By Katie Manning
Katie Manning is PA to two Directors within a Financial Services company in the City. She left her Northern roots for a stint of work and travel in Sydney before settling down in London. Having recently gained a Diploma in Personal Assistance she is an advocate of the PA role as a career.
After receiving a call from my recruiter asking me to attend a last minute interview for a PA role at a Finance Company in the City, I replied 'yes, I would be delighted'....
I just had to overcome a couple of hurdles which included an outfit change in Topshop, dashing across a city I did not yet know and catching my train back to the North in two hours. This caused a bit of pressure but perhaps it was a good initiation test to becoming a ‘can do’ PA.
Waiting in reception with my pink pull along suitcase hidden behind a sofa, I instantly got a good vibe. The interviewers eased me in gently by asking me why I was moving to London and how I’d spent the last one and a half years in Sydney. Then they got down to business.
The listed questions came out and pens were at the ready. As this was an off the cuff interview I hadn’t really had much time to prepare which a must, so a bit of 'winging it' was involved. For some reason, the question which I always struggle with the most is ‘how do you prioritise’? Generally my bosses’ priorities are my priorities and other than ‘just using my initiative’ I couldn’t think of much more to add. It's always a good idea to prepare answers you have struggled with before so if you do get asked them you're not stumped.
The other thing to remember is to make sure you always have a catalogue of examples available in your mind. For example, how would you answer – ‘when did you last have to manage a conflict’? I previously worked alongside an EA in Australia, who was more demanding and difficult than some Directors so I had plenty of examples to hand.
Later that day I got a call from the recruiter with positive feedback and she requested that I go back to meet the Directors next week. Great news!
When meeting my current bosses who I have now supported for over two years, both gave completely different impressions but I guess this is often the case when supporting multiple bosses with different personalities.
During this second interview I first met with one of the Directors who followed the interview procedure perfectly. He allowed me to explain my CV and highlight any strengths but at the end he did divulge a bit about some of the issues with which that my assistance would be required by voicing his frustrations over some marketing materials for a campaign. This was a good opportunity to share some of the issues of working in a joint venture and dealing with opposing interests.
Thirty minutes later he went to find my other potential boss, who upon walking into the room said something like ‘and what do I do with her after?’ I joked it was fine to just show me to the lift. He stretched back into the chair with a Starbucks coffee and the interview turned much more into me selling him a PA. I still felt confident and was amused by how people can have such different styles.
They decided to give me a temp to perm opportunity, which suited me fine. A temporary role usually allows you to earn a weekly salary, which is particularly useful when moving to a new city. It didn’t take long to build good relationships and secure a permanent contract and as it turns out the second boss did need a PA and the diversity of my role is ever increasing. I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy having a career as a PA – endless possibilities.
To find a new PA opportunity, search and apply for your ideal role on SecsintheCity.