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Eight Questions to Ask at an Interview for an Administrative Assistant

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The popularity of freelancing platforms means you can get hundreds of applications for a job post within minutes. While this increases the chance that you’ll find an excellent administrative assistant, it also makes the hiring process a bit tedious.

So in this article, we’ll discuss eight questions that will help you effectively screen candidates when you’re looking to hire an admin assistant. We’ll also discuss the ideal answers to each question and how it will help you screen interested candidates. Let’s begin!

1. What Are Your Current Job Duties and Responsibilities?

The candidate’s answer to this question will give you a good sense of their current skills and experience. It will also help you understand if the candidate is a good fit for the job you’re hiring for.

The ideal answer to this question would be specific and relevant to the job you’re hiring for. For example, if you’re looking for an administrative assistant who is experienced in managing calendars and scheduling appointments, you would want to hear a response that includes these duties.

2. How Do You Prioritize and Manage Multiple Tasks Simultaneously?

An effective administrative assistant must be able to juggle multiple tasks at once and prioritize them accordingly. This question will help you understand the candidate’s ability to do just that.

The ideal answer to this question would demonstrate the candidate’s ability to prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. The candidate should also be able to explain how they would handle multiple tasks without getting overwhelmed.

3. What Is Your Experience With Microsoft Office Suite?

Almost all administrative assistant roles require the use of Microsoft Office Suite, so it’s important to gauge the candidate’s level of experience and expertise with this software.

The ideal answer to this question would showcase the candidate’s in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite and their ability to use each program for various tasks. For example, the candidate should be able to explain how they use Word for creating documents, Excel for data analysis, and PowerPoint for presentations.

You might also want to ask candidates about their ability to use Google Workspace applications like Sheets, Drive, Calendar, and Meet. Google Workspace allows for greater integration than Microsoft Office Suite, which is why many organizations prefer it.

4. What Are Your Time Management Skills Like?

As we mentioned earlier, an effective administrative assistant must be able to juggle multiple tasks at once. In addition to that, they must also be able to manage their time effectively so that all tasks are completed within the deadline.

The ideal answer to this question would highlight the candidate’s ability to plan their day, use a scheduling tool, and stick to a schedule. You should also discuss how they would handle unexpected tasks or delays.

5. Can You Tell Me About a Time When You Had to Handle a Difficult Situation?

An administrative assistant’s job is not always easy–there will be times when they have to deal with difficult situations, such as an irate client or a last-minute change in plans. This question will help you understand the candidate’s ability to handle difficult situations.

The ideal answer to this question would be a specific story, describing how the candidate found herself in a difficult situation and how she resolved it. It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will have a story to share in response to this question, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make a good administrative assistant.

6. What Is Your Current Typing Speed and Accuracy?

An administrative assistant needs to have strong typing skills in order to perform their job duties effectively, and the ideal answer to this question should be a specific “words per minute” figure. You can ask candidates to take an online typing test and include a screenshot of the result in their application.

7. Do You Have Any Experience With Automation Tools Like Zapier?

One of the benefits of hiring an administrative assistant is that they can streamline and automate repetitive tasks, and this question will help you understand the candidate’s experience with automation tools like Zapier, Automate, and Integromat.

The ideal answer to this question would describe the candidate’s experience with a tool that your organization uses, but you should keep in mind that many of these automation tools are very similar. So, if a candidate has experience with a different tool than what your company uses, they will easily adapt to your tool.

8. Do You Have Any Questions for Me About the Position?

This is the final question you should ask at an interview for an administrative assistant–it’s important to give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions so that they can get a better understanding of the role and what it entails. The questions they ask you will also help you to gauge their level of experience in this industry. 

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