. They don’t just think in terms of meeting work goals; they try to help employees meet personal and professional goals along the way. They cultivate talent and creativity instead of feeling threatened by it.

Employee Motivation

Poor managers rely on financial reward and the fear of punishment as motivation. If workers do a good job, they get raises or bonuses on a set schedule. If they don’t, they receive critical evaluations, write-ups or whatever else their organization uses for discipline.

Good leaders have more tools available, because they know how to motivate individually. Some employees appreciate public recognition, others would rather work behind the scenes and receive extra paid time off.

Hire Strong Leaders

Strong leaders are hard to find. At Brelsford Personnel, we’ve been placing executives and administrators since 1988. Check out our online positions or get in touch today.

TACC Celebrates Community Achievement at Annual Event

TACC Celebrates Community Achievement at Annual Event

For many East Texans there are months left in the year, but not for the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC). Their fiscal year ends on September 30, so their year just came to a close. They celebrated with an annual event recognizing Chamber accomplishments and presenting awards to community members.

I Choose Tyler

The event was held at Harvey Convention Center and catered by Stanley’s and Roast Social Kitchen. The banquet’s theme was “I Choose Tyler,” and that message resonated throughout the evening. “A lot of people come to Tyler for a specific reason,” Henry Bell, TACC’s Chief Operating Officer said, “And they end up staying because it’s just such a great place.”

Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to encourage an environment where businesses can thrive and to enhance both economic well-being and quality of life in the area. Over 2,500 businesses, organizations and individuals make up the association. Amazingly, it is the fourth largest Chamber in the state of Texas.

This Year’s Highlights

The Chamber of Commerce is made up of subcommittees that enhance different aspects of community life and business development. They’re responsible for why so many people do choose Tyler for their place to live and do business.

Big things happened this past year because of each committee member’s commitment to making Tyler even better. Skip Ogle, Chairman of the Board for 2018-2019, introduced a video highlighting accomplishments like these:

  • The Aviation Committee celebrated the completion of Runway 422 at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, part of ongoing improvements to that side of the facility. On July 2, Frontier Airlines started offering nonstop flights to Denver, connecting Tyler to a second transportation hub.
  • The Energy Committee offered the 2019 Energy Summit of Northeast Texas, bringing key industry experts to Tyler. They also continued to stimulate area job growth by establishing the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) chapter. This partnership encourages apprenticeships between area businesses and educational institutions.
  • The Surface Transportation Committee worked to improve the transportation infrastructure around Tyler alongside NetRMA, the Texas Department of Transportation, Smith County and the City of Tyler. Work is ongoing in places like Old Jacksonville, Loop 49, Rhones Quarter Road and Paluxy.
  • The Business Development Council hosted multiple expos to support Tyler area businesses. Their program “School is Cool” provided supplies and services for thousands of students before classes started this year.
  • The Business Education Council focused efforts connecting local businesses and the area economy. The program matched city and local business leaders with Tyler ISD high school seniors to work together to ensure senior success.
  • Visit Tyler reported last year visitors spent $386 million in Tyler. The 2019 Azalea Trail alone had an economic impact of almost $1.9 million.

Business of the Year Awards

The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Business of the Year Award to local organizations that support TACC’s mission to enhance the business environment, economic well-being and quality of life for the Tyler area. Cooperative Teacher’s Credit Union received the Small Business of the Year Award because of their heart for giving, community involvement and support for the Chamber Education Committee.

Mewbourne Oil Company received the 2018-2019 Large Business of the Year Award. TACC commended the organization’s high standards in hiring and its support of local events.

TACC Award Winners

The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce presented several awards at the evening event. Bob Garrett, an East Texas real estate developer and president of Fair Oil Company of Texas received the T.B. Butler Award, an award Butler Publishing Company has presented to outstanding leaders since 1929. Friends and associates describe Garrett as a man of his word, who can handle any challenge and do so with integrity.

