7 Administrative Assistant Interview Questions and Answers | FlexJobs (2023)

If you’re in the market for a new job as an administrative assistant, you’ll want to brush up on your interview skills. After all, the interview is your chance to show the potential employer why you’re the best candidate for the job.

However, nailing the interview isn’t just about managing your nerves or knowing the right answers to common interview questions. It’s also about being able to show off the wide range of skills that make you the best candidate for the role.

In an interview, your potential employer will be looking to assess the qualifications and qualities that make you stand out, from your computer skills to your ability to work well with others. Studying the questions that may come up and practicing your responses in advance can help you shine and ace your administrative assistant interview.

1. What are your strongest areas of expertise?

To impress the hiring manager, be specific when talking about your skills. Rather than saying, “I’m good with computers,” talk about your training, certifications, and experiences. As a caveat, don’t highlight the basics considered a given, like using Microsoft Word. Instead, highlight skills specific to the role, such as knowledge of Trello or Asana software.

It would also help if you mentioned any responsibilities you were given in past roles because of your strength in a relevant area, like written communication or dealing with the public.

Here’s an idea of what that might sound like:

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I pride myself on being a well-rounded administrative assistant. I have experience with various computer programs, including Trello, Asana, and HubSpot. I’m also confident in managing large project schedules and handling communications internally and externally. In my previous role, I was often the go-to person for handling challenging customer service calls when the executive I supported wasn’t available. Because of this, I’ve developed excellent communication and problem-solving skills.

2. What tools do you use for time management?

Getting things done on schedule and helping your supervisor or team members stay on track are standard specifications for administrative assistants. Employers value administrative professionals who manage their own time well and help others meet deadlines and priorities. It’s crucial to make this clear during your interview.

Your time management tools don’t necessarily have to be an app or electronic device; you can also talk about strategies like goal-setting, organizational skills, and meeting or exceeding deadlines.

Consider this example:

I like to use a combination of electronic and paper-based tools to stay organized. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and I make sure to keep track of deadlines in my calendar. I also prefer to schedule quick weekly check-ins with the team or executive I’m supporting to ensure that I’m on track with tasks.

3. How do you juggle competing assignments?

While this question is related to queries about time management, it also addresses your judgment when it comes to prioritizing work. If you’re interviewing for an administrative assistant role that requires you to work for multiple people, or for a team, multitasking will be central to the job.

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Tailor your answer to the role by talking specifically about how you’ve communicated in the past with supervisors and team members to prioritize and determine which tasks are most important. You should also offer a specific work-related example that will illustrate good decision-making in prioritizing an ever-changing to-do list.

For instance, you might highlight how you successfully balance conflicting priorities in your current role:

In my current role, I support three different executives. When they send me an email or come to my desk with a task, I take a few moments to ask about the deadline and the importance of the project in relation to other tasks that might be on their plate. I’ll drop everything else to get it done if it’s urgent. If it can wait, I’ll ask if there’s a particular day or time they would like to have it completed. Once I have that information, I’ll work it into my schedule and be sure to follow up if anything changes on my end.

4. Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with a difficult boss, colleague, or client.

This personality-based interview question assesses your ability to deal with people in challenging situations. Administrative assistants can be the ultimate problem-solvers and “fixers.” That can mean staying calm and focused and achieving a good outcome.

When responding, you might focus again on specific scenarios from your work past (without naming the problematic people) where you kept your cool under fire. You’ll be ahead of the game if you can reference your personality type from a Myers-Briggs personality test or a similar assessment to discuss how you keep cool when work gets tough.

When you put it all together, it might sound like this:

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I always try to assume positive intent and recognize that people might be under tremendous stress, so I tend to do well under pressure. I’m an ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs, which means I’m detail-oriented and organized. When things get hectic at work, taking a step back and figuring out the underlying issue generally helps me diffuse the situation.

5. Describe your communication strengths and weaknesses.

Good communication means a lot of give-and-take, such as conveying information to clients and colleagues, receiving loads of incoming information, and clearly understanding what’s needed or expected. Hiring supervisors who ask this type of question want to know about your clarity of thought in both written and verbal exchanges.

