The Boss's Assistant Can Influence the Hiring Decision

May 18, 2009 ( - Apparently hiring managers aren't the only ones applicants need to impress when they arrive for a job interview.

An OfficeTeam survey indicates that candidates also should be on their toes when greeting the boss’s right-hand person. In fact, six out of 10 (61%) of executives polled said they consider their assistant’s opinion important when evaluating potential new hires.

Executives were asked, “How important is your assistant’s opinion about the job candidates you interview for positions at all levels?” Their responses:

21% – very important

40% – somewhat important

18% – somewhat unimportant

16% – very unimportant

4% – have no assistant

1% – don’t know

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 senior executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies for OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals.

“As soon as they enter the parking lot, job seekers should be on their best behavior. Everyone they encounter, from the person in the elevator to the receptionist, is someone who could potentially weigh in on the hiring decision,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Just as treating the waiter rudely at a restaurant creates a bad impression, being discourteous or abrupt with a company’s receptionist or office staff can reveal character — or lack of it — in job applicants.”

Hosking added, “Administrative professionals know their boss’s management style and understand the work environment, which makes them adept at identifying people who are a good fit and is why executives value their opinions.”