If you’re applying for a role as an admin assistant, you will certainly need to perform well in the interview. Here, we’re going to look at some admin assistant interview tips, followed by some sample admin assistant interview questions.
3 Admin Assistant Interview Tips
#1 – Use the job description to predict the interview questions.
#2 – Use the STAR interview technique when answering situational type questions.
#3 – Be positive and upbeat about the company you are applying for.
Admin Assistant Job Description
To begin, let’s take a look at the admin assistant job description:
We are looking for a responsible Administrative Assistant to perform a variety of administrative and clerical tasks. Duties of the Administrative Assistant include providing support to our managers and employees. Planning and organising daily tasks, managing diaries and appointments, not taking, prioritising tasks and communicating with our customers and clients.
From this, there are 4 relevant interview questions:
Q1. Give an example of when you have provided support to a team within an administrative role.
Q2. Describe a situation when you had to plan and organize multiple tasks.
Q3. Give an example of when you have took notes during an important meeting.
Q4. Describe a situation when you have communicated effectively with customers.
The STAR Technique – Admin Assistant Interview
Use the STAR interview technique when answering situational type questions:
Situation – describe the situation.
Task – explain the task that needed to be done.
Action – say what action you took.
Result – tell them the result (positive).
Q1. Why do you want this job and what can you bring to the role? – Admin Assistant Interview
- Refer to the job description.
- Tell them you already have experience within this type for role.
- List the qualities you have that match the job description.
“I have studied the job description in detail and I feel strongly that I have the skills, qualities and experience to match the role. For example, part of the role requires an ability to plan, organise and be responsible for the organisations day-to-day activities. In my previous role I was praised for this type of work. I believe I have extensive experience of organising all types of work.
“Refer to the job description…”
I can be relied upon to organise all of your tasks and will never miss an important deadline. In addition to being organised, I set myself very high-standards, have solid communication skills, can be trusted to deal with your customers and clients and am competent in all administrative software packages such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint. I feel strongly you will be impressed with my work ethic and I will not let you down if I am successful at interview today.”
Q2. Describe a situation when you had to plan and organize multiple tasks. – Admin Assistant Interview
- Give a specific example of when you managed multiple tasks.
- Use Situation, Task, Action and Result.
- Try to add a ‘time element’ to the situation.
“In my previous job, I had a situation one day where the Managing Director required multiple tasks to be completed within a very short time frame. A situation occurred whereby a key member of staff was off sick, so somebody needed to step up and get the work done in super-fast time. The tasks involved:
– Organising an important meeting for the following day;
– Taking notes and recording minutes for another meeting that afternoon;
– Collating sales data for the next days meeting and briefing my Managing Director.
I set about creating a plan for each task based on the priority and importance. The following days meeting was organized first of all. I booked the meeting room, sent out invitations and created the meeting agenda.
“Try to add a ‘time element” to the situation…”
I then planned for the meeting that afternoon by reading the meeting notes from the previous meeting to make sure I was fully briefed and aware of the action points and agenda.
Following the meeting, I wrote up my notes before starting work on the collation of sales data. It became apparent that I would not finish the collation of data in time for 5pm, so I briefed my manager that I would stay late and send over the figures as soon as they were ready.
He was happy with my suggested resolution. By 5:45pm I had completed the work and went in to brief my manager. He thanked me for my hard work and was impressed with my organization and planning abilities.”
Q3. Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or client. – Admin Assistant Interview
- Give a specific example of when you had to deal with someone difficult.
- Demonstrate an ability to remain calm and in control.
- Show you have the ability to resolve problems on your own.
“Recently, we received a complaint via email from a customer who had ordered some goods from our website that ended up being faulty. I immediately took control of the situation and contacted the customer by both email and telephone to explain I would be the point of contact for the complaint. The customer was clearly angry and upset at the situation. I listened to their concerns and demonstrated empathy during the call. I managed to persuade the customer to give me the opportunity to resolve the situation for them, which they agreed to.