Your response could be:

Admittedly, I struggle with being a bit wordy in my emails. I’ve intentionally developed a habit of not hitting send right away. Instead, I circle back to important written correspondence after a few minutes to glance over it and ensure I’m being friendly but concise. On the other hand, I’m excellent at verbal communication, as I am diligent at practicing active listening to ensure that I understand thoroughly before responding, so there’s no confusion.

6. What kind of work schedule are you seeking?

This is one of the interview questions for an administrative assistant that allows you to express your desire for work flexibility. It’s always best to be clear upfront if you’re looking for a part-time schedule, remote work flexibility, an alternative schedule option, or some other iteration of flexible work. Rather than focusing on how work flexibility will benefit you, you can use the opportunity to reinforce your excitement about the company culture.

A well-prepared answer might sound like this:

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I’m looking for a flexible work schedule that will allow me to build a healthier work-life balance. Your company has an excellent reputation for being a positive and supportive work environment, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited to work here.

7. What other skills do you have that can transfer to an admin assistant job?

Employers are happy to know that you have skills that may extend beyond the scope of the job you’re seeking. After all, an administrative assistant job can be a jack-of-all-trades position. So, besides talking about the specific job-related skills the employer may already know, this question offers an opportunity to speak about your soft skills, like optimism, self-confidence, and trainability.

This is a prime opportunity to discuss what you can bring to the job beyond what may be listed on your resume. For example:

I pride myself on being very resourceful and adaptable. I’m always looking for new ways to streamline processes and increase efficiency. I’m also excellent at problem-solving and have a knack for quickly understanding complex systems. Beyond that, I’m confident, personable, and always willing to learn new things.

Administrative assistants are an invaluable part of any company. They keep the office running smoothly and ensure that everything is organized. When interviewing for an administrative assistant position, be sure to ask questions about the company culture and the expectations for the role. Remember that it’s a two-way interview—you should also assess if the company is a good fit for you.


What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers for administrators? ›

Admin interview questions to expect
  • What appeals to you about administrative jobs?
  • What do you find most challenging about office support jobs in general?
  • Why do you think you would be the best fit for this administrative position?
  • What technologies have you used in your past office support jobs?
3 days ago

Why should we hire you answer for admin assistant? ›

Example: “I see being an administrative assistant as a crucial piece of the functioning of an entire office, and it is my job to make that happen. I am tremendously organized, enjoy making things flow more smoothly and have 10 years of experience doing this. I stay in this career because I love doing it.”

What are the 5 hardest interview questions? ›

The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What's something that you didn't like about your last job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?
  • Here's an answer for you.

What are the three P's to the perfect interview? ›

The 3 P's for interview success
  • Prepare: Like any exam, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be and a more relaxed disposition with ensure a more controlled and confident delivery. ...
  • Practice: Practice the delivery of your prepared answers. ...
  • Presentation:

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

How do you handle stress? ›

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. ...
  2. Take care of yourself. ...
  3. Take care of your body. ...
  4. Make time to unwind. ...
  5. Talk to others. ...
  6. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
  7. Avoid drugs and alcohol.

Why should I hire you? ›

Your skills and qualifications. If you can prove that you've got all the skills that the company is looking for in a candidate, you'll have effectively answered the question. Your passion and motivation. You can highlight how good of a company fit you'd be and how much you love working in your field or industry.

How do you close an interview? ›

How to end an interview
  1. Ask specific and well-thought-out questions about the position and company. ...
  2. Reiterate your qualifications for the job. ...
  3. Inquire if the interviewer needs any additional information or documentation. ...
  4. Address any issues. ...
  5. Restate your interest in the position.
Feb 3, 2023

What can you bring to the company? ›

How to (and how not to) answer the interview question 'What can you bring to the company? ' The simple answer to this question is you : you bring all of your skills, qualities, values, interests, academic knowledge, internships and life experience to the company.

What attracted you to apply for this position? ›

History - a popular angle when answering this question is to highlight your interest in the company due to its reputation, history or innovation within the industry. This shows you are involved in the company's growth, understand its current position and want to be part of that journey.

