What Are Some Skills You Think Administrative Assistants Should Have
Hiring managers ask this question to make sure you know what’s expected of you in this position. Make sure to answer with relevant skills and how you meet these qualifications. It can be helpful to refer to the job posting when preparing your answer.
Example:”As an administrative assistant who interacts with several people a day, it’s important to have top-notch communication skills. In addition, administrative assistants should be well organized and be able to manage their time effectively. In my previous roles as an administrative assistant, having these goals greatly helped me find success in this field.”
Answers To The Most Common Administrative Assistant Interview Questions
Every interview session has a unique set of questions. However, there are common job interview questions that help interviewers fully understand the candidate, their technical and soft skills, and their level of expertise. Weve broken these down into general, technical, and behavioral questions. Weve also provided sample answers to help ease the interview process.
Describe A Project You Enjoyed Working On As An Administrative Assistant
This is another question an interviewer may ask to determine what you like most about working as an administrative assistant. This question also helps them understand how you apply your skills to contribute to projects in the office. Because it begins with Describe a time, its best to tackle it using the STAR technique. That way you will identify a specific project you worked on, what your role in the project was, the actions you took, the result of the project and what you enjoyed most about it.
Example:In my role as an administrative assistant for a medium-sized law firm, I helped the office streamline their client communication process by working on a project to create a daily schedule that organized when the team would communicate with clients over email. I helped the team understand they should check and respond to emails at least twice a day at the beginning of their shift and at the end. I enjoyed doing this because I was able to contribute to resolving an issue experienced by both our team and our clients.
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Have You Supported One Person Or Multiple People As An Assistant
The role of administrative assistants can vary depending on the number of people they are supporting. This will give you some insight into how much experience the candidate has with dealing with one or multiple people. If theyve only supported one person , ask them how theyd organize supporting multiple people or groups at a time.
Ive supported up to three people as an administrative assistant at one time. I made sure to organize each persons schedule on individual calendars, and I made sure all three people understood the importance of communicating among each other to determine priorities for certain tasks.
Do You Have Experience With Email Management
An administrative assistant may be tasked with sending out emails and managing the incoming and outgoing correspondence with other parties. Candidates should be familiar with a variety of email programs and know how to handle emails based on volume.
For example, have they worked within Microsoft Outlook and scheduled an email to send at a certain time? Have they put together a newsletter and compiled an email list to send it out to? Do they have experience organizing Listservs for different groups in your company? All of these tasks could be what you ask of an administrative assistant.
I have experience managing large volumes of emails, and I helped my previous employer set up a monthly newsletter about events happening in the office.
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What Type Of Work Environments Do You Prefer
Theres a good chance the business youre interviewing at will want to make sure their administrative assistants will fit with the overall office environment. So in the job interview, expect a question about this.
Its best to sound like you can work well in a variety of work environments. For example, you could say, Ive worked for businesses with very different environments. For example, in my last job, I was working in a small start-up environment, handling the schedule for multiple Executives, and enjoyed the challenge. Before that, I was in a much larger corporation and was an administrative assistant to one single Executive. Thats how the entire administrative team worked in our department, and I enjoyed that, too.
This article has more details and examples for how to answer.
Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned
This question may be the most significant factor in winning the job, but it all relies on your story and how it makes the recruiter feel. The interviewer can tell if you are a growth-oriented person or if you struggle with obstacles based on your response.
My present position is processing insurance claims for our client. In one case, I made an unintentional error about the clients information, and the company faced much criticism. Our team suffered as a result of the error, which was alarming. I was keen not to make the same mistake twice, so I talked to my boss about work tactics I might use to avoid making the same mistake again. I havent made any more task errors since then, and Im much better at keeping track of my work.
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Deeper Dive Into Work Styles
Managers often dont know the work style of candidates until theyre on the job, but its worth asking about the way they take direction, their communication style, how they prefer to structure their day and whether theyre adaptive, dependable, efficient, able to multitask and so on.
16. Can you walk me through a typical day in your current/most recent position?
17. Have you ever reported to multiple supervisors at once? If so, how did you juggle each persons priorities?
18. What is your first step when given a large project to manage? How would you organize it?
19. Can you describe a challenging project you were assigned in the past and how you approached it?
20. Are there any tools, equipment or procedures you would replace or change at your most recent/current job? If so, what changes would you make and why?
Do You Have Experience With Microsoft Excel
Were singling out asking about a candidates experience with Microsoft Excel here because it is one of the most widely used software programs in the world. That especially rings true with administrative assistants, who may use it for things like:
- Creating charts and graphs
- General basic accounting
Im very comfortable using Microsoft Excel. I used it for a year at my past job and created an easy system for employees to submit their expenses and it automatically update within the expenses tracking sheet for various events.
Ive only used Excel sparingly, but Im a quick learner when it comes to learning new applications. I started taking an entry certification course when I learned this position required experience with Excel.
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Describe Your Communication Strengths And Weaknesses
Good communication means a lot of give and take: conveying information to clients and colleagues, and receiving incoming information with a full understanding of whats needed or expected. Hiring supervisors who ask this type of question want to know about your clarity of thought, in both written and verbal exchanges.
Possible answer: Avoid giving an answer that says Im good at this, but not good at that. Instead, talk factually about a communications-based task you did wella report or a presentation before a group, for example. As for discussing weaknesses in a job interview, use the questions as an opportunity to focus on an actual strength , or bring up an administrative weakness you had and how you overcame it .
What Are Your Computer And Technology Skills
Piggybacking off typing, its important to understand a candidates skills with computers and technology. You can ask them with experience with certain programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Suite, and you can also find out their troubleshooting capabilities with computers. Though you may have an IT team to deal with major technology issues, having an assistant with basic computer troubleshooting skills will probably help save you and the IT team tons of time.
