If you’ve reached the interview stage – congratulations! You’re one step closer to landing the perfect PA job. Getting an interview in a competitive job market like the one we find ourselves in today is no mean feat, so well done for overcoming the first hurdle.
The next step is to make sure you’re well prepared for the interview.
Conducting thorough research into the company is just the start. You’ll also need to test your tech (if the interview is taking place virtually), plan your outfit, and of course – practise and prepare responses to some personal assistant interview questions.
If you don’t know where to start, never fear. We’re going to run through some sample interview questions for personal assistant roles to help you feel confident and ready.
What PA interview questions could you be asked?
It’s impossible to predict exactly what the interviewer will ask you, but there are a few common questions that are likely to spring up in one form or another.
You could be asked to talk about your aspirations and education, but you’ll probably also have to answer some competency-based questions.
Let’s run through a few examples together….
Why do you think you’d make a great PA at our company?
The answer you provide will be unique to you, however you should aim to focus on at least three skills that will provide value to the company and role. Spend some time looking at the job description and highlight the main requirements of the role.
Interview response snippet: ‘To manage the workload effectively, a PA needs to be able to multitask. In my previous role I was responsible for managing the CEO’s calendar while taking calls and monitoring their inbox. I aim to apply the same skills to my next position…’
What motivates you at work?
When approaching this question, cast your mind back to the job description. What excited you most about the position? You can integrate these into your response by explaining how these factors, as well as others relating to things like workplace culture, motivate you on a day-to-day basis.
Interview response snippet: ‘Being in a role where no day is the same is a huge motivator for me because I like to be challenged; but I’m also a detail-driven individual so I’m equally happy when I’m assigned a task that requires focused attention, such as compiling a report.’
How do you organise your day and prioritise tasks as a PA?
Being organised is key when it comes to working as a PA. Your organisational skills will prove valuable for hitting deadlines and help you complete the tasks assigned to you. But we can only hold so much information in our heads! If you’re asked this question, feel free to share how you use technology to stay organised in the role.
Interview response snippet: ‘Although I like to think I have a pretty good memory, I know that unless I write things down tasks could slip through the net. My daily ‘to-do’ list is my best friend at work – it enables me to keep track of what I’ve done and what I still need to do. I also use the app Trello to keep track of my various workflows.’
What have you done to further your experience/ upskill as a PA?
If you’ve undertaken any additional training, now’s the time to share the details. Employers will be impressed by you taking the initiative to improve your skills, whether it’s by taking part in a training course in your own time or through opportunities provided by your employer. If you’re new to the PA world, there are still ways to communicate your drive.
Interview response snippet: ‘Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to partake in any formal PA skills training, however I spent two weeks in my previous role shadowing and assisting the PA to the HR Director, which taught me some transferable skills. By the end of the week I was responsible for compiling the weekly lunch rota and a weekly sales report…’
Why are you leaving your current role?
This can be a tricky one, especially if your reasons aren’t as clear cut as, for example, being made redundant. Whatever your reason, always aim to put a positive spin on it. Complaining about your previous employer can risk you coming across as unprofessional.
Interview response snippet: ‘I really liked working for_____, however after two years in the role I felt that I was no longer being challenged and lacked opportunities for growth. The fact that this role provides training opportunities and the chance to collaborate with different teams makes me confident that I’d feel fulfilled at your company.
How to make your CV stand out
Tip 1: Tailor it to the role
CVs aren’t one-size-fits-all documents: far from it. To impress the employer, you should edit your CV according to the specifications of the role you’re applying for. As a starting point, gather the job description, company information and other research you’ve conducted.
Tip 2: Keep it concise
Your CV should be no more than two pages, so try not to ramble! Make it easy to navigate by opting for a simple layout that contains your personal details, bio, work experience and education. Don’t forget to read your CV thoroughly before submitting it to check for any spelling and grammar mistakes.
Tip 3: Qualify your abilities
Instead of listing your skills, back them up with an example of how you’ve used them. For instance, instead of saying you have experience of ‘managing the company’s Twitter account’, say: ‘ I increased engagement on Twitter by 30% by implementing the following strategies...’
Talk to us if you're a candidate looking for a role or an employer looking for a PA!
Oriel Partners is a boutique recruitment agency based in London. We specialise in recruiting the best PA across the UK capital (and beyond), for prestigious brands and high-performing firms. Visit our jobs board to find out more about our current PA vacancies and to find out more about how the process works for candidates or clients, please get in touch.