Good administrative assistants will help your business communicate with clients and team members. But hiring a professional administrative assistant can be challenging. Doing so requires you to assess candidates across four criteria: relevant skills, attitudes and values, experience, and how they will integrate into your team.
Skill testing using our Administrative Assistant test will give you all the data you need to compare applicants. But you may want more information about their skills, personalities, or behavior in complex situations. You may also want to meet applicants and prove your brand provides excellent opportunities to new employees – so conducting interviews is crucial.
In this article, we have provided a list of 25 administrative interview questions to help you hire a pro. Read on to discover the most comprehensive questions for your hiring process.
Table of contents
- 10 general administrative assistant interview questions to learn about your candidates’ backgrounds
- 5 general administrative assistant interview questions and sample answers
- 10 administrative assistant interview questions related to hard and soft skills
- 5 administrative assistant interview questions and answers about hard and soft skills
- 5 administrative assistant interview questions and answers about culture and values
- Top 5 tips for using administrative assistant interview questions
- Use administrative assistant interview questions and skills tests to hire a professional
10 general administrative assistant interview questions to learn about your candidates’ backgrounds
When preparing your administrative assistant interview questions, don’t miss out on these 10 general questions to start a conversation with your applicants about their experience.
- Which project have you enjoyed the most as an administrative assistant?
- What is your favorite aspect of administrative work?
- What has been your biggest impact on a team as an administrative assistant?
- Name a skill you want to hone when you join our organization.
- What does a typical day look like in your current role?
- Describe your administrative assistant experience so far.
- Are there any aspects of administrative work that you dislike?
- Name a skill that has helped you complete complex administrative work.
- Which tools do you use to handle large projects?
- Tell me about a complex administrative project you completed. How did you approach it?
5 general administrative assistant interview questions and sample answers
Here are five of the above general questions for administrative assistants you could include in your interviews and sample answers to help you review your interviewees’ responses.
1. Name a skill that has helped you complete complex administrative work.
Various skills are important for completing complex administrative work, including collaboration, time management, computer skills, and calendar management. While you may use a skill assessment that includes Time Management skill tests or Microsoft Excel tests to assess multiple skills, ask candidates this question to learn more about their experience with complex admin work.
2. Name a skill you want to hone when you join our organization.
A desire to constantly hone new skills is a valuable trait in your candidates, showing that applicants are passionate about improving and taking on challenging responsibilities.
Whether candidates want to develop in project management or solve problems, they will show their desire to improve by explaining why upskilling is important for their career. 51% of new employees want to learn new skills – checking if your candidate is one of these employees is important.
Assessing some of these skills before the interview is easy – just include our Project Management or Problem Solving tests in a skill assessment and ask applicants to complete it.
3. What is your favorite aspect of administrative work?
If candidates are enthusiastic about administrative work, their enthusiasm will shine through when they answer this administrative interview question. Some applicants may respond by explaining that they enjoy coordinating projects or supporting teams. Others might prefer streamlining communication and collaboration between departments in your organization.
Look for candidates who provide examples of their administrative experience.
4. What has been your biggest impact on a team as an administrative assistant?
Candidates responding to this administrative assistant interview question may provide statistics or evidence to show their impact on their team. Listen out for positive, measurable outcomes that have helped their team as they answer.
For instance, candidates may have increased team collaboration and productivity by being effective communicators, enhancing the organization’s output. Or they may have created and managed a calendar that helped their team complete projects well before the deadline.
5. Tell me about a complex administrative project you completed. How did you approach it?
This behavioral administrative assistant interview question will help you analyze your applicants’ past experiences and behaviors to determine their future success in your organization.
Applicants may respond by mentioning tools or skills that helped them complete the complex project, such as project-management tools or communication tools like Slack or Zoom.
Consider whether applicants can break complex projects into smaller solvable parts and use critical thinking to solve smaller problems.
