Admins on the Rise Part III

  Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

TOPIC: Now You’re Working With Your EA…

When evaluating the pain points you’re running into as an Executive, what comes top of mind and how can your EA help to alleviate those pain points? 

“Time. The causal time. Conversation. If you free up time then you have face time to actually talk about the hard stuff (or not the hard stuff). When you’re changing context a lot or if I’m traveling a bunch, I need to be able to have a strategic conversation. It’s the softer stuff that adds context and helps me pick up on the other details. - Eric, Mapbox 

What does an EA need to do to gain your confidence to demonstrate they are capable of more? 

“At FRB, we have a lot of Executive Assistants who have evolved into Executive roles. We know somebody is ready because they’ve never checked out. If it’s not going well, tell your Executive what’s not going well. If there’s something you want to improve, talk about it. Have the courage to say, ‘this should change’ or ‘I’m not happy with this, here’s what we can do better.’ It’s okay to say that because it’s a partnership.” - Beth, First Republic Bank 

“Ask for specific things you want to do and have good reasons for them. Just saying, ‘hey I want more or hey I want to be more...’ it’s hard to know what to do with that sometimes. It’s a lot more compelling if there are specific tasks and evidence behind those and maybe some sort of framework for how they might work. Have a plan. Then we’ll know that you’re ready.” - Alex, Founders Fund

“One thing I’ve noticed with Admins and EAs in general is that they feel their value is tied to their proximity to the C-suite. They forget how powerful they can be depending on where they are in the hierarchy. Be ambitious. Be curious. Be courageous. No one is going to stop you if you’re effective. I know an EA is ready for something else when they’re super passionate and super thoughtful. … They are already fulfilled by what they are doing now, but they know they can evolve.” - Annie, Postmates 

“Working closely with other people and not just on the leadership team. When we started working on projects together and really quickly, I was able to actually start hopping out of projects and to be able to have that I’m actually able to delegate a bunch. The downside of that is you gotta make sure you create the right air cover.” - Eric, Mapbox

If an EA needs to challenge you or give you feedback on something, what is the best way for them to do that? 

“Directly.” - Alex, Founders Fund 

“Don’t throw tact out the window, but don’t throw personality out the window [either] because the relationship is built up on context. Actually, if you’re saying it with that kind of flavor, it will help me better understand what the problem is.” - Eric, Mapbox 

Eric, you recently made the comment that your EA (Paige) is “nothing short of transformative.” Can you qualify what behaviors, attributes and actions Paige exhibits that make her transformative? 

“Very quickly I felt how much more follow-through I had. It wasn’t just that I was able to do more, but more was getting done because of a higher degree of accountability. To be honest, this instantly brought a great sense of reward to my effectiveness. I’m just like, ‘awesome.’ Not only can I have a meeting, I can actually work with people who are accountable and get shit done. That starts having a flywheel effect. To be able to solve stuff that was gnarly for a while… I personally feel that I’m happy because I’m actually doing more. I’m doing more because we’re doing more together, and people like working on these projects better because we’re getting it done. Oh shit, we’ve just built momentum!” - Eric, Mapbox 

How do you know if you’ve outgrown your EA? On the flipside, what can your EA do to ensure he or she continues to grow and groom his/herself with you as you grow? 

“First part of the question: You know when you know. Second part of the question: By definition, of having to work together, you know where the person could go crush it.” - Eric, Mapbox 

“I know someone is going to grow with me when he/she continues to gain parallel context and continues to engage with his/her team. Having interface with your team is actually what’s going to keep you relevant. I know someone will grow with me when he/she is telling ME stuff that I didn’t even know about. I love that because it means someone else has their ear on the ground when I can’t. When you fill in my gaps, I’m going to keep you for as long as you continue to fill in the gaps.” – Annie, Postmates

Hope you enjoyed our recap – and we look forward to you enjoying our next event!

At Maven, we believe that meaningful, in-person connections are invaluable. If you haven’t yet had the chance to participate in one of our events, we encourage you to do so. By participating in this truly collaborative and candid forum, you’re able to quickly gain context and insight, build rapport, and access others you might not have the chance to do.

