If you’re preparing to interview for a job as an administrative assistant, get ready to find ways to showcase a wide variety of skills.
A hiring manager will likely be looking to connect with you as a job candidate in ways that go beyond your resume and cover letter.
Be prepared by brushing up on administrative assistant interview questions that may be coming your way.
In an interview, your potential employer may be looking to assess the qualifications and qualities that make you stand out, from your computer skills to your ability to work well with others. Studying up in advance on the kinds of questions that may come up can help you shine and ace your administrative assistant interview.
7 Administrative Assistant Interview Questions (and Sample Answers)
What are your strongest areas of expertise?
Given the broad range of tasks that administrative assistants are often asked to cover, now’s the time to blow your own horn. Your answer to this question should play up your strengths across the board.
Possible answer: Be specific. Rather than saying “I’m good with computers,” talk about your training, certifications, and experience. For example, discuss any business courses you’ve completed, or specifics like a Microsoft specialist certification. Mention any responsibilities you were given in past jobs because of your strength in a specific area, like written communication or dealing with the public.
What tools do you use for time management?
Getting things done on schedule and helping your supervisor or team members stay on track are common specifications for administrative assistants. Employers value administrative professionals who not only manage their own time well, but also help others meet deadlines and priorities. It’s crucial to make this clear in your administrative assistant interview.
Possible answer: If you have expertise or familiarity with time management tools that have helped you in the past, describe your experience now. Your time management helpmates don’t have be apps or other “techie” tools; you can also talk about strategies like goal-setting (and goal meeting), organizational skills, and meeting or exceeding deadlines.
How do you juggle competing assignments?
This question is related to queries about time management, but it goes more specifically to your judgement when it comes to prioritizing work. If you’re interviewing for an administrative assistant role that requires you to work for multiple people, or for a team, multitasking will be central to the job.
Possible answer: Talk specifically about how you’ve communicated in the past with supervisors and team members to prioritize and determine which tasks are most important. You might also offer a specific work-related example that illustrates good decision-making in prioritizing a long to-do list.
Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with a difficult boss, colleague, or client.
This personality-based interview question is meant to assess your ability to deal with people in challenging situations. Administrative assistants can be the ultimate problem solvers and “fixers.” That can mean staying calm and focused, and achieving a good outcome.
Possible answer: You might focus again on specific scenarios from your work past (without naming names of the difficult people) where you kept your cool under fire. You’ll be ahead of the game if you can reference your personality type from a Myers-Briggs test or similar assessment to talk about how that helps you keep your cool when work gets tough.
Describe your communication strengths and weaknesses.
Good communication means a lot of give and take: conveying information to clients and colleagues, and receiving incoming information with a full understanding of what’s needed or expected. Hiring supervisors who ask this type of question want to know about your clarity of thought, in both written and verbal exchanges.
Possible answer: Avoid giving an answer that says “I’m good at this, but not good at that.” Instead, talk factually about a communications-based task you did well—a report or a presentation before a group, for example. As for discussing “weaknesses in a job interview,” use the questions as an opportunity to focus on an actual strength (“I’m a stickler for detail”), or bring up an administrative weakness you had and how you overcame it (“I used to focus on one project at a time, but now I’ve learned to multitask”).
What kind of work schedule are you seeking?
This is one of the administrative assistant interview questions that gives you an opportunity to express your desire for work flexibility. It’s always best to be clear up front if you’re looking for a part-time schedule, work-from-home flexibility, an alternate schedule option, or some other iteration of flexible work.
Possible answer: While the job description may spell out a required schedule, be specific in your response and focus on the type of work flexibility you’re seeking. The more specific you can be about the hours and days you want to work, the better.
What other skills do you have that can transfer to an admin assistant job?
Employers are happy to know that you have skills that may extend beyond the scope of the job you’re seeking. If a hiring manager asks about your transferable skills, take it as a great opening to discuss what you can bring to the job beyond what may be listed on your resume.
Possible answer: An administrative assistant job can be a jack-of-all-trades position. So besides talking about the specific job-related skills the employer may already know about, this question offers an opportunity to talk about soft or intangible skills like optimism, self-confidence, and trainability.
Acing Your Administrative Assistant Interview
Now that you have an understanding of how to answer administrative assistant interview questions, let us connect you to opportunities. We offer flexible positions in more than 50 job categories, including administrative assistant jobs. Browse our openings today!
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