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PA Prep: How to smash the PA interview

Posted in interview-tips

You’ve landed an interview for that PA role you’ve been chasing – now how do you make sure you get the job?

Like the role itself, a PA interview is well worth preparing for. People say “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” and that’s especially true in interviews, which are usually your one and only shot at getting the job.

Here’s our guide to how to prepare, how to make that first impression, and some of the questions – and ideal answers – you’re likely to face.


How to make a good first impression

Personal assistants have to deal with a lot, from basic admin through to some very stressful timekeeping, so it’s important to appear well organised.

That means being well presented and well prepared for the interview. Arrive in plenty of time, and find a mirror to check yourself in. Have your CV, cover letter and any notes organised and ready in case you need them.

Like any job interview, enter the room confidently, make sure you greet the interviewer and any observers, be formal but friendly, and let them take the lead.


What will you be asked?

Common questions in a PA interview are mostly about organisational skills. You might be asked why you want the job – both why you want to be a PA, and why you want this specific job.

You’ll probably be asked about a specific scenario, for example how you’ll organise your first day in the job, or how you’d handle a particularly busy week’s schedule.

If you’ve made it to the interview stage, you’re more than capable of answering these questions, so don’t panic – often there’s no right or wrong answer, the interviewer just wants to see that you have a train of thought when faced with multiple tasks to juggle.

Expect to be asked about your weaknesses, too. This is something you can prepare in advance – choose something that really is a weakness, but not something that is essential to the PA role, and make sure it’s something you’re already working on improving.


What skills are most important?

It’s good to base your answers around the most important skills for a PA, and these include a logical train of thought, good proficiency with computers, correspondence and all kinds of bookings, and a general aptitude for business admin.

Timekeeping is crucial – so don’t be late for your interview! You can touch on this in your answers too, giving examples of how you carefully plan to be in the right place at the right time, and have alternative ways to get there in case of emergencies.


How to leave a good impression on your interviewer

Don’t blow it at the last minute. Have a parting question to ask – this could be based on something that came up in the interview, or about the long-term future of the role.

Try not to sound too self-serving. A question about long-term prospects can be good, but don’t frame it as a question about promotions and pay rises.

Finally, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and repeat those ‘first impression’ pleasantries, shaking hands with everyone in the room, plenty of eye contact and smiles, and a confident departure until the door is firmly closed behind you and you know you are out of sight and earshot.


Give us a call if you’d like to hear more about PA opportunities.