The W.C. Windsor Award goes to Tyler’s most outstanding person under the age of 40. This year’s recipient was Lindsey Shaver Harrison, director of sales for medical device company NanoVibronix. Harrison founded, is a board member of the Children’s Advocacy Center, serves as public relations chair of the Cattle Baron’s Committee and has been involved in several volunteer organizations.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce also presented our own Gates Brelsford with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Gates has been the Team Lead for the Energy Summit of Northeast Texas for several years. The March 2019 Energy Summit had a record of 450 attendees and 35 sponsors. The Energy Summit exists to bring top industry experts to East Texas and focuses on:

  • Job creation in Northeast Texas
  • New investment in energy resources
  • Educating the general public about the benefits of the energy industry

For more on this year’s energy summit, see our 2019 Energy Summit of Northeast Texas Recap.

Live Love Tyler

The Chamber welcomed June Cheatham as the 2019-2020 Chair of the Board. She challenged attendees to ponder what it means to live in Tyler, to love Tyler and to live out your love on a daily basis. “To love Tyler is to love its people,” she said, “To commit to its people…which each of you do on a daily basis as you either own, operate or work for entities that provide jobs and stability for the people of Tyler.”

At Brelsford Personnel, that’s a commitment we take seriously. We feel privileged to be part of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and our community. We look forward to serving area residents and members of the business community in the year ahead.

The (Previously) Unwritten Rules of Office Messaging Etiquette

The (Previously) Unwritten Rules of Office Messaging Etiquette

Real-time messaging applications have become extremely popular in the workplace. As you use any tool more frequently, there’s a greater possibility of making mistakes.

It’s so easy to just type out a message to your boss or co-workers and send it without considering the consequences. Save yourself from embarrassment by following these simple rules.

Don’t Flood the Feed

It is annoying to receive multiple messages from the same impatient sender when you step away from your phone for a minute. It is just as annoying (if not more so) when it happens at work.

If your coworker isn’t responding at first, don’t keep prodding them. They will answer you when they have a moment, and will appreciate you giving them time to respond.

Don’t Overuse Emojis

Emojis shouldn’t be part of every message. It’s okay to use one occasionally, but your coworkers don’t want to see forty laughing emojis when you think something is funny. One has just the same effect.

If someone has done something great, then emojis can give expression to your enthusiasm. When you use emojis judiciously, and thoughtfully they enhance your communication. However, using them for everything is unprofessional and not effective.

Emojis are like salt. Adding them to your conversation in moderation makes it flavorful, while overdoing it leaves a bad taste.

Punctuation and All Caps

One exclamation point or question mark will do. Also, as with most online communication, if you use all caps it’s as if you’re yelling.

Don’t Forget You Can Still Email

If you have large attachments or huge blocks of information you need to pass along, put it into an email instead or a text. When you clog the feed with huge verbal chunks, people can’t keep up with all the details.

Carefully crafted email allows for important information to be more appropriately organized. Readers can easily find the information later when they need to remember what the sender said.

Be Aware

  • Don’t use swear words – It isn’t uncommon for people to use curse words in their texting. With your friends and family, it may not be a big deal. At work, you should avoid even acronyms that stand for swear words. Mainstream phrases and abbreviations that are funny outside of work don’t always seem that way in professional conversation.
  • Use caution with slang and acronyms – Stick with plain English and standard grammar unless you’re positive the receiver will understand what you’re sending and the language nuances behind it.
  • Remember everyone can see it – Your coworkers and your bosses can see the conversation, so don’t share personal information about yourself or others. Avoid gossip and refrain from criticizing your coworkers.
  • Tailor your speech – Be aware of who you are speaking to. If you’re talking to your coworkers, it’s usually okay to be a bit more casual than you would be if you were talking to your boss. Don’t let the form of communication take away from your level of respect.

Every Bit Counts

Everything you say to your boss and coworkers can be recorded by office messaging applications, so keep that in mind when you communicate over text. Apps can be a tool that helps you work more efficiently, or they could waste time and damage your professional image.

Don’t let your instant messaging take away from the hard work you put in. Be your most professional self when you’re on the job and save more relaxed communication for after hours.

Better Listeners Make Better Employees – Here’s How to Get There

Better Listeners Make Better Employees – Here’s How to Get There

Listening skills are treasured in the workplace and are key to becoming an effective leader. Active listening takes practice, but it’s worth the effort because in return, you gain effective working relationships. Keep reading to find out how better listening skills benefit you and how to start becoming a better listener today.

Why is it Important?

People in every role should know generally what’s going on in the workplace. Your ability to listen can significantly impact your working environment in a number of ways.

