Did you know that the Personal Assistant has over 150 variations of titles?! No wonder nobody really knows exactly what a PA does, how it differs to an Executive Assistant and what the main characteristics are of such a person. The more people you ask – the more confused you will probably get. To make it even more confusing – estate managers, butlers and office managers might be just as suitable for you! We all have overlapping qualities and responsibilities…
Let’s state the obvious first. The existence of an assistant, any assistant for that matter, is because you want someone else to do your bidding. If you would be willing to keep on doing everything by yourself – we would not have a job to do! So on behalf of the Assisting Professionals Society, I would like to thank you for wanting that peace of mind, getting rid of daunting tasks and dropping as many duties on our laps as possible.
As it usually goes, the truth is fairly simple. The answer to the question in the topic is just as obvious. No PA profile is the same and nor is the job description. YOU decide what a PA can and will do for you! Most experienced PAs around the globe know this to be true. We can gloat about our previous achievements and skills all we want, but that won’t matter one iota if you have a totally different profile, business, occupation, place of residence and obviously, tastes, likes and dislikes.
There is though a lot you can do to prepare your own PA profile. Here are few pointers and directions that you might wish to consider when looking to make that hire.
- There is no way you can know upfront if and how your new PA will work out. It will mostly depend on their ability to adapt, their willingness to fit in and the level of their involvement. All those a fairly ‘untouchable’ qualities.
- The true secret of successful PA cooperation is the ‘personality’ click. Yes, the well-known gut feeling is the best and only indicator of any probable success.
- For this very reason – be careful with referrals. Whether they did or did not ‘click’ in the past has no predictability value to you. Although referrals are important, but to a different degree, a more practical one as you will see below.
- Trust – this is a crucial ingredient but it grows and forms over time. The only thing that will help your progress with any assistant is giving them the benefit of the doubt to begin with. It will prove itself very fast, count on that! But remember to indulge in this matter ONLY if there is a comfortable ‘personality’ click in place.
- To know whether the notorious ‘click’ is in place you simply have to check in with yourself while meeting with the candidate:
- Do you feel comfortable? Do you sense that they understand what you want them to do for you?
- Do you sense that they understand what you want them to do? How does communication flow? Matching communication styles are important for efficiency.
- Do their skills shine through their questions? Yes, they need to ask a lot of ‘right’ questions.
Make a list of things YOU want your new PA to do (general terms and descriptions are fine). Explain your usual day or your week so the candidates can make an educated decision whether they will fit your needs. That is the one and only purpose of having an assistant – The PA has to make your life easier and better!