When a Personal Assistant hands in their notice, has to take time off for a holiday, maternity leave, illness or simply retires, it can be a stressful and challenging time for a business or individual. Finding suitable temporary or permanent staff can be a daunting and time-consuming task and, unfortunately, due to some hiring managers or companies being ‘burnt’ by turning to recruiters in the past, there can be a reluctance to use a PA recruitment agency.
However, partnering with the best PA recruitment agency, that truly understands your company, needs and culture, will save you valuable time, effort and money, whilst ensuring that you find the personal assistant to suit your requirements.
As a team, Lily Shippen has partnered with a range of clients, spanning many different industries, across the UK and internationally, who will always turn to us should they have any secretarial recruitment needs - be it for the odd day or week's holiday cover, or to recruit permanent members of staff to join their team.
We know that searching for the best PA recruitment agency can be overwhelming and confusing, which is why we've collated our key things to look for when searching for the best PA recruitment agency to partner with to fulfil your employment needs.
When recruiting for a specific type of role, it is always worth researching whether there are agencies that specialise in that particular field. Working with an agency that specialises in recruiting Personal Assistants, instead of a general agency, has a number of advantages, such as the fact that they will have a better understanding of the role and the type of skill set required for the position that you are recruiting for. It's no secret that the PA role differs greatly between companies and is very much tailored to the company and individual(s) that the PA will be supporting. By working with an agency that is an authority on the Personal Assistant market, you are ensuring that your requirements are fully met and that you secure the best talent for your business.
Specialist agencies are also more likely to have a wide database of suitable, high-calibre candidates already at their fingertips and typically secure higher quality CVs than those you may receive through direct job applications or general agencies. This is due to the fact that specialist agencies have a thorough vetting system in place to properly screen their candidates and take the time to learn about their skills and their previous and current roles, as well as their motivations for seeking a new role and expectations from a new position and company. Working with a specialist PA agency will take the leg work out of your recruitment search and considerably speed up the hiring process.
Reviews and Previous Partnerships
When researching a suitable PA recruitment agency to work with, we'd highly recommend that employers pay particular attention to their reviews, both from PAs and clients, and testimonials or case studies from other businesses that they have previously partnered with. This helps to shed light on the company's reputation and credibility, the type of services that are available and the calibre of clients that they are used to working alongside. If an agency has glowing reviews from candidates and clients alike, this is usually a sign that you are on to a winner!
Another key aspect to research when looking to partner with a PA recruitment agency is whether their company values are listed on their website. This can really help you to understand the agency’s mission statement, their commitment, their ethics, how they operate and what their key objectives are when working with candidates and clients alike. If a company does display its values on its website, read through them and see how they align with your own personal and company values.
Social Media Channels
Actively keeping in touch with their network by posting regular updates across their social media channels is a sign that an agency goes the extra mile. This can be by offering advice and support to the Personal Assistant community, or generally celebrating and being passionate about the PA profession. Look for an agency that goes above and beyond for their clients and candidates, such as offering workshops for their candidates or extra features or guarantees for their clients, like psychometric testing or a free replacement should a candidate they place leave within six months. If a recruitment agency is adding value to the PA community and its virtual connections through engaging content, it's a great indication that they will go above and beyond to secure the perfect PA for you and your business.
Ask Your Peers
When looking for a suitable agency to partner with, it can be as simple as asking around your network of peers. There is a high possibility that hiring managers within your network have heard about the agency you are looking into partnering with, or they may have even worked with them previously on a PA hire and, as such, they can give you an honest insight into what they have heard or experienced. Recruiters and agencies often have a strong social presence, be it on LinkedIn or other social platforms, so asking around can give you a huge amount of information into the agency’s reputation and whether or not other companies would recommend them or use their services again in the future.
At Lily Shippen, we are fortunate to have received a great deal of work through referrals from companies or individuals that have worked with us previously. In fact, 83% of our business comes from client referrals, which just goes to show that reputation is key when looking to partner with an agency to recruit a new PA for your business.
Schedule an Introductory Meeting
Finally, why not ask the agency to pitch their services to you either by inviting them into the office or scheduling a virtual meeting? This will allow the agency to showcase what value they can bring, as well as providing more information about what they can offer you in terms of knowledge, the calibre of candidates available, the current market, or any extra measures that could be of interest. A strong performance shows that they have done their homework and that they are committed to providing you with the most suitable and talented PA candidates for the job at hand!
We firmly believe that meeting our clients face-to-face, wherever possible, is imperative for us to understand their requirements and their expectations of the Personal Assistant that joins their team, as well as providing an invaluable insight into their culture which then informs our search for a PA that will fit seamlessly into the organisation from day one.
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