The interviewer is testing your understanding of the job. We recommend that you study the job description prior to arriving for your interview. Be sure that you understand what the role entails, and when asked this question, simply provide a high-level overview of your understanding based on the description. Next, share your strengths and express how they will help you excel in this capacity.
Personal Assistant Interview Questions
Do you understand the role of this position? Why do you think you will excel as an assistant?
"Answer example, "I fully understand the role of this position and I am very excited about it! My experience in this arena dictates that I am qualified to be a successful candidate for the job. My organizational skills, communication abilities and desire to make the group work effectively assure me I will excel at this job."
Are you a patient person? When has your patience really shown in the work place?
Absolutely! Being a Personal Assistant requires patience and grace, and the interviewer needs to hear that you are a patient person. Afterall, it is your job to alleviate stress and create simplicity for another person's life. Being a patient person is a must! Begin by telling the interviewer that you are a patient person, and you understand being patient is a must in order to facilitate personal assisting services for your clients. Then, share an example! A great example might include a time when a client was having a hard time making a decision or was frequently changing their mind. You might share how you patiently allowed the client to have some space to process their decision and happily went along with their request when they were ready.
"Answer example, "Patience is necessary in any setting as a personal assistant, especially with so many things happening at once.
Often times, we rely on other people to get the work done and this can cause delays. With patience, I manage this by setting expectations around communication and offering assistance wherever possible."
How do you stay motivated?
Interviewers need to hear that you have some method for keeping yourself organized. What tools do you use? Do you use an Outlook calendar to keep yourself on track? Do you keep a to-do list? Do you spend time each morning planning out your day? Do you take notes during meetings? Are you accustomed to having a team who helps you out? Simply share which tools you use to keep yourself organized!
"Answer example, "My desire for motivation strongly comes from within. I am often reading business publications and learning about the group I support to be better.
Simply put, my desire to be the best version of myself motivates me at the foundation of all things everyday."
Have you ever been rejected by a client before? How did this make you feel? How did you bounce back from that?
Rejection will likely occur at some point in your career. The key is sharing that you learn from the scenarios and never let them get the best of you. Begin by sharing a time you were rejected by a client. Share what personal assisting services you were not offered as well as why you were not given the job. Perhaps your cost was higher than another assistant's costs. Maybe you were unable to turn something around as quickly as the client would have liked. Or, it may be that the client had received a last minute referral for a different assistant from a friend. Next, share how you felt as a result of the rejection. You might share that you were disappointed, but you understood why they made their decision. You may mention that you were really looking forward to the opportunity, and you wish you could have taken on the job. Finally, discuss what steps, if any, that you took to ensure you were not rejected for the same reasons again. For example, you might mention that you re-worked your personal schedule to allow more flexibility to allow for quicker turnaround services.
"Answer example, "Rejection happens and our ability to handle rejection says a lot about who we are as professionals. It never feels great but it is important to learn from each situation and bounce back. If something could have been done better, be sure to recognize what that could have been. Other times, accept that you are not a fit for that client's needs and focus your energy on where you can add value elsewhere."
How do you try to avoid misunderstandings with your client?
What steps do you take to ensure you have to misunderstandings? Do you take notes during your meetings? Do you send out calendar reminders or meeting recaps? Do you color code files? Do you always prepare for meetings with your clients ahead of time to ensure you are walking into your meetings as a knowledgeable professional? Perhaps you re-iterate everything discussed at the end of a conversation. When asked this question, simply list 2-3 things that you do to alleviate the risk of misunderstandings with your clients.
"Answer example, "Listening and communication are important skills to avoid misunderstanding. Delivering on our promises and action items can help the client relationship keep on track. If I do not understand something or need clarifying, I will be sure to take the time to ask. This can help prevent misunderstandings before they occur."
Why do you want to be my Personal Assistant?
What drew you to apply for this particular job? Was it the client's positive reputation in the community? Was it the type of tasks associated with the job? Are there good benefits offered with the position? Does the role offer more flexibility than other positions? The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about some component of the position, and your passion will automatically come through when explaining what drew you to apply for this particular opportunity.
