Admin Secretary Job Interview Questions

QUESTION: How do you handle stress?

Intent: Though it’s a difficult skill to master, being able to juggle multiple assignments at one time—and keep a cool head—is a must for a lucrative administrative career. Employers want to be sure you have a strategy for taking on the demands of the job without crumbling under the pressure.

Response: Give an example of how you’ve performed well under pressure at a previous job. For example: “When I received a frantic phone call from one of the executives, I had to drop everything to get a change processed. Communication was key; I explained the situation to the other managers and told them their requests were temporarily on hold so I could tend to the boss. By working some extra hours, I was able to meet his deadline without falling behind on my other assignments.”

Interview Questions for Administrative Secretaries:

Demonstrates professionalism, as well as communication skills.

How would you respond to a caller demanding to speak with someone in a meeting?

Evaluates the candidates interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

A colleague asks you for a financial report’s password. How do you respond?

Reveals the candidates knowledge of the need to protect confidential information.

QUESTION: Why do you want to be an administrative assistant?

Intent: Although admin work can be tedious for some, many people enjoy it. Hiring managers want to be sure you’re genuinely interested in the job responsibilities, especially considering happy workers are more productive, research from the University of Warwick found.

Response: Obviously, you can’t say, “Because I need a job.” Your best approach is to describe what you enjoy about administrative work, says Christen Garcia, a human resources faculty member at Ashworth College, which offers administrative assistant training. Do you like welcoming visitors to the office (“I’m very outgoing”), or organizing travel plans (“I love finding the best deals on hotels”), or doing data entry (“I love detail-oriented work”)? Say so!

Sample Answers for Basic Secretary Interview Questions

When answering open-ended questions, it’s important to express your enthusiasm and qualifications for the job, but also to find ways to reference your past work experiences. Here are some sample answers to give you an idea of how to formulate your responses:

  • In your previous work as a secretary, describe how you used scheduling software to manage calendars for multiple people. Example Answer:

    “As a secretary of five years, I’ve stayed up to date with the latest technology to manage multiple calendars. I was responsible for managing schedules for up to ten people at once, and I was able to set up appointments, meetings, and business trips with minimal errors or scheduling conflicts.”

  • How would you rate your verbal and written communication skills in a professional setting? Example Answer:

    “I have developed my communication skills throughout my schooling and career. I’m meticulous about proofreading emails and reports. In all my work interactions, I strive to maintain a calm and professional demeanor.”

  • Describe your experience organizing and filing large amounts of paperwork. Example Answer:

    “I pride myself on my organizational skills, and I have extensive experience managing heavy paperwork loads in a file room as well as a digital archive. Using an alpha-numeric filing system is something that comes naturally to me. I’m used to doing a lot of filing each day.”

  • Do you have experience using a multi-line phone system, and if so, how do you manage calls when it’s busy? Example Answer:

    “I used a multi-line phone system at my previous job where I was responsible for taking and transferring calls that ranged from telemarketers to the CEO. I gathered basic preliminary information from each caller and determined which calls should be prioritized, which could wait longer on hold, and which should be sent straight to voicemail or request a callback.”

  • In your personal opinion, what is the most rewarding part of being a secretary? Example Answer:

    “There are many aspects of the job that I enjoy. I like keeping everything neat and organized, and I also enjoy speaking with people on the phone. But since I’m an extroverted person by nature, I think my favorite part is the face-to-face interactions daily. I love meeting new people.”

  • 7 ADMIN ASSISTANT Interview Questions and Answers (PASS!)

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