The proof of this was connecting one of our attendees that evening to her (now) new boss, Annie, at Postmates. When she arrived at our event, this attendee had a competing offer on the table, but after meeting Annie and hearing her perspectives on the EA role, she was able to confidently move forward with her choice to join Postmates. Talk about a meaningful connection!

See You Next Time!

Thank you again to all who participated and attended. We look forward to seeing you at our next Admins on the Rise 2019!

Admins on the Rise Part II

and here’s what we learned

  Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

TOPIC: You’re Interviewing Your Next Executive Assistant… 

More and more we hear our Clients talk about wanting a strategic EA. What does being a strategic partner mean to you? 

“Being a strategic partner means filling in the gaps your Executive didn’t even know existed. It means looking at the organization at large and having the courage to speak up in a profession where you’re supposed to be invisible... but that’s the old world! When you do something, how does it help change the bigger picture? Are you creating static solutions or are you operating for scale? That’s what a strategic partner is to me.” - Annie, Postmates 

Being strategic means exhibiting “proactive versus reactive behavior. Are you just doing what’s asked of you? Are you just thinking transactionally and checking boxes off your list, or are you thinking ahead and being proactive? For instance, what does my Executive’s whole week look like? What does their month look like? Who do they need to be checking in with? It’s about owning your role and having the managerial courage to make decisions on your own.” - Beth, First Republic Bank 

Taking a different spin on the question, Alex Silverman of Founders Fund made the important observation that “some [EA] roles are strategic, some are not. Not every administrative role we have at Founders Fund is necessarily strategic.” She went on to say that whether a role is strategic or not in no way negates the value that person brings to the table. Being “strategic” is not the only barometer for measuring value in a support relationship. 

You’re interviewing your next EA. What’s most important to you? 

“I want to see the raw, authentic and unrehearsed YOU.” - Alex, Founders Fund 

“Writing. Granted, hiring a former journalist [to be my EA] was the ultimate cheat.” - Eric, Mapbox 

TOPIC: You’ve Hired Your EA. Now What?

What’s impressive to you about how an EA onboards and gets up to speed in a relationship? 

Knowing how to “navigate or manage something yourself, and then when to ask for help (and who to ask for help from). This is a situational awareness type of skill... high EQ. Being able to decipher what you can execute right off the bat and what you need more information for.” - Alex, Founders Fund 

“I don’t analyze by 30-day, 60-day or 90-day... I actually don’t care about that at all. I care about how a new EA engages with their immediate team. It’s important that before you reach out to me, you have the courage and initiative to get some context outside of me. Ask a co-worker to grab a cup of coffee and get the download for how things run and how they can be better. This sideways context is HUGE. When I see someone take the initiative to learn from their team as opposed to sitting back and waiting for me to give them context... my heart sings!” - Annie, Postmates 

What are the daily practices that you and your EA have established that allow for a successful partnership? 

“If you get specific enough, it’s impossible to not be aligned. One of our tricks is Dropbox Paper. You look at it and it’s like, what do I owe you, what do I owe other people? If I’m going to push one thing at any point during the day, it’s this paper. The cool part is, you can edit it all. I can highlight it, ask questions, delete stuff throughout the day. It’s a constant context piece we can pull up which radically reduces my need to ping others throughout the day because I know what I need to do [….] it’s all right there. It allows me to change context so much faster and that allows me to stack a lot. It also allows me to contribute – it really is a two-way conversation. Dropbox Paper is magical for many reasons.” - Eric, Mapbox

“Never discount the power of a collaborative document. I created a dashboard that serves as a foundation for everyone coming in. It gives them context and resources immediately at a glance. I created this because at the time, I was solo, and I was afraid that if I got hit by a bus the entire leadership team would fail because they were leaning on me and I’m a single point of failure. [It] gives someone the ability to gain the context.” - Annie, Postmates 

More questions and answers to come tomorrow!

Admins on the Rise

Behind the Velvet Rope: Demystifying the Executives You Support

Written by: Jessica Vann & Haley Garrison

Ever wondered what the person sitting across from you in an interview was really thinking, or wished you could demystify your new boss? Or maybe you’ve wrestled with how you can best stand out during the onboarding and initial periods of your new job?  

