9 Common Administrative Assistant Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
May 16th, 2018 Written by: Molly Masterson
If you’re in the market for a new job as an administrative assistant, you need to highlight several strengths in your job interview if you want a shot at the job offer. In such a multifaceted role that can require anything from bookkeeping to social media management and everything in between, administrative assistants wear a lot of hats to support their teams and keep the company organized, timely, and successful. And that work is only growing with 60% of administrative assistants reporting that their workload has increased.
As a vital support system that takes on a lot of work, executives want to hire assistants that are professional, resourceful, positive, and have a host of other qualities. Expressing those qualities in your job interview answers is crucial to making a great first impression with employers.
Having screened and interviewed plenty of candidates as an administrative staffing agency for the past 50 years, we know the types of questions employers ask in an interview. To help you prepare and impress, check out the common administrative assistant interview questions and how to answer them down below.
Administrative Assistant Interview Questions & Answers
Prepare for interview questions that relate specifically to the administrative assistant role with the questions and answers we’ve gathered for you.
1. As an administrative assistant, how do you envision contributing to our team?
Administrative assistants do not have a small role by any means. Show employers that you can make a big impact by sharing the ways you expect to contribute to or support their success.
- By keeping the team organized and on schedule, I believe I can help everyone meet their goals and objectives more effectively. Plus, by taking administrative work off of their plates, they can use their time more efficiently and increase their productivity at work.
2. What’s the best project you’ve worked on as an administrative assistant? Why did you like it?
To gain an idea of the work you’ve completed in the past as an administrative assistant, but also see what kind of work you enjoy, interviewers will often ask you to share specific examples of your work history. If this question or a similar one comes up, walk them through a project you worked on, why it was important, and why you enjoyed it.
- Our marketing team needed help with executing their social media plan to attract and engage customers. I enjoyed helping schedule and write the messages as it exposed me to a new area of business — marketing. It also allowed me to exercise my attention to detail and communication skills, which impressed my teammates.
3. How do you feel the administrative assistant role has changed or will change in the future?
Indicate to employers that you can see the bigger picture and anticipate changes. Then, show them that you can and already have adapted to that change through your skillset or work history.
- While some think that administrative assistants will be replaced by technology, I would actually argue that they will be enhanced by technology. Technology on its own can’t accomplish everything, the people behind it are what make it effective. If administrative assistants can adapt to new technological advancements it will only help them better support their teammates and executives. That’s why I focused on developing my Microsoft Outlook and Excel skills in past positions.
4. In your opinion, what are the most important skills that a good administrative assistant should have?
This question is a great opportunity to map your own strengths to the requirements listed in the job description. Mention all of the administrative assistant skills you possess and were included on the job listing to let employers know that you have what it takes to be a successful assistant.
- First and foremost, I believe a good administrative assistant needs to be organized if they want to help coordinate the team. In addition, they need to have great time management skills to help with scheduling meetings and staying on task. Personally, I feel computer skills and communication also help with those tasks. Because I have these skills, I feel I would make a successful assistant here.
5. Have you ever had to juggle multiple supervisors as an administrative assistant? If so, how did you handle it?
Administrative assistants don’t always have just one boss or supervisor. Often times, administrative assistants need to support multiple executives or team leaders that are each in superior positions. It’s important that administrative assistants can handle direction from multiple parties without sacrificing productivity.
- Yes, I have. I was the executive assistant for three members of our executive team. To keep up with delegated tasks and give each executive ample support, I dedicated portions of my workday to each person. This ensured that each executive felt cared for everyday. However, if a priority task did come up, I would address it promptly so deadlines were met.
General Job Interview Questions
Regardless of the position you are applying for, there are some general interview questions that employers love to ask. Next, we’ll walk you through some of the common job interview questions and how to answer them.
6. Tell me about yourself.
This question tops the list as it is usually the first question asked by interviewers. When sharing your story, showcase your past accomplishments, strengths, and past work experience while also relating your story back to the requirements included in the job description. But avoid sounding too technical or rehearsed. Employers also want to get a sense of your personality.
- I’m from a small town in Wisconsin, but attended college here in the Twin Cities. After receiving my associate’s degree in business administration, I worked as an administrative assistant at a local law firm. While there, I really honed my organizational and time management skills, which I feel make me a great candidate for this role.
7. Why do you want to work here?
Simply put, employers want to work with people who want to be there and have good reasons behind their interest. This question is your chance to provide them with those answers and show that this opportunity is one you really want.
- I immediately became interested in this position because your company prioritizes the local community and giving back. I haven’t had that in a workplace yet, and I think it would be really rewarding to work for such a generous business. This role also plays to my strengths as an extremely organized and helpful professional. I think I could really make a difference here.
8. Why did you leave your last job?
This can be a hard question to answer because there could be a number of reasons you left your last job, and some of them might give a less than stellar impression of your previous employer. The best approach to this question is to be honest and take the high road. Don’t paint your previous employer in a negative light.
- I’m looking for a role that is a little more challenging because it will allow me to learn new things and progress in my career. I think this role will provide the growth I’m looking for.
9. Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it?
This question can be tricky because it’s a behavioral interview question and it makes you focus on a time you failed. To answer this question successfully, show how you were able to bounce back and correct the mistake.
- I once missed an attendee on a meeting request. Luckily, I had set up reminders at the end of every day to double-check my work and caught the mistake the day it happened. After catching the mistake, I added the attendee to the invite without anyone realizing there was an error. Keeping myself organized and accurate really helped me that day.
Need More Interview Prep?
Don’t leave your next interview up to chance. Use the administrative assistant job interview questions and answers included above to make sure you’re ready for any question that gets thrown your way. After reviewing these questions, give our tips for a successful job interview a read to further improve your next interview performance.