How to Hire a Personal Assistant

A personal assistant is invaluable for managing different administrative work like managing schedules, the communication flow, and meeting deadlines. They can help you maximize your time as a small business by handling filing, paperwork, and routine or time-consuming tasks. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hire a personal assistant.

how to hire a personal assistant

Personal Assistant vs. Office Assistant vs. Executive Assistants

Understanding the differences between an office, personal, and executive assistant is a good starting point.

The Office Assistant

These people organizationally support an office or department. They look after items like data entry, filing, and other tasks. They can schedule meetings and manage correspondence. A good candidate is proficient with the right software and has good administrative skills.

The Executive Assistant

These are the professionals who work with high-level executives like directors and CEOs. They prepare documents for executives to review. The executive assistant also works as a go-between with a CFO and team members. They look after travel arrangements, calendars, and schedules for the C-suite.

The Personal Assistant

These people work with individuals in a personal capacity. Their clients are entrepreneurs and celebrities as well as private individuals. They handle both personal and professional tasks and errands. A good personal assistant job description has strong organizational skills and is discrete.

A good personal assistant has strong organizational skills and is discrete.

how to hire a personal assistant

Personal Assistant Role and Responsibilities

Hiring the right personal assistant means understanding the duties you’ll expect them to handle.

  • They should be able to handle communications by screening and forwarding things like phone calls.
  • They should be able to coordinate and schedule events, meetings, and appointments and manage a client calendar.
  • A good personal or administrative assistant makes travel arrangements that include flights and accommodations.
  • They handle correspondence like letters and emails.
  • Personal assistants also handle administrative work like record-keeping and data entry.

Some of the other things you should be looking for include preparing agendas and even running personal errands when needed.

how to hire a personal assistant

Qualities of an Excellent Personal Assistant

Task/RoleBenefit to Business OwnerTime SavingsSkillset Required
Email ManagementKeeps the inbox organized and prioritizes important emails1-2 hours per dayAttention to detail, organizational skills
Scheduling & AppointmentsAllows business owner to focus on core tasks rather than administrative work30 mins-1 hour per dayTime management, familiarity with scheduling software
Customer ServiceHandles customer queries and complaints, improving customer satisfactionVariesGood communication skills, patience
Social Media ManagementKeeps the business active on social platforms without taking up the owner's time2-3 hours per weekBasic marketing skills, familiarity with social platforms
BookkeepingManages basic financial tasks like invoices and payments1-2 hours per weekBasic financial literacy, accuracy
ResearchProvides market research, competition analysis, etc., aiding in decision-making2-3 hours per weekResearch skills, analytical thinking
Event PlanningOrganizes and coordinates events or meetings, reducing stress for the ownerVariesOrganizational skills, multitasking
Travel ArrangementsManages all travel logistics for the business owner30 mins-1 hour per tripDetail-oriented, good at planning
Supplier CommunicationMaintains relationships and communications with suppliers1-2 hours per weekNegotiation skills, relationship management
Document PreparationHelps prepare reports, presentations, and other documents1-2 hours per weekProficiency in MS Office, attention to detail

An effective personal assistant has the following character traits.

  1. They are good communicators who can pay close attention to feedback and instructions.
  2. They are adaptable, flexible employees who can change priorities and think on their feet.
  3. Personal assistants are discrete because they handle confidential, sensitive information.
  4. They are highly organized and can prioritize and allocate tasks. Personal assistants also excel at keeping accurate records and scheduling meetings.

how to hire a personal assistant

Steps to Hire a Personal Assistant

A structured process for hiring a personal assistant means getting the right character traits, qualifications, and specific skills.

Write a Clear Job Description

The job description needs to include a summary. Plus who they will report to and the qualifications and requirements. Don’t forget salary and benefits as well as application instructions. For example, if you’re looking for unusual ways to promote a job opening, you might want to explore some unique platforms or methods.

how to hire a personal assistant

Craft a Detailed Personal Assistant Job Advertisement

A good job advertisement is essential. Start with a clear job title that accurately reflects the role. A summary that’s brief and informative comes next. Don’t forget to detail all the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks.

Compelling and engaging language is important.

