Career Advice

Top 5 Administrative Assistant Job Interview Questions

3
min read
Vera Chan

What is an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative assistants wear many hats. They are an office manager and secretary in one. But they differ from executive assistants, which are a level up in an organisation. An administrative assistant can also be the glue that sticks everything together. How? Because they attend to the needs of a business executive. They help run the show behind-the-scenes to ensure things go smoothly and to plan.

An administrative assistant is a fountain of knowledge with multiple skill sets. These extend beyond simply answering the phone — which is a chore in itself. You may make the occasional cup of coffee, but they also work with multiple software and machines. Computer skills are at the top, with a mix of soft and hard skills to be the ideal candidate. The key is not perfection, but the ability to multi-task in an efficient manner that is ideal for the role.

What Do You Think You Will Make a Good Administrative Assistant?

1. Prepare

As with an interview, prepare in advance the standard interview questions. Also, be prepared that they will ask about your day-to-day and what that looks like. Through this explanation, your answer will show how you work and prioritise. Even before the interview, you can show attention to detail with tailored documents. This includes a curated resume, cover letter, and application.

2. Give Examples

Back-up your explanations with examples. Choose shining examples that demonstrate the best of your ability. Showcase a multitude of skills that help a business executive with the running of a business. In all cases, show how you make everything easier and seamless.

3. Soft & Hard Skills

A good mix of the two is necessary. An administrative assistant needs to be cooperative with other company employees. As such, they will need to be good communicators. Review your strengths in both skill sets that you can mention. Pinpoint any that could set yourself apart from others.

4. Be Tech-Savvy

Ensure you are up-to-date with the programs necessary for an administrative assistant. Yes, you will need to know how to work a printer, scanner and fax machine. But you will also need to know Microsoft Office. Perhaps even familiarise yourself with the Apple iOS system if you have not already. Being dexterous at both will make you highly adaptable and time-efficient.

How Comfortable Are You on the Phone?

This might seem like a simple question in itself, but what do you do when the phone rings off the hook? Consecutive rings across multiple lines can cause a stressful situation. Show that you can handle this in a professional manner and how you would go about prioritising. Grace and calmness are key winners to this situation.

What is Your Typing Speed and Error Rate?

You may not have a certificate for touch typing, but you can easily find out online via free tests. Give it a go and see what your accuracy level is and speed. You can share this in your job interview. Alternatively, you can also explain how long it takes you to finish a piece for the employer to get a sense of time.

What is Your Level of Competency with Computers and Software Programs?

Brush up on your skills beforehand and make sure you know how to use the most common software. This can include the programs mentioned above, but can also include Outlook and Gmail. With recent online services, you might need to know how to get documents digitally signed.

How Do You Prioritise Your Tasks?

Explain how you work. Help the hiring manager understand your thought processes. If you use tools, share them and mention how they assist. There are many project management tools that are helpful with time management.

All-in-All

Precision is of paramount importance when it comes to being an administrative assistant. This means demonstrating your skills and how you portray this through past examples. Help the hiring manager visualise your skill sets and talk them through your execution. With the above tips, you will be able to show that you are the creme de la creme of administrative assistants!

What's next? What do you do if you get asked the question "What Are You Looking For In Your Next Position?"

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