How to introduce yourself in interview? ›

Tips on How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview
  1. Greet Your Interviewers. ...
  2. Let Your Interviewers Know About Your Educational Background. ...
  3. An Alternate Approach for Seasoned Professionals. ...
  4. A Line or Two on Your Passions and Hobbies. ...
  5. The Vital Closing Statement.
Jan 27, 2023

What are trick interview questions? ›

10 common tricky interview questions and how to answer them
  • What are your weaknesses? ...
  • Why do you want to work here? ...
  • Why are you leaving your current role? ...
  • Tell me a bit about yourself? ...
  • Why should we hire you? ...
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ...
  • Describe a time you have worked with a difficult person.
Apr 25, 2022

What not to ask in an interview? ›

Questions to avoid in an interview:

Never ask about pay, time off, benefits, etc. (Wait until later in the process to inquire about these things.) Never ask “What does your company do?” • Never ask “If I'm hired, when can I start applying for other positions in the company?” • Never ask how quickly you can be promoted.

What are the biggest interview mistakes? ›

The 10 biggest interview mistakes
  • Turning up late. Work out exactly where you're going and how you're going to get there. ...
  • Inappropriate clothing. ...
  • Being unprepared. ...
  • Lying. ...
  • Criticising a current or previous employer. ...
  • Letting your nerves get the better of you. ...
  • Giving textbook responses. ...
  • Being arrogant or rude.

Do I thank the interviewer? ›

Investing the time to send a thank you increases your chances of standing out from other applicants. One study found that only one out of four candidates sent thank you messages after their interviews, yet 80% of HR managers said those messages were helpful when reviewing candidates.

What are 4 tips for interviewing? ›

Interview tips
  • Review common interview questions. ...
  • Make a list of questions that you would like to ask during the interview. ...
  • Be prepared. ...
  • On the day of the interview, remember to:
  • Display confidence during the interview, but let the interviewer start the dialogue. ...
  • End the interview with a good impression.

What are the 4 best interview practices? ›

Best Practices for a Successful Interview (for departments)
  • Base interview questions on job criteria.
  • Ask the same questions of each candidate.
  • Conduct the interview in a private location accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Take notes to minimize interviewer bias or subjectivity.

Can you work under pressure? ›

The answer is Yes. We surely can work under stress but the cons in working under pressure or stress is that it hinders or blocks your creativity and ability to take smart decisions. So to overcome this situation, we should stay calm and breathe more.

Why do you want this job? ›

I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-moving company/industry, and I feel I can do so by/with my …” “I feel my skills are particularly well-suited to this position because …” “I believe I have the type of knowledge to succeed in this role and at the company because …”

How do you answer work under pressure? ›

How to answer “How do you work under pressure?”
  1. Use the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. ...
  2. Be honest. It's best to be completely honest when discussing your abilities in a job interview. ...
  3. Stay calm and collected. Interviewers often observe nonverbal cues . ...
  4. Mention your ability to manage stress.
Feb 3, 2023

What are 5 key points to a great interview? ›

Tips for a Successful Interview
  • Be on time. ...
  • Know the interviewer's name, its spelling, and pronunciation. ...
  • Have some questions of your own prepared in advance. ...
  • Bring several copies of your resume. ...
  • Have a reliable pen and a small note pad with you. ...
  • Greet the interviewer with a handshake and a smile.

What are the 4 interview tips? ›

During the Interview
  • Plan to arrive early. ...
  • Be prepared to summarize your experience in about 30 seconds and describe what you bring to the position.
  • Listen carefully to each question asked. ...
  • Remain positive and avoid negative comments about past employers.
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice.

What is the key to a successful interview? ›

Communication Skills

Be sure to briefly cover your education, work history and a hobby. The interviewer wants to know you are well-rounded person. Show confidence in yourself and your abilities. Key words to use are: profit, challenge, responsibility, developing new skills, team player, etc.

What are the three 3 most important keys to success in interviews? ›

Employers rate showing enthusiasm (for the job, company, industry) and making eye contact as the most important keys to success at interviews. Since interviews are a conversation between the potential employee and the employer, speaking clearly (and loud enough) is also vital.


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