Important Administrative Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

a picture of business professionals interviewing for a Administrative Assistant role and conducting an interview

Here are administrative assistant interview questions and answers. Administrative Assistants are needed by businesses in various sectors to support their teams and administer the office. Knowing what to expect during an Administrative Assistant interview will help you prepare your responses and make you stand out as a quality candidate.

What does an Administrative Assistant do?

Administrative assistants aid other employees by organizing files, drafting messages, scheduling appointments, and assisting them. Administrative assistants utilize computers to make spreadsheets, compose emails, maintain databases, and prepare presentations, reports, and publications.

They may also negotiate with vendors, purchase supplies, manage stockrooms or corporate libraries, and get information from various sources.

administrative assistant interview questions

  • Answering the phone while gazing at her computer is an administrative assistant.
  • Job responsibilities differ depending on experience, job title, and expertise. An administrative assistant's duties may include the following:
  • Organize records and messages using both paper and computerized file systems.
  • Incoming mail and email are routed and distributed.
  • Respond to standard letters and emails.
  • Respond to incoming messages and attach files.
  • To guarantee the accuracy, check your spelling and punctuation.
  • Ensuring fax machines, videoconferencing, phone systems, and other office equipment are operational.
  • Spreadsheets, word processing, database administration, and other applications may all get done on computers.
  • Fill out the forms in line with the company's policies.

The STAR interview approach is a method of answering questions in an interview.

Situation, task, action, and result (STAR). The STAR interview approach is a way of addressing behavioral interview questions succinctly and clearly, with real-life examples to back up your response. When answering an interview question with this strategy, you must clearly characterize a specific circumstance you have encountered that is relevant to the interviewer's question, describe your involvement in the event, explain the activities you took to overcome the problem and describe the ultimate result. This strategy allows you to respond to the question with a particular example.

Related: What makes you unique

Interview questions for administrative assistants

Here are some things you could get asked during an administrative assistant job interview:

  • What, in your opinion, is the administrative assistant's duty in the office?
  • What are your favorite aspects of working as an administrative assistant?
  • What office software and equipment do you know how to use?
  • As an administrative assistant, describe a project you loved working on.
  • What, in your opinion, are the most crucial talents for an administrative assistant, and why?
  • Describe a time when discretion was required in your work as an administrative assistant and how you dealt with the circumstance.
  • What would you do if you were assigned a task but didn't get all of the necessary instructions?
  • What kind of leadership style do you prefer?
  • What do you think the most difficult aspect of the administrative assistant job is?
  • Tell me about a moment when you had to manage a huge group of people. Were you able to succeed?
  • Can you explain to me how you manage scheduling meetings across multiple supervisors?
  • Tell me a time you had to resolve and complete a challenging project.
  • What does a typical day look like for administrative professionals?
  • What's your technique for maintaining schedules?
  • Could you assist managers in creating professional development plans?

1. In your opinion, what function does the administrative assistant play in the office?

Employers use this question to see how much you know about an administrative assistant position in the workplace and how you would approach your job obligations. This question can help an employer understand how you see yourself in the workplace hierarchy if you see yourself as a team player and appreciate the administrative assistant responsibilities. When answering this question, try to focus on the most typical administrative assistant responsibilities and why the position is crucial to the office.

Example

"I believe the administrative assistant is an important element of a team." They assist the individuals they support by delivering critical information as needed and ensuring that everything goes well in addition to keeping up with daily activities such as filing, organizing, and managing schedules."

2. What are your favorite aspects of working as an administrative assistant?

People who like what they do at work are frequently more productive and effective. This question allows the interviewer to learn more about what you appreciate about your job as an administrative assistant and how much you enjoy your work. When answering this question, think of one or two things about being an administrative assistant that you love the most, and back up your response with a description of a recent experience performing what you enjoy the most.

Example

"What I like best about being an administrative assistant is being able to keep up with everything that is going on in the office and being a crucial person who ensures that everything works well." In my former position as a receptionist, for example, I always liked assisting my colleagues in planning important events and meetings."

3. What software and office equipment do you know how to operate?

Your response to this question is crucial since it informs the employer about the software and office equipment you've used before and provides them with confidence that you'll be able to get right into your work responsibilities with minimum training. Identify the computer software applications and office equipment you have used in the past and describe your degree of comfort with them while answering this question.

Example

"I am an expert user of the Microsoft Office Suite of products," for example. Not only did I attend a computer class in school that concentrated on these tools, but in my prior position, I utilized Word and Evernote daily and Excel and PowerPoint weekly. I'm also at ease with a variety of office equipment, such as a computer, scanner, printer, fax machine, mail stamping machines, and multi-line telephones."

4. Describe a project as an administrative assistant that you enjoyed working on.

Another question an interviewer could ask to find out what you enjoy most about working as an administrative assistant is this one. This question also helps them understand how you use your abilities to help with workplace initiatives. Because it starts with "Describe a moment...", it's preferable to apply the STAR method to approach it. That way, you'll be able to pinpoint a specific project you worked on, your position in it, the activities you did, the project's outcome, and what you liked best about it.

Example

"In my employment as an administrative assistant for a medium-sized law practice, I worked on a project to construct a daily timetable that coordinated when the team spoke with customers through email.

I explained to the staff that they should check and respond to emails at least twice a day, at the start and conclusion of their shift. I appreciated doing this since I was able to contribute to the resolution of a problem. And one that both our team and our clients were experiencing."

5. What talents do you think are most crucial for an administrative assistant's work, and why?

Use the STAR approach to discuss how you have utilized critical administrative assistant abilities in the past and how you will use them to contribute to this company when answering this question. Your response will aid the interviewer in determining many things. Including the talents you feel are most important for the position, why those skills are necessary, how you have effectively utilized those skills in the past, and how you would use the same skills to contribute to your team's success.

