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How to assess administrative assistant skills


Administrative assistants support your company’s task management and growth by filing paperwork, preparing documents for meetings, managing their supervisors’ calendars, and answering phone calls. These individuals require a professional attitude and specific skills to handle complex duties. With this in mind, how can you determine which candidates are best suited and qualified for your role?

It all starts with knowing the key skills to consider and how to evaluate them. Read this article to find out which skills and skills tests, such as our Administrative Assistant test, you should consider when hiring your next administrative assistant.

What is an administrative assistant skills assessment?

A skills assessment is a collection of soft, hard, and role-specific skills tests (such as admin tests) you can use to assess administrative assistants for your role. Hiring the most skilled applicants isn’t always easy, and neither is comparing the best candidates if they have similar skills. Mistakes can mean hiring the wrong person.

Using an assessment that can be customized with role-specific tests, you can complete a quick side-by-side comparison of your candidate pool and objectively select a shortlist of candidates for your role. After this, you can invite them to a video interview and check their references. 

Your assessment will help you know whether your talent can:

  • Solve administrative problems for the company and the team

  • Pay attention to small details in documents

  • Stay organized when handling documents and files

  • Manage paperwork and meet deadlines

  • Communicate efficiently with teams and stakeholders 

If you’d prefer a more in-depth evaluation method, you can use extra features with your assessment, like uploading custom questions and tests that dig deeper into your candidate’s proficiency.  

For example, if you’re looking for someone who will type documents for your company, you might want to find candidates with good typing speeds. You can use our Typing Speed (lowercase only) test to evaluate that proficiency. This test will help you learn more about your candidates’ typing speed in words per minute and whether they can type randomly generated words in lowercase that are separated by spaces.

You could also include our tests for Administrative Assistant candidates. It’s a role-specific test that covers specific skills and traits that are important for administrative assistants, such as time management and being detail-oriented. Learn more about this popular test by previewing its questions or visiting our test library.

Why are administrative assistant skills important?

 Whether you have a small or quickly expanding company, onboarding a new hire with soft skills like communication and administrative skills like computer literacy can help your business in many ways. Here are three examples:

why are administrative assistant skills important graphic

1. Time management is more efficient

Candidates with administrative skills ensure the company prioritizes the right tasks and meets deadlines. The most professional talent will know how to:

  • Break down tasks with multiple steps into smaller ones

  • Set goals and define what they need to accomplish

  • Complete time blocking 

  • Delegate tasks to free up time 

A new hire with these skills ensures your organization can manage time efficiently, enhance your company’s relationship with clients, and improve your team’s task management.

For example, your business might need to establish a company-wide training program, which requires coordinating trainers, scheduling training, and booking venues. New hires can use time-blocking techniques and delegation skills to assign themselves specific amounts of time to complete these duties.

2. Record-keeping is more streamlined 

A new hire with advanced admin skills can contribute to accurate record-keeping, making fewer mistakes when maintaining records correctly. This efficient approach ensures your company avoids legal consequences related to data security and general data protection regulation

Although senior staff members in your company may complete some of these duties, assigning record-keeping to a new administrative professional with a specific skill set for maintaining records means your company can always be audit-ready. They can prepare for this more thoroughly as they have more experience and can be more hands-on with this process day-to-day. 

With the support of professional admin assistants, your senior staff members can also easily access the records they require without searching through hundreds of digital files. It helps your company save time, avoid accessing the wrong files, and meet deadlines.

3. Communication is better

Admin assistants contribute to smooth communication within your business and with clients. The right candidate can share company information with stakeholders and team members. If you find a skilled admin assistant, it doesn’t matter how many stakeholders or company teams you have – communication is easier, and everyone has the correct information.

 For example, to complete team meeting coordination duties, your administrative assistant should communicate verbally and in writing. They may send invitations to teams, write the meeting agenda, or discuss any changes to the meeting schedule with those involved.

 If your candidates have excellent verbal and written communication, they can also help your company’s team summarize their messages related to the meeting and clarify the actions the team should take. The result is a successful meeting that all team members attend, thanks to exceptional communication. 

