This post is also available in: French
Office Manager recruitment is something that we excel in at DJG Consulting. There are many definitions of an Office Manager, but all have a common theme of assuring the smooth running of an office. The role is basically to assume as much responsibility as possible for the everyday administration and running of the office: often this means responsibility for almost everything that is non-billing or which does not generate revenue for the firm.
An Office Manager role can be extremely varied. You need to be a real all-rounder as your duties could encompass issues as diverse as HR, Finance, Secretarial, IT, Personnel Management, Health and Safety, Facilities and more. Office Manager roles are most prevalent in small to medium sized firms (SMEs), and often the size of the firm will define the nature of the role. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the firm, the wider the range of duties. The larger the firm, the more you will find specialists occupying the varying support functions such as HR, Finance, IT, etc.
The Office Manager will often be a manager of personnel as well as facilities. You might manage the Executive Assistants, Receptionists and any other administrative teams such as facilities or catering. You will be involved in hiring and firing, allocating resources to teams, managing recruitment and budgets, conflict resolution, career development, and more. You are the interface between the executives and the support staff, and with a foot in both camps you need to have the respect of both.
Your exposure to HR issues will vary from company to company, but as Office Manager you could expect to be involved with the recruitment of administrative functions such as Executive Assistants, Communications Assistants, Finance Assistants, Receptionists, etc. Very often you will coordinate the process and be involved in the first round of interviews.
In the absence of a dedicated HR department, you will also be responsible for managing your colleagues’ holiday entitlement, of recording sick leave (you will often be the person to contact when people ring in sick), of distributing Tickets Restaurants and payslips. You will often be the liaison point with external HR services such as payroll and contracts.
Executive Assistant to CEO
Particularly in smaller firms, the Office Manager often acts as the Executive Assistant or PA to the President or CEO of the company. This is a highly trusted role where discretion and the ability to treat sensitive information with absolute confidentiality is vital. Your dual responsibilities as Office Manager and Executive Assistant enable the CEO to keep abreast of the day to day mood of the office, whilst giving you the opportunity to represent the support teams’ point of view on operational matters at the highest level.
Facilities plays a part in all Office Manager roles. You will oversee and negotiate contracts for crucial elements such as phones, IT support, office supplies, food and drink, decoration, couriers, cleaning services, and even reception services. You will be the person that everybody goes to when there is a problem with anything, from photocopiers and phones through to kitchens and toilets. You will be expected to calmly find a solution for all eventualities. Although you may not personally have to fix everything that breaks, you will ultimately be held responsible for making sure that it gets fixed.
You are the person who ensures that colleagues have a first-class environment in which to work, and that visiting clients receive the correct impression of the firm. Nobody is impressed by a meeting room with blown light bulbs and littered with detritus from previous meetings.
As Office Manager, you could also be involved in actually finding and fitting out the premises in which the office is located. Being involved in an office move is a huge (but extremely rewarding) responsibility and undertaking. Every Office Manager should be involved in at least one big move in their career, just for the experience!
Again, particularly in small firms, as Office Manager you may be responsible for the IT systems for the company. This could include managing hardware maintenance (computers, servers, scanners, photocopiers, etc), and contracts for cloud based services, mobile telephony, databases, internal hardware infrastructure, software licences, and so on. In a larger firm you will often be the interface with external IT service providers.
Depending on the size and structure of the company, you could be responsible for general office bookkeeping and accounting tasks such as Accounts Payable and preparing payments, petty cash, processing and reimbursing expenses, and even preparing invoices and billing clients.
Types of Client
We work with all types of company on Office Manager positions. These include Start-Ups, M&A boutiques, Private Equity and Venture Capital firms of all sizes, Law firms, Luxury Goods companies, and just about everything else. Companies with a specific Office Manager function tend to be SMEs of between about 10 and 100 employees.
Profile and Skills
To be a successful Office Manager you need to develop an excellent all-round skill-set, and it is a great advantage to have touched on most of the areas described above. Office Managers often come from a PA or Executive Assistant background where they may have had an additional specialist function such as HR Assistant, Finance Assistant or Communications or Events Assistant. The step-up to a fully fledged Office Manager role can be straightforward provided you have a key set of skills to fall back on that guarantee your core operational effectiveness.
You also have to have the right character for the job. You will be somebody in the organisation who is both looked up to and trusted. A positive attitude, confidence in your own abilities, a willingness to learn new skills, negotiating skills, the ability to see the bigger picture, good judgement, excellent organisation, the ability to manage many ongoing tasks and projects simultaneously, absolute discretion, diplomacy, loyalty and resolve… these are just some of the traits that will help you rise to the top as an Office Manager.
You will also usually be expected to have:
- At least 10 years of professional experience.
- Educated to degree level or above.
- Additional specialist qualifications or experience preferably in HR or Finance.
- Good computer literacy (Word, Excel, Outlook).
- Fluency in a foreign language (often English / French).
Remuneration packages tend to start at about 40K € and are typically in the 50K € + bracket. This reflects the considerable experience and proven track record that is usually a pre-requisite for this extremely important position of responsibility.
Beware however of a new trend of using the term “Office Manager” to also describe a junior Factotum administrative position, most often found in start-ups, where experience can be secondary to attitude and low salary expectations!
For an Office Manager career progression depends almost entirely on your ambition. For some people, reaching the level of Office Manager is an end in itself, and the possibility to evolve internally over time both in terms of responsibility and remuneration suffices. For others, there are opportunities for Office Managers to develop their career by progressing to a larger or more diverse organisation, or alternatively to specialise in one or more of the branches outlined above, possibly by undertaking a professional diploma alongside work. This can lead to opportunities such as HR Director or, in France, as a Secrétaire Général.
DJG Consulting candidate process
The Office Manager candidate process begins with a telephone interview where we will assess your suitability to progress to a meeting with one of our senior consultants. We will take the time to understand your professional experience to date and your suitability and credibility for the specific roles that we have met to discuss. We will help you to determine what the ideal professional environment for you to succeed in will look like. We will want to understand where your skills and personality will be able to have the most impact. We may test your foreign languages orally during the interview and also potentially with a more formal testing process if this is appropriate. We will also test your computer skills. As you would expect, it will be quite a rigorous interview process.
Do feel free to contact us to discuss this if you think the time is right for you to take the next step in your career.
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