How to ace a PA job interview

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A male candidate for a PA job interview smiles and shakes hands with the interviewer in a sunlit office.

It’s time. You’ve made the decision to seek out a new PA job, your CV is primed (maybe you’ve checked out our top personal assistant CV tips), you’ve registered with a recruiter and you’ve been selected to interview for a role you’re really excited about! The only thing is… it’s been so long since you’ve had an interview, you’re not sure how best to prepare for it.

There’s lots you can do to ensure you put your best foot forward, giving yourself the best chance of becoming a personal assistant!

Research the employer

All too often, we see candidates underestimate the importance of researching their prospective employer, interviewer and position. While you may not be able to demonstrate the full breadth of your knowledge in your first meeting, we firmly believe it’s always best to be over-prepared. This research goes beyond what the company does and their values – it’s worth investigating if the business has been in the media recently, who their competitors are, and what their business structure is. Try and find the interviewers on LinkedIn – and while you’re at it, update your own LinkedIn profile.

Unpick the job description

The job description should offer you insight into the PA role responsibilities, of course, but it should also outline the desired skills and sought-after competencies your prospective employer is looking for. For each requirement, note down situations in your career history as a personal assistant that might apply, so that when the interviewer asks for real-life examples, you’ll be prepared.

Pre-empt interview questions

Once you’ve been through the job description with a fine-toothed comb, you should be able to pre-empt some competency-based questions and behavioural questions they’re likely to ask. Note down your answers in advance so all the details are front of mind! We’d recommend doing a practice run with a close friend or family member, or speak to us and we’ll help you with our interview training.

Dress professionally

Ensure you’re dressed appropriately for your interview. If you’re not sure of the company’s dress code, keep it on the side of corporate professional – it’s always better to be over-dressed, and this applies to video interviews as well as face-to-face!

Get your body language right

You could do all the interview preparation in the world, but something as simple as a limp handshake or negative body language could impact an interviewer’s first impression of you, consciously or not. Ensure you get it right.

Ask the right questions

When completing your research, think of some intelligent questions to ask during the interview. Knowing which questions to avoid and which are appropriate to ask could make or break the hirer’s decision to bring you on board. For a PA, these could be questions about travel booking expectations, whether there is any private support to the Principal, or what the team dynamic looks like among PAs in the business.

Do what you say you do

Sure, you’re an organised, punctual and hardworking PA, but your interviewer has heard all that before. It’s all very well declaring your competencies on your CV, but when you turn up ten minutes late looking ruffled, your pen doesn’t work and you’ve forgotten the name of your interviewer, your credibility will be immediately called into question. Don’t forget these basics! Plan your travel route, take two pens, a notebook and ensure you have a copy of your CV, your skills testing results and a copy of the job description. Your organisation will speak volumes to your interviewer.

We can’t say it enough: It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. If the interviewer has agreed to meet you, they must believe in your suitability for the job at hand. The interview is really just an opportunity to find out a little more detail, and to see if your personality traits match the manager or executive you’ll be working with. So relax, try to keep your nerves under control, and let your personality shine through. Enjoy the experience!

If you’re ready to start applying for your next PA role, register with us today!

Author David Morel Tiger Recruitment Team

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