10 Common Questions to Ask an Administrative Assistant at an Interview
Many companies hire administrative assistants to help their teams and keep the office running smoothly. If you know what questions will be asked during an interview for an Administrative Assistant job, you can prepare your answers and stand out as a strong candidate. 10 Common Questions to Ask an Administrative Assistant
In this article, we talk about some of the most common interview questions for Administrative Assistant jobs. We also tell you how to answer these questions and how to use the STAR interview method.
- When you apply for a job as an administrative assistant, be ready to talk about how well you can organize, communicate, and manage your time.
- Using the STAR method, give specific examples of how you made a difference in past jobs.
- Find out what the employer wants and how to answer by reading the job description.
- Administrative assistant interview questions
Here are 10 questions you might be asked at an administrative assistant job interview:
- What do you think the administrative assistant does in the office?
- What’s your favorite part of being a personal assistant?
- How well do you know how to use the office software and equipment?
- Tell me about a project you worked on as a secretary that you really liked.
- What do you think an administrative assistant needs to know the most, and why?
- Tell me about a time when your job as an administrative assistant required you to be quiet and what you did.
- How would you handle a situation in which you were given a task but not given full instructions on how to do it?
- What kind of management do you like best?
- What is the hardest part about being an administrative assistant, in your opinion?
- Tell me about a time you had to help a lot of people at the same time. Were you successful?
How do you think the office runs better because of the administrative assistant?
This question helps the employer figure out how much you know about what an administrative assistant does in the office and how you would describe your job duties. This question can help an employer figure out where you see yourself in the office hierarchy, if you see yourself as part of a team, and if you like doing the things an administrative assistant does. Try to talk about the most common things an administrative assistant does and why that job is important to the office when you answer this question.
“I think that one of the most important people in an office is the administrative assistant. They help the people they support by giving them important information when they need it and making sure everything runs smoothly.
How do you like being a secretary the most?
Most of the time, people who like their jobs are more productive and get more done. This question helps the interviewer figure out what you like about being an administrative assistant and how much you enjoy the job. Think of one or two things you like best about being an administrative assistant, and give an example of a time you did one of those things.
“As an administrative assistant, my favorite part is knowing what’s going on in the office and being a key player in making sure everything runs smoothly. For example, when I worked as a receptionist, I always liked helping my team plan big events and meetings.”
How well do you know how to use the office software and tools?
Your answer to this question is important because it tells the employer what software and office equipment you already know how to use and gives them confidence that you are ready to do your job duties with little training. List the computer programs and office equipment you know how to use and talk about how well you know how to use them when you answer this question.
Example: “I’m very good at using the Microsoft Office Suite products. I took a computer class in school that focused on these programs, and at my last job, I used Word, OneNote, Excel, and PowerPoint every week. I’m also very good at using a wide range of office equipment, like the computer, scanner, printer, fax machine, mail stamping machines, and multi-line phones.
4. Tell me about a project you liked working on as an administrative assistant.
This is another question an interviewer might ask to find out what you like best about being an administrative assistant. This question also tells them how you use your skills to help with projects at the office. It’s best to use the STAR method because it starts with “Tell me about a time when…” This will help you remember a certain project you worked on, what your role was, what you did, how the project turned out, and what you liked best about it.
“As an administrative assistant for a medium-sized law firm, I worked on a project to create a daily schedule for when the team would email clients. This made it easier for the office to talk to clients in a streamlined way.” I told the team that they should check their emails and answer them at least twice a day, at the start and end of their shifts. I liked doing this because I was able to help our team and our clients find a solution to a problem.”
What do you think an administrative assistant needs to know the most, and why?
Your answer to this question will help the interviewer figure out a lot of things, like which skills you think are most important for the job, why you think those skills are important, how you’ve used those skills successfully in the past, and how you’d use those same skills to help your team succeed. When answering this question, you should use the STAR method to talk about how you’ve used key administrative assistant skills in the past and how you’ll use them to help this organization.
“I think the job of an administrative assistant is very important to how well an office runs. So that the office always runs smoothly, an administrative assistant needs to be good at talking to people, keeping track of time, and getting things done. As an executive assistant, it was my job to make and manage the schedules of four executives.
