6 critical software skills for administrative assistants

6 critical software skills for administrative assistants
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Hiring an administrative assistant? As this role is essential to your organization’s operations, ensuring they run smoothly every day, making the right hire is crucial. Your administrative assistant will help your office function seamlessly – and the person you hire needs the right software skills.

You might hit a few snags if you hire a candidate lacking essential word processing skills or other essential abilities. Not only can this disrupt the harmony of your office functions, but it can also lead to disarray among your team members. 

How important are software skills for administrative assistants, and which software skills are required? Keep reading to find out!

Why software skills for administrative assistants are important

Software skills for administrative assistants are critical for various reasons. Given that practically every job requires a basic understanding of specific software, including an administrative assistant role, it’s clear they are vital.

From managing staff to implementing company strategies, professional administrators require software to streamline a range of tasks. They will rely on software – not only to make tasks more efficient but to reduce the amount of human error when completing jobs.

When you add to this the fact that software and programs are constantly changing, you can begin to see why software skills are incredibly important for administrative assistants. And, while we’re at it, the ability to pick up on new software and learn how to use it is equally – if not, more – important.

Which software skills should you look for in your administrative assistant candidates?

With the importance of software skills for administrative assistants in mind, here are some of the software skills you might want to keep an eye out for during your hiring process. Each is important for different reasons and will contribute to the smooth running of your organization in different ways.

software skills to look for in administrative assistants

Microsoft Outlook

How well do your candidates understand how to use Microsoft Outlook? Your successful candidate will be communicating with your organization’s clients and stakeholders, sending them company information every day. For this reason, Microsoft Outlook software skills are essential. 

The MS Outlook software also makes communication simple and more streamlined. To use it competently, and to also stay organized, your candidates should be familiar with its vast selection of features.

Microsoft Word

Does your company draft documents or letters to send to clients? The administrative assistant you hire will need skills in Microsoft Word to draft, edit, and format company documents. Microsoft Word software skills are crucial for administrative assistants. 

As with Microsoft Outlook, there are various features of MS Word that your administrative assistant candidates should be comfortable using, which will make creating and editing critical documents easy. 

Microsoft Excel

Performing simple calculations might be a daily task for your organization. Microsoft Excel software skills are vital for this. Can your candidates understand how to run basic calculations on Microsoft Excel and use its spreadsheets efficiently?

There are some basic features of MS Excel and some advanced options that might be crucial for the daily operations of your organization. Your candidates should have the right level of MS Excel expertise to keep your organization running effectively.

Microsoft Windows

Your organization might use Microsoft Windows for a whole range of tasks or projects. If so, can your administrative assistant candidate use this software comfortably? 

Administrative assistants with top Microsoft Windows skills can ensure your organization’s operations run flawlessly every day. The popular software also contributes to the efficient running of your business, which is where exceptional software skills can boost productivity. 

Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint software skills can be critical for putting together presentations. Your candidates should be familiar with its various features to present ideas to stakeholders and staff members efficiently.

As with Microsoft Word, MS PowerPoint software can help create documents to share information with your organization. Are your candidates able to use this software to communicate and present new ideas? 

Email skills (Gmail)

Gmail is vital for maintaining communication with clients and other staff members in your organization. Your candidates should understand the basics of using Gmail communication within the context of your business operations.

Can your candidates use Gmail for business communication purposes, and are they familiar with its various features? They should be able to use it confidently and understand exactly how it works.

How can you evaluate your administrative assistants’ software skills?

The best way to evaluate whether your administrative assistant candidate has the ideal software skills is with a skills test. Reliable skills testing platforms such as TestGorilla will provide a vast selection of skills tests – from Microsoft Windows to email skills in Outlook or Gmail.

Below, you will find some of the skills tests which are available via the TestGorilla platform and what they specifically test. These tests will make assessing your administrative assistant candidates’ software skills simple and your final hiring decision less complicated.

Microsoft Outlook software skills test

The Microsoft Outlook software skills test will assess your candidates’ knowledge of the software and their email aptitudes. As well as using Microsoft Outlook confidently, your candidates will be tested on how well they can handle virtual meetings and appointments and manage their workflow. 

Microsoft Word software skills test

Candidates who are given the Microsoft Word software skills test will be assessed on their ability to create, open, save, protect, and print a document, as well as edit, format, use tables, page numbers, and footnotes. Use the test to discover whether your administrative assistant candidates have the Microsoft Word aptitudes you are searching for.

Microsoft Excel (advanced) software skills test

You can test your candidates’ advanced Microsoft Excel skills with the MS Excel (advanced) software skills test. Discover how competently your administrative assistant candidates can use Excel formulas, how well they can use spreadsheets, their ability to create reports, and how they analyze data to make conclusions.

Microsoft Windows software skills test

Testing your candidates’ Microsoft Windows software skills is simple with this Microsoft Windows software skills test. Find out how well your candidates can use the basic functions of Windows, whether they can handle files in Windows File Explorer, and apply their knowledge of Microsoft Windows in a work environment.

Microsoft PowerPoint software skills test

Your administrative assistants might need to put together a PowerPoint presentation using certain Microsoft PowerPoint software skills. The Microsoft PowerPoint software skills test will assess whether they can use the crucial PowerPoint features to achieve this. It will also analyze your candidates’ skills in creating effective presentation slides. 

Email (Gmail) software skills test

Use the Gmail software skills test to find out how well your candidates can use the software. From email etiquette to using Google calendars, and managing events via Gmail, the test will inform you whether your administrative assistant candidates can use Gmail within the work environment. 

What are the advantages of using skills tests to evaluate software skills?

There are various benefits to using skills tests when evaluating software skills for administrative assistants or secretaries. For instance, you might be on the fence when it comes to a particular candidate who might just need a few training sessions to get up to speed.

A skills test will let you gauge how much knowledge they lack and how much training will be required to help them carry out the job competently.

Other benefits of using skills tests when evaluating software skills for administrative assistants include that they:

  • Cut your time to hire, significantly. By using some of these software skills tests you can automatically filter the candidates who don’t have the necessary aptitudes.

  • Ensure your candidates have the skills they claim. Using software skills tests for your candidates can help you validate whether your candidates have the skills they claim on their resumes. This can help you avoid an expensive mis-hire. And keep in mind that an overwhelming 85% of candidates lie on their resumes.

  • Give you the ability to test a range of specific software skills. If your administrative assistant role requires in-depth knowledge of a range of software, skills testing is ideal for checking their understanding of each software type. There are also different assessment levels for certain software skills, such as the advanced Excel test. Select the level of expertise required for the position and evaluate whether your candidates match up.

  • Avoid unconscious biases when making your hiring decision. You will be able to base your hiring decisions on the results of reliable data that backs up what you know about your candidates from the interview. Choose to take candidates forward to the next stage based on their specific software skills instead of your personal ‘gut feeling’.

Take a look at TestGorilla’s selection of software skills tests and start using them to find the best candidates for your role. You can also check out our general guide on how to assess administrative assistant skills.

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