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Interview Preparation: How to Flourish in a PA Job Interview

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 5 Jan 2023

Job Interview

Ensure that you walk out of the interview room on that post-interview high. Within this article, we’re going to provide the latest PA interview tips, highlighting the importance of preparation, how to conduct yourself in the interview, and ways in which to leave a lasting impression.

  • The Practicalities:

    From a logistics point of view, it’s useful to clarify what’s going to happen on the day. Before the interview, check what kind of interview it will be (one-to-one or panel style), who you will be meeting, whether there will be a follow-up interview or tests, and how you will get there.

    Those applying for PA jobs will understand the importance of organisation, so it goes without saying that you should clarify the parking arrangements/travel route prior to the day.

  • Research the Company and Role:

    A crucial part of being a PA is diligence, professionalism and pro-activity. Demonstrating your keen interest in the job and why you think you’re a good fit for the company, through your knowledge of the company highlights all of these traits.

    In-depth research beyond the company’s website is crucial. Evaluate press releases, shareholder reports, social media and company reviews.

    Assess the following:

    • Technicalities: the key players in the business, turnover, and market share.
    • Company culture: what it’s like to work there and how you would be a good ‘culture fit’.
    • Competitors: how do they compare?
  • Your Audience:

    Aside from company research, it’s wise to analyse who you are trying to impress. Each member of the interview panel will have their own agenda and vision of what makes an ideal PA, depending on their professional focus and relationship to the candidate.

    Examining the professional background of your interviewer(s) beforehand will give you an insight into their career history, allowing you to anticipate their needs and expectations for the role.

  • Positivity:

    Having a positive mindset will not only establish yourself as a sought-after PA but also help you to leave a good impression. Displaying an upbeat attitude in your interview will emulate your ability to support your future boss and wider team.

    Communication is a crucial part of any PA role. Presenting a positive demeanour, allows assertive communication skills to shine through.

  • Anticipate the Unexpected:

    Be prepared for curveballs and tricky interview questions. Think outside the box and prepare for questions, such as ‘why did you leave your last role?’. If you have a gap in your career history, then be ready to explain why. Be honest, positive and steer away from criticising previous employers or roles.

    Scenario questions, such as ‘can you give me an example of a time when you’ve gone beyond your job role to help a colleague?’, should always be answered in a concise manner. We’d recommend following the STAR technique:

    • Situation - the situation you had to deal with.
    • Task - the task you were given to do.
    • Action - the action you took.
    • Result – the result of your action and what you learned from the experience.
  • Questions:

    The inevitable “so, do you have any questions?” statement is the final hurdle in an interview. As a lot of information will be covered throughout the interview, it’s wise to have a selection of questions to choose from, such as:

    Role related questions:

    • “What are the biggest challenges of this role?"

    Company related questions:

    • “What are the company’s ambitions for the years ahead?”

    • “What do you like best about this company?”

    Self-assessment questions: 

    • “What kind of person would fit best in your company?”

    • “What qualities would a candidate possess to excel in this role?”

  • Test Yourself:

    Nerves can often come into play in an interview. To avoid waffling and having a mind-blank, test yourself beforehand. Find a trustworthy friend and conduct a mock interview, focusing on your company knowledge and body language.

    Practicing out loud is the key to nailing succinct answers. Nerves are natural, but with a little practice, you will ensure that they don’t allow you to go off course and lose the messages you wish to convey.

  • PA jobs on SecsintheCity

    To discover the latest PA Jobs, head over to the SecsintheCity, the UK’s leading specialist job site, advertising a myriad of PA roles. For more interview advice, industry insights and PA CV tips, discover the SecsintheCity blog.