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Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant: Essential Qualities Employers Seek

When the delicate juggle between administrative, personal, and professional obligations becomes too tricky, it’s time to consider a Personal Assistant. While the role of the PA in popular culture plays an increasingly large function – Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway, and Scarlett Johansson have all assumed roles as PAs in films at some point – the alchemy of what creates the perfect personal assistant is difficult to understand. Joseph Addison’s quote above demonstrates the core function of a personal assistant – lightening the burden of others by streamlining process, being constantly professional, and holding a high standard of care. Your personal assistant will be inextricably bound in the most important professional and personal concerns of your day, and the hiring process for an excellent PA is one of our most stringent. Below, we outline the three key qualities any employer should look for in their PA.

“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another”, Joseph Addison.

A Personal Assistant Should Have A Flexible Approach

As your job or personal life evolves, so too will the demands of your personal assistant. As such, you require someone with a flexible set of skills and personality.  Some skills are universal in descriptions for PA jobs, such as excellent interpersonal skills, being detail-oriented, and a good drip on computer functions.  Being a good multi-tasker, for example, is central to the very essence of a PA role.  However, question in interviews, and insert into contracts, the possibility that the demands of the role are subject to change, and the PA candidate will be expected to perform duties “as assigned”. Roberta Chinsky Matuson, founder and principal of Human Resource Solutions, an HR consulting company, states this is essential, so that “a hire doesn’t come back and say ‘that wasn’t in my job description”. A good PA is one with a flexible approach, one who is able to learn new skills on the job to fit your needs.

A Proactive Attitude

Being a personal assistant entails much more than just handling administrative tasks and managing schedules. It requires a unique set of qualities and skills that can make a significant difference in enhancing your productivity and streamlining your daily life. Employers seek personal assistants who possess three essential qualities that go beyond the basics, transforming them into indispensable assets for their professional and personal endeavors.

  1. Precise Judgment and Anticipatory Skills: An exceptional personal assistant possesses the ability to anticipate your needs and make informed decisions on your behalf. They have a keen sense of judgment, enabling them to prioritize tasks and allocate resources efficiently. With their insightful assessment of your preferences, priorities, and working style, they can seamlessly align their activities with yours, creating a harmonious synergy that optimizes your productivity and saves you valuable time.
  2. Proactive Approach and Initiative: Employers highly value personal assistants who take proactive measures to enhance efficiency and exceed expectations. These individuals go above and beyond basic administrative tasks by constantly seeking ways to streamline processes, improve workflows, and suggest innovative solutions. Their proactive mindset allows them to identify potential issues before they arise, mitigating risks and ensuring smooth operations. By taking initiative and thinking one step ahead, they become indispensable in managing unforeseen challenges and supporting you in achieving your goals.
  3. Trustworthiness and Independence: A personal assistant with a high level of trustworthiness and independence is a valuable asset in any professional setting. They possess the integrity to handle sensitive information and maintain confidentiality at all times. Employers rely on their personal assistants to act as their representatives, making decisions and interacting with stakeholders on their behalf. Therefore, it is essential for a personal assistant to demonstrate sound judgment, professionalism, and the ability to exercise discretion in various situations. Their independence allows them to confidently tackle tasks and resolve issues without constant supervision, giving you the freedom to focus on your core responsibilities.

By embodying these qualities, a personal assistant becomes an invaluable partner, revamping your lifestyle, and simplifying your daily agenda. They seamlessly integrate into your professional and personal life, becoming a trusted confidant and an extension of your capabilities. Whether it’s coordinating complex schedules, managing important communications, or handling intricate logistics, a personal assistant with these essential qualities ensures that your needs are anticipated, priorities are met, and your overall efficiency is maximized.

When seeking a personal assistant, prioritize these qualities alongside relevant skills and experience. Together, they create the foundation for a successful partnership and enable you to make the most of your professional and personal endeavors.

A Great First Impression

As your PA, that individual is a spokesperson for you, and a face of your company/brand.  Fulfilling core administrative tasks on your behalf, their words and actions are an extension of your own; clearly, you need someone with a friendly demeanour and consummate professionalism.  Consequently, many aspiring employers keep their eyes continually peeled for a striking individual to match this description. If they made a great first impression on you, it’s likely they’ll do the same with others in your social and professional circles. At Irving Scott, we understand that a magnetic personality must complement an exceptional skill set. When meeting our selection, consider the behavioural list of traits you most value in a prospective PA, and give this consideration equal measure alongside their experiential characteristics.

Irving Scott holds the above traits as essential requirements for every PA in its talent pool; alongside the chief characteristics of tact, discretion, excellent problem-solving. By allowing us to circumvent the often-exhausting search process on your behalf, we shortcut your route to finding an excellent PA. The Guardian said recently that “Where a PA or secretary used to have a purely reactive role, they are now proactively finding new ways to improve processes and contribute to the goals of the organisation.” Irving Scott will ensure your PA helps you reach your goals, with flexibility, proactivity, and professionalism every step of the way.