Which skills and traits are important for administrative assistants?

 Finding talent with specific hard and soft skills ensures they’re equipped with abilities that help them perform well. Consider the following skills when evaluating your candidate’s suitability for your role: 

Active listening skills

Candidates with active listening skills can understand and handle company issues related to training and upskilling. For example, if your business needs to complete team-building activities and some team members cannot attend, your new hire can use their active listening skills to:

  • Understand why team members cannot attend

  • Listen for advice from other team members to reschedule the event

  • Identify key points and ask relevant follow-up questions 

These skills also help candidates respond appropriately to stakeholders, clients, and colleagues. For instance, if a senior manager wants to change a company policy, your candidate can use active listening skills to understand the reason for the change. They can then use the information to explain the reasons for the change to other team members. 

Attention to detail

Candidates need excellent attention to detail to handle various documents, such as reports, contracts, and client correspondence. With this skill, candidates can:

  • Use version control tracking for spotting changes in documents

  • Update file names accurately, without making errors

The main outcome of these actions is that all team members have access to the most recent version of the documents without getting confused by multiple version drafts. 

Candidates also need attention to detail when proofreading documents to catch errors and check the grammar, formatting, and spelling to mitigate mistakes. This attention to detail results in your company’s clients and teams receiving consistently correct information and documentation.

According to CNBC, attention to detail is the seventh most important skill for employers, showing that this skill is sought after in many roles, including administration.

Technology proficiency 

Administrative assistants need technical proficiency, such as knowledge of Microsoft Office software, spreadsheets, email platforms, and word processors. Technology skills suggest they can use keyboard shortcuts, work with databases, and manage digital calendars.

For example, if they need to send similarly formatted emails to various clients, they may coordinate an email template for consistent communication. Technology proficiency ensures candidates can:

  • Automate repetitive tasks

  • Share valuable insights with teams faster

  • Troubleshoot basic errors like updating software

Candidates with technology proficiency can also streamline their work using different operating systems such as macOS and Windows. For example, with file management knowledge and experience using macOS functions, document management is easier and faster, so your team can receive documents earlier to complete their work. 

Skills and traits tests to evaluate administrative assistants

Including traits and skills testing in your hiring strategy is the fastest way to assess your candidates’ skills and aptitude for the role. You’ll also discover talent who can use technology and avoid making errors.

Consider including the following recommended tests when you build your assessment:

skills tests to evaluate administrative assistants graphic

Communication skills 

Our Communication skills test evaluates various skills, including active listening and verbal communication. Candidates who achieve excellent scores on this test can understand essential company updates and share them with clients and teams.

The test also assesses whether candidates can summarize any messages they receive from senior management and communicate using professional etiquette. Use this free test to evaluate whether your candidates are excellent communicators.

Attention to detail 

The Attention to detail test assesses how well your candidates can focus on textual detail and use analytical skills for administrative tasks. If candidates achieve good results on this test, they can check whether a document’s information is clear and filter and edit information accordingly to ensure accuracy.

Our test also evaluates how well candidates can compare statements and spot the differences. Use this free test in your hiring process to check if your candidate is meticulous and can notice small errors.


The MacOS test evaluates your candidate’s proficiency with the Apple operating system – macOS. Candidates who score high percentages on this test have good knowledge of system preferences, technology proficiency, and folder management skills.

This test also evaluates your candidate's ability to use basic functions in macOS, so consider this test if your company requires a Mac-proficient candidate.  

Microsoft Windows 

This Microsoft Windows skills test assesses your candidate's knowledge of the Windows operating system. Candidates who can complete this test and rank highly can understand how to use Windows in their administrative role. 

The test evaluates whether your candidates know how to use Windows File Explorer to handle files. It also evaluates your candidate’s Windows terminology knowledge and whether they can use Windows’ basic functions.

Administrative assistant skills assessment FAQs

Below are some FAQs about using skills assessments to find your next hire. If you’d like to know more about how our assessments can feature in your hiring process, keep reading.

