Office managers must be self-driven, detail-oriented, and skilled in juggling several tasks. Oftentimes you’ll only need to hire a single office manager, which means that responsibilities and qualifications may change from one office manager to the next. The questions you ask in an interview will also change over time.
Both hiring managers and office manager candidates can utilize these questions to prepare for a great conversation.
5 interview questions for an office manager position
What do you believe are the responsibilities of an office manager?
Gauge what prior experiences your office manager has in a similar role. Office manager roles vary from company to company and industry to industry. While a previous position’s title may fit the bill, what matters most is what responsibilities the candidate held within that role. This question is also a good way to test how well they have researched available information on the role. At the very least, they should possess a thorough understanding of how the company functions and what the job description states.
What software and technologies do you have experience using?
Most CRMs and bookkeeping software have a learning curve that could take weeks to overcome. Because there will usually only be a single office manager occupying the role at a time, mentoring opportunities aren’t always available. To succeed as an office manager, a candidate will need to possess know-how to use several different technologies. Microsoft Outlook is probably a given, but what about SalesForce, Microsoft Access, or QuickBooks?
How would you prioritize tasks that come up simultaneously?
The office manager role is two-fold in its administrative and communication functions. For those who act as the front line for customers coming through the office, they’ll have a customer service dimension. Simultaneously receiving phone calls, shuffling paper work, collaborating with employees, and answering emails in a timely fashion are the norm. As the interviewer, come up with a few scenarios that reflect “a day in the life”. How does the candidate organize daily tasks and decide whether to assist customers, help employees, or tend to clerical tasks first?
What is your knowledge of our company? Why do you want to work here?
Regardless of the field, you should always research the organization you’re interviewing at beforehand. Although this question is fairly generic, it pertains to specific industries that shape the role of office manager. The position is radically different at a medical office than at a school, for example. See how well the candidate understands your specific company’s industry and operating model. What background does the candidate have to qualify him or her for the industry, role aside?
How do you keep organized and self-driven?
Organization and drive are essential skills as an office manager. Because it is a highly administrative role in nature, accountability to get tasks done is key. It’s the candidate’s responsibility to ensure timeliness, accuracy, and professionalism. As more of a lone wolf position, there may not be an additional manager to monitor the office manager’s work. As such, it’s up to the candidate to have a strong sense of responsibility to complete tasks.
While you can ask a host of more general, open-ended questions, the above questions will help you to identify candidates best suited for an office manager role. To gain a well-rounded understanding of the candidate’s personality and qualities, mix in behavioral interview questions as well. This role will have a high level of communication both internally and externally. Therefore, culture fit should also be a priority!