Employer’s frequently asked questions for hiring a personal assistant
Employers that have never worked with an agency or headhunter, understandably, have many questions about the process.
Because of the high-volume of questions we receive, here is a list of the most queried topics to get you started.
What kinds of personal assistants do you represent?
Our candidates have a wide range of experiences. Some have worked for Oscar-winning actors and Forbes list billionaires, others have worked for successful single moms–-and everything in between. We will find a personal assistant for your specific needs, regardless of where you live in the world.
Why are you called a “Network”?
Because we have a network of candidates that we represent throughout the United States and abroad. Virtually no place is off-limits for placements. Most employment agencies only make placements in one city. Because we specialize only in assistants (personal, executive and estate managers) we have the flexibility to work worldwide.
Do you offer live-in assistants?
Yes. It depends on the assistant and the assignment. Again, you tell us what you need and we will find the right candidate for you.
How many assistants do you represent?
That is confidential information. We don’t share that data for obvious reasons.
How much does it cost to get an assistant through The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network?
That is somewhat of a trick question. The full-time candidates’ salaries can range from $50,000 a year all the way up to $150,000+. It all depends on a number of factors, which include but are not limited to:
- Overall level of responsibility
- Number of hours to be worked each week
- Amount of travel required
- Education and experience level
- Number of subordinates (other assistants, housekeepers, nannies, etc.)
- Will they be managing multiple estates and private jets?
- Will they wear EA and PA hats?
- Will they be expected to be on call 24/7/365?
If, for example, an employer wants a world-class personal assistant that has worked with the best of the best employers (and they will be on call 24/7/365 while constantly working under tremendous pressure and break-neck deadlines) then that is what we call “combat pay” in the business–-and those assistants are going to command hefty salaries. We also represent ultra-high-range assistants that act in a “business management” capacity. For example, we have one candidate that works for a top-100 Forbes list billionaire. She has a master’s degree and manages many aspects of the billionaire’s business. That assistant makes about $250,000 a year plus amazing benefits. Again, you tell us what you want and we will get it for you.
I don’t know how much I want to pay the assistant. Can we just get started with the interview process anyway?
We don’t start the process unless we have a complete job description and a salary range. We will help you refine the JD and salary specifics, but we can’t start the process until we know what your expectations and parameters are. The policy in place is designed to save the employer time, and that’s why our success rate is so high (and fast) because no energy is spent interviewing candidates that aren’t a fit. Many employers, of course, are reluctant to give a salary range because of a fear the employment agency is trying to drive the price up. Since we don’t work on a commission structure that is based on the candidate’s total compensation package, that concern has been taken completely out of the equation when dealing with our firm. Additionally, experienced assistants in-the-know are usually reluctant to interview with an employer unless there is a salary range because some employers dramatically low-ball candidates (which is sometimes the case with job descriptions that say DOE).
How do you calculate your fees?
Every job search is different with each employer, so we don’t have a “price sheet” we can send you. Many factors go into calculating fees (including degree of difficulty). If, for example, an employer wants an assistant with a Master’s in Business who speaks 4 languages and has 10 years of experience in finance, then we will charge accordingly because the worldwide search would be quite deep in that kind of situation (yes, we really did a placement like this).
Also, we charge a retainer to start work because what we do is so specialized. The system we have in place with an up-front fee separates the curious from the serious. Because we represent assistants that work for the world’s rich and famous, the very nature of our business lends itself to people who pose as potential clients just to create networking opportunities for themselves — among other things. Additionally, some employers (even some high-profile celebrities) have a chronic habit of “experimenting” with the idea of hiring or replacing an assistant and regularly have their reps contract employment agencies across the country; so the policies we have in place are firmly set and we don’t negotiate or justify our fees.
Of course we are perfectly aware that other high-volume “jack of all trades” employment agencies charge no up-front fee to go to work, and the quality of work (and candidates) at such companies speaks for itself. Because we are subject-matter experts on personal assistants, we charge a retainer as any top tier headhunting firm would. That’s another reason our Network attracts top talent. Assistants know that employers who pay a retainer are serious about the process and haven’t contracted every single agency in town. Employers who hire multiple agencies quickly lose credibility in the assistant community, which ultimately hampers employers’ prospects for any future hiring. Don’t risk your company’s reputation by getting labeled with a scarlet letter.
I sent a job description and salary range to your company, but why did I never hear back?
We apologize that we’re not able to respond to every party that sends us a query. Please be advised that hundreds of employers contact us each month looking for help, so we’re not able to take on every potential client. As a boutique outfit, we have to limit the number of placements we do each month. If you didn’t hear back from us, it could be for any of the following reasons:
- We have reached our capacity for the number of placements in the given month.
- The hourly wage or salary range did not meet our firm’s minimum (which is $50,000 USD annual)
- The total compensation for the assistant did not meet the industry standard for the workload listed on the job description (market considerations apply) NOTE: Please be advised that since we don’t work on commission, we don’t decide to take a job (or not) based on the salary. In other words, we are just as likely to take a client who’s candidate will make $50,000 as opposed to $100,000.
What’s the difference between a retained search firm like yours and a regular employment agency?
