03 May 10 Best Interview Questions for Administrative Assistants
Interviews are stressful for both the person being questioned and the one doing the asking. So much of it is rote: tell me about yourself, what are your strengths and weaknesses, why are you a good candidate for this job, etc.
When you’re looking to hire a new administrative assistant, you might want to ask different types of questions to make sure the person is a good fit for the company and the job, because this role requires a special kind of person to handle the myriad responsibilities of the position.
Here are 10 great interview questions to ask when interviewing for an administrative assistant.
What organizational tools do you use and why?
This is useful on a few fronts: You’ll find out if they are familiar with the software your company already has in place; if they’re using something different it might be something worth checking out regardless of who your next assistant is, and it shows their ability to incorporate and utilize technology to help do their job better.
How do you juggle high-priority tasks?
An administrative assistant is an incredibly important role that will have someone going in multiple directions at once on a regular basis. There will be times when there are competing high-priority tasks that need to be addressed immediately and it’s worth knowing how each candidate addresses that situation.
How do you handle a situation if you feel stuck?
These two questions, if asked back-to-back, will speak to whether the person is a problem solver who will be willing to try and work things out on their own, or someone who will want to ask advice and help so as to not delay progress on a project. Neither is a better or worse approach, but it will help demonstrate if someone has the kind of experience and earned knowledge from their working history to fit into your office’s speed and complexity.
What is your biggest professional accomplishment to date?
Give them a chance to brag a little about their experience. Everyone should have something to be proud of, whether it’s something small like working to get a recycling bin added to a paper-heavy office, starting a company softball team, or something more in line with their responsibilities, like a new filing system or mastering a software that has made their work easier and more efficient.
Have you ever been asked to use discretion about an issue at work? How did you handle that?
Administrative assistants are sometimes privy to sensitive information about coworkers or might have access to documents that need to be kept under wraps for a while. It’s good to know up front how a candidate would maintain their responsibilities and what they would do to keep word from spreading before the time was right. It’s one thing for administrative assistants to speak quietly together for support, but sometimes that’s even advised against. If the candidate can provide an example of doing this, understand they might need to speak vaguely — or if they divulge a lot of information, that could be a red flag that they might not take their boundaries seriously.
What do you like about being an administrative assistant?
This is a pretty simple one: You’ll want someone who can come in every day and enjoy their job, especially if this role has a more public-facing position at your company. Someone who enjoys the challenges of their job and that every day is a little different is someone who can roll with an ever-changing list of responsibilities and tasks.
What do you feel is the role of an administrative assistant?
How do they see their job? Do they see it as utilitarian or important? Do they see it as a big job or a small one? Their response to this question can provide insight into how busy they expect to be, how seriously they’ll take their responsibilities and their general attitude about their work.
Have you had a conflict with someone at work? How did you handle it?
Most administrative assistants will have to work with a lot of people, often at the same time, and things might get stressful. Asking how they address this kind of situation will speak to their ability to handle competing interests and how they get along with people in general, especially in professional settings.
How do you think this job can help you grow?
People get bored in their jobs and can start to look around for something new if they’re no longer interested or feeling like they can learn something. If a candidate feels like they can gain new skills or add depth to their previous experience, that’s an indication that they’re interested in sticking around for a while.
Why do you want to work for this company?
The answer to this question can shed some light on how much research they’ve done in preparation for the interview. Do they provide answers that suggest they’ve done their homework and took time to learn about your company, its reputation and history? Or is it a standard, generic answer that could be given for any position at any company?
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Hiring an administrative assistant is a big task, but these questions can help you learn a little more about your prospective employee, how they view the job and how they think about work. Hopefully they can help you find a perfect fit!
If you’re looking for more candidates, call LeadingEdge Personnel. We have excellent candidates with the background you’re looking for, and we can also help provide temporary assistance while you’re looking for a permanent placement if you need help in a hurry. Call LeadingEdge today and let’s get to work!