“Show that you have the ability to resolve problems on your own…”
After I had got to the bottom of the situation, I apologized to the customer and detailed very clearly the steps I was going to take in order to resolve it. I asked our warehouse team to dispatch the new goods on a priority delivery service and arranged for a courier to also pick up the faulty goods to save the customer having to do it themselves.
“Demonstrate an ability to remain calm and in control…”
I then arranged to call the customer the day after the goods were delivered to check they were happy with the service and goods they had received. When I spoke to the lady on the phone, she thanked me for sorting out the problem quickly and to her satisfaction.
Whenever dealing with customers, or potentially problematic situations, I can be relied upon to sort things out quickly and will always take responsibility for a situation.”
Q4. What are your strengths? – Admin Assistant Interview
- Relate your answer to the attributes required to do the job competently.
- Use positive KEYWORDS in your response.
- Describe how you like to be put under pressure and can take responsibility.
“I believe I have a number of key strengths and qualities that would be highly useful within this role. To begin with, I am highly organised and can plan tasks effectively in order to make sure they are successful. I also have the ability to work alone as well as part of a team. I am a strong communicator, both face-to-face and via email. I set myself high standards and feel I can be a positive role model for your company.
“Use positive keywords in your response…”
Finally, one of my key strengths is that I can be relied upon to deliver my work to a very high standard. It is important for you to employ an admin assistant who can be left alone to get on with their work. If you employ me, I will work hard to perform my duties competently and professionally at all times.”
Q5. What are your weaknesses? – Admin Assistant Interview
- Give a specific weakness.
- Turn your weakness into a strength.
- Tell the interview panel you are continually looking to improve and develop.
“ I feel my main weakness is that I sometimes take on too much work, simply because I don’t want to say no. By taking on too much work, it can potentially have a detrimental impact on my other tasks, so I am learning to complete tasks thoroughly first, before agreeing to take on additional tasks.
“Turn your weakness into a strength…”
Having said that, I do feel it is my responsibility to take on as much work as possible, and I can be relied upon to work hard and complete tasks thoroughly. If I feel there is a task put my way that I cannot deliver on time and to the right standard, I will always look to find someone else within the office who is equally as competent to take on the role.
Finally, I am always looking to personally develop and improve my skills based on reflective analysis of my performance.”
Q6. What is the most difficult part of being an admin assistant? – Admin Assistant Interview
- This question assesses your knowledge of the role.
- Demonstrate you can embrace difficult parts of the job.
- Give an example of when you have successfully completed the difficult aspect of the role.
“I find the most difficult part of the admin assistant role is having to rely on external partners and organisations to get a specific task completed. When I am relying on external partners or businesses to respond to queries or questions, it can be challenging and frustrating, as the success of your own task relies on them responding and doing their part of the job in a timely manner.
“Demonstrate you can embrace difficult parts of the job…”
Although this part of the role can be frustrating, I quite enjoy chasing people and putting pressure on them to do their task, simply because my job is reliant on them performing. I am always courteous and polite when dealing with people, companies or partners but I do find that being in regular contact with them during the task completion process helps to get the job completed more quickly.”
Q7. What would you do if you didn’t get on with someone in the office? – Admin Assistant Interview
- This question assesses your level of maturity.
- Don’t say you have had this type of situation before.
- Give a step-by-step explanation of what you would do.
Although I have never found myself in this type of situation, I feel I could handle it maturely and professionally. I understand that sometimes we can’t get on with everyone, but I would always try my best to be friendly, professionally and helpful with anyone I worked with.
Give a step-by-step explanation of what you would do…
If there was someone I didn’t get on with, I would fist of all go out of my way to try and make friends as this would be beneficial to the team environment. I would also look at my own actions to see if I were doing anything that was potentially contributing to the situation.
If I had tried absolutely everything, and we still didn’t get on, I would always be friendly and professional as the goals and aims of the organisation must always come first.”
Conclusion – Admin Assistant Interview Questions
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