Hiring a great administrative assistant requires two things: knowing exactly what skills, experience and personality traits are necessary to succeed in the role and fit in at your organization; and recognizing those qualities in administrative candidates. Sounds simple enough. But as every hiring manager knows, it’s anything but.
The second part of the equation — evaluating the candidate — is particularly tricky. The job interview is your best tool for doing so. And the administrative assistant interview questions you ask will determine how much you’re able to glean from your meeting with the job seeker.
The following 25 administrative assistant interview questions can help you get a fuller picture of the candidate, and, ultimately, make smarter hires.
Interview questions about the candidate’s preferred company and corporate culture
- What comes to mind when you think of our company? Why do you want to work here?
- What appeals to you about this particular job?
- How do you envision an administrative assistant being able to contribute to our firm?
- In which type of office environment do you excel most?
- Why did you leave your last administrative assistant position? (Or: Why are you looking to leave your current administrative assistant position?) What would have convinced you to stay?
For more advice about how to interview candidates, download Robert Half's guide, How to Hire All-Star Administrative Professionals and Maximize Their Potential.
Interview questions about administrative assistant’s skills and experience
- Why do you think you’re well-suited for a position as an administrative assistant? For this job in particular?
- What special skills do you possess that will help you excel at our company?
- How would you describe your comfort level when it comes to [particular software program]? What is the latest version of this software that you have used?
- Give me examples of how you’ve used [particular software program] on the job? What advanced functionality are you familiar with?
- What would you consider your biggest professional accomplishment to date? Your biggest professional failure?
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Interview questions about the person’s relationships with manager and coworkers
- What type of supervisor helps bring out your best performance?
- Can you share a piece of constructive feedback a manager has given you? What adjustments, if any, did you make because of that feedback?
- Have you ever reported to multiple supervisors at once? If so, how did you juggle each person’s priorities?
- Can you tell me about a workplace conflict you were involved in as an administrative assistant and how you handled it?
- Can you describe the most challenging colleague you’ve had to work with? How did you handle that relationship?
If you’re a manager, it’s worth considering emotional intelligence as a factor when hiring a new employee. To hone in on interpersonal qualities needed for today's office professional, read Robert Half's report, Emotional Intelligence at Work.
Interview questions about the applicant’s work style
- Can you walk me through a typical day in your most recent position? How do you prioritize what’s on your plate?
- How do you prioritize projects when you are juggling multiples tasks, all with similar deadlines?
- What is your first step when given a large project to manage? How would you organize it?
- Can you describe a challenging project you were assigned in the past and how you approached it?
- Are there any tools, equipment or procedures you would replace or change at your most recent/current job? If so, what changes would you make and why?
Interview questions about the job seeker’s approach to the administrative profession
- What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on as an administrative assistant?
- What do you enjoy most about administrative work?
- How have you changed the administrative assistant position at past companies?
- What trends do you see impacting the administrative assistant role in the future?
- What administrative assistant interview questions would you ask if you were doing the hiring?
Learn about why managers need to move quickly in their recruiting efforts, what workers want and what it takes for companies to bring them on board in Robert Half's report, The Demand for Skilled Talent.