10 administrative assistant interview questions related to hard and soft skills
These 10 skill-related administrative assistant interview questions perfectly accompany skills testing methods. Ask your applicants these questions to learn about their hard and soft skills.
- How would your supervisor rate your communication skills?
- Why is attention to detail important as an administrative assistant?
- How would your team members rate your problem-solving skills?
- Which methods do you use to hone your time-management abilities?
- How up-to-date are your Microsoft Office Suite skills?
- How would your supervisor rate your project-management skills?
- Describe your experience with software such as Trello or Asana.
- How necessary are critical-thinking skills for administrative assistants?
- How would your team members rate your interpersonal communication skills?
- Why is teamwork essential for administrative assistants?
5 administrative assistant interview questions and answers about hard and soft skills
Here is a selection of five important skill-related administrative assistant interview questions and potential answers to simplify the applicant review process.
1. How would your supervisor rate your communication skills?
When they respond to this question, it’s not enough for applicants to claim their communication skills are excellent. The top answers to this administrative assistant interview questions will explain why your candidates’ supervisors value their communication style.
Ask follow-up questions to determine whether any projects benefitted from the applicant’s communication skills. You can then compare these answers with the results of a Communication skill test that your applicants should have completed before the interview. This approach gives you in-depth quantitative and qualitative data for reviewing their communication skills.
2. How would your team members rate your problem-solving skills?
Problem-solving skills are important for administrative assistants, enabling them to handle customer-service challenges or manage large projects. Asking this interview question will ensure you can hire someone with suitable problem-solving skills for the administrative duties in your organization.
Consider whether your applicants’ team members benefit from their problem-solving skills. And if you combine this approach with a Problem Solving test, you’ll have enough data to check your candidates have the right skill level.
3. Why is attention to detail important as an administrative assistant?
Administrative assistants must input the correct information when handling data-entry responsibilities. This duty is one example of why attention to detail is essential for administrative assistants. It’s also a key skill for submitting reports and drafting emails or other correspondence.
Competent administrative assistants are detail-oriented. For an easy way to review your applicants’ attention to detail, select our Attention to Detail test for your skill assessment.
4. How would your supervisor appraise your project-management skills?
Candidates with excellent project-management skills are ones to watch, but pay attention to the methods they use to manage projects and why their supervisor rates their project-management skills highly.
For instance, do your applicants use organizational tools such as Trello, Asana, or Google Calendar to manage projects? Do they liaise well with various team members to ensure they complete each stage of the project’s lifecycle efficiently?
Consider our Project Management test to assess your candidates’ project-management skills objectively. It assesses four skills: project budget estimation, project schedule estimation, communication, and project quality management.
5. How up-to-date are your Microsoft Office Suite skills?
Up-to-date Microsoft Office Suite skills are handy for administrative assistants, helping them communicate, stay organized, and handle administrative projects. Check their Microsoft Office competency by asking this interview question. Listen out for responses with clear examples of your candidates using Microsoft Office effectively.
The easiest way to verify that your candidates’ Microsoft Office Suite skills are up to date is to use our Microsoft Office Suite skill tests, including the Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Outlook tests. These tests assess all the essential Microsoft Office Suite sub-skills quickly and accurately.
5 administrative assistant interview questions and answers about culture and values
Ask interviewees these five administrative assistant interview questions about culture and values and evaluate their responses using the sample answers as a guide.
1. In which office environment are you most productive?
Asking this administrative assistant interview question helps you discuss the office environment you offer and determine whether your candidate wants to work in a similar setting.
Candidates may prefer quiet environments or fast-paced office settings, and answers may vary. But check whether your applicants’ preferences align with the kind of culture and office setting you offer or whether they can adapt their working style.
2. Which key values would you bring to this administrative assistant role?
It is important that your candidates’ values align with your organization’s culture align, as that will lead to a harmonious working environment. To check this correlation, ask your applicants about their key values during the interview and ask them to complete a Culture Add test the second they respond to your advert.
