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News, tips, and advice for small business owners

How to Hire an Office Manager

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Stephanie Davis

Are you looking for a little extra help running your small business? Juggling all of the things, and wearing multiple hats can eventually wear down the most dedicated business owner, which is why many turn towards hiring an office manager.

A casual open office layout with several employees working on computers or talking to each other to get work done.

If this is your first time hiring an office manager you might be confused about where to start and how to make sure your hiring process is effective. Keep reading to get the tips on finding the perfect employee to help you manage your business.

What does an office manager do?

An office manager role will likely vary depending on the specific needs your small business has. However, common tasks for office managers include:

  • Assigning and monitoring clerical functions
  • Offering support with payroll
  • Designing filing systems
  • Managing shipments and orders
  • Keeping the office or workspace stocked and cleaned

The short version is, an office manager will help you manage the business. They could be the point person for employee onboarding or organize activities for team bonding and employee engagement. If you’re struggling to keep up with all of the tasks associated with running a business, an office manager can be a great position to consider adding to your headcount.

How to Hire an Office Manager

Because office managers can have a variety of tasks, it’s important to be thoughtful in your hiring process. Even though an office manager can do many things, you can’t make a job description that asks somebody to do everything because it can cause chaos and confusion. When you’re ready to hire an office manager, think about the key things that you need help with. If it’s truly for help managing the office, your job description will likely include some of the tasks mentioned above, like clerical tasks or assistance with payroll. Be clear with the tasks you expect them to handle, but also make a note that they should be comfortable with other tasks as they come up. Unclear job descriptions can not only waste your time when hiring, but it’s also stressful to an employee when they don’t have clear expectations on their position. If you're overwhelmed with putting together an office manager job description, a quick Google search and poking around on career sites can help.

What to Look for In an Office Manager

Often times, small business owners are running the show on their own and count on themselves to make all of the decisions when running their business, and also keep business running smoothly. If this relates to how you are operating small business life, then you understand how important it is that you’re choosing the best office manager to help you out. For an office manager role, you are going to want somebody who actually has experience with management. Ideally they have experience managing an office, but if you are looking for somebody to help with employee items, like onboarding, then having experience as a manager of people can also be helpful. As we mentioned, an office manager can handle a variety of tasks, and at times things may get busy and stressful. You’ll want to look for examples of strong organizational skills, people management, the ability to switch tasks smoothly and remain level-headed when a crisis does come up.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the person is a good fit culturally. Since they likely will be one of, if not the first person, somebody entering your business will speak to, they should be good with interacting with customers, mail carriers, and others. Culture is important to attracting and retaining employees, so you’ll want to ensure the office manager gels with your other employees. Having current employees sit in on interviews, or spend some time with your prospective hires can be a great way to test culture fits.

Where to Find an Office Manager

Since there is a little more weight behind finding the perfect fit due to the complexity of an office manager role, one of the first things you should do when starting your hiring is to ask friends, family, and other trusted business owners if they know of anyone. Referrals are a great way to find new talent for your team and you save a step of calling references when working with people you already know and trust. Outside of referrals, you should look for an office manager the same way you would any other position. Post the job description on job boards like Indeed or Monster and utilize your personal and business social media accounts to share the job that way as well. New hires are also a great way to get your current employees engaged and you can ask them to reach out to people they might now. To encourage this type of behavior, it’s common for businesses to offer referral bonuses to employees who refer somebody to the business that then gets hired.

Bottom Line

It’s exciting to consider adding an office manager to your small business. As mentioned, the biggest thing to keep in mind is having a clear description. Just because an office manager can do many tasks, doesn’t mean they should, and will want the same type of concise job description as other employees. Remember to stay patient during your search, and understand that finding the perfect fit can take some time.

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