How to hire a personal assistant

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A Personal Assistant – often shortened to PA – most often works closely with a specific individual in senior management or executive positions within corporations or other business entities.

Faced with pressure in the workplace and all the little stresses that life can throw our way, many people are choosing to hire a family personal assistant for support in managing their work/life balance, too. We take a closer look at whether hiring a PA is the right decision for you – and how to hire a personal assistant for day to day help in managing your professional and personal life. 

What Personal Assistants do

Duties and responsibilities

The role of a Personal Assistant is such an important one in any business.

PA duties can include everything from:

  • Helping with time and daily management.
  • Scheduling meetings, correspondence, and note-taking.
  • Answering phone calls, taking notes, scheduling meetings and sending emails on behalf of your manager
  • Organising events. 

Other tasks that a private Personal Assistant might help you with include:

  • Dealing with day to day correspondence and phone calls.
  • Arranging travel, transport and accommodation.
  • Reminding you about important tasks and deadlines.
  • Preparing reports and presentations.
  • Liaising with staff, suppliers and clients.
  • Collating and filing expenses.
  • Managing personal commitments including travel or childcare.

PAs fall into two categories: business PAs and private PAs.

Personal-assistant

Business Personal Assistants

The PA role is principally concerned with supporting executives full-time or part-time to make the best use of their schedules and skills in pursuit of their roles and responsibilities with a company.

The personal assistant works either for a CEO or a Board Director, usually in an administrative, organisational, and secretarial capacity.

Private Personal Assistants

A private Personal Assistant fulfils the same function within private family offices or as an adjunct or aid within the family home, particularly where their employer requires support in managing business and private social commitments.

Their duties may encompass:

  • Assisting with projects
  • Organising personal and work diaries
  • Keeping notes and arranging meetings
  • Setting up conferences
  • Managing business travel.

Because Relocate Antigua is well versed in handling organisational duties and responsibilities on our private and professional clients’ behalf, we’ve decided to share our insider knowledge of what exactly PAs do in a dedicated article.

Should I hire a personal assistant? 

It’s a good question. One of the most important decisions is to consider whether you require a PA in the workplace or a private PA to assist with managing you private life. 

How Personal Assistants can be of benefit

  • With hectic schedules combining phone calls, face to face meetings and Zoom calls, having a personal assistant to provide a detailed agenda each morning helps the busy executive to plan their day and ensure that critical tasks have not been forgotten. 
  • An end of day review can also ensure that tasks for the following day are prioritized in the light of new information or developments.
  • Delegating tedious but important tasks can also help executives to carve out time for important business responsibilities: offloading dry cleaning, confirming taxi and hotel bookings, and printing boarding cards are examples of small tasks that can become significant time wasters. 
  • A dedicated Personal Assistant who becomes a long-term work partner will understand exactly how you think and how you work, know your preferences, and be aware of your priorities.  Over time a good PA can be trusted to respond to memos, emails, and other key correspondence without having to refer to you.

How and where to find the right Personal Assistant

There are a number of possible methods of hiring a PA from the simple and inexpensive to professional high-quality recruitment options. 

  • Using word of mouth to communicate your intention to hire within your social network can be very productive, as many jobs are filled without ever going through formal recruitment channels. 

People who you respect and trust will usually recommend potential candidates that they know by experience have honesty and integrity. This is critical because your personal assistant will have access to your personal information including aspects of your family life.

  • Current employees or service providers are also another source for recommendations as they may be aware of talented people who would be a good fit for the position.
  • Commercial networking platforms such as LinkedIn are an ideal combination of personal recommendation and professional profiling. 

They are an efficient method of inspecting CVs and exploring skills and experience and noting professional connections which can tell you a great deal about personal standards.

LinkedIn Recruiter provides direct access to potential employees and boasts a hiring made every 10 seconds.

  • Contact Relocate Antigua to request access to our little black book of local trusted, qualified personal assistance professionals. Our skilled contacts have years of experience working for busy individuals, companies and families.

How to choose the right candidate?

Lock down the basics

Firstly, decide exactly what tasks your assistant will need to be responsible for and what compensation will be appropriate before you advertise the position – check how much a personal assistant could cost you to help lock down your budget. If your assistant needs to be competent in digital social media, then say so.

The more complex the role the higher the salary that this will command. It is also generally a good idea to stipulate a probationary period to ensure that there is a good fit between you and your PA, irrespective of their interview performance. 

Get to know your new PA

Be prepared to invest time in identifying and selecting the right candidate. It is tempting to hire the first good match so that you can get started on building that business relationship, but it is worth taking the time to ensure that you have researched every potential candidate. 

This will involve exploring not just their range of skills, but whether their personality and personal values are the right fit for your company or organisation. Some good questions to ask include:

  • What interests do they have and which organisations are they involved with?
  • Which causes do they support?
  • How do they utilise their spare time?

Set challenges to test the waters

You may also decide to set a pre-hire task or project to determine skills, tenacity and follow through. Whilst the CV and references may be very impressive, how do they manage real world problems? 

This is particularly important when recruiting a private PA with experience in the corporate world.  Working alone and without the resources available in a large company, will they be able to cope with complex problems? 

Ask questions about hypothetical situations that they are likely to face when working for you. Ask them to walk you through their thinking and solutions, too.

How much is a Personal Assistant?

Salary ranges for PAs are entirely context-dependent and vary wildly from place to place and based on the tasks involved.

An efficient method of identifying salary scales for your location is to use Salary Explorer which uses self-reported data from employers and employees to create a salary comparison, or PayScale.

For example, a Personal Assistant in Antigua and Barbuda typically earns around 2,360 XCD ($873 in 08/2020) per month, with a salary range of 1,090 XCD ($403 in 08/2020, lowest) to 3,760 XCD ($1391 in 08/2020, highest).  Personal Assistant salaries vary significantly based on experience, skills, and qualifications.

The 2019 salary survey from Bain and Gray indicates that London salaries for general PAs range from £25,000 to £33,294, and for Business and Private PAs between £45,000 and £52,000, depending on experience.

Solutions for the tech age: Virtual Personal assistants (VPAs)

Technology now makes it possible to hire a personal assistant online.

Virtual Personal Assistants or VPAs are software programmes which interact with an end user to complete tasks remotely. This might be through a voice interface such as Apple’s  Siri, or a text-based  interface such as Google Assistant.

With the rise in accuracy of Artificial Intelligence this type of remote assistance is gaining in popularity.

Virtual human PA services work exactly as standard PA services to, at the very same standard – the only difference is they’re remote and digital. These are also available through specialist personal assistance companies such as Relocate Antigua. We work to put you in touch with the exact right virtual assistance service for you, giving you all the support you need in call answering, CRM management, virtual diary, and travel management, and more.

Final thoughts: think it through

The take home message for hiring – and keeping – a private or business Personal Assistant is centred on a few key factors:

  • decide whether your business requires a human, remote, or virtual PA,
  • be specific about the role and responsibilities,
  • reflect on the type of person that you would like to support you in your work,
  • explore connections in your business and social community to locate talent,
  • acknowledge that quality will be reflected in the salary you are prepared to pay.

Offering turnkey solutions in everything you need for slick and seamless island living, Relocate Antigua remains at your service to get you matched up with your perfect PA. Let us know exactly what you’re looking for, and let us handle the rest.

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