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Top Qualities for... a PA

PA and CEO

This week I am recruiting for a Personal Assistant (PA) and so I wanted to share some of the top qualities PA’s have – in case you’re thinking about changing career or even wondering what it is your friend actually does…

A PA is the backbone to high-level management; they know what the management know, support them by ensuring everything runs properly and save the day if things go wrong. They are often the glue that holds a management team together and the gate-keeper of most communications to their executive/CEO. It is a high-pressure and all-consuming job but is extremely rewarding and has excellent longevity prospects.

The rule of confidentiality and dealing with sensitive information

As the right-hand person to any executive the day you join, you are more than likely going to be given a non-disclosure agreement but as a rule, the PA must maintain confidentiality and discretion as a standard practice.

The actual tools of a Personal Assistant

One of the top questions asked in interviews is about the expertise of software programs. Proficiency in major software programs and the ability to learn quickly, alongside excellent computer literacy skills, ticks all the boxes.

Flexibility and versatility

As a PA, being able to adjust yourself according to unforeseen circumstances or calamities often means that you must reset the clock. A reorganisation of several meetings, appointments and conferences requires great flexibility and adaptability. An excellent PA can think on their toes and remain unfazed.

Dealing with demanding personalities

Diplomacy is a factor that contributes to the role of dealing with people surrounded by high-level executives as unfortunately tempers and stress can run high and manners can be forgotten. In these moments, you should be able to show excellent customer service skills alongside resourcefulness and diplomacy.

Multi-masking and multi-tasking

When dealing with high-level executives you must be able to take the heat, understand business emotions and be very composed in all given situations. This is known as multi-masking; remaining professional, calm and being a temporary solution provider. The ability to multi-task should also be a natural characteristic of a high-level PA, so, with the correct organisation and management skills, this ability helps the individual accomplish many tasks under pressure.

The anticipation of needs

Once you have spent the first seven days in your new role, you should be able to anticipate the needs of your CEO or equivalent as this will be the key to a longer-term future and success of your position. To attain this quality, you will need to have confidence and pay attention to detail with all the tasks that you carry out. If you can predict the next question that your CEO asks you then that’s a hole-in-one!

Passionate about excelling in the job

As a PA, you are the backbone of the daily routine of your high-level executive which means you are an integral part of not only his/her calendar but also a significant part of the whole team. You should be able to fit into the overall structure and be aware of the environment so if people see you in control, with confidence and motivation, they will generally follow, and this leads to a positive environment.

About the author

Bev Parekh

A real recruitment professional that knows how to make things happen, Bev is driven and professional. Nicknamed “The Perfect Connector”, Bev loves sharing her expertise through blogs, vlogs and networking. She is also well regarded for the culinary delights that she often treats us to in the office – it’s worth popping in on the off-chance!