Eleana Bowman
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Commonly asked interview questions for administrative assistants
Last updated: September 27, 2022
Eleana Bowman
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Commonly asked interview questions for administrative assistants
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You’re confident that you’re the best candidate for the job, and now you just need to prove it to the hiring manager. The best way to achieve interview success is to prepare in advance.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten interview questions for administrative assistants. We’ve also included some best practices to employ when answering these questions to guarantee that you come across as highly professional and the ideal fit for the position.

What is an administrative assistant?

An administrative assistant is responsible for maintaining a good office environment by making travel and meeting arrangements, maintaining filing systems, and preparing reports.

The average pay of an administrative assistant is $40,217 per year. However, an administrative assistant’s income will greatly depend on their level of experience.

Top 10 administrative assistant interview questions and answers

Let’s take a look at five common and five behavioral interview questions.

5 common administrative assistant interview questions

First, let’s look at five common questions that you may be asked in an administrative assistant interview.

1. What makes you stand out over other candidates?

Here, the hiring manager wants to hear what you think your greatest strengths are and why they make you unique.

How to answer:

The key is to reflect on your strengths before the interview and connect these strengths with the job description.

For example, communication skills are vital for an administrative assistant role. So, you can mention how you excel at communication and give an example of how your communication skills have been useful in the past.

2. What office equipment and software are you proficient in?

A good administrative assistant has great organizational skills. As such, the hiring manager expects you to know your way around some tools and software programs.

How to answer:

Mention the software, as well as the organizational and project management tools you’ve used in the past.

Tip: If you’re efficient in Apple products, be sure to mention it, as efficiency in MacOS can increase your salary by 35%. Microsoft Office and Powerpoint skills are also highly valued.

3. How do you juggle high-priority tasks and projects?

An administrative assistant position comes with multiple high-priority tasks and responsibilities. The hiring manager wants to see your prioritization and judgment skills.

How to answer:

Here, you need to demonstrate how you can handle multiple projects at the same time. Explain a situation where you juggled different tasks and divided your time to ensure that all the projects were completed on time.

4. What experience do you have in administration?

When asking this question, the hiring manager doesn’t only want to know your level of experience as an admin assistant but also whether you’re confident in the role.

How to answer:

It’s essential to be honest. Start with your most recent, relevant job experience. Here, you can mention all your hard skills and qualifications that are relevant to administration. If you have some soft skills that also apply, explain how these skills added to your experience.

5. What’s the most challenging part of being an administrative assistant?

The hiring manager’s main reason for asking this question is to discover your greatest weakness.

How to answer:

The key to answering this question is to admit to your weakness and explain how you plan to develop and improve this area. This shows the hiring manager that you’re aware of your flaw and willing to do what’s necessary to fix it.

five behavioral interview questions

Behavioral interview questions focus on how you’ve handled certain situations in your last job — revealing your character traits, skills, and abilities. Most often, you’ll use the STAR method to answer behavioral questions.

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Let’s take a look at five behavioral questions you may be asked in an administrative assistant interview.

1. Describe a time when you had to maintain discretion in your job. How did you handle it?

This behavioral question focuses on identifying your personal traits and interpersonal skills.

How to answer:

Using the STAR method, explain a past situation where you had to behave or speak in a certain way to avoid revealing sensitive information or causing offense.

2. Describe a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker or supervisor. How did you handle it?

Disagreements and conflicts are bound to happen in the workplace. The hiring manager wants to see how you handle such conflicts.

How to answer:

Explain a situation where there was workplace conflict (either between you and one of your team members or you and your supervisor). Describe how you handled the situation and what you learned from it.

3. Have there been times when you’ve gone over and above your normal duties?

The hiring manager wants to see whether you’re willing to go the extra mile when needed and if you can bring additional skills to the job beyond administration.

How to answer:

Describe one or more past experiences where you went above and beyond your job responsibilities. Explain what actions you took and what the outcome was.

4. Have you ever received a call from an upset client? How did you handle it?

As an administrative professional, it’s your job to maintain a professional manner when speaking with customers. The hiring manager wants to see whether you’re able to do so even when customers are unfriendly.

How to answer:

Tell the hiring manager about a time when an upset client spoke with you and how you handled the situation. If they had a problem, explain how your problem-solving skills helped solve the issue.

5. Describe a time when you had to support a large team. Were you successful?

This question helps the hiring manager understand whether you’re able to multitask, prioritize work, and meet deadlines when supporting large teams.

How to answer:

Mention a team project that you’ve worked on in the past and how you were able to support the team in all their tasks. Describe what your responsibilities were and how your time management skills helped your team succeed.

You’re ready for your administrative assistant interview

Now that you’ve seen the top common and behavioral interview questions for administrative assistants, you can start preparing.

However, the first step is to find the best administrative assistant work opportunities for you. Luckily there are many available right here on Jobcase! To learn more, head over to our article about how to prepare for an interview to help you land your dream job.

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