Example

"An administrative assistant's duty is crucial for ensuring that an office functions properly," for example. An administrative assistant must have great communication, time-management, and organizational abilities to guarantee that the office functions efficiently at all times. As an executive assistant, I used to be in charge of organizing and monitoring the schedules of four executives.

I achieved this by utilizing a bespoke scheduling application to appropriately book appointments and meetings for each executive and then communicating their calendars to them weekly by email and in-person during our morning meeting. This allowed the entire office to stay on schedule. I can bring these similar talents to your company to ensure that everything goes correctly."

6. Describe a time when you had to use discretion in your work as an administrative assistant and how you dealt with it.

Administrative assistants frequently have access to sensitive information about the workplace and the company's clients. This question allows the employer to see if you can handle complex or delicate issues while keeping discretion and secrecy. When answering this question, utilize the STAR method to find a specific circumstance in which discretion and confidentiality were vital to the situation and describe how you handled it.

Example

"In my capacity as a human resources assistant, I assisted the director of HR and learned about a planned personnel reduction." I had a lot of friends who worked for the firm, but I knew that keeping structure and tranquility in the office required prudence. Even though I didn't know who would be let go, I knew that it would happen and when. This was a stressful moment for everyone in our department. I kept my secrecy and the information was shared with the rest of the staff via proper channels at the right time."

7. What would you do if you were assigned a task but didn't get all of the necessary instructions?

This question allows the interviewer to learn more about your strategy to deal with difficult circumstances in which there are no clear directions. The employer will want to know what research skills you utilize to figure out how to perform something and whether you're comfortable asking for clarification and help when necessary. As answering this question, be careful to state your ability to conduct independent research on the topic and seek clarification when necessary.

Example

"If I was given a task and didn't get clear directions, the first thing I'd do is see if I could find the information I needed by conducting my own research, such as conducting a Google search." If I still required more information after conducting my investigation, I would contact the person assigned me the work and request clarification. Before I start working on the assignment, I'd make sure I grasp entirely what has to get done and what the task's deadline is."

8. Do you have a preferred management style?

This question aids the interviewer in determining your level of workplace independence and determining whether their management style is compatible with your job preferences. Administrative assistants must be self-sufficient enough to keep the office operating smoothly with minimal supervision, but it is also critical that their work preferences and their supervisor's management style agree. It's critical to be honest about your preferences while answering this question to ensure that the position is suitable for both you and the company.

Example

"I prefer a supervisor that provides me with the knowledge I need to fulfill my job, has clear expectations and trusts me to complete those tasks without micromanaging me." I don't need someone to check in on me frequently to ensure I remain on track and productive since I'm organized and effective at managing my time. I also like occasional feedback that tells me how I'm doing and, if applicable, makes ideas for development."

9. What do you think the most challenging aspect of the administrative assistant job is?

This is a different approach of inquiring about your flaws. The way you respond to this question indicates to the interviewer if you can identify and establish particular areas for development. When answering this question, utilize the STAR method to choose a specific circumstance that you found difficult to overcome and describe how you overcame it.

Example

"In my previous work, I realized that if I don't employ a clear timetable to manage my time, I sometimes struggle to prioritize assignments." I have difficulty putting things aside or having someone wait for me to finish a task because I want to get everything done right away. I overcame this by making a well-organized plan for myself that prioritizes job projects according to their due dates. I've found that using an electronic calendar to precisely arranging my days has helped me keep on track and finish my work on time."

10. Tell me about a moment when you had to manage a huge group of people. Were you able to succeed?

This question allows the interviewer to assess your ability to prioritize work, multitask, meet deadlines, and effectively assist a large team. This question is appropriate for applicants who haven't worked as an administrative assistant before since it allows you to discuss your ability to accomplish the job's fundamental tasks while also providing proof from a team project you've worked on. This question, like others, should be answered utilizing the STAR method, which requires you to provide a particularly relevant example from your prior experiences.

Example

"I am exceptional at working on large teams and assisting them in a way that helps them reach their objectives," for example. I was a part of my high school's cheering team for four years, and during my junior and senior years, I was named captain of the team. I was in charge of choreographing routines, organizing practices and events, and ensuring that everyone on the team attended sessions and got prepared for events as the team's captain. Our squad competed in the state championships during my senior year, and we finished second."

How do I prepare for an administrative assistant interview?

Here's how to prepare:

  • Research the company in advance.
  • Review the job description.
  • Practice using a mock interview.
  • Highlight your critical soft skills and hard skills.

What skills are most important for an administrative assistant?

Here are the top skills all administrative assistants should have. A hiring manager will use interview questions to determine your ability to manage multiple tasks in an office environment. And allow your responses to determine your fit for the administrative assistant role.

  • Organizational skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Computer skills.
  • Project management skills.
  • Time management skills.
  • Data entry skills.
  • Special skills like creative thinking, handling multi-line telephones, and other job-specific skills.

How to answer, "Why should we hire you" for an administrative position?

Hiring managers want to see job applicants comprehend what makes them unique. Use experiences from your last job to describe what makes you special. Managing multiple projects, completing special initiatives, or handling office culture. Go above and beyond the initial job responsibilities.

Best answer example:

I am highly organized, like making things go more efficiently, and have over ten years of expertise in this field. I continue to work in this field because I enjoy it. As an administrative assistant, I consider my work as ensuring that a complete office runs well, and it is my responsibility to do so.

How should an administrative assistant answer, "Tell me about yourself" in a job interview?

You should explain your educational qualifications, work experience, and talents in response to the "tell me about yourself."

For example, "I am a business administration graduate who has worked as an administrative assistant for five years."

administrative assistant interview questions

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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