It was in a quest to get these and other critical questions answered for our admin followership during Maven’s latest Admins on the Rise event, hosted at the iconic Hotel Zetta in downtown San Francisco! In case you missed it, here’s a virtual recap of what was a massively entertaining and informative evening. 

Those who bravely battled the apocalyptic fire skies and 221 air quality index on November 15th were generously rewarded by the witty and insightful commentary of our incredible panelists: 

  • Eric Gundersen: CEO of Mapbox 

  • Annie Wu: Executive Operations at Postmates 

  • Alex Silverman: Director of Operations at Founders Fund 

  • Beth Vasquez: Director of Talent Acquisition at First Republic Bank 

These esteemed business leaders and executives shared their perspectives on everything from how to stand out in an interview to what can distinguish you during the onboarding process, and as you solidify your new relationship, to how to stay relevant over the longer term.  

As always, our goal with this event was to create a candid, vibrant and rigorous dialogue that can both inspire and aid you as you navigate your own career trajectory.

Stay tuned over the next few days to see what we learned!

In the meantime, if you have a topic in mind you’d love to hear about at our next event, send your ideas to Our intention is to implement the topics YOU want to hear and learn about. After all, our Admins on the Rise events are for YOU, so tell us what you want to see, Admins. :)

We have an Exciting Announcement!

Written by: Haley Garrison

Maven Recruiting Group is Expanding!

We’ve launched a new location in SAN MATEO to better serve our Peninsula candidates and clients.

400 Concar Drive, Suite 4-112, San Mateo CA 94402

Know of anyone looking for an admin or HR job in the Peninsula? Or any companies looking to hire for admin or HR roles? Click below to send us your friends!

New to our referral program?

Here’s the deal:

We’ll pay you a $250 referral bonus for each person you refer who we place in a permanent role and a $500 referral bonus for each company you refer once a placement has been made (once the candidate reaches 90 days of employment).

Come by and say hi to us at our new San Mateo location starting December 2018!

Front Lobby Etiquette for Interviewers

  Written by: Leslie Crain

Written by: Leslie Crain

Welcome to the Office!

You’re ready to go. You’ve researched the company, practiced interview questions in front of a mirror, picked out the perfect outfit – and now you open the door and walk in.

But wait! Your first step into the lobby is actually the first step into the in-person interview. What you do in the lobby counts.

Your initial impression on the office is made with the person sitting at the reception desk, and as the first point of contact in Maven’s reception area, I can give you some tips to help you navigate the Front Lobby.

1.       Walk in with confidence!

I can’t tell you how many people walk into our office frowning, expressionless, or looking confused. We’ve given you our address and explained how to get to our office; you’ve found us, now own it. Walk in with a smile and say hello – no need to ask if you’re in the right place when there’s a sign on the door!

2.       Show up on time.

Everyone knows not to be late to an interview, but no one talks about exactly how early to arrive. In general, shoot to be at the office no more than five minutes early. Ten if you have to, but anything more than that, go walk around the block again or find a coffee shop. Your interviewer has a set time allotted to speak with you, and not all front lobbies are conducive to long waits. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable having someone sitting right next to me for an extended period of time while I’m trying to get often-confidential work done.

3.       Polite conversation is good; lengthy conversation, not so much.

The person at the front desk is most likely busy. Yes, we’re greeting guests and of course we love to chat for a bit, but no, we probably don’t have time for a conversation longer than a few minutes. Gauge the level of busy-ness: if the receptionist is answering a constantly-ringing phone, or concentrating on typing, you don’t have to make small talk. If you’re chatting, but s/he keeps looking at the computer screen, cut the conversation short. It’s a fine line between being friendly and taking someone away from work, but it’s important.

4.       Act like you’re in the interview.

What I mean by that is to treat the front lobby as a precursor to the interview itself. Don’t smack your gum; spit out gum before coming into the office. Don’t chat on your cell phone; texting and emailing is fine while you’re waiting, but if you need to talk, please step out. Put your fancy shoes on before coming into the office; don’t change footwear in the lobby. We notice these things.