Gain Information

Listening is about gaining knowledge and acting on it at every level. You need good listening skills whether you’re an interviewer evaluating an interviewee or employee collaborating with your team. When you demonstrate good listening skills, the workplace runs more smoothly.

Build Trust

If you have good listening skills, your co-workers, employees, or supervisors trust you with information. The opposite is also true. When someone doesn’t listen to instructions, they make mistakes. Managers can’t trust them to do the job right because they don’t pay attention to important details.

How Can You Improve Your Skills?

There are a few simple steps you can take to start becoming a better listener. When you do, you’ll start to see improvement in your relationships with other supervisors, employees and customers.

  • Focus – Make sure to give the person to whom you are speaking your full focus. Keep your phone in your pocket and resist the urge to look at other distractors in the room. Electronic notifications and office fires vie for your attention, but deal with one issue at a time. When you repeatedly look away from someone who is trying to talk to you, it sends a message that you are bored or don’t care.
  • Don’t interrupt – Interrupting is rude, and it also makes the other person feel you don’t think what they have to say is important. It can lead to resentment and later conflict.
  • Ask for it in writing–When a conversation has a lot of details say something like, “I want to make sure I get all that right. When you get a minute, would you send me a text or an email with the details of what we just talked about?” Or write down the conversation yourself and ask if they could review it.
  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues – The speaker’s facial expressions, their posture, and their tone of voice will tell you what they are saying and perhaps more importantly, what they aren’t saying.

Take note of your own nonverbal cues as well. Make eye contact, stay turned toward the speaker and lean just slightly in. These sorts of things communicate whether you value their input.

Impacting Your Environment

A bad listener causes problems in the workplace. They might neglect to follow instructions when working with a group and cause the entire project or process to fail. In contrast, a good listener is aware of what is going on and follows instructions, leading to success.

Your experience as an employee relies strongly on your listening skills and can mean the difference between whether you are hired and promoted or demoted and fired. Better listeners make better employees.

The next time you speak to someone, first stop and think. You can practice your listening skills even in the simplest of conversations, and who knows? You may encourage others to do the same.

Good listeners make valuable employees. Employers may be looking for someone like you. Apply today.

Personal Tragedy in the Workplace – Showing Support While Respecting Privacy

Personal Tragedy in the Workplace – Showing Support While Respecting Privacy

When you spend 40 hours a week with the same people, you share success and stress, trials and triumph. You get close. But when someone experiences a personal tragedy, it can be hard to know how to react.

When a co-worker experiences a death in the family, divorce, serious illness or other difficult circumstance, you want to show you care, but you also don’t want to overstep boundaries. They may take some time off, but that’s not long enough to heal from a crisis. Here are tips for showing support.

Stay Away from These Phrases

When you don’t know what to say, it’s tempting to use phrases you’ve heard before. Avoid statements like the following:

  • I know exactly how you feel.
  • At least now he/she is in a better place.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • You can always try again.
  • God never gives us more than we can handle.

Your goal is to be supportive and say the right things, but those statements minimize what they’re going through. Plus, they’ve probably heard the same clichés from others, and it gets harder each time they’re repeated.

Avoid Comparisons

There may come a time when you can share what happened to you, but immediately after the tragedy, try not to compare what happened to your co-worker to what you or someone else you know experienced. Also, try not to offer advice unless your co-worker asks for it.

Every loss happens differently, and mourning is an individual process. You can let them know you experienced a similar loss and you’re available if they want to talk, then just leave it at, “I can’t imagine what this is like for you.”

But Don’t Avoid Your Co-Worker

Every time you see them, you hurt for what they’re going through. You don’t want to say or do the wrong thing, so it’s tempting to try and stay away. There’s nothing you can do to “fix” what they’re feeling, but you can let them know they’re not alone and that you care.

When you have a chance to talk in private, make eye contact and offer your condolences. Listen if they want to talk, and if not just be there. Send them a text every so often to let them know they’re in your thoughts.

Mail a Card

Tangible evidence of support matters. Buy a greeting card with an appropriate message and give everyone at the office time to write a brief message, then drop it in the mail. That allows everyone to express their concern and willingness to be available. Written words get read again and again. They end up as keepsakes that later, when the person has had time to heal, are evidence of the people who were there for them at the very worst times.

