Gone are the days of Mad Men-style secretaries, where touch-typing and answering the phones were the top priority. The PA role has changed drastically over the last 20 years and it’s showing no sign of stabilising anytime soon. In a world of start-ups, virtual businesses, and international ventures, it is becoming more and more popular
Fly through your next PA interview with these top tips!
Interviewing can be a daunting task, particularly when there is significant competition among job seekers. We understand that great jobs in Dubai can be few and far between, and – like anything – preparation is key. Take comfort in the fact that your prospective employer is obviously impressed by your experience and your CV. All that’s left to do is wow them with your presence and detailed experience. As a reputable job agency in Dubai, we’re experienced PA and executive assistant recruiters who have the inside track on how best to stand out from the crowd. Think about taking on board the below tips before you approach your next interview – hopefully they’ll help you seal the deal!
Do your research
First things first, do your research! We recommend starting with researching your interviewer(s) and/or line manager. You can do this quite easily on LinkedIn and by googling their names. Finding out about your interviewers just gives you a little bit of knowledge that could be useful in context. For example, if your interviewer has spent a number of years with the company and progressed through the ranks, you could ask, “When doing my research, I noticed that you have been here a while and have had quite impressive career progression. What advice would you have for me if I wanted to do the same?”
Similarly, it’s important to research the company itself. Check if they’ve recently been featured in the news, find out the company size and look into the company values and mission statement. All of these useful snippets can be used to weave into the conversation. Demonstrating that you have completed your research shows the interviewer that you are thorough, considered in your approach and enthusiastic about the role at hand – all of which will pay dividends when it comes to deciding on the selected candidate.
Put your best shoe forward
One of the key reasons for interviewing candidates face-to-face, rather than hiring a personal assistant based on the CV, is to assess how you present.
First things first: wardrobe! Even if you know that the office has a more casual dress code, always attend your interview in more formal attire. Iron your clothes, if they need it, and polish your shoes. Ladies, please wear minimal jewellery and make-up.
Next up: body language! Did you know that you have just 30 seconds to make a positive first impression? Most of this will be based on your body language, so make it count! When you meet your interviewer(s), ensure you are standing and show them a warm smile. The hand shake should be firm. While sitting down for your interview, keep your body language open. Hands should be placed on your lap or on the table, rather than crossed against your chest.
Lastly, try not to let nerves overshadow your personality from shining through. Your prospective employer wants to see how well you might fit into the team environment, and they will (as most people are) likely be drawn to a warm and engaging personality rather than someone who gives one-word answers and doesn’t smile.
Match your experience to the job description
When preparing for your new job in Dubai or wider Middle East, print out the job description and review the responsibilities and desired skills listed. For each of them, think about previous experiences you’ve had where you can demonstrate a competency in that area. Ideally, you’ll go armed into the interview with a handful of strong examples that you can incorporate into your responses.
For example, if the job description lists complex travel arrangements and a desired skill for ‘juggling multiple priorities’, draw on an example where you perhaps had to organise a multi-stop trip for a previous principal and mitigated a crisis of airline cancellations, delayed meetings and transfer problems. Explaining how you responded in a crisis, all the while ensuring the principal had a great trip and experienced as seamless a trip as possible, will show the interviewer that you absolutely meet those set criteria.
Ultimately, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Try practising your interview techniques with a friend or family member. Additionally, use your recruiter and ask them for advice on what the hiring manager might be looking for! Any good recruitment agency in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or the wider Middle East will help you prep for your interview properly!
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