It’s Time to Hire an Office Manager and Here’s Exactly Why!
Hello there, our dear entrepreneur! Things are going well in your business, right? The clients keep on coming, the employees look happy and everything is great. Except for those tiny details that seem to bother you more and more, but no one says anything about them. You know what we’re talking about, they just popped into your mind – the office manager is needed and you know it.
You certainly noticed by now that meme with the dog sitting in a burning house, saying that everything is just fine. That’s you trying to deny the need of an office manager, so we thought we could help you decide if it’s the right time to finally hire one. Spoiler alert: Yes, it definitely is!
What Does an Office Manager Do?
In order to really understand how important this person is within your company, you must know which are his or her main responsibilities. These can differ depending on each business, but here are the most common five:
1. Reception and anything that has to do with it
Many times, the first person a client sees when entering your premises is the office manager (and his wonderful smile!). He greets the guests, leads them to the meeting room and makes sure he leaves a flawless first impression.
We are not superficial by any means, but we all know that first impressions count, especially in business. Imagine that a very important potential partner visits your office and no one is greeting him at the door. He gets lost in the building and no one is answering his calls. Ouch, not professional at all!
Speaking of phone calls, the office manager can also handle that like a true master. When you’re all busy with various meetings and urgent tasks, this super hero manages it all: vendors, couriers, interviewees, guests, business partners, even aliens. No important call will get missed again!
2. Office supplies & day to day support for the entire team
“Ugh, Matthew is always taking all the post-it notes, like he has thousands of tasks per day. Sarah, we are out of paper! Yes, again! For God’s Sake, Daniel, where did you put those paperclips?!“
It may sound like a kindergarten background, but it’s just your usual Monday morning conversation. Your employees should always focus on their work, not on fixing broken printers and going to the library to get more highlighters and staples.
This is why you desperately need an office manager. This person would make sure that everyone has what they need and the workflow is as smooth as a baby’s cheeks.
3. Documents & data management
If you’re an entrepreneur, you definitely know the importance of data safety and flawless document organization. If you don’t, well, let’s just say it’s high time you found out.
An office manager takes care of everything: processing new papers that came in the mail this morning, organizing records, updating the client database. He can also develop an easy-to-manage filing system, so that everything stays tidy and in reach. Do you still think you don’t need this person?!
4. Event & meeting planning
We mentioned earlier that every single employee should only do what he is trained to do. This means that you need to hire a person for meeting and event planning, as much as you need to hire an accountant and an IT professional.
If you have to arrange business meetings at your office or somewhere else, your office manager can do that better than anyone else. He did this before, hundreds of times, and he knows every single aspect that needs to be taken care of.
When you have to prepare 50-slide PowerPoint presentations and a convincing speech, you won’t have time to properly plan the details of the meet-up. The room is too small, the AC is not working, you don’t have enough chairs, you can’t connect the laptop to the projector and the pointer is missing. That doesn’t sound too professional, does it?
5. New improvement ideas
Feeling comfortable at work is essential for productivity, many studies show. Therefore, if you want your employees to perform well, you need to offer them a proper workspace.
The office manager is in charge of that more than you may think. He spends a lot of time walking through the office to solve different problems, so he always notices development opportunities.
“Hey, we need more space for these guys, let’s extend their desk area! Hmm, these chairs seem worn out, let’s buy new and cooler ones. We could use more light in here, let’s add some lamps“. These are the kind of details that make a huge difference for employees and overall atmosphere.
The Perfect Office Manager’s Top Qualities & Qualifications
We can all agree that an office manager is a superhero in disguise, right? Cool! Now let’s dive into the essentials. What you should look for when hiring such a person?
1. King (or Queen) of multitasking
An office manager’s main job is to keep the company running smoothly. That means a lot of work, multitasking and permanent attention. Your ideal applicant must show strong focus and the ability to jump from one task to another in no time.
In order to assess these skills, you can describe a chaotic situation and ask the interviewee how would he proceed. Let’s say he has to receive a package, answer an important phone call and greet some guests, at the same time. Now that’s a difficult question, even for us!
His answer will tell you if he can prioritize urgent tasks and if he is a creative problem solver, so pay attention.
2. Spontaneous and quick-witted
The office manager interacts with people all day long, so he needs to love that and be very good at it. When you work with human beings, it often happens to encounter delicate situations.
You can put your interviewee in a fictional situation and ask him what he would do. The exercise could sound like this: “You arrive at the office in the morning and find an outraged guest at the door. He’s saying he is there to meet the CEO, who is being late. What do you tell him?“.
Be aware of the applicant’s answer, but also pay attention to his response time. This will show you everything you need to evaluate.
3. Extremely attentive to details
You don’t want your employees to mess up your essential documents. When someone handles super important data, you must ensure that person is all eyes and ears, all day long.
Your office manager has to be extremely attentive to the smallest details. He or she will often interact with stakeholders, so no blunder is permitted on his/her side.
You can evaluate this skill by giving your interviewee a short test. Give him a list of contacts, some papers or documents and ask him to find the mistakes. Make sure you slip some almost imperceptible ones in there. To make things even harder (like in real life, you know?), set a tight deadline.
4. The patience of a Buddhist monk
If your candidate mentions that his main hobby is yoga or meditation, don’t roll your eyes just yet. It might really be something good for your company. An office manager has to be as cool as a cucumber, in order to face all the daily challenges.
Just imagine the situation described above, when an angry client shows up, being all rude and violent at 8 in the morning. What if your employee lashed out at him and scarred him for life? You most definitely don’t want that to happen.
That being said, address some subtle questions. Don’t ask your interviewee if he usually hits people in the face when he’s angry, okay? Go for something like: “Tell me about a time when someone was rude or unfair to you at work. How did you react to that?“. Way smoother.
5. What about his/her college degree?
This aspect is kind of subjective and it can depend from job to job. While for smaller businesses, the actual skills are the most important, bigger companies prefer to hire a professional whose academic studies reflect his qualification.
An office manager can have a bachelor’s degree in Administrative Studies, Management, Business Administration or other related fields of study.
But honestly, after all, the candidate’s skills are the most important. Look for a person who has the following set of aptitudes:
- Previous experience in administrative roles. Experience is the greatest teacher, so if your applicant has it, he probably knows his stuff.
- Excellent grammar and language skills. A foreign language is a plus. You want your company to be represented by a clever and competent person, don’t you?
- Knowledge of software packages. He doesn’t have to be an IT guru, but he has to know how to use a cloud-based tool and create an Excel table.
How Can You Make Your Office Manager’s Job Easier?
You need a lot of nerve to be an office manager and we think that you understand that now. Even though these people already have super powers, there are some things you can do for them. More precisely, you can provide them with the necessary tools that will ease their job and make things faster and more efficient. For the best results, don’t forget to always give feedback.
As a recap, we suggest you find the right person by following the tips above and give her the means to run your office like a rock star. Last, but not least, we hope that you already started to write the recruitment announcement!