Soft Skills Executives Look For when Hiring a PA

Posted on Friday, May 15, 2020 by The Career GuideNo comments

When you're preparing yourself for the recruitment process, you reflect on the skills and qualifications you can put on your CV. For those working in PA jobs, there’s a key need for various technical skills, such as software training. It’s important that you know your Excel formulas and how to be a PowerPoint whizz. However, employers are also looking for something else. As a PA recruitment agency, we know that employers often value soft skills above technical ones. With that in mind, we’ve written a list of the soft skills most employers ask us to identify in candidates. This gives you a chance to develop these skills, and showcase them on your application.


Executives need their PAs to take the initiative, not sit around waiting for direction. Many executives are too busy to spoon-feed their support staff. They need you to be proactive and on the lookout for ways to improve their working life. As a skilled PA, you’ll be in an excellent position in this regard. This might be finding the best software for their needs or a better way to synchronize their calendar and inbox.

Emotional intelligence

Within your role as PA, your ability to read situations among multiple parties and react appropriately is vital. It’s often the role of the PA to smooth the path for a positive relationship between the executive and a third party. For this, you need to be intuitive and skilled at relationships. Even if the client is based overseas or everyone is working via Zoom or Skype, you should be able to smooth those relationships.


While some elements of the PA role are routine and scripted, there are times you need to go off-piste. A skilled PA will be adaptable and able to work flexibly. Even if plans change at the last minute, a valuable PA will calmly take control, manage the situation, then get back on track. Similarly, executives need PAs who don’t have concrete thinking. They need to know that you’re open to new ideas. Sometimes, you’ll need to adapt the way you’ve always done things to create more effective and streamlined processes. Your employer needs to know you’re not resistant to change.


All PAs need to be capable of working with unwavering discretion. Diplomacy requires concerted effort and care, especially in this role. Your executive needs to know that you’ve got their back and that you care about the wellbeing of the organisation.


Many people still think of PAs working solely for the executive, removed from others and absolved from teamwork. However, as many PAs will testify, this simply isn’t true. You need to work well with others, and at multiple levels within the organisation. This means being capable of listening to others, taking their ideas on board, motivating people, and bringing out the best in everyone.

Work ethic

The most successful PAs are incredibly hard-working; they haven’t chosen this career for an easy life. Instead, they get stuck into every task with energy and commitment. They’ll always go above and beyond, demonstrating a passion for what they do. They don’t wait to be motivated by others.

Your next PA role

Are you on the lookout for your next PA role in the capital? If so, register with us – we are the leading and most trusted PA recruitment agency in London.


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