Top 15 Administrative Assistant Interview Questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviewing for an administrative assistant position is usually the final step in the job search process. Learning about common admin interview questions can help you prepare for your interview. Being well prepared can increase your chances of securing a position. In this article, we list 15 interview questions for administrative assistant interviews.

Why should I know what administrative assistant interview questions interviewers may ask?

Knowing what interview questions for administration employees your interviewer may ask helps you prepare answers in advance. Preparing your answers increases the chance you'll say everything you want to in the interview. When you know you're well-prepared for an interview, you naturally feel more confident and in control. These qualities can make you seem capable and improve the likelihood you'll secure the vacant administrative assistant position.

Related: Preparing for an Interview: How To Do it and Why it Matters

How do I prepare for an administrative assistant interview?

Taking the following steps before your job interview can help you prepare:

1. Research the company and position

Browse the company's website and social media pages to learn about its history, mission, products or services, culture and the position. Consider the most appealing aspects and ways to naturally mention them in your interview. Note questions to ask the interviewer about the company at the end of your interview based on what you've read.

2. Prepare and practise answers to common administration officer interview questions

Consider how you'd answer the common administrative assistant interview questions listed in this article. Reflect on your own experiences, knowledge and skills and identify questions that let you discuss them naturally. Practise your answers in front of a mirror or get a friend to play the interviewer so you can practise delivering your answers confidently.

3. Choose and prepare your outfit

A professional outfit helps you make a strong first impression on your interviewer. Choose an outfit that makes you look smart and feel confident. Wash and iron it so it's ready for your interview.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

4. Plan your travel

Consider how you'll get to your interview and how long the journey will take. If you're driving, plan your route and assess the parking options. If you're relying on public transport, determine what transport you'll use and how early you'll need to leave. Aim to arrive at your interview early to account for unexpected delays.

5. Prepare your documents

Even though you've sent the company your resume, bring a paper copy with you. You can also take the notes you made about the company, your answers and questions you want to ask your interviewer to review while you wait. Arrange all your documents in a professional-looking folder.

Related: How To Prepare For a Job Interview

15 administrative assistant interview questions

During your interview, your answers to questions can help interviewers judge whether you would succeed in the role and suit their company's corporate culture. Here are administration interview questions and answers to help you prepare for an interview:

1. What experience do you have working in admin?

Example: "I started working as an administrative assistant for Mutual Bank after graduating year 12. I started with general admin duties, like answering telephones and sorting mail. However, they recognised my potential and supported me obtaining my Certificate IV in Business Administration (Finance). I applied my new knowledge to complex tasks like writing financial reports and automating spreadsheets. After working for them for 12 years, I took a position at Challenger Bank where I've performed similar duties for the last 5 years."

2. What technology are you familiar with?

Example: "I am very confident using Microsoft Office, especially Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. I've used these programs for the last 15 years, but developed my knowledge with a Statement of Attainment in Business Studies. I am also familiar with webmail programs and Microsoft Outlook for email."

3. What are the top three skills of an administrative assistant?

Example: "Good communication skills help us understand how to support employees. These skills also help us create clear and effective documents. We work with computers constantly, so computer literacy is also vital. All administrative assistants should feel comfortable using Microsoft Office programs while being flexible enough to use alternative software. Time management is also important for completing multiple tasks for various employees."

4. What would your most recent boss say about your performance?

Example: "My last boss met with me every six months for performance reviews. They regularly praised my reliability and commitment to completing work to a high standard. They were also impressed at the way I made their jobs easier by anticipating their needs and showing initiative."

5. What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

Example: "When I started at my last job, the company still had a paper filing system. I researched options and introduced a new electronic system. I also converted all our files to digital formats. It was a long process, but ultimately worth it as it reduced file retrieval time by 35%."

6. What type of office environment do you like working in most?

Example: "I love people so I enjoy working in social offices best, where employees can collaborate and help one another achieve their goals. However, I consider myself an adaptable person who can thrive in any office environment."

7. What tools help you stay organised?

Example: "I find cloud-based tools really useful because I can access them in the office or at home. Asana is brilliant for managing tasks, setting deadlines and viewing projects. I also really like Evernote for taking quick notes."

8. How do you manage stress?

Example: "I am a very organised person. I use an electronic planner to track tasks and ensure they don't overwhelm me. If I feel my stress levels rising, I take a few deep breaths to compose myself, then focus on crossing one task off my to-do list. Being productive calms me. I also attend a weekly yoga class and try to get eight hours sleep each night to prevent stress taking hold."

9. Can you describe the most challenging colleague you ever worked with? How did you handle that relationship?

Example: "I worked with another administrative assistant who was consistently late. This was challenging because I felt I needed to complete their work for our department to meet its goals. I spoke to them about the issue and asked whether I could do anything to help them arrive on time. They dismissed my concerns so I escalated the issue to our supervisor who helped them be more punctual. Speaking up was challenging, but it was the right thing to do."

10. What is your greatest weakness?

Example: "I am a perfectionist, which can make it difficult to move on from tasks at times. I now set myself small deadlines for tasks and force myself to stick to them so that I can improve my overall productivity."

11. Can you think of a time you exceeded expectations at work?

Example: "I spent several years working as an administrative assistant for a major hotel chain. Summer was our busiest season with a lot of admin work surrounding people making holiday plans for Christmas and the summer school holidays. I'd regularly arrive to work an hour early and stay an hour late during this period to ensure I stayed on top of this workload."

12. Why did you leave your last job?

Example: "My last position gave me my start in admin and I'm so grateful for what I learned. While they supported my recent TAFE studies, I had few opportunities to apply my new knowledge and expand my responsibilities. I decided to leave because I wanted a greater challenge, which I think your position provides."

13. What do you enjoy most about administrative work?

Example: "I'm a born organiser who takes real pleasure in helping other people with that skill. Whether I'm helping customers resolve their issues or completing tasks for employees, it's so rewarding. I also appreciate how diverse working in admin has made my career. Everyone needs administrative assistants, and that has allowed me to work in a variety of sectors with so many interesting people."

14. Why do you want to work for our company?

Example: "I've long admired your commitment to sustainability and giving back. I want to be part of a business whose ethics align with my own. Your initiatives like giving employees leave for volunteer work and offering annual grants to community programs really inspire me. Looking at your social media pages, it also seems you've got a really strong corporate culture with happy employees which I'd love to be part of."

Related: Interview Question: "Why Do You Want This Job?"

15. Why should we hire you as an administrative assistant?

Example: "I have worked as an administrative assistant for the last 10 years in this industry, so I have a unique understanding of how I can support employees in this sector. I also pride myself in going beyond the job description and identifying new ways businesses can be more productive and profitable. For example, in my last job we used a fairly outdated data management system. I researched a better program and brought its benefits to my manager. I also took the lead in training employees how to use it. The company was incredibly happy with the results."

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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