How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Hiring a Corporate Secretary

Corporate secretary is probably one of the most important position in a company. They don’t make any decision, but they make sure every decision made is received by the next person responsible.

Because of that, you want to ensure that you are hiring the right person, someone who can deliver, and here are a few tips in ensuring how to get that and how to make sure you are avoiding these common mistakes.

  • Spending too little time on the interview

Just because the job title reads ‘assistant’ doesn’t mean you should interview a person shorter than what you would when you are interviewing and account manager.

A corporate assistant is someone your client or respective stakeholders would often see and communicate with before you, therefore you want to be sure that they can resonate your vision and ideas. You don’t want an assistant that doesn’t smile if you yourself are a very friendly person. It may look simple, but every impression counts.

“People think it’s a simple thing, that it’s no big deal to hire an assistant–but that’s a problem,” says Joan Burge, author of Become an Inner Circle Assistant. “You have to put time and effort into it if you want to get the right person. The idea should be to get a very good match, a person who will stay and grow with you.”

Before you start interviewing, list down all the tasks and responsibilities that will be taken by your corporate assistant, this way it will be easy to assess what skills will be needed.

  • Hiring someone who is not tech savvy and has little to no social media skills

General Mills senior counsel and assistant secretary Cam Hoang say that it is essential for corporate secretaries to be tech – savvy.

The corporate secretary plays an active role in ensuring companies have inaugurated firm policies to protect their online status and data and this is done via social media. They don’t necessarily have to be on Twitte or Facebook but they will need to authorize strict social media regulations. Corporate secretaries are often responsible for notifying the board about future online risks and have is important in dictating the company’s role in social media.

  • Not having a thorough job responsibilities list.

According to Paulhype Page & Co, a chartered accountants firm in Singapore, these are the responsibilities that a corporate secretary will have to take on:

  • attending and recording the minutes of the shareholders and board meetings
  • preparing shareholders resolutions and board resolutions
  • updating and advising company’s compliance with the rules of the Companies Act
  • filing audited accounts and Annual Returns
  • maintaining companies’ statutory records
  • transferring shares
  • changing of managers, directors, company secretaries and auditors
  • changing of registered address of the company office
  • bank accounts opening and changing of bank signatories

These are only a few of the responsibilities. Before you decide to hire one, discuss with the board of directors on the responsibilities and limitations of the prospect.

  • Hiring someone without the same vision as your company

A company secretary is not only responsible for making sure a company complies with its statutory duties, they also ensure the work done is in-line with the company’s mission and vision. Someone with a different outlook and  approach will cause problems within the company.

  • Only looking for corporate secretaries internally.

Finding the right corporate secretary can be a challenge for a company. Replacing a corporate secretary can prove difficult because most of the time, you will have a very specific need.

However only looking at internal candidates shouldn’t be your short cut.

Leanne Likness, the corporate secretary at ENMAX, a Canadian energy distribution, supply and service company, says that it makes  better sense to find the very best individual for the job, even if that means looking at external candidates with more experience.

“Throughout my career I have always been recruited externally, but it makes sense to recruit internally as well, especially if there are individuals within the organization that have the skill set required,” she added.

  • Overlooking cultural and social differences

Especially in Southeast Asia, you will get a lot of candidates from various cultural and social background. In order to make the engagement work, you have to be familiar with their cultural and social distinctions.

Don’t expect the candidate to compromise their practices unreasonable for the sake of the job. Be mindful and respectful of their practices and accommodate these in your schedule. In order to make things work you will have to plan the schedule ahead of time.

As an example, if you have an assistant from a Muslim background, expect that they will need more time away for prayers and iftar, as a person from a different religion or race background will need a holiday in different times of the year.

It shouldn’t be an issue when you are hiring it is however important that you take into considerations your future schedule.


ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.

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