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August 14, 2013
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INTERVIEW TIPS & STRATEGIES: The Importance of Motivation

Most people would agree that the purpose of an interview is to determine the interviewee's competence in a particular field. Competence and aptitude go hand-in-hand but the importance of 'motivation' is often not so obvious to interviewees. Showcasing motivation in an interview is an essential strategy for a successful interview.

People are motivated to apply for particular jobs because of factors like pay, prestige and career progression. This is one aspect of motivation but the Hiring Manager is looking for another type of motivation: the 'self-starter' characteristic that demonstrates high levels of motivation.

Before attending an interview prepare examples that show how you were motivated to assume tasks from your boss’s tasklist and projects that ultimately enhanced your skills-set. Highly motivated people often go beyond the call of duty without the promise of immediate gain. The Hiring Manager wants to know if you will add value to the role if he hires you so take every opportunity to demonstrate that you are a self-starter.

Evidence of the self-starter characteristic will be plain to see in a well written CV or resume. Take a look at your own CV. Can you see any evidence that you assumed tasks that were essentially part of your boss's job description? If this sounds like something you have done in the past but it is not evident in your CV, you might like to consider rewriting your CV.

It is easy to get into the habit of assuming tasks that are not your immediate responsibility but with a long term goal of raising the profile of your role. Obviously you have to choose your challenges carefully and look for tasks that stretch you but are within your sphere of abilities.

It helps if you have a boss that encourages your professional development but you can train your boss to be supportive by proving yourself with smaller projects. Remember that a PAs role is to increase her/his boss's productivity; therefore, taking work off your boss's hands will allow you to fulfil that objective.


Today's PA is multi-skilled and capable of make a meaningful contribution to the productivity of the executive team. Business writing skills are becoming increasingly important as bosses allow their PAs to assume more and more responsibility for communicating on their behalf.

If you have ever been tasked with producing a PowerPoint presentation directly from a report or executive summary, with little or no instruction from your boss, you can appreciate the need for skilful arrangement of the information in PowerPoint slide format. The aim is to demonstrate your competence by ensuring that the completed slides require minimum editing by your boss.

Producing an effective PowerPoint presentation goes beyond format and style. It's about structuring the flow of information so that when your boss communicates the information it will hold the attention of the audience and engage them.

So how should you structure the information on the slides for an effective presentation? There are four factors you should be mindful of.

1. Presenting Your Main Points as Claims

Each heading (sub-title slide) should be written as a claim. An example of a claim is something along the lines of “CEOs attribute 40% of their productivity to their PA.” In contrast to a dull heading, a claim tends to stir the interest of the audience. Why? Because they are looking forward to hearing the evidence - how you are going to back up the statement?

2. Explaining Why

Show the audience why you think the statement is true. Include any quotes in the document that support the claim. Audiences love stories because stories create another dimension and allow people to see things from the perspective of the storyteller. Therefore, you should also include a slide that will prompt your boss to tell a story that illustrates the point.

3. Proving the Claim

Search through the document for survey findings, statistics and graphs that can be used as factual evidence to prove the claim and include them in the presentation.

4. Saying What You Said

Include a ‘conclusion’ slide to remind the audience what was said and why it was said. This is necessary to remind the audience how much ground was covered and to drive the point home.

If you repeat this process for each of the main points in the presentation, your boss should have a fully engaged audience and a successful presentation.

2-day Advanced-level training course, Central London, England

This is an excellent course for Executive Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Senior Administrators. Learn practical strategies and essential Executive PA skills that will raise your game. The next Executive PA Masterclass is fast approaching. Join us on Tuesday 10th and Thursday 11th September 2013 and learn how to increase your effectiveness as a world-class Executive PA.

What Others Have Said About the Masterclass

“For the PAs who think they know it all, think again! Would highly recommend all Executive PAs attend this masterclass. You'll come away with valuable tips and knowledge."
Julie, EA to President, Alstom Renewable Power, Paris

“Anyone thinking of doing this course should definitely go ahead and book! Marguerita is the fountain of knowledge and really knows how to get the best out of you! Very useful course content that I will carry with me throughout my career."
Project Manager, Leeds, England

“An extremely good course for senior PAs, with good practical exercises, which were well delivered."
Corinne, Marks and Spencer, London

Upcoming Course Dates
Tues 10th & Wed 11th September
Wed 30th & Thurs 31st October
Thurs 5th & Fri 6th December


1-day PA refresher training course - central London, England

This PA refresher course is for PAs who have not attended a PA training course for a while. It is also relevant for PAs who have picked up their PA skills along the way and would like to fill in the gaps to optimise their skills. This course is taught at intermediate level but it introduces some advanced-level themes. You will learn the latest PA best practice in the following subjects.

- Working productively with management
- The latest Email & Diary Management strategies
- Comprehensive Meeting Planning techniques & strategies
- Strategies for Time Management & Prioritising your workload
- Going the extra mile when Planning Executive Travel
- Practical Business Writing Skills

Upcoming Course Dates
Thursday 26th September, 2013
Wednesday 27 November, 2013


We welcome your comments and your suggestions for future PA Matters to U articles. Please send your comments to <>

Marguerita King,

Managing Director,

Personal Assistant Tips,

Suite 16413, 145-157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PW,

Tel: +44 (0)845 862 2687,

Mobile: +44 (0)7771 648521,

Fax: +44 (0)207 183 9899,



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