How Do You Handle A Demanding Supervisor What Is Your Experience With Dealing With Difficult Visitors Or Callers
Its important that you remain pleasant and professional in a variety of circumstances on the job. Many executive assistants are often the face of the executives they work with, and the person who deals with clients or visitors first. Unfortunately, sometimes these people can be unpleasant. The interviewer is looking for your experience with handling these situations, as well as your ability to do so professionally.
Some skills to share include:
Ability to reflect professionalism and company values
Give an example of what you would do in this situation. For example, you may politely offer to take a message, reassure the visitor the message will be seen by the executive, and youll have them contacted as soon as possible. You may also provide the option of speaking to someone else who is available or can help resolve the situation faster.
How Do You Manage Your Time Effectively To Ensure You Are Meeting Deadlines And Taking Care Of High
This question should give insight into how the job candidate manages their time and organizes their day to ensure priority items are completed. What to look for in an answer:
- Time management
- Strategies for completing priority tasks
“Trello is a great resource that I use every day. I have different boards for different projects and it connects directly with my calendar making it easy for me to remember key dates. I also colour code my meetings in my calendar so I know what projects or items are a priority that day over others.”
What Are Common Administrative Assistant Interview Questions
Here are some questions you should be ready to face: 1. Why did you apply for this job and what makes you think youll be a good administrative assistant?2. This job requires you to spend some time answering phones. How comfortable are you with multiple lines and high volumes of incoming calls?3. Would you consider yourself a team player? Do you work well with others?4. How do you work when faced with stress or pressure?5. Tell me about a past job you had that you really enjoyed and why you liked it.
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Be Prepared To Discuss Software Programs
Since many administrative assistant positions require frequent use of specific software, you may have to discuss the various programs youve worked with, how you have used these programs, and your level of expertise.
I love using technology and learning about new programs. I also have a knack for teaching co-workers who might not be so savvy about using systems. In my last job at Kent Associates, I volunteered to review project management systems for the team of professionals I supported. My boss approved my recommendation and we brought in a web-based system, Asana, that helps us to track projects and share information on a web platform.
I am the go-to person in the office for PowerPoint slides and enjoy helping our sales people to wow customers with their presentations. I am also an advanced user of Excel and create complex macros to prepare budget projections for project proposals.
Your answers will be more impressive if you provide specific anecdotes that exemplify your command of administrative tools and processes.
How Do You Normally Anticipate The Needs Of An Executive
This is an operational question that seeks to understand how you go about your activities once your executives actions become clear. You can mention some of the means you have used in the past to observe your executive and establish their needs.
I have realized that the best way of anticipating the needs of an executive is to watch them closely and observe both their likes and dislikes. This helps in knowing their habits. Knowing their moods also comes in handy in need anticipation. Once I know their needs from their likes and dislikes, I will then adapt my work and roles accordingly to meet them.
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Do You Take Any Particular Steps To Ensure You Are Anticipating The Needs Of The Executives You Oversee
The goal of this question is to see if the job candidate can understand the needs and wants of executives after working with them for some time. What to look for in an answer:
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
“It took a couple of months but eventually I was able to anticipate the needs and wants of my previous executive. For example, I always made sure to book meetings with external partners at her favourite restaurant. I would also never book meetings before 8 am and ensured her schedule was cleared to pick up her children from school. Of course, I also knew her favourite coffee order so knew just when she needed a little pick-me-up.”
What Interviewers Look For In Administrative Assistants
Considering the central role played by administrative assistants, employers look for specific attributes that combine both hard and soft skills. Here are some important attributes interviewers for this position evaluate in a candidate:
Communication skills: One of the essential roles of an administrative assistant is to communicate professionally and effectively inside and outside the company.
Administrative skills: Administrative assistants perform various administrative tasks such as ordering stationery, opening and closing the office, and ensuring the office is clean and welcoming.
Interpersonal skills: Administrative assistants work closely with almost everyone in a business. They need to have excellent interpersonal and collaboration skills to build relationships with clients, customers, and colleagues.
