Establishing and encouraging a culture of learning is one of most important elements of any business. Providing opportunities for employees to develop their knowledge and skills can increase morale, motivation, engagement and productivity, encourages a growth mindset and result in stronger business outcomes. However, it’s important to consider every employee in your policies, including your
For the job seeker, the support staff market is more competitive now than at any point over the last 15 years. Yes, there are some very exciting opportunities out there for the experienced PA, but the competition is fierce. It is hard enough getting in front of a recruitment agency, let alone securing an interview for that tantalising PA to HNWI role you have seen advertised!
Here’s a useful guide to assist you with your search and hopefully put you ahead of the competition.
Registering with a recruitment agency
• Choose your agency carefully – you’ll want to make sure they have the right roles on offer. There’s no point applying to a generic agency if you want a specific role.
• If you are responding to a specific job advertisement, your cover letter needs to be targeted to the position you are applying for, addressing any pre-requisites stated in the text and stating why you feel you are qualified to apply. Read the advert carefully – do you have the specific experience they are looking for?
• Your CV needs to be well formatted and ideally two pages in length. There should be no unexplained gaps in the dates and no mistakes.
The initial interview
• Remember, first impressions always count. Recruitment consultants tend to follow their intuition and often make an instant judgement.
• Smart presentation is vital. Pretend that you are seeing an employer and not a consultant. Many people dress more informally when they visit an agency, but it’s preferred to put your best foot forward from start of the recruitment process.
• A firm hand shake and eye contact are essential.
• Know your CV backwards! A good consultant will question you on every gap in your CV and your reasons for leaving your last position. They also want to know clearly what you are looking for now. For example, are you happy supporting more than one person, do you have a specific location in mind etc.?
• Be realistic on salary. Don’t pitch yourself out of the market and if in doubt ask the consultant.
• You can be honest with your consultant. For instance, if you left your last job under a cloud and are worried that it might portray an unfair reflection to a future employer, then a consultant should be able to put you at ease and advise on a suitable explanation for future interviews.
• Finally, agree a timeframe of contact with your consultant and to what extent you should keep in touch if you don’t hear back from them immediately.
The client interview
• Punctuality is vital!
• Always take two copies of your CV with you. It is not unknown for the interviewer to leave your CV on his/her desk! It is also useful for you to have a copy in front of you.
• Let the interviewer lead the meeting and follow their lead.
• Have a list of five key attributes that you think set you apart from the competition. Make sure you get all of these across in your meeting. Some examples are as follows:
- A second language – state your proficiency as this could be tested.
- Exceptional MS Office skills or alternative IT skills.
- An ability to handle specific projects from start to finish – give examples.
- Very good secretarial skills – shorthand, fast typing – obviously if relevant to the vacancy.
- Prior industry knowledge.
• Show that you have done your research. Refer back to the job description or the company’s website where possible.
• You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, so have some good questions of your own prepared. Some examples are as follows:
- Is this a new position? If not, why has it become available? Is there any scope to progress within the role?
- How can I add value in this position beyond what we have already discussed?
• Avoid salary discussion at first interview unless the employer brings it up.
• On leaving, find out the next step and timescales for decisions and further interviews to put your mind at ease.
• Provide feedback to your consultant straight away and proceed to keep them informed with any other interviews you are going on.
With these in mind, we hope you’ll find the interview process seamless and enjoyable! Tiger can help in finding your dream role, get in touch today!