Top 5 “Must-Have” Qualities for a Great Executive Assistant


Behind every successful executive is a hardworking and talented Executive Assistant. These professionals play some of the most integral roles for a business. Finding an Executive Assistant recruiter who understands the needs and qualities necessary can be invaluable. We recently interviewed Kelli Brandl who has 25 years of experience as an EA and has worked with a myriad of business owners and C-level executives with diverse personalities.

What drew you to this type of work?

An Executive Assistant is the first face or voice to an executive and handles communications, supervises staff, prepares reports, schedules meetings and so much more. I don’t like to be in the spotlight; I’m better lifting others up. The ability to provide strong administrative support to keep things moving along seems to be my niche.

What exactly is it that makes these professionals indispensable?

There are five key skill sets that are required for someone to excel in an Executive Assistant role. The right Executive Assistant headhunter should be able to find top notch EAs with the following top five qualities:

1.     Excellent Communication Skills

An Executive Assistant’s greatest quality is her ability to speak and write in a sharp, succinct and positive manner that creates a good image of the company and the executive that she represents. A major part of her job is to draft letters, write memos and jot down minutes of meetings; these professionals must have a good grasp of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Another key component to being successful in an EA role is to forge relationships with other Executives and their support team while conducting business. Being able to interact in a positive manner that is efficient yet friendly is also paramount to success.

Moreover, an Executive Assistant needs these key communication skills as she deals with the company’s clients and customers, so she should also possess the ability to actively listen to other people’s concerns, ask questions,  and be able to properly and diplomatically share those concerns.

2.     Exceptional Organizational Skills

The job of an Executive Assistant is extremely dynamic; the best EAs typically work in a fast-paced environment and are responsible for organizing numerous company operations as well as tasks supporting company leaders. While speed is imperative to her work, what’s more important is the ability to multitask in an organized manner. She should be responsive and be able to prioritize and complete tasks, such as schedule conferences, track meetings, book travel, and prepare reports and documents effectively. An Executive Assistant that lacks the ability to prioritize tasks or who has a messy workspace isn’t considered an efficient professional.

Kelli Brandl


3.    Superb Professionalism

Professionalism is a must-have quality in an Executive Assistant. These professionals have to interact with all levels of an organization on a regular basis. From the support staff to the CEO to the nightly cleaning crew, an efficacious Executive Assistant must treat everyone with respect, as well as maintain an even temper. They don’t participate in organizational politics, nor do they gossip at work. Confidentiality is something that is a non-negotiable trait that ranks at the top of the must-haves for this role. The ideal EA will strive to put her boss in the limelight and work tirelessly to ensure he or she reaches and exceeds their goals.

4.  Outstanding Collaborative Skills

To put it in simple words, a competent Executive Assistant is an excellent team player! These professionals should view themselves as partners of their executives. They consider their boss’s accomplishments as their own and work with them tirelessly to meet deadlines, achieve objectives and produce results. The right EA has the ability to bring forward well-thought out ideas– often from a different perspective– that can make a powerful impact.

5.  Willingness to Learn

Professional Executive Assistants are willing to go the extra mile. Your EA should be one of the most tech savvy people in the building. She should be familiar with the company’s Mission Statement and work to promote it.  Resourcefulness, keeping up with current events, and reading up on industry trends can set one candidate apart from another.

All great advice, Kelli!

That’s why Kelli works with us as a Senior Researcher, collaborating with ISC’s team of EA headhunters.  Let her and our other amazing team of Executive Assistant Recruiters & Researchers help you find an exceptional EA today.

Connect with ISC Today!

We’re not just executive recruiters with more than 20 years of experience in the executive recruitment industry, we have former, high-level Executive Assistants our team. We’re dedicated to helping executives and companies across the US recruit qualified and talented candidates to achieve their business goals.

Contact us today for more information.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of ISC and can be reached via e-mail at   or direct dial at 888-866-7276.

Anna Souers is Director of ISC’s team of Financial Services Recruiters & also leads our team of Executive Assistant Headhunters.  Anna can be reached directly at 800-450-3808 or via e-mail at