The 8 Most Common Administrative Assistant Interview Questions and How to Successfully Answer Them

 

Congratulations! You’ve made it to your administrative assistant interview.

 

Now it’s time to seal the deal.

 

The interviewer knows what they’re looking for.

 

And the list of potential questions is endless.

 

But don’t let that put you off.

 

Because we’ve discovered the most common administrative assistant interview questions and how to answer them.

 

All you have to do is keep reading…

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1. “What role do you feel an administrative assistant serves?” 

A great administrative assistant makes a huge impact on the efficiency of an office. 

By asking this question, the interviewer can determine how much you know about the part an administrative assistant plays. As well as this, it helps them get an understanding of what you see as your main job responsibilities. 

Your answer to this question may sound something like: 

“I feel an administrative assistant is crucial to the running of an office. As well as keeping on top of everyday tasks, they help the people they support by keeping the office running smoothly.”

2. “What skills do you consider most important in an administrative assistant position?”

Your answer to this question helps the interviewer determine what skills you believe are important and why

For a stellar answer, keep the skills you discuss in line with the job specification. If they specified that excellent communication is a must-have, then this is a skill that they consider most important to the position! 

To see the skills we at Jump believe are must-haves, check out our administrative assistant job description.

3. “What technology are you experienced with using?”

As #10 on our interview mistakes you need to avoid states, honesty is the best policy when answering interview questions. 

If you’re an absolute tech wiz, that’s brilliant! But if you’re more of a computer novice, be honest about this.

Start by explaining the technological skills you do have. Then, back these up by explaining how you acquired them. Maybe you did an online course, or maybe you have experience with computer software programs from previous jobs. (If this is the case, these skills should already be on your administrative assistant CV!)

Once you’ve done this, you can let the interviewer know if there are any technical skills you are unsure of. But make sure they know that you’re interested in learning and developing your skills

Being open to expanding your knowledge is as much of a win in the interviewers eyes as you having this knowledge in the first place.

4. “Describe a time when you had to plan and organise multiple tasks at once.” 

This question is demanding.

Your response needs to flex your time management, prioritisation and your judgement skills. 

And breathe…Let’s tackle this.

Give a specific example and describe the steps you took to complete your tasks on time and to a high standard. To help you with this, check out our STAR method for answering competency based questions

It can be very stressful balancing lots of deadlines. The interviewer will be able to gage from your answer whether it’s your fight or flight that’s first to the scene. 

This question is especially important if you’re applying for an administrative job in which you’ll be working for many people or a whole team. Show that you can manage and prioritise your own time whilst also helping others meet their deadlines.

5. “How would you handle a situation in which you were given a task but didn’t recieve full instructions?” 

This is an opportunity to show the interviewer how you handle complex situations. 

(Psst: as with question four, our competency based questions advice will help you nail your answer).  

Start by identifying your ability to research the issue on your own. Then, show that you are comfortable asking for assistance and clarification if needed. 

This answer shows that you’re capable of,

  1. Using your own research skills to find solutions
  2. Asking others for assistance when necessary 

No administrative assistant is an island, and asking for help when it’s needed is key to anyone thriving in any job.

6. “Tell me about a time when you successfully contributed to a team.”

An administrative assistant has many independent roles and responsibilities. However, they’ll often be required to help with group projects.

So you need to be a team player

Be prepared to discuss contributions you’ve made to past teams you’ve worked in. For example, you may have helped a team organise a project. If you’re more entry level, you can talk about any major group projects you’ve worked in for a class or as part of an extracurricular group. 

Explain how you contributed, what responsibilities you took charge of, and how you executed them on time. Then, end with how your contributions helped your team to flourish and meet their goals.

7. “Describe a situation when discretion was necessary in your role as an administrative assistant. How did you handle it?” 

Administrative assistants are at the centre of all office information. 

The information that passes through an administrative assistant is high ranging. From confidential information about the office, to sensitive information about customers. 

So, your answer should discuss your ability to remain discrete and to handle confidential information.

8. “What would you do if you didn’t get along with someone in the office?” 

Top Tip: don’t say that you get along with everyone and that this wouldn’t be an issue. Although this may be true, it’s unlikely to impress as an answer.

Instead, explain how you would put in place the necessary tact needed if you didn’t get along with a coworker. Then, show how this tact would help you and your coworker focus on the job at hand rather than any personal conflicts. 

As an administrative assistant, you have to communicate and interact with lots, if not all other staff members at some point. So it’s important to show the interviewer you’re able to remain mature and professional.

And that’s a wrap! Now it’s over to you to use these 8 interview questions and answers to prepare for your administrative assistant interview. 

Remember, interview questions come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t let variances in their  wording or structure throw you off. 

To continue brushing up on your interview skills, have a look at our best interview tips. And if you’re really looking to ace it, check out the questions you should be asking in your job interview.

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