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Personal Assistant (PA) Interview Questions

The main duties of a personal assistant are to provide administrative support to a senior manager or director and help them perform their daily tasks.

Secretarial duties carried out by a PA include arranging meetings, screening phone calls, dealing with correspondence, writing letters and emails, taking diction and minutes, and looking after visitors.

In addition, a personal assistant may be expected to carry out research, deal with office budgets, organize corporate events, purchase supplies for their employer, coordinate projects and give presentations.

However the role of the PA can vary widely depending on your boss or the industry you work in. A PA in Hollywood would have a completely different experience than a PA for a Wall Street investment bank.

What skills will you need?

Personal assistants should have excellent communication, interpersonal and influencing skills. Working in the shadow of a senior executive can be demanding. An important part of your job is to protect your boss from unnecessary interruptions or requests.
To be a successful PA, you need to be proactive with excellent organization and problem solving skills. You should be a confident decision-maker, with first class time-management skills. Top notch word processing, IT and administrative skills are also essential.

Type of industries you can work for

One of the great perks to working as a PA is that you can find jobs across all sectors, including finance, media, legal and medical. Choose a sector that suits your personality.
For example, you may enjoy working as PA in a celebrity management company. Typical perks include attending events and receiving gifts passed on from the artists on the company's books. But you might also be expected to work long hours, including evenings and weekends.
If earning more money appeals, then consider working for a finance director, or in the legal and medical sectors, as those personal assistants are generally paid more.

How you can progress

If you're looking for career progression, consider improving your IT skills. Some industries, including legal and medical, also require specialist training. Networking is important so make the most of your boss's contacts. Talk to people who work in the sector you want to move into, then use a specialist secretarial job recruitment site to search for jobs.

What training you may need

You don't need a degree to become a PA. Experience is more important. You should be proficient in MS Office, including Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint and Outlook. Audio typing, shorthand and Publisher 2000 may also be useful. Your touch typing should be at least 50wpm, and you should be able to do a mail merge and surf the web without asking for help.

Personal Assistant (PA) Interview Guide

Not too long ago, it used to be that all a business person would have was a secretary. If he was lucky and the secretary amiable, the secretary would take the boss's clothes to the cleaners, but not much more than that. In our busy life, things have certainly changed. Personal assistants are very much in demand. The job can include scheduling of meetings, diary management, buying clothes, and much more.

Personal assistant jobs can open a future into an exciting and relatively new field. This is a wide open field where you can specialize. For example, there are assistants that only work with the disabled. They assist in scheduling medical appointments, shopping for food and clothing. There are few jobs were the professional will wear as many hats as this one. It is easy to take on many different aspects the more proficient the assistant becomes. It is very challenging but also rewarding.

It is important that a person looking into PA jobs be not only trustworthy but also ethical. It is easy to end up being a confidant as well as an assistant, and it is important to be able to keep a professional distance if at all possible so that lines will not cross. No matter how easy it might be to think that you are a close friend, you are being paid. A personal assistant must be a very organized individual. If you are not organized for yourself, it will be impossible to make the grade and help others. Even if you never forget your client's birthdays, anniversaries, meetings or travel, all it takes is one mishap. Organization is vital.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Dare to ask questions. We all know what happens when you assume. The client may have been giving the same instructions for years and thinks everyone else knows them well. Ask the obvious, and you will not regret it. If you think you have what it takes then you are ready to write your CV. When writing your CV, of course, always type it and use good paper. Spell check more than once and show what makes you the perfect candidate for the job. How were you able to organize a project before? When you get the interview remember that appearances are very important. Wear well cut, understated clothes. If you can, splurge on a good purse and shoes. Hands must be immaculately clean. Be careful with the interview questions. Do not get fluster with any questions in your interview. They will be watching for reactions as much as answers. Take your time before answering. Good luck!

Personal Assistant Training Program Interviews

If you've gotten an interview for a PA training program, you have a great opportunity to show what a great physician assistant you can become. "But I get nervous during interviews!" I hear you cry. Don't panic -- you're not alone.

Coping With Normal Anxiety

Sweating, fidgeting, dry mouth, "zoning out," and heart palpitations are all signs of normal interview anxiety. Let me say that again: it's normal. It's your brain's way of telling you that what you're doing really matters to you. But getting control of interview jitters will help you focus on the task at hand: crushing your interview and closing the deal. So what do you do?

  1. Practice answering questions. Use interview questions that you or your friends come up with that relate to what you know about the program. Write them down if you need to, and repeat them until you can approximate (not recite) them from memory.
  2. Practice asking questions. Interviews are give and take. Bring a written list of ten good questions to your interview, and plan to ask your interviewer(s) 2 or 3. These can involve concerns you have, aspects of the curriculum or schedule that you don't understand, or the facilities, for example.
  3. Practice being stressed. It doesn't sound so appealing, but the more you can approximate the tense conditions of the interview in advance, the less those conditions will freak you out on the big day. Video yourself answering interview questions in an unfamiliar place. Wear your interview outfit! Ask a friend to do things to try to throw you off (a little) to practice keeping your composure.
  4. Practice "Thought Stopping." This is a well-researched anxiety management technique. When you feel stressed, close your eyes, take a slow, deep breath, and picture a STOP sign in your head. The STOP sign is your reminder to stop worrying, freaking, or zoning out. Thenthink of something relaxing - a beach, your dog, a hot bath, whatever. Practice until you can do the whole sequence (close eyes, deep breath, STOP sign, relaxing thing) in just a few seconds. You can even use Thought Stopping during your interview; just say, "I'm sorry -- I have a few nerves..." before you do it. They'll understand.
  5. Exercise the morning of your interview. The more you can release bodily tension before your interview, the less of it you'll have when you're there.
  6. Start your interview by admitting that you are nervous. Hiding the fact you're anxious makes it even worse. You can even tell them, "I'm a little nervous - this interview is really important to me." They'll find it endearing.
  7. In unexpected situations, imagine yourself as the physician assistant you hope to become. It's rare, but sometimes you'll be thrown a curve ball. They might have you interview with other candidates as a group, perform puzzles or cooperative tasks, or answer odd questions ("If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?") These are usually designed to see how you think on your feet. Do your best to give an answer that shows them you are professional, responsible, caring, and a team player. Then let it go.

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