My colleagues often ask what I thought about certain candidates, and front lobby behavior is what I have to go by. If they’re on the fence about someone, and I remember he came in and was really inconsiderate, even if he was polite in the interview, that’s an insight my colleagues will keep in mind. Similarly, if I have a great interaction with him, that could help push a hiring decision in a positive direction.

That being said – welcome to the office! How can we help you?

How to Nail the Tricky Interview Questions


 -by Hayley Morrison

-by Hayley Morrison

Ever been in an interview and been hit with a question that caused you tremendous anxiety – you know, the kind that has you mentally sinking in your chair just wishing you could tuck and roll out of the office doors? Well, to prevent you from experiencing such trauma again, let’s deal with those nail-biting, head-spinning questions head on. 

Specifically: let’s talk about that dreaded question, “Why are you leaving your current role?” 

Some people have an easy answer. Maybe your company was recently acquired, and the acquiring company had someone in your role already and you were laid off. Or maybe you just moved cities! But for the 99% of us who didn’t get laid off for non-performance-based reasons and haven’t recently moved to a new city, let’s talk about a tactful way to respond to this weighted question. 

Rewind: Why do employers even ask this question? Spoiler alert: It’s kind of a trick. The goal in asking this question is for the employer to suss out whether you’re just going to leave their company for the same reason you left your previous company. Every time a company hires someone, they are making an investment. As with all investments, they want something long-term that will continually provide a return. Ultimately, this question unveils more about a person and their motivations than any other question.  

Now, let’s walk through the do’s and don’ts of answering this curve ball. 

The bad responses, aka what NOT to say: 

 **Note: Below are real-life answers I have received from candidates. I wish I were being dramatic, but I’m not. 

Wrong Answer #1: “I’ve been at my job for three months and there’s just no opportunity for growth.”  

Wrong Answer #2: “My manager and I really don’t get along. It’s been a long, strenuous relationship that I’m ready to get out of.”  

Wrong Answer #3: “Well, you know, my kid is going to college and my husband and I just got divorced, so I need to make more money. I’ve asked my current boss for a raise because of my situation and he just won’t give it to me. On top of that, the culture of this place is just awful. I don’t even want to go to work when I get up in the morning… they aren’t paying me nearly enough for the sh*t I put up with.” 

Yes, these may all be valid reasons for looking for a new job… but your potential employer doesn’t want to hear that.  

In fact, if you say any of the above, I can promise you that unless you absolutely ace the rest of the interview, you’ve probably talked yourself out of a job.  

Now for the good responses - aka what you SHOULD say: 

Right Answer #1: “While I notice I have only been in my current position for three months, I am really looking for a long-term fit. Unfortunately, my current role isn’t the place for me as the job that I am currently doing is much different than the job that I had interviewed for. I’m grateful for the experience, but believe this role is much more up the alley of what I hope to do.” 

Right Answer #2: “I am so appreciative of the time in my current position and I have learned so much. However, due to recent changes in our org, I am being proactive in my search. I want to ensure that I find the right place, not just any place. This role really seems like it could offer me what I am looking for in a place to stay for the long-term.” 

Right Answer #3: “The job market is hotter than it’s ever been before. I was so curious to see what was out there, as soon as I stumbled upon this role, I had to apply. I really want to work for a company whose mission I can get behind, and I really believe in what you all are doing!”

There’s no step-by-step formula of answering this question that guarantees you get the job. However, I urge you to be honest with your recruiter and brainstorm together on the best ways to approach this question and any others stumping you. Every employer is different, so be sure to tailor your answers to the role and company you’re interviewing for. Remember, your recruiter is your sounding board, your coach and your advocate – utilize them!! 

Happy Interviewing! 

-Your Recruiting Resource 

Interviewing 101

Written by the Recruiter Who Interviews for a Living

  -by Hayley Morrison

-by Hayley Morrison

Day in and day out, I interview candidates. I often hear answers to my questions that I would say are a “no-go” in an interview. One of the many benefits of working with a recruiter is that we are able to offer interview coaching and feedback in order to help you nail your dream job.