Start a Meal Train

It’s almost always helpful to bring food, and believe it or not, there’s an app for that. Meal Train has a free plan that allows you to create an online meal calendar, designate where co-workers should drop off food, warn about food allergies or meal preferences and send invites through email or social media. People who don’t cook but still want to participate can show support with a gift card or restaurant meal.

There’s no timeline for healing from a tragedy, and the process is difficult. Your co-worker will appreciate your support and concern throughout the process.

How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions?

How Would You Answer These 7 Common Interview Questions?

A job interview can tie your stomach and your nerves in knots. How nervous you get is often directly related to how badly you want the job. The better the opportunity seems, the more you worry about saying or doing something that will blow your chances.

Our East Texas staffing firm does quite a bit of interviewing. We have decades of experience identifying the perfect candidate for each position. We’ve also heard responses that have us disqualifying candidates. Here we share common interview questions and advice for formulating answers that show who you are and what you know.

Interview Questions Do’s and Don’ts

Before we get to the list of interview questions, you need to know how to use it. There are countless articles online that tell you questions and what to say. It’s great to do your research, but you don’t want to just memorize a script.

Don’t just pull up what Monster or Indeed say about how to answer interview questions and parrot that back to an interviewer. Those resources are out there for everyone. Your interviewer has likely heard them from some of the applicants they met with before you. If you bring the same canned response, it says you’re either lazy or ingenuine.

Do look over the list of interview questions and make them into a mental exercise. Picture yourself in the interviewer’s office. Come up with your own answers and connect them to a work experience you’ve had in the past. Offer real-life examples to show you have hands-on experience with what they’re looking for.

Don’t stop at the end of the list. Here we’re providing common interview questions for the general portion of your interview. It’s always better to over-prepare than to under-prepare.

Do research the company and position requirements. Every profession has skill and job-related questions specific to their industry. If you’re searching online, be specific. For example, you might search for “Interview questions for accounting job” or whatever title is appropriate for your interview.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself. Succinctly outline your most recent role. Highlight past accomplishments or contributions.

Why do you want to work here? Your interviewer wants to know whether or not you did your homework. Prepare an answer that relates to company values or how your skills pair well with their specific products or services.

Why are you leaving (did you leave) your current (or previous) job? Don’t trash your old boss or complain about your previous employer. Prepare a response that mentions how you learned new skills there and are looking forward to contributing in your next position.

What are your biggest strengths? Look at the list of job requirements. Offer examples of skills and character traits that make you a good fit.

What are your greatest weaknesses? Your interviewer isn’t looking for huge personal failings. Think where you would like to improve professionally and answer candidly. For example, a teacher might say, “I plan to work on giving students more detailed feedback this year” or an office assistant might say, “I’ve realized I’m better at number crunching and data collecting than I am at writing. So I’ve started using grammar apps to make sure I don’t miss little mistakes in email and office documents.”

Tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it? Your interviewer wants to know how you solve problems and deal with personal conflict. Think back through your employment history and share an example that shows your human side.

What are your salary expectations? Have an idea what’s normal for your profession and experience, then just answer frankly. Try not to overshoot or undershoot on desired salary.

Why should we hire you? Again, look over the job requirements and prepare a related answer.

Search East Texas Jobs

Brelsford Personnel has a range of job openings to fill. Browse our online postings and submit your application online today.

Administrative Assistant Skills That Make You Stand Out

Administrative Assistant Skills That Make You Stand Out

Clients of Brelsford Personnel are always looking for the best administrative assistants. Our agency seeks out quality administrative talent to place with top East Texas employers. But what exactly does it mean to be the best? Take a look at these key skills to find out if you’re a good fit for one of our administrative assistant jobs.


Administrative assistants tend to be one of the first faces a client will see. All communication – whether it is on the phone, over email, or in person – should be clear, concise, and direct. Administrators rely on their assistants to communicate with company employees at every level, so a friendly and professional communication style can keep things running smoothly.

Another essential part of communication is body language. For example, maintaining an open stance by not crossing your arms demonstrates you are approachable. Keeping eye contact and wearing a friendly expression are also indispensable parts of this skill.

When you understand and manage your own emotions and positively influence those of others, you show strong emotional intelligence. Your strength enables quick decision-making and simplifies conflict resolution.