What’s asked in an assessment?

With TestGorilla, a skills assessment can comprise up to five tests. For example, you might include soft skills assessments such as problem-solving and communication. You could also evaluate admin assistants’ Excel skills using our two Excel competency tests – one for basic skills and one for advanced skills.

Our tests feature situational questions and ask candidates to select appropriate actions in real-world workplace scenarios, evaluating whether your candidate is fully prepared to complete the duties of an administrative role.

What questions should I ask when hiring an administrative assistant?

 You can ask many skills and job-related questions in the custom questions of your assessment when hiring a candidate for your admin role. Some questions you might ask include:

  • Which are your strongest skills?

  • How many years of administration experience do you have?

  • How do you handle multiple assignments?

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult client.

  • Do you use any tools to help with time management?

What are the best soft skills for an administrative assistant?

Multiple soft skills are ideal for an administrative assistant, including being organized, empathetic, and trustworthy, with sound project management abilities. A skills assessment featuring soft skills tests is ideal for evaluating these skills. 

For example, you may use a Project management skills test to assess the integral skills related to your candidate's project management abilities.

How TestGorilla can help you find skilled administrative assistants

TestGorilla’s skills assessment platform is a convenient, easy, and bias-free hiring method that will help you hire the best, most skilled candidates. Read on to learn how TestGorilla can improve your hiring process:

Decrease time-to-hire

TestGorilla is a leading skills testing platform that improves time-to-hire metrics. We’ve helped many companies hire faster by making candidate comparison easy.

When you ask candidates to take your assessment, you receive an insightful report that shows their performance and skill levels as a percentage. With percentages from all your candidates, you can quickly see who has the most proficient skills that align with your role. This reduces your time-to-hire, letting you shift your focus to other tasks.

Mitigate biased hiring decisions

We mitigate biased hiring decisions by providing a platform for objective skills assessment. With TestGorilla, you don’t need to guess if your candidates have the skills you need. You just check the percentages and star ratings to determine if the candidate is a match.

An advantage of bias-free hiring is that you’ll find candidates with excellent skills instead of hiring based on a hunch. You’ll minimize your chances of hiring the wrong candidate and be able to focus on the most able talent throughout the hiring process. 

Increase new hire retention rate

With TestGorilla, you can hire candidates with the right combination of role-specific skills that will contribute to their success. Employees who feel they’re working well and progressing in their role are more likely to work productively, contributing to a positive work environment.

Use TestGorilla to increase your new hire retention rate and maintain your company’s morale.

How to use TestGorilla in your hiring process

Are you eager to use TestGorilla to find the right new hires for your company? Follow the steps in this section to hire a professional using our skills tests:

1. Pick a name for the assessment that stands out

Start by picking a distinct name for the assessment, which may include the job role and location. Choosing a unique name helps you keep track of the assessments you build.

2. Look through the library and choose your tests 

Visit our test library and type the job role you’re hiring for to find expert-crafted tests. Select up to five for your assessment.

3. Include custom questions to learn about your candidate’s personality  

Check out the range of custom questions available with TestGorilla, including essay, video, and upload-style questions. You can include up to 20 custom questions in your assessment.

4. Invite candidates to take your assessment 

Send an email invitation, an invitation through your applicant tracking system, or an invitation through TestGorilla to ask candidates to take your assessment. You can send multiple invitations at once if you have several candidates to assess.

5. Review the assessment results

Review the video and candidate responses to determine which candidates are the best match for your role. View the ranked scores and check the statistics to compare and create a shortlist of candidates to invite to an interview

Hire professional administrative assistants with TestGorilla

 Hiring an administrative assistant whose skills align with your role just takes a few steps with TestGorilla. Your hiring process doesn’t need to include phone or resume screening  – you can use tests like our Administrative Assistant test to check which candidates have the best skills for the job.

Companies such as Revolut and H&M use our assessments to find skilled professionals. Will yours be next?

See what TestGorilla can do for your business. Try TestGorilla for free, and then use our platform to find the top talent to grow your company.


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