5 Key Qualities of a Great Office Administrator

Everyone is looking for “the one.” An office administrator who can juggle many tasks while keeping the office running smoothly. For many offices, finding the right administrator can make all the difference between an office that works and one in which the staff and executives don’t have the tools or environment to do their jobs.

Finding a great fit for an administrator requires a keen awareness of the essential skill sets or specific professional and personal qualities in that position. That can be especially true for temp hires or temp-to-hire administrators. The question is, what are some of those key qualities to look for?

#1: Your Future Office Administrator Needs an Outgoing Personality

First impressions are everything. There are few people in your office who are more critical in making a great first impression than an office administrator. 

An office administrator serves as the front line for your office and employees, clients, and possibly even competitors in your industry. This position means that they serve as the first impression between you and the many important people with whom you will want to establish a good relationship. Obviously, an administrator who is aloof or simply lacking in charisma can leave visitors with a poor impression of your office and, by proxy, your entire business.

Unfortunately, personality traits like this are soft skills that are very difficult to gauge and nearly impossible to teach. That’s why so many businesses rely on staffing agencies like Vector Technical – they need a guide who has a unique ability to identify those talents in “the one” candidate out of a crowd of candidates.

At Vector, we take it one step further and take the time to get to know our applicants personally to help determine if they have the welcoming and polite personality that you need at your front desk.

#2: Organization is Key

Tasks of an Office Administrator include, but may not be limited to:

  • Keeping the office clean and orderly
  • Keeping calendars for the staff, conference rooms, and office events organized and up to date
  • Keeping up to date on new office technologies and researching before purchases
  • Managing official files, purchase orders, receipts, and invoices
  • Arranging business trips for executives and staff
  • Answering the main office phone & delegating voicemails and emails to the appropriate recipient
  • Managing inventory of office supplies, ordering new supplies as needed
  • Keeping office equipment such as copiers and computers safe and running effectively


It’s not hard to see how – when you consider the daily tasks of an Office Administrator –this talent for an organization is key. 

In addition to helping staff and executives keep access to essential files at a moment’s notice, Office Administrators need to be acutely aware of where the office resources are, how to manage them, and keep a complex calendar with often conflicting events all running smoothly.

To be a truly successful administrator, they need to handle this multitude of tasks simultaneously. While you can test for organizational skills and a capability for multitasking with small tests during the interview process, it helps to make the subject of organization a priority when speaking with their references. 

#3: Adaptability in a Constantly Changing Environment

In a similar vein to organizational skill, your administrator must be able to adapt to an office environment that can change on a dime. We only have to look back at the recent pandemic to realize how critical it can be to keep everyone on the same page in stressful times of uncertainty.

This is especially critical when you consider how seldom even the best-laid plans go according to plan. Even for highly planned events, a successful administrator will need to act on their feet and find not just an alternative option but one that will keep the staff and executive team happy and feeling cared for.

While having excellent organizational skills is undoubtedly vital to keeping one step ahead of everything, so too is being able to quickly shift focus from one task to another. Your administrator needs to rapidly focus on the tasks that take precedence even if it was not their current focus before.

#4: Communication

When it comes to communication, you and your staff need it simple, you need it on time, and you need it to be clear.

When handling the day-to-day tasks and maintaining coordination between you and other departments, your administrator will not only be responsible for translating your messages across multiple departments and the entire office, but they’ll need to make it easy for them to understand.

This can be more tricky than it sounds. Often, executives are too busy to craft a message that is clear or easy to understand. And your staff doesn’t have a lot of time to decipher mysterious or confusing messages and updates.

This responsibility means that they absolutely must possess an effective communication skill set to take your words and effectively repeat them across the entire office via email, phone calls, or any other medium with as few issues as possible.

#5: Discretion and Confidentiality

In the same way your Office Administrator is the gatekeeper for those coming and going through your office, so too are they often the gatekeeper of your business’ flow of information and sensitive documents. Sometimes, they are even in charge of all the passwords to your shared database and software applications.

Of all the skills and personality traits you can discover in the interview process, discretion can be the most difficult to gauge. Of course, all employers must make a small leap of faith with every new hire. And while there are some tried-and-true questions you can ask an applicant, perhaps the most useful tip to gauging confidentiality is to ask open-ended questions about previous employers.

No matter how they left a previous employer, an applicant should be professional and diplomatic in summarizing their time in a previous role. Red flags for discretion are raised when candidates divulge too much information about the previous employer. This is especially true for candidates who left on less than desirable terms and who don’t mind dishing about their poor experience. 

Hiring Does Not Have to Be Difficult

Finding the Office Administrator who is “the one” can be extremely difficult. But you don’t have to do it alone. We at Vector Technical provide services in recruitment and staffing for office administrators and many other roles you might need filling. We thoroughly evaluate candidates on your behalf to ensure that they possess all these qualities and more. If you need help filling your temporary or temp-to-hire positions, get in touch with Vector Technical today.