Regardless of where the interview takes place or for what position, we can all agree that interviewing is difficult, even for the most seasoned executive personal assistant. Knowing what to expect, to some degree, can improve a candidate’s performance because you can decrease your chances of being caught off guard and ultimately score the job.
The biggest problem, though, is the interviews that take place for a private home office can be quite different than those in a corporate environment, which are usually conducted by an experienced human resources professional.
The corporate environment
These job interviews, relatively speaking, are a lot easier to navigate because interviewing in this realm is highly systematized in today’s day and age. Regardless of whether you’re interviewing for a position serving a CEO, company president or celebrated entrepreneur, the HR representative is going to ask some very standardized questions using your resume as a guide. So, in short, preparing for these situations is almost a cake walk in comparison to the private office situation. It goes without saying that one should do a lot of homework on the company before the interview. Don’t rest on your laurels and think that just because you’ve had a personal assistant job to a celebrity or billionaire that you’re a shoo-in because you will be up against other assistants that have more experience (and, perhaps, a better education).
Personal assistant jobs in a private office to a high net worth family, celebrity or billionaire
In these situations, all bets are off. This is, bar far, a lot more cumbersome and treacherous for a number of reasons.
When personal assistants or estate mangers interview for a domestic job, then a number of people may be responsible for interviewing possible candidates, many of which – if not all – are not professionally trained or very experienced at interviews.
Further, it’s certainly possible that the interviewee could even be in a situation where the interviewer, purposefully or inadvertently, sabotages the process with insidious or ridiculous questions. Regardless of the reason, it’s the wild, wild West when a trained human resources professional isn’t involved. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is when the celebrity’s new girlfriend is in charge of the staff, and more often than not has no leadership experience to speak of (this happens more often then you would think).
What you can do if the interview is going south
If you are in an interview, corporate or domestic, and things take a turn for the worse, take control of the interview by focusing on specific topics:
- Find out what the employer’s needs are and explain how you can fulfill the obligations. Refer to the job description whenever possible.
- Highlight your past experience and cite specific situations in which you “saved the day” for your celebrity employer.
- Above all, tell them you’re flexible and that being a team-player is paramount.