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5 Personal Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

What was a typical day like while working as a personal assistant for your previous employer?

A:

A personal assistant manages business and personal affairs for their boss. The tasks depend on what type of business their boss operates. They manage a daily schedule and travel arrangements as well as pick up dry cleaning and coordinate efforts with their employer's staff. The assistant books appointments, manages phone calls, creates correspondences and prioritizes tasks as they are assigned. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience as a personal assistant
  • Experience managing tasks at a moment's notice
  • Intelligence, confidence and the ability to complete tasks without question

Example:

"I booked meetings, travel arrangements, coordinated her daily schedule and organized promotional events. I was her go-to person to complete daily personal and business-related tasks."

Q:

Why do you believe it is imperative that a personal assistant keeps requests by their employer private?

A:

The role of the personal assistant is to help their employer complete tasks that assist him or her with important business or personal demands. The personal assistant is involved in their employer's home and business life, and their employer trusts them to act with discretion at all times. The assistant books appointments for their employer, including doctor's appointments, and discussing these matters with the public could damage the employer's reputation. What to look for in an answer:

  • Keeps personal details about their boss to themselves
  • Uses discretion when performing vital personal or business tasks
  • Loyal to their employer and their needs

Example:

"As a personal assistant, an employer is trusting you with the inner workings of their business and home life. Discretion is the key to being a successful assistant and mitigating risks to your employer's reputation."

Q:

What steps did you follow when planning and coordinating events for your previous employer?

A:

Personal assistants plan events for their employer's business and/or for personal purposes. The assistant needs experience planning an event from start to finish while following their employer's specifications. They have experience managing vendors and caterers and booking venues even on short notice. The assistant meets and exceeds the demands of their employer and plans a flawless event. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience planning major events for businesses
  • Coordinates well with vendors and service providers
  • Detail-oriented and dedicated to the job

Example:

"I booked the caterer, entertainment, a venue and I coordinated with vendors for each event. I booked cleaning staff for managing the venue after the event and hired security personnel as specified by my previous employer."

Q:

What was it like working as a personal assistant to the head of a major corporation?

A:

Personal assistants work for employers at all management levels. They have exceptional organizational skills and work well with staff. The assistant manages tasks as directed by their employer. The tasks are assigned at a moment's notice, and the assistant must have the ability to manage tasks quickly. They work in a fast-paced environment and must show signs of grace under pressure. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience working as a personal assistant for a major executive
  • Well-organized and works well on a team
  • Works well in high-pressure situations and a fast-paced environment

Example:

"I learned how to stay organized in a fast-paced environment. I managed his schedule and appointments and coordinated his meetings. I worked closely with his staff and office manager to ensure that all daily requirements were completed on schedule."

Q:

Why do you feel personal assistants should have the ability to anticipate their employer's needs and adapt quickly?

A:

Personal assistants are hired to take the stress off an overburdened individual. As they progress in their position, the assistant learns their employer's daily, weekly and monthly schedule. They should adapt to changes quickly and anticipate their employer's needs according to the day's activities. The assistant provides support and backs up their boss in a variety of situations. What to look for in an answer:

  • Anticipates daily requirements and stays on task
  • Learns their employer's schedule and daily needs to address them more proactively
  • Offers support for their employer when they need it the most

Example:

"After familiarizing myself with my employer's daily demands, I learned how to anticipate his needs for the day and adapted as our work environment changed. Employers become overwhelmed with daily operational and personal demands. It is the job of a personal assistant to help them complete tasks and lessen the burden on their employer."

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