3. Are there any values that stand out when you think about our business?
Asking this administrative assistant interview question solves two challenges: It ensures your candidate has prepared for the interview by researching your organization and informs you whether their values align with yours.
Perhaps diligence and hard work stand out for them, or honesty and trustworthiness match their conduct. Ask follow-up questions to learn why your applicants think these values are important.
4. How do you approach continuous upskilling?
Understanding your applicants’ upskilling approaches can help you plan the ideal training sessions after hiring them, so ask this question to learn more about their preferences.
Upskilling and refreshing existing skills are essential as they help administrative assistants complete their tasks. There are many methods candidates can use to learn new skills. While some might complete hands-on training courses in which they learn to use new tools, others will prefer to learn independently and read about the skills they need to develop.
For instance, suitable methods for improving Microsoft Windows skills include completing research or asking an expert for advice. Listen out for answers that reflect your candidate’s curiosity and eagerness to learn extra skills.
5. Which management style would encourage you to perform best?
When answering this question, some candidates may mention that they prefer extra support from managers, while others may work better independently. Consider whether your applicants have enough independence at work to enhance the efficiency of office projects.
Top 5 tips for using administrative assistant interview questions
For a smooth interview process, consider these top five tips for using administrative assistant interview questions when hiring skilled talent.
1. Complete skills testing before using administrative assistant interview questions
Shortlisting applicants can be a lengthy, complex process, so we suggest using skills-testing methods before you invite applicants to an interview for your open position. Since skill assessments provide a set of results for all candidates, you can compare their sub-skills with the data and use it to shortlist applicants faster.
2. Be consistent when administrative assistant interview questions
Consistency is crucial when interviewing your applicants, ensuring you give candidates an equal opportunity to share their knowledge. With consistency in mind, make sure you interview applicants using the same administrative assistant questions in every interview.
Don’t forget that consistency also involves asking questions in the same order. These methods make comparing all your candidates’ answers easier when you need to make a hiring decision. If you begin with general administrative assistant interview questions and move on to skills-related questions, follow this order for every applicant.
3. Ask open-ended or follow-up questions
It’s always best to avoid closed-ended questions that fail to prompt a full candidate response to administrative assistant interview questions.
Instead of asking, “Do you use tools to complete administrative projects?” use open-ended questions such as “Describe how tools help you complete administrative projects.” An approach like this will ensure your candidates give a full answer.
If you ask a closed-ended question, we recommend using a follow-up question to encourage applicants to give a more comprehensive answer. So, if you ask, “Do you use tools to complete administrative projects?” and your candidate says they do, follow up by asking, “How have those tools made the process more efficient?”
4. Write notes as you listen to your candidates’ responses
Active listening is important during interviews and will help you focus on your applicants’ skills, so listening more than you talk is crucial during interviews. As you listen to your candidates’ responses, write notes using an organized approach.
Of course, if you begin taking notes without informing your applicant, the process may seem discourteous. Always ask applicants if taking notes is okay – this will enhance the candidate experience and let them know what to expect. This method is important as 49% of job seekers have declined job offers due to poor candidate experiences.
5. Remember that some questions are off limits
Being aware that some questions are off-limits in an interview will benefit you and your organization. Avoid asking questions about your candidates’ personal lives, keeping the focus on the professional elements of the role.
Ensure you don’t ask questions about the candidate’s age, national origin, religion, race, gender, or marital status.
Use administrative assistant interview questions and skills tests to hire a professional
Finding the right administrative assistant interview questions isn’t always easy. Nevertheless, with our list of interview questions and our industry-best skill tests, you stand ready to hire the right candidate.
When you have built your skills assessment using the Administrative Assistant test, look through the interview questions to make your list. You have all the resources required to hire a professional.
Now all you have to do is go to TestGorilla for the right tests and try them out for free. Learn how TestGorilla is positively changing the recruitment industry and check out our tests today.