Administrative jobs are necessary in nearly every industry, making them among the hottest positions for employers and job seekers alike. Knowing how to answer administrative assistant interview questions will give you an advantage. Admins are also some of the hardest working employees; they multitask behind the scenes to make sure the supplies closet is always fully stocked, invoices are processed on time, and the executives know where they need to be and when.
Because of how crucial admin positions are, employers have high expectations of candidates applying for these jobs. Don’t fret though—after your admin resume wows a hiring manager, we’ve identified five administrative assistant interview questions you can expect and how to best prepare for them.
Can you describe how you avoid grammar and spelling errors in your writing?
Highlights communication skills and the candidates awareness of the need to apply formal writing conventions.
How would you respond to a caller demanding to speak with someone in a meeting?
Evaluates the candidates interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
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!
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.
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:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”