Describe your previous experience as a personal assistant.
This prompt gives you an inside look into the level of experience the candidate has, but also the types of clients the candidate has worked with, whether celebrity, stay at home parent, entrepreneur, corporate executive, etc. Ask candidates to be specific and describe the daily scope of responsibility, as most will tend to share anecdotes about special projects. You should hire candidates who have worked with individuals similar to yourself, and who have handled a comparable scope of work to what you will need.
What were your favorite components of your previous work as a personal assistant?
People do best what they love, the same is true for assistants. Assistants consider themselves jacks of all trades, so it is important for you to discover what, specifically, makes your potential assistant tick. By learning a candidate’s areas of interest, you will get an indication of what areas in which he or she will likely excel. Ideally the candidate’s areas of passion align with your job description.
What were your least favorite components of your previous work as a personal assistant?
This will give you an idea of which areas the candidate may need more support from you as the client. Again, people do best what they love, and the same is true for assistants. If your job description reads as a checklist of what the candidate favors least, he or she is not the right match.
Describe the dynamic between you and your former employers.
Developing a cadence with your assistant is vital to a productive working relationship. Gaining an understanding of the candidate’s former working relationships will help in developing your working relationship with your assistant. Choose the candidate who describes a working relationship that sounds like the one you hope to have with your assistant.
What specific strengths set you apart from other personal assistants? Share an example of a time these strengths served you well.
Getting a sense of a candidate’s areas of strength will help you determine long term goals for your working relationship. By asking candidates to provide examples, you gain more information about how he or she is able to put that skill to good use.
What is one weakness in your skill set that you have identified, and what have you done to improve it?
Identifying and expressing one’s own weakness is an essential indicator of work ethic and self-awareness. By hearing about how the candidate is working to improve and overcome this weakness shows the candidate’s level of resourcefulness and self-motivation, two keys qualities of great personal assistants.
What do you think makes you an exceptional personal assistant?
Casting a broader question like this will help you to understand the level of expectation the candidate places on him or herself. The candidate should be able to articulate very clearly why he or she is exceptional in the field.
What are your future goals?
This question is important because no one wants to take the time to develop a productive relationship with an assistant who has no intention of being around for a reasonable period of time. When questions like this are not asked, clients often find themselves going through multiple assistants, which can be exhausting. Ideally your candidate has interests outside of work he or she is pursuing, but is excited about working in a support role as a career choice.
What are other interview questions you have asked assistant candidates, or been asked as an assistant? Tweet us @getGYST.
After you’ve hired your assistant, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Working With An Assistant for more tips on how to start your relationship on a great path.