Common job interview questions for an office assistant role

Last updated: July 20, 2024
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Jennifer Young
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Common job interview questions for an office assistant role
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If you've applied for a job as an office assistant and been asked to come in for an interview, you want to get your answers right.

Making it to the interview stage is no small feat. If you’ve managed to make it this far, meeting the hiring manager is your chance to impress.

To help you prepare, we've put together a list of common questions and sample answers.

Before you go to your office assistant interview, check out these sample questions and how to answer them.

What is an office assistant?

Office assistants work in an office environment. They support their team members and are responsible for a range of administrative tasks.

They answer phones, file documents, book appointments, and attend meetings.

Office assistants need to know how to use office equipment like fax machines and copiers. They also need to use computer programs like Microsoft Office. Some office assistants even need to order office supplies and keep the workspace clean and tidy.

When you’re an office assistant, you can work either full-time or part-time. You’d also often find yourself working alongside office managers, receptionists, executive assistants, and administrative assistants.

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What are the most common interview questions for office assistants?

Let's take a look at some of the most common office assistant interview questions and how you should answer them.

Remember, you can practice these questions and answers ahead of time. Doing so might give you an added confidence boost on the day.

QUESTION: Do you have any work experience as an office assistant?

One of the most common job interview questions is, "do you have any work experience?"

The reason employers ask this is to learn about your existing skills and abilities.

While the answer to this question is on your resume, the hiring manager wants to hear you walk them through it.

There are a few things they’re looking for when answering this question, all in the name of determining whether you have the skills an efficient office assistant might need.

The office assistant job description may include a list of essential skills and desired skills. You can use these checklists to answer this question.

For example, you may need computer skills, telephone skills, and experience in customer service. Some other desired skills may include cash handling and experience taking minutes during meetings.

If it's an entry-level position and you don't have past experience, you can still answer this question. Just use examples from your last job, school, or extracurricular activities that overlap.

Hiring managers want to know that you're a fast learner. If they have to train you, they want to know that you'll put in your best effort.

How to answer this question:

"I have been working as an administrative assistant for one year. In this role, I work closely with other team members and support the office manager.

I assist customers using a multi-phone system. I use my strong communication skills to answer questions, book appointments, and process orders. I have experience in cash handling and can confidently use the EFTPOS system.

I'm also responsible for travel arrangements and recently organized the itinerary for senior management for an interstate conference."

If you don't have experience, you can say:

"While I don't have any direct experience as an office assistant, I'm dedicated and hard working. I'm a fast learner with good problem-solving skills and computer skills.

I was the captain of my high school cheerleading team. In this role, I was responsible for managing the group and organizing competitions. I've also been part of the Girl Scout's Association and have experience in cash handling."

QUESTION: Tell us about your relevant computer skills

Offices use technology for their day-to-day processes. Most office assistants spend time using the computer, so existing skills are essential to their efficiency.

When answering this question, think about the types of programs that are relevant to the workplace. For example, knowing your way around Microsoft Office, accounting software, and word-processing tools would be useful.

How to answer this question:

"I know your company is fast-paced, and you rely heavily on technology. Part of my current role includes using Microsoft Office products, such as Excel, Powerpoint, and Word. I've used these programs for data entry, word-processing, and invoicing.

I am comfortable using email programs, and I’m passionate about helping customers. I also have some experience in project management and often schedule appointments and tasks for other team members.

I was recently involved in a decision to change our client management system. Our company now has a strong focus on prioritizing tasks, goal setting, and improving efficiency."

QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Companies want to hire office assistants who want to grow with the business. For example, they may want to invest time and money training you for future leadership opportunities.

Hiring managers may be prioritizing candidates who want a long-term future with the company.

While you should always be honest, you should try to align your goals with the brand. For example, avoid talking about your personal life and focus on your career goals instead.

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How to answer this question:

"In five years, I want to have finished a course in leadership. I hope to use my new skills to join your management training program."

For more information on how to answer this question, click here.

QUESTION: Why do you want to work here?

Hiring managers ask this question because they want to know if you'll be a good fit for their company.

Before they give you a job offer, they want to know that you'll thrive in the work environment and embrace the company culture.

They also want to know that you've done your research. Have you looked up the company? Do you understand its values? Have you read the job description? What makes them stand out?

How to answer this question:

"From what I know about the company, it's a fast-paced environment. I'm excited about the opportunity to use my time management skills and be in an ever-changing workplace.

I know this is a company that offers ongoing training and support to your employees. I think my long-term goals for career development align with your vision for the future."

You can also comment on your experience during the visit. For example:

"When I entered the office space, I was impressed by the open plan. The staff was warm and friendly, and I noticed a positive workplace vibe."

Where to find a job as an office assistant

You can browse office assistant positions on our job board. You may also want to look for an administrative assistant job.

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Getting an office assistant job interview

If you have an office assistant interview, there are a few common questions you can expect.

Hiring managers may be looking for specific skills, long-term goals, and whether you'd be a good fit for the company.

In this article, we gave you a list of possible interview questions. And we included sample answers. Our list included questions about work experience, computer skills, where you may see yourself in five years, and why you want to work there.

If you want more tips, visit the Getting Hired Resource Center. You can learn how to answer difficult questions like, "what are your greatest strengths?" or, "what are your greatest weaknesses?"



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