Let me tell you a quick story:

I had a candidate - let’s call her Madison for anonymity - who had been in her current role for 10 years and was starting to interview for a new job. In our first meeting, I asked Madison a range of interview questions. Madison answered almost every question I asked her with an incredibly lengthy response, shared WAY too much information, and at times I felt like didn’t even answer my question. Throughout the interview I could tell Madison wasn’t a bad EA, she just didn’t know how to interview. So, the process started: we worked together to practice interview questions and prepared for every interview I sent her on. At the end of it all, Madison landed a role at a top Venture Capital firm, earned an incredible increase in salary, and to this day, she sends me messages thanking me for all the time we spent preparing.

So today, I’m sharing with you some of my “best-kept secrets” of interviewing. I would recommend talking over your specific answers with a trusted professional (a recruiter like me!) before trying at home.

There are 3 Keys to Being Successful in An Interview:

1. Take each and every opportunity to show why the job you’re interviewing for is for YOU!

Remember when your parents told you that the interviewing process is just as much a time to interview the company as much as it is for them to interview you? Well, although I’m not the first to tell you, they were right. As you get to know the company, take this time to illustrate why YOU are the perfect candidate for the role and even more importantly, their culture.

2. NEVER bad-mouth your employer or current boss. I don’t care if they are the worst ever - just don’t do it.

So maybe you’ve had an unfortunate experience with your higher-up and you can’t wait to leave your current role because they make your life miserable. If that’s the truth, well, I’m sorry to hear that, but keep it to yourself. Employers don’t want to hear that you didn’t get along with your boss or that you didn’t gel well with your last team - it’s actually a red flag. The interviewing experience should be nothing but positive: you want to leave a strong and lasting first impression with your potential employer. If the hiring manager ends up with a feeling that you are hard to get along with, bitter, or prone to conflict or drama, I’ll tell you right now you’ve most likely talked yourself out of that job.

3. Be honest and tactful in your responses. This is your time to shine!

Employers want to get to know YOU. They want to see your personality shine through your work, and they want to understand what motivates you. To most employers, a culture fit is more important than the technical skills required for the job. If they feel like your answers are overly scripted or ingenuine, chances are they won’t remember you once you leave your interview. Now is your time to show your potential company that you are unique, authentic and memorable.

So now you have the basics for interviewing, but stay tuned for our next blog… We’re giving you the lowdown on how to respond to the interview questions that keep you awake at night. You won’t want to miss out on that!


7 Job Search Tips No One Told Me


 -by Haley Garrison

-by Haley Garrison

We’ve all heard that looking for a job is a full-time job on its own, and that’s true when you’re going at it alone. Within my first week working at a recruiting agency, I couldn’t believe that NO ONE had filled me on how much time I would have saved had I partnered with a recruiter. So now that I’m on the other side of the job search (and actually working for a recruiting agency!), here are the 7 tips I wish someone would have told me when I was spending countless hours applying to jobs left and right. Spoiler Alert: Partner with a Recruiter! 

1. Working with a Recruiter Doesn’t Cost You a Dime

This is a big one – many job seekers mistakenly think they have to pay recruiters for their services. In general, the client or hiring manager is actually the one who pays the recruiter for the candidate. The job seeker has the opportunity to utilize free services and land a job without having to pay a dime.  

2. Recruiters Have Opportunities that Aren’t Posted on Job Boards

Recruiters have their own networks, both professional and personal, which means they are aware of a myriad of opportunities that aren’t otherwise searchable on job boards. Their networks are strong and extensive, so they are typically the first to know when a new opportunity opens up. Why not get another person on your team who’s rooting for you? 

3. Recruiters Coach You through the Interview Process

Wondering whether you should bust out the pantsuit or leave the blazer at home? Not feeling so confident with your interview responses? When you partner with a recruiter, it’s like partnering with a coach. These people are industry experts, which means they have a good sense of what the potential interview questions might be and they share that information with you. A good recruiter will prep you for your interview, whether that’s through role play or Q&A. 