- Retained search firms are specialists and offer more personalized service
- Because our founder has worked with celebrities, billionaires and royalty as a personal assistant, he understands the special characteristics and temperament needed to be successful in the role. His screening process is unmatched in the industry. Initial interviews can take 3 to 5 hours — and that’s just to determine if the candidate is worthy of being represented by the firm. The process of re-interviewing starts again BEFORE a candidate is submitted to a job. At other high-volume agencies, interns and part-timers may initially screen a candidate for only 30 minutes before deciding to send them out on interviews, and no re-interviewing takes place at all. In fact, at high-volume employment agencies it’s common for agents to submit candidates for jobs when they have never actually even met the person being introduced to the employer.
- Regular “jack of all trades” staffing agencies try to be all things to all people. In addition to “celebrity assistants” they also have dog walkers, birthday clowns, magicians, etc; so it’s common to have 20,000 candidates in their database. In short, most employment agencies are just commission factories and the service is impersonal for both the candidates and the clients.
- In our case we can actually charge less money than other agencies and offer better service (and of course better candidates).
- Other agencies who don’t take any money up-front have very short attention spans. They will just blast you with resumes they have in their computer and hope for the best. Simply put, it’s a numbers game. At at retained search firm, headhunters are dedicated to a process that has depth and breadth.
What kinds of employers do you work with?
We work with virtually every kind of employer under the sun. Our hire agreement has a confidentiality clause built in, so we don’t drop our clients’ names; but some of the areas/industries include but are not limited to:
How long does it normally take to place a candidate?
The average is about 2 weeks (98% of candidates are placed within a month, depending on how tall the order is). The fastest placement was done in one day, but that is the exception. The main factor, honestly, is how fast the employer can interview the candidates we send them.
What are some of the benefits the very best personal assistants in the industry get?
Again, that is a trick question that is difficult to answer. Some of the benefits the very best assistants get may include some or all of the following:
- Sick leave, vacation, and personal days
- A generous salary or hourly wage with overtime potential
- Annual performance bonus (year-end bonus)
- Health insurance
- Living accommodations
- Company issued automobile
- Company issued mobile phone and computer
- Relocation allowance (when applicable)
What cities do you place personal assistants in?
All over the United States and internationally. Virtually no place is off-limits. Of course most of the placements are made in the major U.S. cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York and Miami; but we have many clients in smaller cities as well — in and out of the country. For example, we have a client in a little-known city in Michigan called Grand Rapids (which was just named by Forbes as the #1 U.S. city to raise a family in). In short, we’re able to place in all cities big and small. Some of the international placements we’ve made include: Rome, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Dubai, Cape Town, and Madrid. NOTE: The prerequisite for an international placement is that the employer must have a home, a business, or do business in the United States and higher placement fees apply.
How many assistants will I be presented with if I hire your company?
Again, that cannot be answered accurately because each new assignment is specific to the employer’s requests. The more complex the order, the “degree of difficulty” goes up. It all depends on the parameters you set for us. Additionally, we are all about quality not quantity. Having said that, we’ve never been unable to fulfill an order for a client.
As an employer, do I have to reveal my identity?
Yes and no. We will keep your identity confidential from the candidates we are interviewing for the position; however, we do not engage in anonymous consultations. For obvious security reasons we have to know who we are sharing confidential information with. Everything discussed is kept in the strictest of confidence, and all of our candidates sign a confidentiality agreement, so nothing they learn during the placement process can ever be shared with anyone.
What is the average length of employment for high-end personal assistants?
It varies wildly. We represent assistants that have worked for employers for 10 to 20 years. Conversely, it is not uncommon for a personal assistant to a celebrity or other VIP to only work at an assignment for a year. It all depends on each and every circumstance. Finding the “perfect” personal assistant is all relative. It goes without saying that when the “perfect” match is made that those assignments can be very long-term if the pay and benefits are good.
|What kind of personal qualities do your personal assistants have?
Some of the characteristics of our candidates include but are not limited to:
Do you offer companions?
No. We are aware that all the other “Jack of all trades, master of none” agencies offer companions, but it’s not something we are comfortable with. We only offer world-class assistants, so we’re not a dating service.
Do you have temps, on-call or part-time candidates?
No. The high-profile candidates we represent are either currently employed full-time or are seeking full-time employment. For the most part, candidates who work temp assignments or do part-time gigs are beginners, and we only represent the more experienced candidates in the field. The one very small exception we do make is for current clients who have already made a placement. During awards season in Hollywood, for example, many subordinate personal assistants are needed to help with the extra workload. In cases like that, we can provide additional support to our clients when they need it.
We keep burning through assistants (or the assistant we have needs retraining), can you help?
Yes. We are available for evaluations anywhere in the world. Employers frequently hire us to go into their home or office to properly identify problems and implement solutions.
We tried to make a placement on our own but were unsuccessful. What additional information can you share to help me understand the process of hiring a personal assistant?
It goes without saying that employers always want the best of the best assistants. If you want the “Michael Jordan” of personal assistants, then attractive offers have to be made to get that level of candidate. The top personal assistants in the field are like professional athletes, and they are in-demand. Because of that, employers will want to keep the assistant happy so that they will stay with the employer. This concept is true for every industry in the world.