Effective Time Management

Would people who know you describe you as someone who sets goals, prioritizes, and plans ahead? Many recruiters are searching for a candidate with exceptional time-management skills. Time management is a vital attribute for any employee, but especially for administrative assistants.

The key is to start every day with a clear idea of what needs to be done. That means planning. Make a to-do list or outline a plan to make the most of your day. Anticipating solutions to common hiccups helps work move more efficiently. A good administrative assistant instinctively looks for problems and addresses them before they are noticed.

Strong candidates also have a laser-like focus. They know how to filter out distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. Their time management skills lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction. For more on time management, see our article 3 Time-Wasting Habits to Break Now.

Attention to Detail

Paying attention to the little things can mean the difference between an average employee and an amazing one. It’s the details that count. When you spot even the minor mistakes, your work is dependably accurate.

This skill requires good listening, meticulous observation, and exceptional patience. Even small mistakes can have major consequences, but detail-oriented administrative assistants thrive.


Administrative assistants should handle all information with extreme confidentiality. One of the most important parts of your job is safeguarding the information you receive about clients, the company and other employees.

Sharing this information can lead to a loss of revenue. It can ruin relationships and cause big accounts to go to the competition. A confidentiality breach can turn into a media nightmare and ruin a company’s good name forever. If an administrative assistant leaks information their company doesn’t just lose business, they break trust.

Most companies have regulations explaining what you can and can’t discuss outside of work. These are often outlined in the employee handbook, so if you get the job make learning them a high priority. No matter where you apply for an administrative assistant job, recruiters are looking for employees that know how to be prudent with their words.


Organization and adaptability are must-have skills for administrative assistants. It’s not just about who has the cleanest desk or powers through a to-do list fastest. These are the skills you’ll need to promote a positive working environment:

  • Problem-solving – This goes back to effective communication. A strong administrative assistant can work with others to solve tough problems in an organized fashion.
  • Physical Work Space – Having stacks of loose papers or personal items piled all over your desk sends a bad message to an employer.
  • Professional attire — A person’s physical appearance indicates to employers the care and attention to detail with which they approach their work. Clean, professional clothing can go a long way.
  • Planning and Scheduling – Your ability to juggle deadlines and appointments makes you an asset. When you take the initiative to complete tasks, it shows employers that you’re looking out for their interests. In the long run, your organization signals you’re ready for more responsibility.
  • Prioritization – A strong administrative assistant knows the difference between a high-priority task and a low-priority task. He or she always responds accordingly.

For an administrative assistant, these traits are key ingredients of a productive and fulfilling job experience. When you apply and when you go through the interview process, employers are evaluating your organization skills. Once you get the job, you won’t last long if you don’t show adaptability and oversight.

Problem Solving

How do you respond to the unexpected? For administrative assistants, new situations arise quickly that may require rapid-fire decisions and clear knowledge of the workplace.

Sometimes events derail your day and ruin your plans. Getting off-track can be difficult, but the best administrative assistants know how to quickly alter course and minimize disruptions after new problems arise. Recruiters are searching for employees who can adapt to change quickly and efficiently.

Being adaptable makes the workplace more cohesive. It’s a must-have skill for your position, and one that will make you stand out as a driven and exemplary employee.

The Importance of Experience

Being an administrative assistant requires diverse talents, but your company needs those skills to run smoothly. If you are self-motivated and a team player who is comfortable using a phone or computer, this might be the job for you. Administrative assistant jobs may include responsibilities like handling phone calls, answering mail, managing filing systems, and maintaining office supply inventories. You’ll probably also be required to type, enter data, and manage schedules and appointments.

Always check the job posting to see what is the minimum amount of experience required. It’s also good to be upfront about proficiency in programs you will interface with like Word, Excel, and QuickBooks.

If this article describes you, you may be perfect for the job of administrative assistant. Feel free to check out our online job postings for your next career opportunity.

Training Tip – Teach Soft Skills to New Hires

Training Tip – Teach Soft Skills to New Hires

When you hire someone for your entry-level position, you expect to provide training on tasks the job requires. However, many employers often overlook teaching soft skills when they hire someone who is just entering the workforce. Teens and college students may know how to use a computer, provide correct change and stock shelves, but not understand the basics of professional communication and collaboration.

