How To Hire A Great Personal Assistant
You're an entrepreneur, not a superhuman who can do everything without breaking down. Between running your business and managing your personal life, it is inevitable that you will burn out if you don't have help. Help takes many forms, but one very important asset every busy entrepreneur should have is a dedicated personal assistant.
What will the ideal personal assistant do for you?
1. Screen your phone calls and emails, responding on your behalf when appropriate.
2. Organise meetings, attend them to take notes and ensure you are prepared for them.
3. Communicate with your clients and other staff on your behalf.
4. Conduct research, develop reports and create presentations.
5. Manage your travel plans including securing visas and booking hotels.
6. Represent you whenever you are unavailable.
7. Handle domestic tasks on your behalf when necessary.
How do you hire the ideal personal assistant?
There is no formal qualification for the role of a personal assistant. Instead of basing your hiring decision on irrelevant degrees and certificates, keep an eye out for these qualities:
1. Experience in a leadership position.
A candidate who has previously held a position that required people management and quick decision-making should have developed a sense of responsibility and a capacity for proactivity, making it easier to trust that candidate with important tasks. When interviewing candidates, ask them to describe how they handled difficult situations in the past. You must also know their style of leadership. Your personal assistant must know how to solve problems and manage people.
2. A professional approach to work.
Punctuality, attention to detail and composure are non-negotiable characteristics of the ideal candidate. Remember that your personal assistant will sometimes represent you and you will be judged by the quality of that representation. Use situational interviews to measure professionalism; ask candidates how they will act in certain scenarios, looking out for mature responses.
The ideal candidate is willing and able to handle tasks ranging from business (for example, representing you at a meeting) to domestic (for example, paying your home electricity bills) without complaining. Be clear about responsibilities during interviews and be sure a candidate understands them before making your hiring decision.
4. Discretion and reliability.
Your personal assistant will have access to your emails, phone calls and probably your home, all sources of sensitive information. It follows then that the ideal candidate understands and respects a nondisclosure agreement. Before you select a candidate, run a background check by calling past employers and referees for a good picture of the candidate's character. While not absolute guarantees, a clean criminal record and a history of loyalty are good signs of future reliability.
Do you have a reliable personal assistant? What factors guided your hiring decision? Send your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org, we may publish it with full credit and a mention of your business.