So there are some pretty obvious skills that you will be looking for but pretty much every PA’s CV will tell you much the same as regards skills. And the CV will not tell you whether they are accomplished in these skills or not.

If you have a look at their previous experience you may get a better idea of how long they have been honing their skills but again they may just have been poor at it for a long time with a variety of companies.

So how do you hire a PA? What are the most critical components?

Let’s look at some of the words you would use to describe a good PA;

  1. Well organized
  2. Able to cope well under pressure
  3. Hard working
  4. Uses initiative
  5. Good PC skills
  6. Keyboard speed.

Apart from “Good PC skills”, you will notice that what makes a good PA are personality issues. Skills play a minority component in the evaluation of a PA. This may impact on your decision making process. What will you do if an applicant has a slow typing speed but ticks the box for items 1) 2) and 3) ? Crazy as it may seem, the traditional approach would see them rejected at an early screening stage, because it is easy to measure, which could leave you with a lot of fast typers that are poorly organized and can’t cope under pressure, in your short list.

When evaluating on CVs and skills one tends to filter on the easy stuff that can be measured, which is not necessarily the important stuff. Without personality profiling, it’s all you can do. For me I would much rather have a PA that is well organized, that is easy to get along with and who can cope under pressure. Their keyboard skills are unlikely to figure in my decision making.