There was a surprisingly hostile attitude to the article I wrote last week about my experience trying to hire an administrative assistant.

To recap, I want to hire someone with proven - rather than stated - computer skills; as opposed to having to train on functions I consider a 'must know' for someone saying they have good Microsoft skills.

Some of the responses:

'If you are not willing to train your staff, why should you get the benefit of someone elses training?'
'I say you did Rose a big favour to not work for a narrow minded, controlling micro manager.'
'And this is why unemployment rate is so high, Stupid things like this. For god sake just teach the damn woman and get on with it'


I do believe in training. I've done it many times over. Especially in times of high employment - when there aren't a lot of candidates available.

While one never stops learning new compute skills, and of course Microsoft keeps changing and tweaking with each version, when there is an opportunity for an employer to select between candidates this is why it makes SO much (excuse the pun - dollars and cents/sense- to hire someone that has a wider knowledge.

Let's open with this common sense response from the comments:

'I am a small business owner, and frankly employing someone who knows "LESS" than me in areas of administration is just Plain stupid ! I have always maintained that unless you have a corporation with significant resources behind you , the role of PA needs to be filled by someone who will control and guide NOT follow and learn.'

From my point of view, it's important to think about the bottom line when small businesses are hiring - and here are a few points to consider:

1. Cost of Owners Time - Training on how to use computer functions isn't core to normal job and business operational training. Time doing this takes away from a more productive use of time. With the multitude of responsibilities a small business owner or manager has, it will add up. Also think about the opportunity cost of this time that could have been spent elsewhere.

2. Not Assimilated - I find that showing someone a function once doesn't work. It has to be shown several times and this requires watching or questioning. Not a comfortable experience for both parties. The reason being:

3. Many at Once Vs. One by One - Many functions involve the ability to accomplish a great number of actions at one time vs. doing them one by one by one.

For example Outlook rules moving emails automatically. Excels Text to columns splitting first and last names apart.

When you look at the time and cost of doing things one by one vs many at once - it can add up significantly. If half an hour a day can be saved by improved computer knowledge - at 5 days a week, 45 weeks a year - that is two full working weeks.

Wasted. And of course paid for - by the employer.

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith. For more tips, over 500 how-to articles visit Debbie's article webpage.