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Executive and administrative assistants are force multipliers. Having a great executive assistant can take hours of work per week off of your plate, allowing you and your team to focus on other aspects of the business. Assistants can also help prioritize tasks, handle communication, manage projects, and create more efficiency in your workflows.
But finding the right administrative assistant can be a challenge. Often times an assistant will have a wide range of skills and experience, making it difficult to know what administrative assistant interview questions you have to ask to find the right candidate.
To help you get started, here are 7 administrative/ executive assistant interview questions to help you find the best candidate for your team:
1. Describe your experience working in an administrative role? What type of responsibility were you given?
2. How do you stay organized and manage multiple, people, projects, or tasks at once?
3. What strategies do you use to prioritize tasks and decide what needs to be worked on first?
4. Tell me about the types of technology you've used in the past.
5. How do you handle persistent and difficult situations or people?
6. What kind of reports or documents have you prepared in the past? Do you have any examples?
7. How do you stay up-to-date on new technology and processes that can help improve workflows and simplify tasks?
These questions should form the basis of your interview process as they cover many of the topics within an AA's (administrative assistant's) role, but simple task orientation is not enough. Be sure to use these questions, and others tailored specifically to your company as a starting point and then dive deeper into the various skills and experiences of each candidate with follow-up questions, personality profiles, and assessments. By taking the time to understand who they are, what they can bring, and how well their skills align with your business goals, you will be able to find the perfect fit for your team in no time.
When hiring an executive assistant, make sure that person can operate as an extension of you and your team. For instance, if they'll be handling scheduling and communications, ensure that they communicate in a manner that is consistent with the company's brand and team style. It’s also important to look for an individual who can take initiative and suggest solutions or ideas when needed, rather than simply carrying out instructions - as giving regular instructions adds another task to your plate rather than removing it.
If you're hiring an assistant and would like to see more questions to ask in an executive or administrative assistant interview, schedule a demo to chat with someone on our team. Pillar has over 1000 interview questions in our database, divided into specific categories that can be added to your interviews, once you've chosen your questions they can be added to our interview intelligence software to be used as prompts in interviews. This creates a fairer, more consistent interviewing process.
Administrative assistants take on many diverse roles within an organization, from social media marketing, office, and calendar organization, event planning, research, and handling customer queries, they're the jack-of-all-trades in the office. So it's important to define what their role will look like before coming up with questions to ask them in the interview.
Once you've defined the scope of work that your new AA will take on, it's time to define administrative assistant interview questions and answers. Here are some questions and answers to consider:
If you're going to have them handle customer inquiries:
Answer: I have worked in customer service for the past three years, providing front-line support to customers and resolving their inquiries in a timely manner. I am proficient with a range of software programs, including CRM systems and email marketing.
If you're going to have them handle event planning:
Answer: I recently organized a company anniversary event with the goal of increasing employee engagement. I was responsible for coordinating vendors, ordering catering and decorations, setting up the venue, and executing the event plan. It was a success because employee engagement numbers went up 10% on average after that event.
Finally, if you're going to have them take on research tasks:
Answer: I typically start by using online search engines to find relevant articles and reports. After that, I will review the information and cross-reference it with other sources to ensure the accuracy of the information and then summarize my findings in a concise report.
Take the time to craft thoughtful and specific questions before you begin your interview process. Remember that this candidate can have a huge effect on everything they touch, so you'll want to find a great one. Utilizing interview intelligence software can also help you gain insights into each candidate's experience and skill set. This will enable you to find an executive or administrative assistant who is the perfect fit for your team!
Every administrative assistant's role is going to look a bit different, but the core role is still the same. To get a better understanding of how they would handle certain situations, you may want to ask scenario-based questions for administrative assistants. In this section, we'll customize questions and answers to specific types of administrative assistants.
School Administrative Assistant Interview Questions and Answers:
Answer: At my previous job, I had to handle a situation in which two students were arguing over the same project grade. The parent of one student expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome and requested that I intervene. After speaking with both parties, I was able to explain the procedure that was used to determine the grade and why I felt it was fair. Ultimately, both parties agreed with my explanation and were satisfied with the result.
Medical Office Administrative Assistant Interview Questions and Answers:
Answer: I once had to process a large number of patient records in a short period of time. I was able to prioritize tasks and delegate smaller jobs to other staff members while ensuring that all deadlines were met. In the end, we were able to complete the project before the deadline and everything ran smoothly.
Interview Questions for Office assistant and Answers:
Answer: At my previous job, I had to handle an irate customer who was angry about the long wait time for their order. After apologizing and providing a discount on the order, I was able to diffuse the situation and ensure that the customer remained satisfied with our services. I continued to provide exceptional customer service throughout the rest of the interaction and was able to keep the customer happy.
These are some examples of how you can ask scenario-based questions to administrative assistants. Remember to focus on the scenario when asking administrative assistant job interview questions and answers as they will provide you with insights into how the person thinks, handles problems, creates solutions, and defines success.
An office admin is potentially the most diverse of all of the administrative assistant roles, so asking the right admin job interview questions and answers is essential to finding the right fit for your team. The question we get most often on the topic is; What are the top 10 most common and most effective interview questions and answers for administrators and executive assistants? The answer is, that’s going to depend on what you need them to do, but here is a couple to get you started:
Q: Describe your experience working in an office environment where you had to balance customer interactions, scheduling, phones, paperwork, and other administrative tasks.
A: In my current role, That's what I do every day. Balancing customer interactions, scheduling meetings and appointments, answering phones, filing documents, and other administrative tasks are what my role primarily consists of and I love it. My experience has also taught me how to manage multiple priorities at once without compromising on quality or speed. I am also confident that I can quickly adapt to any new technology or systems that the office might need.
Q: Describe a time when you identified and corrected an error in records or paperwork. How did you identify the error and correct it?
A: At my previous job, I was responsible for preparing reports on a weekly basis. One week, I noticed an error in the data and immediately brought it to my manager's attention. After doing some additional research and double-checking the records, I was able to identify the source of the error, which ended up being a simple miscalculation, and after double-checking, my work was able to correct it.
As you can see, at Pillar, we prefer one-ended semi-structured questions because we believe that they give us the best results. To reiterate, administrative assistant job interview questions and answers are vast and should cover many topics if you want to make a great hire.
Pillar's video interview software can serve as a force multiplier when hiring an administrative assistant. Our suite of tools, powered by Ai (artificial intelligence), will help you gather the necessary insights to identify the right candidates. Schedule a demo to chat with someone on our team and see how it works.