We understand that investing wisely is important, and there’s nothing wrong with maximizing your ROI. But being overly-thrifty and cutting corners on personal assistant pay causes employers to burn through assistants at a very dramatic rate. The numbers don’t lie: when you add up the cost of having to constantly hire and retrain staff, employers actually go backwards in dollars-spent and end up paying much more in the long run (not even counting the emotional heartache caused by the process of starting all over again with each new hire).
What are the advantages of working with a boutique company like yours?
There are many benefits, but here are some of the most important ones:
- WORK WITH THE BEST: Clients work with qualified agents 100% of the time, so you won’t be dealing with college interns, part-timers or sales reps like at other employment agencies (It’s common industry practice for agency owners to hire sales reps who pose as HR professionals).
- EXTENDED HOURS: We are the world’s only headhunters to offer concierge service: 9 am to 9 pm seven days a week.
- HANDS ON SERVICE: High-volume operations simply can’t take the time to get to know their clients. We limit the number of placements we do each month so we can actually get to know our clients and candidates. That way a great match can be made.
- SUBJECT-MATTER EXPERTS: The depth and breadth of our knowledge of the personal assistant industry allows us to be efficient in our placement process, so we can charge less money and offer better service than other companies.
- TRUSTED ADVISERS: Because we don’t work on a commission business model, we won’t make a placement simply to maximize our profit.
- STRONG ETHICS: High-volume “Jack of all trades” employment agencies are known for poaching candidates back so that they can score more commissions. We have a firm policy which prevents us from engaging in that rampant behavior the broader industry embraces.
- ABOVEBOARD POLICIES: We actually tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. In short, no sycophants here.
- TRANSPARENT PROCESS: Again, because we’re not driven for commissions, we don’t coach our candidates to say what you want to hear.
- FLEXIBILITY: We have a much higher level of control during our placement process, and the ability to be flexible when changes need to be made.
- VOW OF SECRECY: We are well-known for our discretion. Large operations have dozens of employees and it’s virtually impossible to keep client secrets a secret. We regularly turn down opportunities to be in pop culture magazines and television shows that want him to gossip or drop names. Additionally, our hire agreement includes a confidentiality clause which protects your identity.
- CLIENT SECURITY: By going through a firm like ours, private employers not only save themselves time and money, but are insulated from the dangers of taking out ads on the internet (learn about the pitfalls of searching yourself HERE).
I’ve heard great things about your company. Why is your placement success so high?
Because we have a reputation that other assistants trust. We are effortlessly able to recruit the highest quality personal assistants — most of who would never deal with the typical high-volume “Jack of all trades” employment agencies (even domestic staffing agencies that supposedly cater to the stars). The truth is that most “celebrity staffing agencies” make their money from placing maids and nannies, and they don’t specialize in personal assistants or estate managers like we do. Regular staffing agencies make their money from temps. Additionally, most employment agencies take out fake employment ads throughout the year for two nefarious reasons:
- They try and “bait and switch” personal assistants into jobs they are overqualified for, all in an effort to score a commission. After visiting the agency the classic canned response to the applicant is that “the job you came in for has just been placed, but he have this one instead” (that pays much less of course). That “bait and switch” process is typically managed by a sales team hired by the owner of the employment agency, not by qualified HR reps that care about giving clients quality service.
- The second reason agencies take out fake ads is because the agency uses that opportunity to introduce themselves to the candidates’ previous employers (all under the guise is “verifying former employment”). In actuality, they are just trying to expand their client base because they need the business. The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network gets 100% of its clients from referrals (or clients that approach us). We do no advertising or soliciting whatsoever.
In sum, the rampant and unethical policy the industry uses with fake job ads causes quality assistants to completely lose faith in employment agencies, so they stay away from them: “Once bitten, twice shy”. Conversely, we are known for our honesty and bring a great deal of dignity to the process — for both candidates and employers. Word travels fast in this industry and The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network is known as a “safe haven” for assistants because they are treated with respect. Professional administrative organizations and associations across the United States are constantly sending their members to us, so we can tap into the nation’s hottest candidates — even if they aren’t actively seeking employment (passive candidates). Just like the best jobs exist in a “hidden job market,” the same is true for top-quality personal assistant candidates.
When employers hire us to find a personal assistant, most candidates are booked right through our existing network. If, by chance, we don’t have an assistant in our network that an employer wants, then we can easily branch out and recruit one — regardless of the city, big or small. Because we specialize only in personal assistants, The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network has become a prestigious brand.
I have more questions, how do I contact you by phone?
We have unpublished our number due to the very high volume of calls we were receiving from private employers, HR managers/recruiters, talent agencies, management companies, reporters/researchers, TV producers, elite travel agencies, event companies, book authors, hotel concierge departments, luxury gifting companies, private jet brokers, yacht charter companies, exotic car dealers, etc. If you need to reach us, please go to our contact page and send a message. We thank you ahead of time for being as specific as possible about what your needs are. Alternatively, if you want to hire us, then please start here: getting started or learn more about our placement process.
The Team at The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network
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