Interviewing For Your PA

While people say it is often difficult to be interviewed for a job, it is actually harder to interview people for one, especially a personal assistant, because of the personal nature of the role. It is the role of the employer to determine within a very short period of time whether someone may be suitable for a relationship that may last for many years.

This means you should have to make judgements based on what you see and magnify the smallest point for its impact in the coming days, weeks, months and years. For example, if an applicant has a particular way of laughing you find mildly annoying at the interview, you need to imagine if you could cope with hearing that laughter every day for a year or more. However unfair this seems, it is the nature of the process.

The interview starts at the very first time they make contact with you, even if they are not aware of it. So the way they are with you or others on the phone, including anything they say will count to your evaluation of them. It is also important to understand that during the interview stage, they should be trying to sell to you the best of themselves, and therefore you will not get a true picture of them. This also means any faults at this stage, like being late to the interview, should be considered an area of concern.

You should also understand that you are unlikely to find someone who is absolutely perfect, and so the interview is an opportunity to discover their weaknesses, as well as strengths, and determine if you are able and willing to accept them with that knowledge. It is also their opportunity to inform you of any specific requests they have, such as holidays they have already booked, or amendments to the hours etc, for you to taken on board and either accept or decline by not employing them. After this point, they do not have the right to negotiate terms if they have accepted the job.

Before interviewing anyone, you should prepare a list of questions you wish to ask every applicant, although you may want to skip questions or ask more depending on how the interview goes. It is good to ask open questions, that require a long answer, as opposed to yes/no ones, so the applicants have an opportunity to sell themselves. The question should relate to the job description, person spec and anything else you feel will help you decide if they are suitable.

You may wish to interview in your own home, or in a public building, and local organisations may be able to offer you a room. It is always wise to have someone you know with you at the interview, so you can be safe and you have someone to feedback with. You should schedule the interviews so you have enough time to introduce yourself, ask the questions, have some time for small talk (which may provide you with useful information), and debrief after each interview. You should provide applicants with a copy of the job description and person spec if you have not already done so.

You should establish at this stage, how much personal information you feel is relevant to tell the applicant for them to understand the job. This could be about your health and impairment, your daytime activity, what you need them to do, your interests and so on. It is important to be and feel safe. If you interview someone who makes you feel unsafe, or is totally unsuitable, it is best to ask them a few basic questions, take their details, and thank them for their time, so not making the situation dangerous.

When you have conducted all the interviews, understanding some people may simply not turn up, it is then time to use all the information you have collected to select who you want to be as your personal assistant.


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