Highlight your company values and culture and the perks and benefits you offer. Online job platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed are good places to post. These are excellent ways to find the right candidates.

how to hire a personal assistant

Sourcing Potential Personal Assistant Candidates

There are several different sources you can use that are efficient.


Look for industry-specific groups here in specific sectors like healthcare and finance to find personal assistant candidates.


This is a platform for hiring freelancers and inviting them to submit proposals. Check out the skill-based filters to narrow down candidates. You’ll be able to check off the personal assistant duties you’re looking for.


This platform is geared towards on-demand needs. If your business needs sporadic or immediate support, look for a personal assistant here.

how to hire a personal assistant

Conducting Interviews for Personal Assistant Roles

Here are some steps for a successful interview process.

  • The initial screening should be done by video or phone. Ask about their knowledge of your small business.
  • Ask any candidates about their experience with software like Google Workspace and others.
  • Find out about their problem-solving abilities and ask to see examples of email correspondence.
  • Ask about their customer service abilities and how they’ve handled experiences with different scenarios.

It’s also worth noting that hiring the right personal assistant has become more streamlined and efficient with the diverse range of job platforms available today. From traditional job boards to specialized platforms tailored to specific industries, businesses have a plethora of options to choose from.

Furthermore, it’s essential to reduce hiring bias during the recruitment process. This ensures a diverse and inclusive workplace, allowing businesses to tap into a wide range of skills and perspectives.

Lastly, don’t forget to ask them about their long-term career and professional development goals. It’s essential to send an interview rejection letter to those who don’t make the cut.

how to hire a personal assistant

Practical Assessments for Personal Assistants

You can ask a candidate to prioritize and organize a sample schedule for an executive. Give them a busy calendar to manage to see what kind of decisions they make on scheduling priorities. You can also provide them with a training plan template to see how they would train themselves or others.

Checking References and Previous Employment

You should ask any candidate to provide examples of challenges and achievements in previous roles. Make sure to emphasize that their past experiences contribute to how quickly they will grasp their new responsibilities.

Specific job-related questions will highlight their skills.

how to hire a personal assistant

Training and Development for Personal Assistants

Microsoft Office Suite offers fundamental courses on Word and other essentials like PowerPoint. Personal assistants who attend online seminars and webinars get information on the latest trends. Courses on advanced tools like SQL help.

For businesses looking into building a team with contractors and freelancers, it’s essential to provide these team members with adequate training tools and resources, ensuring they’re aligned with the company’s goals and processes.

how to hire a personal assistant

Integrating Technology with Personal Assistant Roles

There are a number of modern tools that can help a personal assistant with their job.

  • Training programs can help them with time management.
  • CRM systems are helpful for managing email and other tasks. They are a standard tool for administrative assistants.
  • Courses on project management can be very rewarding.

Consider a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are making their mark in the digital age. They are costefficient and flexible. These assistants can work different hours from different locations. Small businesses can select one from a global talent pool and they have diverse skill sets. An essential thing to consider is whether you should hire a family member as a virtual assistant.

One of the key aspects when hiring new virtual assistants or any other employees is understanding how to onboard new employees. Proper onboarding ensures that new hires feel welcomed, understand their roles, and can quickly become productive members of the team.

These assistants are cost-effective because they work on a contract or freelance basis.

how to hire a personal assistant

FAQs: How to Hire a Personal Assistant

Here are some answers to questions commonly asked about personal assistants.

What is the difference between a personal assistant and a secretary?

A secretary usually focuses on clerical and administrative work. A personal assistant has a larger scope of duties that can include strategic planning.

What does a PA do apart from Phone Calls and Administrative Tasks?

A personal assistant can even look after managing personal errands like shopping. They can track the progress of various projects and delegate tasks where necessary.

How much does it Cost to Hire a Personal Assistant?

That can depend on several things like their experience and skills. Having certain software skills can mean more money. Personal assistants in metropolitan areas get paid more.

What’s the difference between a personal assistant and a secretary?

An administrative assistant can look after office-based tasks like a secretary. However, they also have a personal involvement and can coordinate travel and handle communications.

Are there specialized personal assistant services for hiring industry-specific PAs?

There are several freelance platforms like Upwork and Freelancer when you’re looking for industry-specific candidates. Other options include niche staffing agencies and executive search firms.

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.