How to Hire a Personal Assistant


Published on May 16, 2018

A little extra time spent upfront will save you so much moving forward! Click To TweetFinding and hiring a new Personal Assistant for your organisation or household can be a stressful and extremely time consuming experience. Making sure you are organised is essential in making sure the process goes smoothly, and you get the result you need: a well suited PA to join your company or family business.

Planning, and sticking to the planning is key here. Below you can find a 10 step plan – to get you organised in starting your recruitment process. Although it might be tempting to skip steps because they might feel time consuming – rushing through the process can really make you miss key aspects which can be costly in the future.

By setting dedicated time aside to follow the process, you will make sure you can make the right decisions and find the right Personal Assistant for you.

1. Do I Need a (new) PA?

First, establish the need for a new person to come on board. Whether this is for your private household or for a large corporate organisation, make sure you are ready to invest in a new member of staff and that there will be enough work for this person to fill their time with. If this is a position where you are replacing a current employee, make sure you have a clear idea of what went wrong (if relevant) and how this can be avoided in future hire. If this is a new role, you can read more about whether or not you might need a PA here.

2. Make a Recruitment Plan

Whether you will be recruiting on your own or if there is a full HR team part of the decision, make sure everyone agrees and understands the exact process that will be followed. Make a step by step plan (this overview can be a part of it) and make sure you include things like a timeline, what the requirements are for candidates for this role, their background and experience etc. Also, set out who will be doing the first selection and who will be making the final decision, important interview questions and other pointers to be aware of.

3. Write a Job Spec

Take your time for this and make sure you have thought of everything. It is extremely helpful for the next stages of the process to make a job spec as detailed and clear as you can to avoid any confusion later on with regards to background, skills needed, package offered and tasks. You might also want to add some positive advantages of working for you – perks – to make people interested in the role.

4. Start Recruiting

There are several different ways you can start the recruitment for your new PA. You can either self hire, use your network or use an agency.

5. First Selection

This is where your recruitment plan comes in place. Make sure everyone uses this who will be in charge of the first selection based on CVs and cover letters. If candidates do not have the right background, experience and qualifications they can be withdrawn. Also make sure you create a ‘maybe’ pile if you are not sure about some people!

6. Screening Interview

This can be a short initial interview that can be conducted over the phone. These interviews are just so you can narrow down your selection a tad. During this interview it can be helpful to explain the rest of the recruitment process to the candidate.

7. Interviews

You can have phone interviews, video call (like Skype) interviews as well as face to face. Make sure again that everyone sticks to the recruitment plan for asking questions and checking competences. Interviews can consist of questions, assessments and any types of tests you would like to include. You can create a first and second round of interviews, and if you would like to know some key questions to ask during interviews, have a look here.

8. Reference & Background Check

Reference checking is extremely important to make sure the candidate indeed has the right amount of experience. You also want to include checking certificates and qualifications, and if you feel the need, a DBS check can be performed. You can read more about how to do a background check on employees here. For specific tips about questions to ask references of PAs, have a read here.

9. Present a Job Offer

Once you have gone through the whole process and have found the right person for you, make sure the job offer is very clear. Make sure all the details, including salary, start date, and other terms that could be important are mentioned. It should be clear that the candidate understands the terms of the offer so that there will be no confusion down the line.


Once the candidate accepts the job offer, that is it! Make sure you have all the paperwork and contracts ready to be signed, so again everything is completely clear and arranged before the start date.



Self Hire

With self-hiring a Personal Assistant you are completely responsible and in control of the recruitment process. This includes selection and interviews, as well as vetting and checking references. This is the most time consuming option as you will only be reliable on you or your team to make sure you do not miss out on any steps of the process.

Use Your Network

You can also use your network to find your new PA. You can use social media like Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram to find out if people know of any good quality PAs, and it also enables candidates to find your advertisement and apply for the role. Keep in mind that referrals are almost always higher quality leads than from Gumtree or some other websites, so you still need to go through the self-hire steps to make sure you do not miss anything.

Use a Recruitment Agency

A third option for hiring a PA is to use a recruitment agency. An agency will take the hard work and pre-selection off your plate, saving you a considerable amount of time. Agencies will go through all the applications for the job, saving you many hours, and they will use our extensive and detailed vetting processes to ensure that only the best matched and suitable candidates reach you.

While using a professional recruiter will save you time and stress, there are still a few things to consider.

  • Avoid agencies charging a registration or other form of upfront fees. This tends to be a technique employed by agents trying to make a quick bit of money before they start the work, without you knowing if the agency is actually going to provide you with the proper service.
  • Always read the agency contract or terms and conditions, and understand them clearly before you sign. Once you enter into the legally binding contract it will be difficult to debate this later if you are not happy with the service. A good agency will have a clear and straightforward service contract.
  • Value personal contact with your recruitment agency. It’s critical that you can convey your housekeeper requirements to your recruiter and filling out a form online just doesn’t cut it. You’ll be working closely with your agent to find the right fit so it’s important that you understand each other and can communicate clearly. If you don’t feel comfortable with your recruiter, you should consider other options.

Hiring a Personal Assistant can be a lengthy process, but whatever type of assistant you are looking for, we would be delighted to assist with any recruitment or just some advice.  Why not get in touch with us today and start your search!


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