• December 8, 2023

Hiring a PA: How to Curate an Excellent Assistant Relationship

If you’ve been running a one woman business thus far, you might be looking at changing times ahead. After all, your business is getting pretty successful and you’re doing better than ever – it’s getting hard to keep up. 

Does that mean you need to rent an office and bring in a whole team of employees? That’s an option, of course, but only if you have the money for all that! If you don’t, it’s best to stay at home and start with just one very select employee: a personal assistant. 

A personal assistant keeps you on track, deals with the annoying tasks you don’t have time for, and ensures you’re where you need to be. Does having that help on hand sound very good right now? Then read on to find out how to curate an excellent relationship between the two of you. For a job that’s personal by nature, you’re going to need a very strong bond! 

Conduct an In-Person Interview

If you hire through an online platform, always schedule some kind of face to face meeting before you bring that person on board. For security reasons, if nothing else. If the person declines the invite, you can just move on to the next candidate

Being face to face increases our sociability. You can put a face to the email, or the voice you’ve heard over the phone. That can make it a lot easier to get along with them. And if you’re someone who likes to be sure of a person before letting them in, this’ll definitely play to your gut strengths. 

Give Them as Much Detail as Possible in the Interview

If you do, it’ll start building the deep level of trust that needs to form between the two of you. Once you’ve sent them an invitation for an interview, either in-person or on zoom, be up front and realistic about what needs doing and what you expect. 

If you’re going to need them to go through a medical check such as a dot assessment, due to certain sensitive duties they need to carry out, let them know ahead of time. This kind of check can’t be conducted before they’ve got the job, but they need to know it’s a requirement before they’ve said yes! 

Similarly, make sure you outline the salary clearly. Don’t be vague about the one thing every single interviewee wants to hear about. You can also ask them their expectations on what they need to be paid and factor that into your decision. 

Make sure you give time for questions as well. If they’ve got plenty of them to field, it’s not a bad thing! The more curious and involved they are right now, the more promising a candidate they can be. 

Define Your Preferred Methods of Communication

Now you’ve hired your PA, it’s time to sit down and go through the ground rules, basics, and boundaries. Above all else, make sure they know how to contact you, and that you know how to get in touch with them. 

Say you prefer using Whatsapp – let them know this is where you can be reached throughout the working day. Alternatively, if you can only be reached by email in the morning and late evening, make sure this is stipulated before any real work gets done. This will save a lot of miscommunication and missed messages in future!

Ask Their Opinion

Once you get into the groove of working together, start asking your PA’s opinion on how to handle things, and let them use their initiative a little more often. You want to be sure they’re capable of doing the job for a month or so, but then start delegating some real work to them. 

Including your PA in this way keeps turnover down and makes it a lot easier to depend on them. You’ll get to know the way they think and their approach to handling difficult situations. That’s very valuable insight to have on an employee. 

Have a Regular Performance Meeting

Not just for your new PA, but for you as well! Find out what you’re doing right, and if there’s anything you’re doing that’s making your employee’s job harder. Sending urgent messages late in the day, for example, or messaging whenever an idea strikes, even though your PA is off the clock. These performance meetings are a chance to go over old boundaries, reinforce them, or make new ones if need be. 

Encourage Flexibility

Flexibility is a staple of the modern workplace. You need your PA to be around at crucial points throughout the day, but this doesn’t mean they should be giving all their time to you. Be sure to encourage their need for time off, and assign paid vacation periods regularly. Even when they’re coming into your home to help out, they deserve to have all the benefits a regular office job would bring them. 

Expect Confidentiality

PA’s need to be confidential in everything that they do. They’re going to be holding and handling a lot of your private data, and private client data, and that requires respect and trust. If you can’t be sure that your PA is being as safe as possible through digital literacy and in-person conduct, it’s time to sit down and have a chat.

Confidentiality can be as simple as logging off and correctly shutting down a computer at the end of the day. It can also incorporate server/storage management, although you should get an IT expert in for that. Either way, let them know this isn’t a line to be crossed. 

Curating an excellent employer and PA relationship takes time and effort. It won’t just happen, even when you’re paying someone to do the job well! Invest in methods like those above; the more you trust the person handling your sensitive data, the more confident you’re going to feel in the long run. You can let go of the reins a little and it won’t have any negative impact!