Do you know how to find a good personal assistant?
‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.‘ Forest Gump
Indeed Forest was right, life can be varied and exciting, and the difference in people means no two are the same. Human beings are, well….human. Unlike a robot or machine, we don’t follow prescribed patterns. Yet humans are creatures of habit, and during the recruitment process, it’s possible to easily identify ‘red flags’, as the industry calls them.
How do you develop this ‘red flag’ odometer? Well, that’s an industry secret. But if you’re looking to know how to find a good personal assistant, then we can tell you the 10 key qualities that a good personal assistant should have, and should demonstrate in an interview and trial period, to ensure you end up with the right person for the right job.
1 – Reliability
Being late, missing an appointment, trying to change an interview under 24 hours notice – this is all entirely unacceptable. Of course, life is often less than smooth and sometimes emergencies do happen, but unless the reason is life changing, a good PA should never be late or unreliable. After all, if they can’t turn up to an interview on time then how can you trust them to manage your affairs?
2 – Organisation
This seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised how un-organised some ‘PAs’ can be. For example, if you send them an email and they don’t respond within a few hours, this is not a good sign. They should have instant access to their email, especially in the days of smartphones.
If a candidate is on the search for a job and can’t be bothered to reply to an email in a relatively quick timeframe, then you certainly shouldn’t be bothered to interview them.
3 – Typos
Yes, people can be dyslexic, yes people make mistakes, but no professional PA should make any obvious typos on their CV. In fact, their CVs and emails should be closely proofread, by them, at the end of writing to ensure there aren’t any typos.
Yes, auto-correct can get us all in trouble, but as a personal assistant, you are priding your skill set on communication and brand integrity (be it a commercial brand or representing a person). If you make any typos in your CV, you look unprofessional. The second a typo is spotted, your application could be put in the bin – beware!
4 – Voice
You can understand a lot from a personal assistant by their voicemail. It should sound polite, professional and efficient. Furthermore, they should get back to you in a quick timeframe (see point number 2).
Your personal assistant represents you and your brand, family or estate. Their voice should have a nice timbre and quality to it, from voicemails through to phone calls. An annoying voice should not be entertained.
In this day and age, when people can easily get access to vocal training, the voice is a tool that a good PA should be well versed in using in the correct manner.
5 – Intuition
How can you tell if someone has intuition? If you are interviewing in a private space to find a good personal assistant, make a cup of tea (if you see fit) and after the meeting, see if the person clears their drink to the sink or kitchen (or least tries to). There are lots of websites that have intuition tests but trust your gut.
If you have good intuition then you can tell if someone else doesn’t have the same. A good PA needs to have oodles of it. By using their initiative, they need to know when to do things and not have to ask you if they have your permission. Once the boundaries are set, they should work to their limits, making your life and business easier in all aspects.
6 – Intelligence
They don’t need to be a member of Mensa, but they do need to be intelligent. You need to employ someone who is quick and responsive. A good PA should be bright, learn quickly, be flexible in their approach and be keen to continue to educate themselves.
7 – Personality
A good PA should have a personality that matches yours. For example, if you’re shy and retiring, hiring a PA who is loud and likes to seek attention probably won’t work. If you’re a CEO of a huge business and need someone with guile and strength, then hiring a shy and gentile PA might also not be the right choice.
Every personality is different, but it’s key to get a right match for you to ensure a long-term happy relationship!
8 – Multi-tasking
There’s a reason why PA and EA roles seem to attract women. Typically, the role of a PA will be to multi-task and juggle multiple balls in a given area. Some men are excellent at this, some women are not, and vice-versa, so regardless of the applicant’s sex, look to ensure that they can multi-task with confidence and don’t get frazzled at the first last minute change.
9 – IT
They need to be highly skilled with information technology. They should know how to use both MAC and PC and should be confident with standard office-based software. You may also need specific technical skills from your PA in regards to a specific piece of software.
Your PA must be familiar with the cloud, and be able to make quick fixes or deal with their own laptop and phone issues. If your PA still uses pen and paper, it might be time to upgrade to a new model.
10 – Love
Your PA should want to help you. They should want to make your life better and easier, giving you more time to focus on the things that are important to you. They should love the fact that they are making your life better. It’s a strong word to use in this context, but it’s true. Without this passion for helping and serving, the PA won’t last long in your employment.
If you’d like to know how to find a good personal assistant with all these amazing qualities, we’d love to help you – why not drop us a line today and we will be happy to discuss the next PA you are looking to hire.