Five PA recruitment tips

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Whether you’re a busy family or business owner, personal assistant recruitment offers numerous benefits. A skilled PA can handle administrative tasks, manage schedules, and support personal errands, freeing up your time to focus on more strategic activities.

Finding the right PA can come with its challenges. The process requires identifying a candidate who not only has the necessary skills but also fits well with your personality and work environment. It’s about striking the right balance between professional competencies and personal dynamics, which can be a time-consuming and difficult task.

We’ve put together our top five tips on how to hire a PA, plus how a professional recruiter can help.

How To Ensure PA Recruitment Success

Recruitment of any kind presents a fantastic opportunity to refresh a team, job function or business culture. That being said, it’s not uncommon to feel some trepidation at the start of your recruitment journey. The process can take time and in a candidate-short market, you may need to shortlist multiple times before securing a suitable candidate. This is where working with an experienced recruiter can help.

Personal Assistant recruitment, particularly, is unique as the values alignment plays such a significant role in ensuring a candidate’s success. A personal assistant works so closely with their managers and team that it’s crucial to get the personality mix right. This is crucially relevant to permanent recruitment, while hiring a temp PA can generally be recruited quickly to fulfil the short-term functional requirements of the role.

If you’re considering hiring using an AI-based software for certain steps, such as CV screening, we would ask you to consider a different approach. While there is a place for this type of technology, especially when it comes to advanced candidate testing such as gamification, the ultimate decision for a candidate’s fit for a business should remain with human recruiters.

With this in mind, we’ve put together our top six tips on how a recruiter can help to ensure you hire a personal assistant who lasts the distance.

Here are five PA recruitment tips to ensure a successful process:

1. Personality fit

Personality fit is crucial when hiring a personal assistant. A PA will work closely with you, often during stressful times or in personal spaces. A candidate whose personality complements yours can make the working relationship more enjoyable and productive.

You can ensure the right personality fit during the interview process by asking the right questions. These questions should encourage the candidate to share their values, work ethics, and how they handle stress and conflict. Observing how they interact with you and others during the interview can also provide insights into their personality and how well they might integrate into your personal and professional life.

A professional recruiter can help you source candidates with the right personality fit. They can pre-screen candidates, saving you time and ensuring that you meet only those who have already passed a preliminary fit assessment. For example, if a candidate communicates quietly and seems withdrawn in their body language, a good recruiter will never send them to a workplace where they will be supporting outspoken, straight-to-the-point management styles.

2. Consider Previous Experience

Previous experience is a critical factor in PA recruitment. Their track record can showcase how they will handle the demands of your role and reduce the risk of a mismatch. A candidate with experience in a similar industry or who has supported professionals with comparable responsibilities to yours might adapt more quickly to your requirements.

When interviewing a candidate, you should ask them to tell the story of their career to date, with a particular focus on how long they stayed at each job and why they left. If a candidate has previously jumped around from one role to the next, it generally does mean there’s a higher likelihood they’ll do the same again. Similarly, their reasons for leaving will often paint a more colourful picture of what they’re looking for now.

A recruiter can help you evaluate a candidate’s previous experience. They have the expertise to spot red flags or patterns of excellence that you might overlook. Recruiters also verify references and past employment details, ensuring that the information presented is accurate and relevant to your needs.

3. Trust Your Recruiter

When looking for a PA, it’s essential to secure a robust shortlist to get an accurate overview of the market and available candidates. A recruiter should send you a few strong, but different options, to ensure you have a range of choices. They might even suggest a candidate who seems to lack certain technical skills but has the right personality fit, adhering to the philosophy that specific skills can be learned, whereas the right cultural fit is priceless.

It is essential to trust your recruiter’s recommendations. Recruiters have a deep understanding of the job market and the qualities that make a candidate a good fit for a role. By relying on their recommendations, you can increase your chances of finding the right person for your PA position.

4. Identify Soft Skills

For a personal assistant, essential soft skills include effective communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and time management. A PA will also be savvy to the ways of the city, including the best transport, food, and gifting options: characteristics that are also important when supporting management. You would be surprised by how much these little details make a difference when working with your PA!

You can identify these essential soft skills by asking specific behavioural questions during the interview. For example, you can ask about a time they overcame a challenge or had to adapt quickly to a change. Their responses will give you insight into their problem-solving abilities and flexibility.

A personal assistant’s soft skills may not always be obvious from their CV. A recruiter will be able to gauge a PA’s transferable attributes, such as emotional intelligence, leadership traits, and communication style from an initial face-to-face registration. Recruiters can also interpret subtle cues in candidates’ responses and behaviours, ensuring you meet only the most suitable individuals who possess the soft skills essential for the role.

5. Manage Expectations and Be Responsive

Managing candidate expectations and being responsive is essential during the recruitment process. This includes keeping potential candidates informed about their application status, the recruitment process stages, and expected timelines for your decisions. In our current market, speed is of the essence, especially with recruiting for PAs and EAs. We have seen hundreds of employers miss fantastic candidates by being unavailable or inflexible to interview or delaying feedback.

Being unresponsive with your recruiter will be especially detrimental to you finding the best person for the job. Responsiveness enables a smooth and efficient search, allowing recruiters to quickly refine their selection based on your feedback. This collaboration ensures that the candidates presented match your requirements, saving you time and resources.

Expert PA Hiring with Tiger Recruitment

At Tiger Recruitment, we pride ourselves on our expertise in pairing top-tier personal assistants with professionals and business owners. We are committed to understanding your unique needs and preferences, enabling us to find the right candidates for your requirements. With our bespoke approach, you will receive support throughout the recruitment process.

If you are thinking about hiring a new permanent or temporary PA, read our ultimate guide to hiring a PA and, for further information, contact us today.

Frequently asked questions

How do I recruit a personal assistant?

To recruit a personal assistant, start by creating a personal assistant job description that clearly defines the role, including the key responsibilities and desired skills. You can then advertise the available position on job boards or social media platforms to attract candidates. For a more effective and efficient search, you can use a professional PA recruitment agency. Recruiters will connect you with vetted candidates who match your specific needs and preferences.

What makes a brilliant PA?

A brilliant PA possesses a unique combination of skills and qualities. They are highly organised, capable of multitasking, and possess excellent time management skills. They also have strong communication skills and problem-solving abilities. A brilliant PA will make your life easier and more productive by proactively supporting you with your personal and professional tasks.

Author Jane Leese Tiger Recruitment Team

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