What Private PAs should Expect when interviewing in the US

Written by: Erica First, New York Celebrity Assistants
Published on: 10 Nov 2014

Erica First

Erica First is the Programming Chair of the New York Celebrity Assistants, which supports and serves the unique needs of celebrity personal assistants in a confidential environment. Erica has worked and  lived on both coasts where she has held positions with various celebrities for over ten years. Erica currently lives in New York City and works with Emmy-award winning actress Debra Messing, who can now be seen on NBC's "The Mysteries of Laura."      

What Private PAs should expect when interviewing in the US

Your resume has been sent. An interview is scheduled… And the excitement of securing a new position begins. When scheduling an interview, one would probably expect to be called into an office, conference room or something of this sort. However, when applying for a job as an assistant to a high profile individual, the location might be a bit more unconventional. One of my interviews took place on a private jet, just to give you an idea!

So, what can one expect from a job interview in this field?

Think outside the box:
Since the nature of this job is so personal, the types of questions could really run the gamut. Be ready for anything, even personal questions!

Be prepared to discuss salary but it might not come up in the first interview. When you interview with a high profile individual, the first step might be more of a meet and greet. The salary and fine print details could be discussed later with a business manager or one of the principle’s representatives.

A day in the life of…
Most times the principle will take you through a typical day in their life so you get an idea of what is expected. It is also important to remember that each day is usually different from the next unless you are interviewing for a true executive assistant position. You will find that on one day you can be in your employer’s home, another on a set of a project they are working on, or perhaps a red carpet event. In some cases, the principle might even ask the interviewee to shadow them for a day, which can be very helpful. 

What would you do if…
One might be presented with a hypothetical situation and asked how they would handle things. 

Do you like to travel?
Many high profile individuals travel frequently so they will want to know:
a) Are you willing to travel?
b) Have you traveled domestically and internationally?
c) Do you have contacts in different cities, domestically and internationally?

Or some jobs might require you to stay back and hold down the fort.

Every position is truly unique. That’s the exciting aspect of the industry. It’s always different. Every day, every hour, every second. To prepare for an interview in this business, you should be able to speak about all of your experience, confidently, and have a few personal stories prepared that could help answer some questions about your background. People love to hear examples of how you have put fires out or handled a situation in a previous position.

New York Celebrity Assistants

New York Celebrity Assistants (NYCA) is an organization full of rock star - current and former - celebrity personal assistants. Founded almost two decades ago, NYCA supports and educates over 140 members via regular meetings, as well as through a private email listserv and social media. Our network is the strongest of safety nets: members can consult with each other under the promise of confidentiality, and tap into the goldmine of each other’s contacts and advice. We are thrilled to be invited to contribute to the SecsintheCity blog on a regular basis! 

Find out more about the NYCA here: www.nycelebrityassistants.com

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