This Personal Assistant interview question list brings together an overview of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions. Feel free to tailor it to suit your company and the vacancy you need to fill.
Personal Assistants are found in all types of industries. This is usually a position that goes to a person with some experience, but a lot will depend on the specific scope of the role in your business. Whatever you decide, remember that if this person is working closely with a senior manager, Director or the CEO, they will need first class communication skills. They will need to present an excellent first impression to any visitors or business contacts of their manager, as well as getting on extremely well with all staff across the entire business.
The best personal assistants are well organised, with great attention to detail and have a friendly, helpful disposition. They will often need to make decisions quickly, delegating in the absence of the person they report to, so good judgement is essential. The ability to “manage up” is also valuable in this role.
Discretion and confidentiality are almost certainly key as this person might have access to data, equipment, reports, files, cash, credit cards and other sensitive information. They will need to be security conscious for the items they are entrusted with. They will also need to be flexible, equally happy in the Boardroom as arranging more mundane tasks like keeping the offices clean.
Some tasks, such as data entry, report preparation, calendar management require proficiency with workplace software such as Microsoft Office. Use these interviews as an opportunity to evaluate these skills. Some employers may even include a short skills test in the interview process. If there is a specific skill that you need, such as travel coordination, be sure to add questions about that to this list.
The following open-ended and situational interview questions will encourage your candidates to speak at length about their relevant experience. Use them to guide the interview, and ask follow up questions. You won’t need every single question. They will help you get a sense of their interpersonal skills, such as how well they manage, how well they can work on a team, and what motivates them as employees. The best candidates will be able to articulate what interests them about your company, and will contribute several prepared and spontaneous questions of their own to the conversation.
- Why did you decide to apply for this position?
- What aspects of the job appeal to you?
- Tell us more about your experience in the following: (insert specific skills areas, technology or knowledge requirements necessary for this role in your company)
- What strengths will you bring to the position?
- Tell us how you build strong relationships with your Director, CEO, or Senior Management Team.
- What do you to build good working relationships with staff at all levels of the business?
- What has been the most difficult situation you have had to deal with?
- Which of your previous jobs have you enjoyed the most? Why?
- What area of experience/skill will you need to develop if you get the job? How will you get it?
- What type of person do you find the most challenging to work with?
- If you support multiple people at one company, how do you decide which projects to work on first?
- Have you ever had to execute a project with a small budget, or a lack of resources? How did you address these issues?
- Have you ever been on a team with a difficult coworker? How did you handle it?
- When have you been entrusted with confidential tasks and information? How did you ensure its security?
- Describe a time you worked with a team to meet a common goal. What was your role?
- Describe a time you suggested a way to save time, lower costs, or help the organisation in any way.
- What does “managing up” mean to you? In what ways have you done that?
- Some of this work can be repetitive. What motivates you to excel in this role?
- How do you go about organizing your day?
- What are some of your techniques for handling personal stress?
- Who has been your best manager? Why?
- What would you do to contribute towards supporting our positive work environment and culture?
- Have you any questions?
Click here for a Personal Assistant job description that you can customise to your company and use to post on job boards.