"Answer example, "I admire the work you are doing and am confident I can contribute real value to maintaining effectiveness in how you operate. I'm a quick learner, adaptable to meet changing priorities and needs, and excited to contribute this level of enthusiasm to your team."
When starting work for a new client, what are a few things you like to do to get to know the person and make them feel comfortable with you around?
Every person has their own approach, and the interviewer is trying to learn more about your style. Think about what things you typically do when you begin working for a new client. Do you have a set of questions that you typically like to ask? Do you like to go out for coffee or breakfast to have an informal discussion that allows you to gain an understanding of expectations and to learn more about the person? Do you like to discuss your work style, so your client knows what they can expect from you? Simply share your approach to getting to know your clients and ensuring they are comfortable working around you!
"Answer example, "Setting clear expectations and asking questions from the start is important. I set a frequency for meeting with the client and communication styles that work well. Asking discovery questions to understand the client's needs is important. I have created a checklist for doing this well each time and setting our relationship up for success."
What is the most challenging task you have completed as a personal assistant?
Think about an out of the box task you completed for someone. Or, think about a project you were asked to complete that required a lot of research. The interviewer wants to hear that you took the initiative to problem solve and dominate the request. Share what task you were given, and explain your positive reaction upon hearing the request. Discuss how you eagerly took on the task as well as what steps you took to complete the request. Finally, be sure to mention the positive outcome that you had!
"Answer example, "There are many behind the scenes superhero tasks that Personal Assistants accomplish on a daily basis. One of the more challenging is managing the schedules of multiple people who all have very full plates. To do this, I often have to move things around and weigh priorities to make sure critical needs are met/addresses in a timely fashion."
What experience do you have helping someone with a disability?
The interviewer wants to gain a better understanding of your experience as a personal assistant. Simply share the number of clients you have worked with who have disabilities, the type of disability they have, as well as how long you worked for the client. Be sure to give a high-level overview of the tasks you helped the person with. If you have no experience professionally assisting individuals with disabilities, that is okay! Instead, think of a person in your life with a disability who you have assisted at some point in time. Share that you have not professionally assisted someone with a disability, and explain the other point in your life when you have been able to offer your assistance.
"Answer example, "In my past role, I was required to assist someone with a disability. It was important to understand the challenges of the disability and the specific tools/needs necessary for that person to be successful in their role. Often times, it meant going the extra mile to help that person."
Tell me about a time you had to multi-task. How comfortable are you handling more than one task at a time?
Multi-tasking is your game! It is what people hire you for, and you thrive on it! The interviewer wants to hear that you are a gifted multi-tasker, and they want to hear that you have steps in place to keep yourself organized ensuring no tasks are missed. Tell the interviewer that being a personal assistant is all about helping another person make their life easier, and multi-tasking is what you have signed up to do! Next, share 1-2 examples of times when you have had to multi-task explaining what tasks you were juggling and the steps you took to ensure that none of your tasks were not missed in the process.
"Answer example, "Multitasking is a large part of the life of a personal assistant. This role requires us to handle multiple items at the same time so I have built a strong comfort level with multitasking.
Just last week, my team had an executive review, a client presentation and quarterly planning sessions happening at the same time. Through effective multitasking, I was able to prepare the team for all three deadlines, seamlessly."
What personal assisting tasks do you feel you are exceptionally good at?
The interviewer simply wants to learn more about you as a person! Go ahead and share 3-4 tasks that you are really good at. You might mention: Monitoring and responding to emails, answering phone calls and taking messages, planning and organizing meetings, running errands, maintaining a schedule, giving reminders of birthdays/names/events, selecting gifts for family members, building relationships with your client's clients, telling people no, typing documents, or managing projects.
"Answer example, "Discretion and confidentiality are important aspects of my role. As someone who is very loyal to the people and organization I support, these aspects are assumed and carried out at the highest level every day."
Do you enjoy socializing with your clients?