4. Recruiters Revamp & Spruce Up Your Resume

When you first submit your resume, a good recruiter will scan your resume not only for work experience, but also for things like typos, formatting issues, inconsistencies, etc. Not sure if you need an objective statement? Need advice on how to explain your resume gap? Rather than just having your mom or significant other proofread your resume, why not have an industry professional review it for you? Now’s the time to shorten, revamp and perfect your resume before your potential employer sees it.  

5. Hiring Managers tell Recruiters the Intangibles They’re Looking for in Candidates

Hiring managers aren’t likely to explicitly write that they want a warm, bubbly and personable candidate with a good sense of humor to gel well with the team on a job description. However, hiring managers are likely to relate this information through direct dialogue with a recruiter - and your recruiter will share this info with you. You’ll know more about a company culture and exactly what they are looking for prior to interviewing. This way, you’ll be able to better leverage your personality and similar interests when meeting your potential employer for the first time.  

6. The Majority of Contract Positions Turn into Permanent Roles

Contract roles are a great way to get your foot in the door, prove your skillset and end up landing a full-time gig at a top company. Before working at a recruiting agency, I saw the word “contract” and thought it might be a 1 day to 1-week role. Those roles do exist, of course, but more often than not, contract roles are actually contract-to-hire, which means the company just wants to make sure you’re a good culture fit before bringing you on full-time. 

7. The Top Companies Only Trust Agencies to Source Talent

Like me, many job seekers go to company websites or job boards to find open jobs on the market. However, most companies (especially those big-name, top-tier companies) don’t actually post their jobs to their website or generic job boards. Instead, these high-level executives work solely with agencies because they have already built a relationship with the recruiter and trust them to provide only top talent. If you want to work for Fortune 500 companies, chances are they won’t be posting their esteemed roles to job boards, so the only way to get your foot in the door is by working with a recruiter. 

Job searching doesn't have to be daunting, and I wish someone would have told me that when I was knee-deep in my own job search. The good news: now you know that when you partner with the right recruiter, you save yourself a lot of time and unnecessary stress - and you get a great advocate to help you find your dream job. 

(And if you’re looking for Administrative or HR roles, call Maven!) 

Ask a Recruiter: Does it Matter That I've Job-Hopped (a Lot)?

 -by CEO & Founder, Jessica Vann (ORIGINALLY SEEN ON THE MUSE)

-by CEO & Founder, Jessica Vann (ORIGINALLY SEEN ON THE MUSE)


Dear Recruiter,

I’m specialized in marketing within the technology industry. I have four years of experience, and I've held six jobs plus a few independent projects, with not a single position lasting longer than a year. My fear is that I’m being labeled as a job hopper. I know employment length has decreased overall, but how important is staying in a role for a certain period of time? Does longevity still matter?

The Hare


Hi The Hare,

I’m not one for placating. So, to answer your question, longevity does still matter in certain industries. In our business of placing administrative and human resources professionals, a jumpy resume is the number one reason a client won’t meet a candidate.

Now, that said, it isn’t all doom and gloom for job hoppers—even if your field doesn’t look glowingly at it.

For instance, one IT worker we met was recently advised by a prominent venture capital firm to accumulate “more logos” on his resume, a license essentially to seek out shorter employment stints at high-profile companies.

To continue reading this blog post, head on over to The Muse:

Ask a Real Recruiter: How Do I Prove That I'm the Best Candidate in an Interview?

 -by CEO & Founder, Jessica Vann (ORIGINALLY SEEN ON THE MUSE)

-by CEO & Founder, Jessica Vann (ORIGINALLY SEEN ON THE MUSE)


Dear Real Recruiter,

What’s the best way to answer when the interviewer asks why they should choose you over another candidate who has the same qualifications?

Not Just Another Number


Dear Not Just Another Number,

Standing out in your job search is crucial, but it’s also hard. The truth is, a lot of people are just as qualified as you when it comes to comparing resumes.

So, don’t think of it that way! Instead, dig into the intangibles of who you are. No, not the straightforward qualifications or keywords that got you the interview, but the actual you.

That’s the good stuff. The secret sauce. The reason they’re going to select you over the other “equally qualified” candidate. Here’s what you can emphasize.

To continue reading this blog post, head on over to The Muse: