Every person is different, and interviewers want to hear that you can adapt to working with all types of people. Have you ever had a client who you didn't see eye-to-eye with? How about a client who never seemed to be on the same page as you? Have you had a client that you needed to be firmer or direct with? Perhaps, you have had a client that you needed to extend deadlines for due to lack of follow through on their part. These are all great examples to share for this question! Odds are, you get along with most of your clients if you have a successful career as a personal assistant! If this is the case, begin by telling the interviewer that most clients are great to work with and you typically do not run into these concerns. Next, provide the interviewer with an overview of one situation expressing who your client was, what tendencies you needed to resolve, and how you addressed them. Next, share what you did to ensure the situation never got the best of you instead focusing on what you initiated to resolve the issue. Finally, be sure to mention that you understand your role as a personal assistant is to be adaptable and initiate change when you recognize it.
"Answer example, "With all of the different types of personalities in this world, there will be times when you clash. In my last role, there was a personality I worked with that was difficult to read and break through to. The client took their role very serious and brought a great deal of unnecessary stress to the relationship with conflicting messages. I am very adaptable and found a way to meet the needs of the client, while asking the right questions to help bridge us together."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
This is the time to sell yourself. Employers want to see that you know yourself and work within your strengths. Be prepared to discuss 3-5 different strengths that you can show off in the workplace. Think of the traits that make you good at your job. Reflect back on the top qualities of a personal assistant. If you're not sure, think about the qualities it will take to tackle the tasks laid out in the job description. Being a problem-solver, detailed, and patient are all traits worth mentioning! Next, talk about how you use each strength in the workplace. For example, your problem-solving ability helps you to look for solutions and see opportunities where others might get frustrated. Being detailed helps you to ensure you never miss a task that you are completing for a client.
"Answer example, "Organization and handling multiple changing priorities are two of my greatest strengths. I am great at managing schedules and making things happen."
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."
Misunderstandings will happen from time-to-time, and it's okay to share them! The key is to share that you took the initiative to correct the issue. Think about a time you took the initiative to resolve an issue. Explain what misunderstanding occurred, and explain how you realized there was a misunderstanding. Next, share what steps you took to resolve the miscommunication making sure to mention how professionally you handled the situation while apologizing to the client for the misunderstanding. Finally, be sure to mention any steps you have put into place since this situation to ensure similar misunderstandings never occur again in the future.
"Answer example, "Misunderstandings occur. It is important to apply basic conflict resolution methods when they do. I try to approach each situation with humility an the intent to resolve the matter with respectful communication and progressive language. Empathy is applied where possible and the goal is to come out of the misunderstanding stronger."
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."
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."
This one should be easy! Simply list what steps you typically take. You might include: - I send a meeting request to all parties who need to be involved which designates the meeting time and location. - I ensure any photocopies are made that are necessary for the meeting. - I ensure all electronic equipment that is needed is set up and prepared for the meeting. - I ensure the conference room is tidy ahead of time. - I ensure there are enough chairs in the conference room for the number of attendees. - I ensure I have water and snacks available if outside guests will be attending the meeting. - If anyone does not respond to my meeting request within 3 days of the meeting, I reach out to see if they will be attending. - I ensure I am at the front door to greet any outside guests who will be attending the meeting.
"Answer example, "Depending on who the meeting is with, I will reach out to that person or their team to discuss best availability and the meeting agenda. The agreed upon time will go on the calendar, with an invitation to all parties (including their assistants) and a reminder/agenda will go out prior to the meeting so everyone is on the same page walking into the session. This ensures the time spent together is most effective."
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."
Begin by telling the interviewer what you have liked about your current employer. Focusing on the positives first will help the interviewer see your good intentions! Next, share that you want to leave your current employer to further your career as a personal assistant, and share why this particular opportunity appeals to you more than your current position. For example, you might state, "I realized this past year that I want to focus on being a personal assistant for small business owners. The job is very important and has great meaning, and I think I would do really well at it. I like this opportunity more than my current job because it will allow me to help a business owner create balance between their work and personal life ultimating opening the door for the business owner to have a strong relationship with their family and not allowing their career to be the number one priority."
"I realized this past year that I want to focus on being a personal assistant for small business owners. The job is very important and has great meaning, and I think I would do really well at it. I like this opportunity more than my current job because it will allow me to help a business owner create balance between their work and personal life ultimating opening the door for the business owner to have a strong relationship with their family and not allowing their career to be the number one priority."
"Answer example, "I am always looking to grow and progress in my career. That said, I am looking to take my experience to the next level and land a role that challenges me to be better. I am excited about the work you are doing and am certain I can contribute strong work to enhance the team."