Computer skills: Administrative assistants use computers for most communication and documentation. An administrative assistant must show their proficiency in using a computer to accomplish various tasks such as typing, preparing presentations, responding to emails, and making phone calls.
Organizational skills: An administrative assistant manages events and several calendars for executives or managers. They need strong organizational skills to ensure their work and others’ schedules are up to date and easy to follow.
Here are nine of the most common administrative assistant interview questions to expect:
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Administrative Assistant Interview Questions And Answers
When you’re interviewing for an administrative assistant job, the interviewer will want to learn about how relevant your qualifications are for the position and how you would fit in with the company and the department.
Because the job requires both administrative and interpersonal skills, hiring managers will often ask about the specific attributes you have that qualify you for the position, as well as your less quantifiable people skills.
What Would You Do If Another Top
Your job as an executive assistant may see you access some of the most confidential information about the company. You must therefore maintain high levels of confidentiality and discretion. Show the interviewer that you can handle company politics well without gossiping, breaching confidentiality, and making unnecessary comments that may give away your superior.
I have high regard for confidentiality. I will politely deny having any information to share with the executive, given that I am not authorized to disclose any information given to me by the Chief Executive Officer or any other top-level officer.
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How Do You Work When Faced With Stress Or Pressure
This question can be a bit tricky. . When a hiring manager asks this, they want an honest answerbut knowing how to strike the balance between being honest and too honest can be tough.
First off, dont lie and tell them they dont have to worry because you never get stressed.
Nobody will believe you. No, really. Nobody.
Being an administrative assistant means youre pretty much guaranteed to have to handle some stressful situations now and then, and a hiring manager wants to know youve got the perseverance and ability to hack it without crumbling like last weeks sugar cookies.
Speaking of last weeks sugar cookies, no hiring manager is going to want to hire someone who has zero coping skills when it comes to a little extra work pressure, so while we said be honestdont go overboard.
The tricky part is finding a way to strike a balance between admitting you do get stressed while also highlighting how you handle those tough moments without folding like a card table. Good things to focus on when answering these types of questions are organizational skills, redirecting stress energy into creative energy, and what steps you take when faced with a crisis to prioritize what needs to get done over what is just going to cause more stress.
Tell Me About A Time You Made A Mistake How Did You Handle It
This question can be tricky because its a behavioral interview question and it makes you focus on a time you failed. To answer this question successfully, show how you were able to bounce back and correct the mistake.
- I once missed an attendee on a meeting request. Luckily, I had set up reminders at the end of every day to double-check my work and caught the mistake the day it happened. After catching the mistake, I added the attendee to the invite without anyone realizing there was an error. Keeping myself organized and accurate really helped me that day.
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How Would The Previous Executives You Worked For Describe You As An Employee If We Were To Ask
The goal of this question is to get an understanding of what the job applicant is like in the workplace and what skills they bring. What to look for in an answer:
- Communication skills
- Ability to perform a range of tasks
“The previous executives I worked for would definitely say I am very organized and able to perform a wide range of tasks. I’m also a very quick learner and eager to take on new tasks. My priority is making sure the company executives always look good and stay organized themselves. I am also quite personable and get along with all sorts of different personalities.”
What Style Of Management Do You Prefer
This question helps the recruiter establish your level of independence in the workplace and helps them decide if their management style supports your work preferences. Administrative assistants need to be independent enough to keep the office running smoothly but, at the same time, it’s also important that their preferred management style aligns with their supervisor’s. Make sure you’re honest when answering this question to certify the job is a good fit for both you and the employer.
Example:’I prefer a manager who gives me the information I need to carry out my role and who sets clear expectations but also trusts me to complete my tasks without micromanaging. As I’m organised and efficient, I’m good at managing my time, and I don’t need someone to check in regularly to make sure I’m productive. I also appreciate occasional feedback that lets me know how I’m doing and gives suggestions for improvement if needed.’