Have you ever met an assistant who didn't seem to want to engage any clients and seemed mildly irritated any time they were asked for something? Of course staying positive and friendly with clients at all times can be challenging, but it is the nature of the beast. You are on ALL the time. So how would you answer this question. Let me give you an example: "I'm outgoing and love meeting new people. Whether I'm at work or out with friends I enjoy making conversation and getting to know people. Everyone has a story and I think it's fun to ask questions and listen. You never know how interesting people can be!" This response shows your natural, social nature, and it represents your ability to build long-standing client relationships. Your clients often love to talk and appreciate it when you show that you care by listening and actively participating in conversation. Be authentic and talk about your people skills!
"I'm outgoing and love meeting new people. Whether I'm at work or out with friends I enjoy making conversation and getting to know people. Everyone has a story and I think it's fun to ask questions and listen. You never know how interesting people can be!"
"Answer example, "It is important to build relationships with the people and clients we support. It is equally important to handle those relationships professionally. I take pride in learning about the people I work with (interests, birthdays, their lives outside of the workplace). As I represent someone else, I do my best to loop them in so they can share in celebrations or situations that call for it.
People are our greatest asset. It is important to get to know them and treat them well."
What type of personalities do you work best with?
Think about the work environment you thrive in. What do you need to be successful? People who motivate you and encourage you to be the best version of yourself always makes a difference. People who are easy-going or who provide a lot of structure can be great to work with. The key is to share that you are capable of working with all types of personalities, and then mention your favorite personalities to work with. Be sure to share a description of the perfect client personality again re-iterating that this is the picture perfect scenario, and you understand you won't work with this person every day as a personal assistant.
"Answer example, "Part of the fun that comes with working with people is encountering all types of personalities! It is common to come across people with differing styles and I have the type of adaptable style that can tailor to the most quiet introverts to the strongest extroverts. It is part of what I enjoy most about what I do."
When have you had to set aside your own personal way of doing things in order to better help a client?
Being flexible is essential as a personal assistant, and the interviewer wants to hear that you can be adaptable and accept change. Think about a time a client wanted you to approach something in a way that you probably would not have done. Steer clear of ethical dilemmas, and instead focus on simpler things such as choosing different vendors to work with, taking a different route when running errands, or utilizing a different computer program than requested. For example, you might state something like this, "I have always utilized ABC Dry Cleaners in town because they offer exceptional discounts for repeat customers. My last client really wanted me to use XYZ Dry Cleaners instead because of a personal relationship they had with the owner. To meet my client's needs, I happily made the switch in this case knowing that the client would be paying more for their dry cleaning services." This response shows you are flexible and adaptable to change to help meet the needs of your clients.
"I have always utilized ABC Dry Cleaners in town because they offer exceptional discounts for repeat customers. My last client really wanted me to use XYZ Dry Cleaners instead because of a personal relationship they had with the owner. To meet my client's needs, I happily made the switch in this case knowing that the client would be paying more for their dry cleaning services."
"Answer example, "We all have preferred ways of doing things and there are times where it is important to conform to the style of someone else who you are delivering the work to. Personal assistants have a way of being adaptable in this way and when it comes up, I hone in on my ability to meet the clients needs first and foremost."
Why should we hire you?
We suggest that you ask a few former co-workers or family members what they feel is the one unique thing that sets you apart from the other candidates. Their perceptions will help you understand how you are perceived and what makes you the perfect person for the opportunity.
"Answer example, "I am qualified to excel at this role and am committed to putting in 150% work ethic to improve the overall workings of your personal assistant needs."
What are your strengths?
When have you had a misunderstanding with a client? How did you two resolve the issue?
Sometimes personalities can clash. When have you had to modify or change your behavior to prevent a personality clash with a client?
You have been asked to set up a meeting. What actions will you take?
When have you shown a great deal of patience when working with a client?
Why do you want to leave your current job?
What personal assistant experience do you have? What were your common tasks?
What tasks do you dislike most?
How are your communication skills?
What are your career goals?
Describe yourself in three words.
What are the most important qualities to have as a personal assistant?