I did this by making sure that each executive’s appointments and meetings were set up in a way that worked for them. Then, I sent them their schedules by email once a week and told them in person every day at our morning meeting. Everyone in the office stayed on track because of this. I can make sure your office runs smoothly by using the same skills.”
6. Tell me about a time at work as an administrative assistant when you had to be discreet and what you did.
Administrative assistants often know a lot of private information about the office and the people who work there and do business with the company. This question helps the employer figure out if you can handle hard or sensitive situations without telling anyone and keeping your word. Again, when answering this question, it’s important to use the STAR method to think of a specific time when discretion and privacy were very important and explain how you handled it.
“As an assistant in human resources, I worked with the director of HR and found out that the number of employees was going to be cut. I knew a lot of people who worked at the company, but I knew it was important to keep quiet to keep the office calm and in order. I knew that someone would be fired, but I didn’t know who or when. Even though this was a stressful time for everyone in our department, I didn’t tell anyone. The rest of the staff found out through official channels at the right time.
What would you do if someone gave you a job but didn’t tell you how to do it?
The interviewer wants to know how you handle hard situations where there aren’t clear instructions. The employer will want to know how you look up information to figure out how to do something and if you are comfortable asking for help and clarification when you need it. Be sure to show that you can do research on your own and ask for help if you don’t understand something when you answer this question.
“If I was given a task and the instructions weren’t clear, I would first think about whether I could do simple research on my own, like a web search, to find the information I needed to do the task. After doing my research, if I still didn’t know what to do, I would go back to the person who gave me the task and ask them to explain. Before I started working on a project, I made sure I knew exactly what needed to be done and when it needed to be done by.
8. What’s your favorite way to run a business?
This question helps the interviewer figure out how independent you are at work and if their style of management fits with how you like to work. Administrative assistants need to be self-sufficient enough to keep the office running smoothly with little supervision. It’s also important that the administrative assistant’s work preferences and the way their supervisor runs the office are the same. When answering this question, it’s important to be honest about your preferences so that the job is a good fit for both you and the employer.
“I prefer a boss who tells me what I need to know to do my job and sets clear expectations, but also gives me the freedom to do my job without micromanaging me.” Since I’m organized and good at managing my time, I don’t need to be checked on often to make sure I’m staying on task and getting things done. I also like getting feedback from time to time that tells me how I’m doing and, if there are ways I can improve, what they are.”
9. What is the hardest thing about being an administrative assistant, in your opinion?
This is another way of saying, “What are your weaknesses?” The way you answer this question shows the interviewer if you can identify your weaknesses and work on them in a specific way. Use the STAR method to describe a hard situation and what you did to solve it when answering this question.
Example: “In my last job, I learned that if I don’t have a clear schedule, it can be hard for me to get things in order. I want to do everything right away, and it’s hard for me to put things off or make people wait while I finish something. I was able to deal with this by putting work tasks in order of when they needed to be done and making a schedule for myself. An electronic calendar has helped me stay on task and finish my projects on time by giving me a clear plan for each day.
10.Tell me about a time you had to help a lot of people at the same time. Were you successful?
This question helps the interviewer figure out how well you can set priorities, work on more than one thing at once, meet deadlines, and work well with a large team. This question is great for people who have never worked as an administrative assistant before because it lets you talk about how well you can do the main tasks of the job and back up your answer with an example from a team project you’ve worked on. Like with other questions, you should use the STAR method to answer this one by giving a specific, relevant example from your past.
Example: “I’m good at working with big groups of people and supporting them so they can reach their goals. I was on the cheerleading team for all four years of high school. I was chosen to be the team captain during my junior and senior years. As the team’s captain, it was my job to plan routines, set times for practices and events, and make sure everyone was at practices and ready for events. During my senior year, I led our team to the state championships, where we came in second.
The STAR interview method
The STAR interview technique is a way to answer behavioral interview questions in a clear and concise way by giving examples from real life. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. To use this method to answer an interview question, you need to clearly describe a specific situation you’ve been in that is relevant to the question, explain what your role was in the situation, explain what you did to solve the problem, and explain what the end result was. When you use this method, you can answer the question by giving an example.