Career Advice

Top 5 Executive Assistant Job Interview Questions

min read
Vera Chan

An executive assistant can make a great impact on an organisation. They could be considered as the glue that keeps everything together. They liaise with the executive, senior management, and staff directly. With a lot of responsibilities required, what is the best way to prepare for an interview when you find a job? How can you tackle targeted questions?

What is an Executive Assistant?

An executive assistant is different from an administrative assistant. It is a higher-level position that supports an executive with day-to-day tasks. Organisation skills are a must and firefighting can occur. In the day in a life of an executive, plans can be changed on a whim and rearranged back-and-forth. Office management duties can be required alongside clerical support. Efficiency is key as it directly affects the executive, the business, and staff.

An executive assistant will respond to different forms of communication. They will answer calls and respond to emails, while facing clients directly. Appointments are scheduled and travel managed by an executive assistant. They will also prepare important corporate documents.

How to Answer Executive Assistant Interview Questions?

You may be asked about past experiences, in which case you would want to give details about what happened. This will help show your involvement in the matter. But there is a strategic way to do it. Whether  you are  provided with a theoretical or real scenario, use the STAR method. This will help the employer keep track of your thought process every step of the way.

  • Assess the situation with the five W's (who, what, when, where, and why.)
  • Explain your task in the situation. What was your role to play or assignment?
  • Talk about your actions. That is, what did you do?
  • End with the result. How did you accomplish the solution and what happened along the way to get there.

Why Do You Want to Be an Executive Assistant?

This may seem basic, but important so that the hiring manager understands you better. They want to understand your motivations and aspirations. They might try to figure out what your goals are and you can provide both short- and long-term. But what they want to see is that you are looking for more than just a temporary position. Ask yourself if this is a position you want to grow into?

What is Your Computer Proficiency Level??

It is most likely that you will need to use a variety of applications to get through a day time efficiently. Give an overview of systems or tools that you can use, such as spreadsheets, and word processors. If you use a specific scheduler mention that or talk about troubleshooting skills. if you have anything that will set yourself apart, it would be worth mentioning. If you are familiar with Microsoft Office, Chrome, and iOS systems — that is a huge plus.

What Are Your Time Management Strategies When Time is Sensitive?

There will be occasions where you will be tight for time. In these instances, an executive will want to know how you work under pressure and handle stress. As an executive assistant, you will likely be multi-tasking. Speak to the needs of the executive and show that you are agile, that you can adapt to changing priorities. Give reasons for choosing to do one task first over another. This will demonstrate how you work and that you have thought through your actions.

How Would You Anticipate the Needs of an Executive?

Show initiative. Granted, you do not yet know the executive you could be working for. But you can give examples of past scenarios where you have had to gauge a situation and make a decision from there. Talk about one or two cases that show you know how to monitor behaviour or take note of likes and dislikes. By doing so, you demonstrate that you can make an informed decision before being asked to do so.

How Would You Gatekeep the Phone if Someone Demanded to Speak to Your Executive?

This is a tricky question, but one that also shows how you work under pressure. The role of an executive assistant is to guard the executive. As a person in a high-reaching position, the executive will want to be reached by many people. It is your duty to show that you know which people should be put through on the phone to the executive. Whether you know the reason why someone is calling or not, this question is designed to test you. Show that you can remain calm and professional without causing a scene. Try not to make something into a situation. Diffuse it quickly and efficiently, and explain how you would go about doing it.

The Takeaway

A winning executive assistant will naturally have great attention to details. Being meticulously thorough in your work is vital. What you do reflects on the executive, so it is important to maintain a professional attitude. As is the same with any job interview, tailor your answers to the employer's needs. Review the job description and pick out keywords that you can mention and elaborate upon. If there are skills that you know are far and few in between, mention them, so you can stand out of the crowd.

For other job interview tips to polish up on, read 7 Job Interview D'o's and Don'ts.

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