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What Are Your Strategies For Managing Your Time When You Have Multiple Urgent Tasks
Executive assistants typically have to handle multiple tasks at any given time, several of which may be urgent. When you ask how they manage their time, youre gaining insights into how they prioritize. Do they handle time-pressure well? What tools do they use to help them prioritize?
Look for answers with clear strategies for balancing multiple priorities. Do they use software? Do they have to-do lists? Do they ensure they leave buffer time when they schedule so that they can find space to deal with the unexpected?
Why Did You Apply For This Job And What Makes You Think Youll Be A Good Administrative Assistant
This one is pretty much a no-brainer. No hiring manager is going to bring someone onboard who isnt ready to be a good administrative assistant and the best way to prove that youre up for the job is through concrete examples from your past work experiences.
Be open and honest when answering this question and focus on the aspects of being an administrative assistant that you really enjoy.
Is it thinking outside the box? Getting to see how the company is run from the inside out? Maybe its the constant variety of tasks and the ability to work with different departments?
Whatever it is, focus on that and make sure to include the ways youve taken those things you enjoy and used them to create victories for yourself and your employer in the past.
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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?
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.
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Mention A Time When You Failed In This Job What Did You Learn
Admitting failure does not make you weak or incompetent. However, when answering such a question, make sure that you do not throw yourself under the bus. Do not mention an experience that will make you look incompetent.
I once failed to confirm the travel plans that I had made for the CEO of a company I was working on, which saw him miss his flight. However, we managed to reschedule, and he traveled later in the day. This experience taught me to be thorough in my job and not leave anything to chance.
Have You Ever Had To Juggle Multiple Supervisors As An Administrative Assistant If So How Did You Handle It
Administrative assistants dont always have just one boss or supervisor. Often times, administrative assistants need to support multiple executives or team leaders that are each in superior positions. Its important that administrative assistants can handle direction from multiple parties without sacrificing productivity.
- Yes, I have. I was the executive assistant for three members of our executive team. To keep up with delegated tasks and give each executive ample support, I dedicated portions of my workday to each person. This ensured that each executive felt cared for everyday. However, if a priority task did come up, I would address it promptly so deadlines were met.
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In Your Opinion What Are The Most Important Skills That A Good Administrative Assistant Should Have
This question is a great opportunity to map your own strengths to the requirements listed in the job description. Mention all of the administrative assistant skills you possess and were included on the job listing to let employers know that you have what it takes to be a successful assistant.
- First and foremost, I believe a good administrative assistant needs to be organized if they want to help coordinate the team. In addition, they need to have great time management skills to help with scheduling meetings and staying on task. Personally, I feel computer skills and communication also help with those tasks. Because I have these skills, I feel I would make a successful assistant here.
If You Were Assigned To A Company Executive Who Was Completely Disorganized How Would You Go About Helping Them
This question allows the candidate to showcase the skills they have to help manage the time and schedule of a company executive no matter what state it is in. What to look for in an answer:
- Organizational skills
“The first step I would take would be to sit down with the company executive to understand what their priorities were. I would also ask them questions about their personality and how they like to manage their day. If there was anything they needed in order to do their job effectively I would ask it as well. Afterwards, I would spend some time organizing their calendar and making sure everything was up to date.”
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How Would You Approach A Situation In Which You Were Given A Task But Didnt Receive Complete Instructions
This question helps the interviewer determine what your approach is to handle complex situations that dont have clear instructions. The employer will be looking to find out what research skills you use to find out how to do something and whether you are comfortable asking for clarification and assistance when needed. When answering this question make sure you identify your ability to research the issue on your own and also ask for clarification when needed.
Example:If I was given a task and didnt receive clear instructions, I would first consider whether I could get the information needed to complete the task through simple research of my own such as doing a web search. If I still needed further instruction after my research, I would follow up with the person who assigned me the task and ask them for clarification. I would make sure I fully understand what needs to be done and when the deadline for the task is before I begin working on the project.