Personal assistant interview questions and example answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 5 November 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Personal assistants help high-level managers and executives maintain organised schedules by using communication, multitasking and organisational skills. When looking for a personal assistant job, you may attend interviews that involve answering questions related to your training, skills and experience. Learning about common personal assistant interview questions and answers can help you succeed in an interview. In this article, we list what questions you can expect and provide sample answers you can use to guide your own responses.
General personal assistant interview questions
General personal assistant interview questions allow a hiring manager to learn more about your career goals and interests. The following are some general interview questions you may encounter:
Can you tell me about yourself?
Why do you want to work here?
How did you learn about this position?
What are your goals for the next five years?
Do you consider yourself a passionate person?
What do you like about working as a personal assistant?
What makes you a good candidate?
What are your hobbies and interests?
Why are you leaving your current job?
What are your expectations for this role?
What are your greatest strengths?
Are you able to work overtime?
What motivates you?
Do you prefer working in a team or independently?
What are your greatest weaknesses?
Questions about experience and background
Questions about experience and background give employers an idea of what previous experiences you can apply to the new role. The following are questions relating to experience and background:
Can you tell me about your previous position?
Can you tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision?
What is the most challenging task you've completed?
What personal assistant tasks do you think you're good at?
What would your previous boss and colleagues say about you?
What unique experiences did you gain in your previous job?
Can you tell me about the organisations or the people you've worked with?
When have you had to multitask to complete various tasks?
What do you think are important skills for a personal assistant?
What do you think of customer experience?
What did you least like in your previous position?
Are you familiar with any software programs?
How do you stay organised as a personal assistant?
How do you ensure that you meet deadlines?
In-depth interview questions for personal assistants
In-depth interview questions help interviewers learn about your ethics, skills and abilities. They may include situational or behavioural questions. To answer effectively, pause before you respond and craft a well-thought-out answer that showcases your skills and knowledge. The following are some in-depth interview questions:
How do you handle working with different personalities?
Have you ever received conflicting directions from your supervisors? What did you do?
How do you handle people asking for confidential information about your boss or company?
How do you deal with stress?
What's your most outstanding professional achievement?
When was a time you had a conflict with your boss?
What would you do if you felt overwhelmed with your work?
What certifications do you have that are relevant to this position?
How can you make your boss' work efficient and organised?
What are your salary expectations?
Personal assistant questions with answers
The following are some personal assistant questions that a hiring manager may ask you and their sample answers:
What differentiates you from other personal assistants?
This question allows you to explain what makes you a strong candidate for the position. You can discuss your passions and any strengths and skills you haven't shared yet. Think before you respond to ensure that you give a well-thought-out answer.
Example: 'I'm a highly-organised professional and have always been passionate about helping others. I enjoy keeping my workplace neat and organised and organising meetings and planning events for my employer. I'm a positive person who takes every challenge as a learning opportunity. I can multitask, meet strict deadlines and work under pressure. I believe these skills, combined with my willingness to learn, make me an exceptional personal assistant.'
What are the most important skills for a personal assistant position?
This question has no right or wrong answer. The interviewer wants to know what skills you think can benefit you in the role. Before the interview, look at the job description and list the role's required skills.
Example: 'In my opinion, the most important skills are being professional, being organised and being able to multitask. Being professional helps you know how to interact with others, especially high-level professionals who visit your manager. Organisational skills help you manage your work effectively and prioritise your tasks. Being able to multitask can help you prioritise your daily tasks, work under pressure and meet deadlines.'
What is your greatest weakness as a personal assistant?
Most employers consider it important to know what your greatest weakness is. It's important to mention how you overcome it. Describe your greatest weakness and explain what steps you take to improve yourself.
Example: 'My greatest weakness is that I often complete my work very fast, especially if I have a lot of tasks. I often overlook things and make mistakes. I've learnt that prioritising tasks and allocating time to each one helps me handle my tasks and pay attention to the smallest details."
What was your most outstanding achievement in your previous role?
Through this question, the employer wants to know what you've achieved. This can give them insight into your abilities and personality. Discuss an achievement that's relevant to the role.
Example: 'In my previous role, I worked as a personal assistant for two executives with demanding schedules. I managed their schedules and diaries effectively. My ability to help the executives plan and organise their work gave me recognition in my place of work, and I won the employee of the year award.'
What tasks did you handle in your previous role as a personal assistant?
An employer might want to understand what tasks you handled in your previous position. This lets them know whether you can handle the job's responsibilities. Check the job listing and note the responsibilities so that you can align them with your experiences.
Example: 'In my last position as a personal assistant, I managed the schedules and diaries of two executives. I made appointments and reminded them of their scheduled tasks. I replied to emails, answered phone calls and took notes for my bosses. I also booked their hotels, flights and other transportation.'
How do you handle harsh criticism?
As a personal assistant, you often interact with your colleagues and bosses. Sometimes, you may receive negative feedback from them. Here, the hiring manager wants to know if you can handle working under others.
Example: 'People have different personalities, and sometimes, you may receive criticism or get into conflicts. I believe criticism is good for my personal growth, as it helps me identify my weaknesses and allows me to improve them. When I handle harsh criticism, I take time to process it to avoid reacting emotionally. I avoid dwelling on criticism, which allows me to work with my colleagues and bosses cordially.'
Tips for a personal assistant interview
The following are some tips to help you make a strong impression during an interview:
Carry out detailed research of the company: Prepare to answer some questions about the company's vision, mission and goals. Research the duties and expectations of the position to answer questions about whether you're suitable for it.
Check the job advertisement: Check the job advertisement to identify the required skills and qualities. The ad can also help you identify words and phrases related to the field, which you can use during the interview.
Demonstrate your personal assistant skills: Hiring managers expect personal assistants to be helpful, friendly, fast-thinking and organised. Practise these skills to highlight and demonstrate them during the interview.
Prepare a list of questions to ask: Asking the hiring manager about the position helps you determine whether it suits you and demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the role. Prepare the questions you want to ask ahead of time.
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