Admin Assistant Interview Questions Uncertainty

Ambiguity, one of the new buzzwords you can hear in the interviews. Speaking honestly, back in the day when I was interviewing for jobs (which was indeed a long time ago), if they asked me anything about ambiguity I’d simply remain silent. Or I would tell them that they firstly have to explain what ambiguity means, before I can tell them how I dealt with it at work.

But things have changed a lot over the years. Behavioral questions prevail in the interviews, and hiring managers try everything to catch you off guard, to ask you some question you haven’t prepared for before the interviews. Hence we have questions about dealing with ambiguity (and prioritization, adaptability, etc)….

Before I show you 5 such questions and suggest how you should answer each one, let me clarify what ambiguity means (just to be sure that we are on the same page). From Google dictionary: The quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness. Let’s have a look at some questions about “inexactness” in the workplace.

Talk about a situation when you weren’t exactly clear what your superior (or your client) wanted from you, since their message offered more than one interpretation.

Another situation that happens quite often at work. Each workplace is a fascinating mix of different characters, personalities, and intellects. People use all kinds of languages, and do not realize that workers from other departments, or their direct subordinates, may not understand their message correctly, for example because they do not understand the jargon they use, or the message is too complex for them to understand.

You have a few options how to deal with such situation:

  • The most logical thing to do is to ask the person in question. Ask them to clarify their message. And repeat your request as many times as necessary, until you know exactly what they want from you. Show the interviewers that you aren’t afraid to humbly admit that you do not understand something, asking for clarification. It’s much better than taking action without knowing whether it really is the thing they wanted you to do.
  • In certain cases, you won’t have such an option (for example when you have to make an immediate decision, or take an immediate action). In such a case you should use your deduction. Think about the goal of the project, your role in it, and the most likely thing they want from you. Then you will act accordingly.
  • Tell us about the last time you faced ambiguity in work. How did you handle the situation? (Tell me about a time when you had to work on a project with unclear responsibilities.)

    This is probably the most typical interview question about facing ambiguity, and it is a very open one. You can talk about a variety of things and situations, such as:

  • Having to make a decision without possessing all important information. You had to decide but could not assess the possible outcome of various options you had on your table.
  • Leading a project with unclear variables and goals, or one that was impacted by many external factors which you had no control over.
  • Hearing or receiving some message from your boss, or even from your subordinate, message that wasn’t clear and offered more than one interpretation.
  • Any other situation when you had to deal with something inexact, and bore the responsibility.
  • Now, regardless of the situation you choose to narrate, you should demonstrate the right attitude to ambiguity. It is crucial to:

  • Show them that you can make a decision, even when things aren’t entirely clear. Management is about making decisions, and unless you make a move your competitors will get ahead of you.
  • Demonstrate that you can deduce things, and find your way around, and do not rely only on information given to you by your superior or client or anyone else.
  • Ensure them that you aren’t afraid of a changing environment, and can work in a fast paced team, where things can change from day to day (think agile project management as a good example).
  • Special Tip: If you are preparing for an interview with one of the Fortune 500 companies, you should know that you will face many tricky scenario based questions, and not only the one about dealing with ambiguity. If you want to be ready for everything the hiring managers may throw at you, consider checking out our Interview Success Package 2.0, which includes multiple sample answers to 104 interview questions, including 31 behavioral questions. This can be the last part of the puzzle you are missing on your way to an amazing job…

    admin assistant interview questions uncertainty

    Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision without all information you needed

    You have been probably confronted with this situation many times, whether in work or in personal life. We never know all we need to know–if we knew it, we would never make a mistake. But life is full of mistakes, and we learn from them, and that’s probably how we grow.

    Let me show you a few good sample answers to this question:

    7 ADMIN ASSISTANT Interview Questions and Answers (PASS!)

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