Giggle - and, share your experience working with a client who was extremely challenging. Express what made the client challenging, and share what steps you took to ensure you never let that person take away your patience. Perhaps you recognized personal struggles in their life and were able to build a relationship with the person ultimately making the client easier to work with. Perhaps you opted to give the client as much personal space as possible. Or, perhaps you learned to just laugh at the situation understanding that their challenging attitude can only be helped by you alleviating part of their workload. Finally, be sure to mention that most clients do not require a high-level of patience, but there might be one who does from time-to-time.
"Answer example, "This happens sometimes when clients have specific and often conflicting needs. As a personal assistant, I channel my listening skills to clearly understand what the client needs. This can require patience if the client has not yet thought this through. Where possible, I offer suggestions and strive to over deliver."
This one should be easy! Simply list your personal assisting experience sharing where you have worked, how long you worked there, and the common tasks that you completed for your clients. As an added perk, share one thing that you really enjoyed about each position. It opens the door for the interviewer to learn more about what you like as a personal assistant while allowing you to show off your positive attitude!
"Answer example. "That is a great question! I have 12 years of personal and executive assistance experience. It is my responsibility to ensure those leaders I support are running their jobs seamlessly. I do this by managing scheduling, coordinating events and proactively seeking out ways we can manage foresight of challenges that might come up down the road. I take my role seriously and always maintain utmost professionalism when acting on behalf of the people I support."
We all have aspects of our job that we dislike, and that is okay! The key is that we are willing to do them with a positive attitude. Think about a task you do not enjoy doing that is rarely requested by clients. This will make a great example! Simple share the task that you do not enjoy, and explain why you dislike it. Finally, be sure to mention that you happily complete the task because you know it is adding value for your client.
"Answer example "There are no tasks that I am afraid to roll up my sleeves to accomplish. I welcome the more challenging tasks that allow me to develop as a professional and come through with excellence for the people I support."
You may plan to continue working as a personal assistant for a long time. Maybe you are interested in moving into a corporate executive assistant role, working as a personal assistant for celebrities, or owning your own personal assisting company. Your goal could also be to complete your masters, furthering your education. Showing that you are interested in growing on a personal and a professional level is important to convey to your interviewer. Be sure to discuss how your goal is relevant to the position you're interviewing for. Talk about how the position will help you reach your goals, giving as much detail as possible.
"Answer example, "I strive to be a personal assistant for a leader I look up to and a cause that I am passionate about. I aspire to take on additional responsibilities to learn the business of the group I support and potentially take on a greater role in the future."
They are super! The interviewer needs to hear that you have great communication skills both verbally and written. Begin by telling the interviewer that you believe you have great communication skills. Next, share an example of a time when you were commended for your communication skills. Did a college professor commend you for your exceptional writing abilities? Have you always been selected to speak at staff meetings because of your speaking abilities? Have you been recognized for your ability to build relationships because of your amazing verbal skills? Mention what another person has told you about your communication skills, and share a little about how you know this person. It will be sure to impress!
"Answer example, "Very strong! I take pride in having great interpersonal skills and adapting my communication style to meet the needs of my intended audience. Communication is critical to the success of the team and I operate with strong communications across the board. I also recognize that utilizing different methods of communication is very important. Often times, I will have a dialog with someone, then provide a written email or communication to recap the items discussed including key action items, deadlines, etc."
The interviewer wants to ensure you have a basic understanding of what it takes to be a successful personal assistant. When asked this question, simply list 4-5 qualities that are important for a personal assistant to have. Strong organization skills is a solid response. A positive attitude adds a lot of value for clients. A willingness to solve problems with little direction is valuable. Self-motivation is essential. Exceptional communication skills help ensure tasks are understood. Or, you might mention that being proactive allows a personal assistant to not get overwhelmed during the day.
"Answer example, "Personal assistants can be the backbone to making sure things run smoothly. We are born with strong organizational and communication skills. Often times, we are handling multiple projects with competing deadlines at the same time. This is part of our nature and also part of the fun!"
Think of three qualities that will help you in your role as a Personal Assistant. Here are some that we think would make you an excellent fit for the job! Outgoing. Organized. Patient. Excellent communicator. Detail oriented. Your objective is to make another person's life run more smoothly and efficiently. You want to be able to communicate well with your clients. Interpersonal skills are the most important for your role, so mentioning your gift of verbal communication is a great addition to your response!
"Answer example, "Strong, confident and capable. I'm willing to do the work and go the extra mile to better the team I support."
Our Personal Assistant interview questions are split into two careers, the first is a medical personal assistant. One whom helps a disabled person with daily routine tasks. The second, is an executive personal assistant. One whom helps a business person with their schedule, phone calls, emails, etc. Our interview questions for personal assistant, are tailored more for a medical care giver. For interview questions regarding an executive assistant, visit: Executive Assistant