Personal Assistant: The Interview

I had an interview last Friday for a part time PA position. It would be assisting a couple who are well into retirement but are very active in the community and are known for their philanthropy.

Although I am an independent PA, I was contacted through Linked In for the opportunity by a recruiter I have worked with in the past. It was definitely  worth taking a look, so I made sure to prepare myself and find out as much as I could prior to our meeting.

The Interview - the personal assistant

I must admit, the interview process is one of my strengths. I do get nervous, I won’t lie. But what I am good at is just talking to the interviewer without attaching any worry to how I am doing or what they are thinking. I really try to enjoy the conversation. It has certainly proved to serve me well.

The first thing to making a great first impression in the interview is to prepare for it.

So I will look up what I can about the company. I’ll get the details down; like when the company was founded, what it’s mission is, who have been the major contributors and where they are headed. Then I develop what points I want to bring up where I would bring value as an employee.

If I am working with a recruiter either directly through the company of an employment agency, I will ask the footwork for me. My experience has been they are more than willing to give me background on the person I am meeting and whatever insight they have on what would be the ideal candidate to fill the position.

As you probably already know, being an assistant has so much to do with fit. I try to get information about the person I would directly be supporting, how they communicate, and what their reputation is.

My first Personal Assistant experience was not a pleasant one, but on the flip side I learned so much in an eight month period. It didn’t take me more than one PA experience to learn about boundaries.

It is important to ask questions during an interview. Not asking questions will not serve you if you take on the job. This is the best chance you can take to squash any red flags that come up for you during the interview.

One of my big ones is knowing how isolated I will be at any given time. I’m an extrovert, so working in a home office with no exposure to other household staff or the public would drive me insane. I need and enjoy human interaction. Yet there are plenty of people who are completely fine working solo.

Look good, be professional, and be yourself. I wouldn’t pretend to be someone else just to land the job. That would quickly ruin any chance in success.

There will always be opportunities, and just as we are all individuals, so are there opportunities that are looking for our personality and characteristics.

I would sum up a successful interview by covering the following things:

  1. Prepare for your interview. Research the company and your potential boss.
  2. Professional, neat, and pleasant appearance.
  3. Ask questions, especially the ones that matter to your satisfaction on the job.
  4. Thank the person, every person who interviews you. Personal notes are not really necessary in this day and age, but it will make you stand out.
  5. Focus only on the positive. Rephrase any learning experiences from past jobs with a positive twist.

Email me if you have any questions!