Peer Mentor Blog Post: Effective Interviews

Hiring new personal assistants can be difficult and scary, but a careful, well planned interview can go a long way towards hiring a successful PA. Here are some words from some of the CDPAANYS peer mentors about effective interviewing:

Iffat Mahmud-Khan:

As a participant of Consumer Directed Personal Assistance, the personal assistants I hire need to understand the commitment involved with providing support that lets me live my life as independently as possible. A good interview helps me to let them know this and understand if they will be a good fit for me.

Some points discussed during the interview process might include communication, punctuality, flexibility/schedule changes, organization and experience.

When interviewing prospective personal assistants it is important that the lines of communication are open and that there is a clear understanding of both the basic job requirements and the amount of work involved. In my case, a PA who is well organized is helps ensure that tasks are completed in a way that allows me to live my life independently.

In an effective interview, it is important that all questions that you or the prospective personal assistant may have are addressed. This is the time for both parties to get to know each other.

Margie Colson:

One of the most important ways to prepare for an interview is to have a list of questions ready and ask the same questions of each candidate you interview. Be sure to ask only questions that are directly related to the job. Choose questions that deal with the skills and behaviors required for the job, rather than just a certain type of attitude or style. Ask for specific examples of past behaviors that are important to you.

It may be important to ask questions to make sure the interviewee can handle stress and that they will fit in with the team. Gear one or more questions toward making the candidate think, rather than delivering a standard answer.

Avoid personal questions other than those directly related to the candidate’s ability to perform the job. The candidate may volunteer personal information on their own, but many personal questions may be inappropriate or even illegal to ask in a job interview.

Athena Savides:

The process of interviewing and recruiting Personal Assistants (PAs) can be daunting and nerve wracking, but it is an integral step of the hiring process. I have two tips which could help make it a bit easier.

The first is to be kind and attentive, but firm. If you are nervous, odds are your interviewees are also. You would not want to add to this, by seeming dismissive or impolite. At the same time, as the potential employer, you have to make your needs known.

This brings me to my second point: have your expectations and needs regarding the Personal Assistant position clearly set out, preferably in writing, for yourself and for your interviewees before the interviews begin. Every person’s needs and preferences are different and you have the right to have your needs met in a way that best fits you.

Explaining your needs and preferences clearly to each interviewee can help avoid misunderstandings between you and your PAs in the future.

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