Recently, I’ve written two blog posts for Assistants who are preparing for an interview. Both blog posts contain five questions that are often asked in an interview for a new Assistant position. In this blog post, Interview Questions and Answers for PAs, EAs and Administrators Part 3, we will look at another five questions that I have been asked at various interviews over the years and my answers for them. But, before we start, here are the links to the other blog posts in this series:
Why should we employ you rather than one of the other candidates?
Use this question to really sell yourself. You do want the interviewer to pick you so really emphasise your strong points, your unique attributes and why you would be a brilliant person to employ.
Remember to link your answer back to the job description but also add other skills you have that the other candidates might not.
“I do think that I would be a great asset to the company as I have the skill set that I know you are looking for in the right candidate. I am a brilliant event organiser, I can write marketing material and can really help with other creative projects. I know that I will be able to support you in your work so that you can concentrate on high-level projects while I take care of the day to day tasks. I’m not sure that the other candidates will have my full set of skills and my unique experience.”
Why do you want to work at this company?
This is similar to the ‘what do you know about the company?‘ question but the answer should be slightly different because you want to show that you have researched the company and have come to the conclusion that it is an organisation that you really want to work for.
You do not want to look like you would work for any company because you just want the job (even if this is the case!)
Remember to mention the company ethos and that you think it fits in well with your values, for example, you could say something along the lines of ‘I like to make a difference at work and this organisation makes a difference in their marketplace!‘
I can not stress enough how important it is to research the company. You really will look totally unprepared if you get asked a question about the business and you have no idea how to answer it – or even worse try to make it up!
Have you done anything or taken any courses to further your experience?
If you have completed any courses at a previous employer then here is your time to shine.
Let the employer know what you have achieved and do take pride in what you have done, it will make you look like you really care about your career and take it seriously.
If you are new to the profession or haven’t had the chance then I would emphasise the skills you already have by saying:
“I am constantly looking to improve my skills. My IT skills have improved greatly and are now very strong and over the years my interpersonal skills have grown as I work with different people at all levels of business. I haven’t had the opportunity to complete any formal training but I do keep up to date with the industry by reading lots of articles on LinkedIn and other publications for assistants. I am very open to additional training and would love the opportunity to develop myself further.”
How do you work under pressure?
I love this question! When it comes up in an interview I always try to inject a bit of humour at this point and show that I don’t take myself too seriously.
“I’ve had jobs in the past that have been highly pressurised and I’ve found that I cope well with that and actually don’t mind working to tight deadlines because at least I know what has to be done each day! I always find that chocolate and a nice glass of red wine helps to alleviate any pressure at the end of a long day!”
What motivates you at work?
Think about the aspects of the job that excited you when you first read the job description. These are the tasks that you should reference when asked this question.
Also, talk about your prefered working environment and how you use the different aspects of the Assistant role to motivate yourself.
“I really like to have a mixture of tasks that allow me to use my varied skill set. For example, I like to be creative but also I am quite detailed driven so can happily work away on a PowerPoint presentation or an excel report. I like to know that I am contributing to a team and that my work makes a difference, which is one of the reasons I do enjoy being an Assistant because I know I am supporting people that make the important, company-wide, decisions. I also like to have fun at work and enjoy the time I spend with my colleagues, so, I like to be involved socially and know my colleagues personally. I find this really helps to also keep me motivated.”
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There is a great deal more you can read to help you prepare for your PA interview, but the questions above will give you an excellent place to start.
Once you’ve worked through this blog post, I would highly recommend you check out our eBook ‘Preparing for the perfect PA job‘ which is perfect for anyone looking for their next Personal Assistant role.