When interviewing a Senior PA, you want to know that you are asking the right questions so that you can select the right candidate. If you are interviewing a PA for yourself then you probably have a very set idea of what you are looking for. If you are interviewing on behalf of someone then you are going to need to be a bit more thorough. Here Attic Recruitment look at some of the questions you should be asking in an interview:
How will you manage my email?
Now this is something that often PA’s can initially struggle with; even the most Senior and experienced PA’s need to have guidelines. It is useful to know how they intend to approach your email so that you can see how much of their own initiative they will use and if you like their methods.
What is your experience handling calendars?
You need to know that the person you are hiring can manage a calendar. It is going to be a key part of the role. How will they manage your calendar and do they have any specific methods?
Give me an example of how you react to a last-minute change in workload!
There are going to be times when everyone is under pressure to get things done and then something else crops up. How will they prioritise these tasks and what will they do if your expectations are unrealistic? You don’t want to be interviewing a new PA because the old one was too scared to speak up but you do need to balance this with someone that will go the extra mile when required.
How will you manage me?
This is an interesting question because at the end of the day, due to the insanely busy nature of your role, you need to find a PA that can not only manage your time but also manage you. If you are holed up in a meeting with another one backed up, they need to be able to pry you away and bring you in to the next one or to postpone it for you.
Sometimes you may need to be ushered away from one commitment to the next and it takes someone with a bit of authority to be able to manage this.
If I ask you to set up a meeting, what actions will you take?
Obviously, a good PA won’t struggle to answer this but will they think of everything from inviting the delegates to booking a room and ordering refreshments? Will they set up a reminder closer to the time? How will they deal with invitations that are declined?
How do you deal with difficult situations at work?
If there is a conflict between senior executives, or if your boss asks for something from your PA when you are waiting on something, how will they handle this? How will they field calls from angry clients, shareholders or suppliers? It is important to get an idea of how they handle awkward or difficult situations.
What if I need you to pick up my lunch, coffee or dry cleaning?
While this probably isn’t top of the interview questions list, you do need to know that you have a PA that understands that sometimes there will be things that need doing that aren’t so much in a professional capacity. If you have an important meeting the next day and are working late, how are you going to get yourself organised? It is much better that you have someone that is relatively flexible. If they aren’t too thrilled at the prospect it is better to find out first.
Now this is by no means an exhaustive list of questions but these should give you a good idea of the strength of the candidate that you are interviewing and their suitability to the position.