The problem isn’t just with teens. A recent survey found 44 percent of executives said soft skills are the biggest gap they see in the U.S. workforce. They might be the most important skills for new hires to learn, since 67 percent of HR managers said they’d hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if they were missing abilities in some other areas.

Recognize We’re Not Born With Soft Skills

To some people, soft skills seem like just common sense and good manners. But if you think back, you may remember when you started forming the foundation for things like good communication or respect for authority. Soft skills are taught, and some new hires just entering the workforce need a crash course.

Take, for example, something as simple as answering the phone. Teens and college students seem to be constantly on their cell, but they get confused when they have to answer a landline and talk to strangers, something common in corporate America. Employers wonder why they say hello, look puzzled, then turn to someone else for help.

If that seems strange, think back to when you were young. Most likely someone coached you on answering the phone and taking a message. They explained the rules and supplied phrasing.

You were to say something like, “My mom isn’t available right now, may I take a message?” Or, if mom said she’d be there in a minute, you were expected to make polite small talk until she was ready to take the call. From an early age, you became comfortable answering the phone in an unknown situation.

But what if that wasn’t the case? What if you were born years after caller ID became the norm, and when everyone answers their own cell phone or lets it go to voicemail? The teenagers and college students just coming to work at your business may have rarely answered a landline, and they haven’t yet developed solid communication and problem-solving skills.

Understand Where They’re Coming From

You didn’t hire them to raise them, but you need reliable, dependable employees and they have skills. Look through their eyes for a minute to gain perspective and develop patience.

If it’s their first job, and before now, the adults in their life have been teachers and family members. They asked questions like, “What are your favorite subjects in school?” “What sports do you play?” “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” “What do you think you’ll study in college?” Until now, conversations with people other than their peers have been primarily about them.

Also, a huge percentage of the information they receive is electronic, so they haven’t had to develop listening skills the same way as previous generations. If you try to give verbal directions to reach a destination, they don’t have the patience for it.

They briefly skim emails and text messages knowing if they need to use the information, they can go back to it later. So when a customer at your business wants to voice a complaint or explain what they need, new hires might not have had enough practice really listening to be able to respond appropriately.

Teach Skills Explicitly

You offer training that takes new hires step by step through operating the cash register, restocking merchandise or closing the restaurant. You might even have checklists that break down your expectations. Take the same approach to teach soft skills.

Communication Basics

In addition to spelling out how to answer the phone, take a message and relay that to the appropriate party, teach new hires other basics of verbal communication. Give them examples of when to ask for help, how to ask for clarification and how to persist in communication until a problem is solved.

The Importance of Eye Contact

If your new hire doesn’t look people in the eye when talking to them, it comes across as either rude or shy, but he or she may not understand it’s a big deal. Explain and rehearse making eye contact when greeting customers, talking to co-workers and approaching administrators.

Flexibility and Teamwork

Give examples of how your new hire might be asked to adapt to changes in scheduling or duties and supply your expectations. Define what it means to be proactive and work toward the good of the team. For example, if the employee sees a spill on the floor and it’s not his or her job to take care of it, he or she is still expected to take action instead of leaving it for someone to slip on.

You also may need to train employees on conflict resolution. At work, they can’t just block or unfriend someone who disagrees with them. Explain what it means to have a reasonable discussion in a proper tone, whether it’s with a co-worker or someone higher up.

Problem Solving

If your new hire has been shielded from some things in life, they might not yet have developed the ability to handle hard things. Teach employees to troubleshoot instead of giving up.

At your business, you probably have certain types of situations that come up regularly. During training, give new hires a series of steps they can follow to use as a framework. Then offer them a new problem and ask them how they would solve it using the same principles.

Work Ethic

Employers complain about younger workers who miss deadlines, show up late and gripe about their duties, yet expect promotions and raises. Let new hires know at your business, the people who move forward aren’t the ones who just meet basic requirements. Your expectation is that they strive to do their best work, to go above and beyond.

They may not recognize the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from giving more than they thought they could. Instead of assuming younger workers are just lazy and sloppy, set clear expectations and provide the training they need for success.

Find Qualified New Hires

Brelsford Personnel has an extensive screening and selection process, so we supply knowledgeable, productive employees that already have the skills your business needs. Skip the hassle and headache that goes with finding the right candidates when you contact us to find out more.