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Are you actually ‘assisting’ anyone anymore?

How to cope if your boss doesn't recognise your hard work

It’s a strange title, ‘assistant’, says Robert Kenward.  No matter which word precedes it there will always be the archaic connotations whereby people assume you’re a ‘get things done’ person rather than a ‘here are my thoughts’ person.

Successful companies recognise the best people to help them move the business forward are those in it and that the people closest to the strategic element of the business are, of course, assistants to the C-suite or senior management team. It makes sense then to ensure the voice of an assistant is not dismissed and is listened to as an informed part of the fact-finding process before making core decisions.

Assistants in modern times act more like middle management – the conduit, if you will, between colleagues from all facets of the business – so where better to gather information from than someone who has a stake in various parts of the business? Senior-level recruitment is one of the areas that usually seems to circumnavigate an assistant when, in fact, they have information and insight that is vital to decision making; what the senior team is really like and how a future executive colleague would fit in to this dynamic.

Businesses usually have an in-house team or a preferred agency roster who are, of course, professional in their approach yet seem to miss out on the personal element of the process. Matching a CV to a job description is one thing; however, matching people with people is an altogether different prospect. With time being money, the in-house team will focus on the skills first and then the person at interview stage. With agencies wanting to ensure they get their candidates across first, a CV is often sent before really understanding the “fitability” of their candidate.

If you had information regarding a candidate’s personality and leadership traits in advance to make a decision on who to see, this process becomes easier. Having this information up front means you can also circulate to those that know and this is where an assistant with middle management knowledge can be vital. The value and influence of an assistant’s insight in this situation can be invaluable.

Robert Kenward is the Director and Founder of YOU search & select, a boutique agency specialising in the placement of director level, executive and senior management candidates within marketing, HR and business development. For more information, email, call 01273 915123, or visit

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