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Administrative Assistant Interview Questions to Ask

Administrative assistants play a significant role in the inner workings of a business. They are in charge of important clerical work such as correspondence, record keeping, and appointment setting.

To ensure the smooth operation of your business, it’s vital to hire a qualified candidate who will be a successful member of your team. For this to be possible, you must find the right professional by asking suitable interview questions.

 

Best Administrative Assistant Interview Questions

To find the best person to fill your open administrative assistant role, you have to pose the right questions and not simply ask, “Why are you interested in an administrative position?”

Consider asking the following interview questions to improve your search:

 

1. Do you have experience using this particular program? Are there any others you’re familiar with?

One of the most important things to learn about a potential hire is if they have the expertise needed to work for you. Administrative assistants are often required to use various software programs.

For example, their typical day may consist of using Microsoft Office Suite programs like Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Excel. Your administrative assistant should likewise be familiar with the software programs used in your company.

However, having experience with the specific tool you use shouldn’t be the only basis for hiring a professional. If a candidate has experience using programs similar to the ones at your company, they may have the potential to learn quickly once they receive training.

As a hiring manager or an employer, it’s important for you to carefully analyze how much training you’re willing to impart after making a new hire. Consider the time and resources it would take for you to onboard them. Use this as one of your criteria bases for choosing who to hire.

 

2. How do you prioritize responsibilities with deadlines that fall around the same time?

Administrative assistants tend to have busy days that involve a high volume of multitasking. They often receive important tasks with tight deadlines. Therefore, you must ensure the person you hire can stay organized, even at their most hectic moments.

According to Forbes, multitasking can be treacherous for a person’s mental and physical well-being.¹ It can increase stress and make tasks more tiring to accomplish. Considering this fact, it’s ideal to hire a professional who knows how to prioritize tasks. Make sure that you hire a candidate who knows how to handle pressure.

Moreover, learning a candidate’s work organization and style can help you determine if they will fit your company well. This contributes to their overall attractiveness as a potential employee.

 

3. In what environment do you work best? What kind of supervisor helps you perform at your best?

Although these are technically two questions, they both help evaluate whether the candidate can thrive in your business environment. It can help you understand what they may need to succeed with your company.

Furthermore, interpersonal dynamics may vary, and compatibility between team members is paramount for smooth operations. Given that administrative assistants often work closely with supervisors, it is beneficial to ensure a harmonious relationship between them. Ask yourself:

  • Would the two employees work well together?
  • Does the supervisor’s management style suit the needs of the assistant?

Above all else, efficiency is important. To encourage this, it’s advantageous to ensure your current and future employees maintain positive professional relationships that will enable smooth operations.

Read More: What is Administrative Experience? Here’s What to Look for

 

4. Name a time a supervisor gave you constructive feedback. What changes did you make to improve?

Perfection is not a realistic expectation in any role. Seeking a candidate who never makes mistakes is unrealistic and may hinder the hiring process. Remember that new employees will need training and instruction to understand their role within your business. So, instead of focusing on perfection, direct your attention to how candidates accept constructive criticism and feedback.

Asking about a time your candidate received criticism and how they reacted will ultimately give you a good idea of what type of employee they will be. Based on their response, you can understand their work ethic as well as their capacity for collaboration, growth, and self-improvement. This can aid you in identifying which candidate is most suited for your open administrative assistant position.

 

5. How would you handle a situation where you disagree with a decision made by your supervisor?

When interviewing an administrative assistant, it’s essential to understand how they would handle situations where they disagree with their supervisor’s decisions.

This will help you assess their ability to navigate conflicts. It gives you insight into how they communicate with people they work with, especially in difficult situations. This can also contribute to your effort to hire the best match for your current employees.

Remember that a well-rounded administrative assistant should be able to navigate issues with professionalism. Try to find an admin assistant who respects the people around them while still being able to share their opinions, ideas, and points of view.

 

6. When was the last time you made a mistake at work?

We’ve established that no new hire is perfect. Instead of looking for perfection, fill your open role with a professional who understands accountability.

Asking about a candidate’s past mistakes can provide valuable information about their problem-solving abilities and growth capability. A job interviewee’s response to this question can reveal how they handle daily challenges.

Moreover, this question can help you identify what a candidate lacks regarding their hard and soft skills. For example, was the mistake caused by time management or communication issues? Or maybe it’s due to a lack of industry knowledge or tool proficiency.

Once you’ve identified their shortcomings, listen well to how they’ve improved themselves since then. Consider asking follow-up questions when necessary.

 

7. What are your career goals, and how does this position fit your long-term plans?

An administrative assistant job can be tiring since it requires a high level of focus, organization, and task management skills. Considering this, you need to give the job offer to a candidate who’s motivated to excel in the role.

By asking this specific question, you’re given the chance to understand your candidate’s aspirations. You can find out what drives them to perform and the values they hold dearly.

Of course, you’re not asking this question solely to judge a person’s drive to succeed. It also determines whether your company is what the candidate is actually looking for.

  • Would your office environment and values contribute to their professional growth?
  • Will you be able to nurture their skills and development?
  • Do your values and culture align?

Remember that employment is more than a transaction. You need to support your current and future workforce if you want them to help your business succeed.

 

HIRE AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT WITH CORPORATE JOB BANK

Investing resources in the hiring process extends beyond conducting interviews with administrative assistant candidates. It also involves allocating finances and time towards recruitment, onboarding, and assimilating the new hire into the company culture.

In the end, the hiring process can be lengthy and costly. Each candidate you hire will be an investment but there’s an easier way to get the talent you need! Consider partnering with staffing experts like Corporate Job Bank.

Instead of spending valuable resources in screening and interviewing applicants, you can simply tell us precisely what type of talent you’re looking for. Then, we’ll find the best fit for your open role. Thanks to years of experience and building connections, we have accumulated a large talent pool. This means you can choose from a variety of candidates to ensure you receive the right administrative assistant.

Whether you’re looking for direct-hire, temporary, or temp-to-hire placement, we can provide you with top-quality service. Contact us today to learn more!

 

References

  1. Steinhorst, Curt. “How Multitasking Erodes Productivity And Dings Your IQ.” Forbes, 20 Feb. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/curtsteinhorst/2020/02/20/how-multitasking-erodes-productivity-and-dings-your-iq/?sh=62bc66f33b7e.

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