What's your problem?

Q: I run my own fledgling business in marketing communications and I'm having trouble recruiting. I've been through three PAs in the past year. They all had the right experience and were keen. The first I let go because she wasn't up to the job; the second left because she said she got a better job offer; and the last one had to return to Australia for family reasons. Is this just a run of bad luck?

by Jeremy Bullmore

A: It probably is just a run of bad luck, but you're right to wonder. So here are a few beady questions you should put to yourself.

Fledgling companies put unusual demands on PAs: they're asked to be procurement officers, switchboard operators, corporate communications executives, catering managers and recruitment consultants, as well as dealing with all the e-mails, bills, bookings, insurance, couriers and minicabs. So - are you sure you're not asking too much of them?

Your second PA left for a better job. Did you find out exactly why it was better? Was it just the money, or was the job itself more rewarding? What did you learn?

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