If you have candidate who describes themselves as illiterate with computers, they might not be a fit for the role if it requires a lot of interaction with technology.
Im very comfortable using a computer, and I have experience with a variety of software programs, including Microsoft Office Suite and Google Docs.
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Administrative Assistant Interview Questions And Sample Answers
If youre preparing to interview for a job as an administrative assistant, get ready to find ways to showcase a wide variety of skills.
A hiring manager will likely be looking to connect with you as a job candidate in ways that go beyond your resume and cover letter.
Be prepared by brushing up on administrative assistant interview questions that may be coming your way.
In an interview, your potential employer may be looking to assess the qualifications and qualities that make you stand out, from your computer skills to your ability to work well with others. Studying up in advance on the kinds of questions that may come up can help you shine and ace your administrative assistant interview.
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What Is The Most Difficult Part Of Your Job
The goal of the question is to discover the pain points for this candidate. What to look for in an answer:
- Do they know what is difficult for them?
- Do they know to work through the difficulty?
- Can they deal with adversity?
Sometimes I have so many things crossing my desk at a given time that I can get a bit overwhelmed. When this happens I take a deep breath and focus on prioritizing the work. Then I get a clear head again and can dive back in.
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Preparing For The Interview
One of the ways to prepare is to analyze the job description to try to get a sense of whether there is a particular skill set on which the position focuses.
For example, is there an emphasis on travel planning, project coordination, day-to-day meeting scheduling, personal assistance, or anything else?
Be sure to emphasize your most relevant experience when answering job-specific interview questions.
Make a list of the skills mentioned in the job posting, and feel free to add some others that you think would be applicable as well. Then take a look at your own administrative and office skills, and match your qualifications to the job.
This will help you tailor your answers in the most relevant way to the specific position.
Valuable Skills For Administrative Assistant Position
Lets look at the set of hard and soft skills an aspiring administrative assistant needs to possess.
These are learnable skills that one acquires in the course of attending classroom training, apprenticeship, or any other type of learning.
Hard skills are quantifiable because they can be taught and learned.
Here are some hard skills an administrative assistant needs to have:
- Typing skills. Gone are the times when only the typist does the entire typing job in the office, these days the administrative assistant candidate must as a matter of importance know how to type and be good at it as well with little errors.
- Computer operation. This is another hard skill an aspiring administrative assistant must possess under their belt. The computer has made the job easier than it was in time past.
- Data analysis. A good skill to possess by the administrative assistant, who will in time need to get into data analysis. This skill will stand such a candidate out amongst the crowd.
- Advanced bookkeeping. The administrative assistant is sometimes called upon to do the books and keep proper records and ledgers of important files. With this skill, it will be an easy task to accomplish.
- Schedule management. This skill is one of the most important skills for an administrative assistant hoping to succeed on the job. The schedule management skill helps the candidate organize the daily running of the office or department which he/she supervises.
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Company Culture Interview Questions For Administrative Assistant Position
These interview questions are meant to find out if the candidate can break or cope with the company:
- What is your preferred work schedule?
- Why apply here and not elsewhere?
- What is the major attraction that made you apply for this job?
- How will you contribute to our company?
- Why did you leave your last job as an administrative assistant?
What Talents Do You Think Are Most Crucial For An Administrative Assistant’s Work And Why
Use the STAR approach to discuss how you have utilized critical administrative assistant abilities in the past and how you will use them to contribute to this company when answering this question. Your response will aid the interviewer in determining many things. Including the talents you feel are most important for the position, why those skills are necessary, how you have effectively utilized those skills in the past, and how you would use the same skills to contribute to your team’s success.
“An administrative assistant’s duty is crucial for ensuring that an office functions properly,” for example. An administrative assistant must have great communication, time-management, and organizational abilities to guarantee that the office functions efficiently at all times. As an executive assistant, I used to be in charge of organizing and monitoring the schedules of four executives.
I achieved this by utilizing a bespoke scheduling application to appropriately book appointments and meetings for each executive and then communicating their calendars to them weekly by email and in-person during our morning meeting. This allowed the entire office to stay on schedule. I can bring these similar talents to your company to ensure that everything goes correctly.”
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If You Were Given Two High
One of the classic administrative assistant interview questions, this gives the hiring manager insights into how you make decisions and navigate challenges. Ideally, you want to outline a general strategy preferably using an example from your past that highlights your ability to make sound choices quickly and achieve results.
In this situation, I use a multi-faceted approach to decide which task Ill tackle first. Usually, I factor in the requested due date, time involved, and overall difficulty. Additionally, Ill consider whether one task may experience delays, such as waiting for responses from other project members.
For example, in my last position, one manager needed a presentation created for an upcoming conference, while another required a report outlining the status of a project. Both had a similar time commitment, and the assignments were due at essentially the same time. However, I was able to determine how to proceed based on the nature of the work. The report required input from various team members, while the presentation I could complete independently. So, I reached out to get the data required for the report first and, while I awaited those responses, pivoted over to the presentation. By the time all of the report data arrived, the presentation was wrapped up, allowing me to adjust my focus back and get that handled, too.
More Admin Assistant Questions You Should Prepare For
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Good Questions To Ask In An Administrative Assistant Interview
Before wrapping up your interview, odds are your hiring manager will ask you if you have any questions for them.
While its tempting to bail as quickly as possible, take the time to ask your own questions. Not only will it show the interviewer that youre genuinely interested in the position, but you might just learn something about the job you didnt know before.
Good questions to ask are: