Executive Administrative Assistant Interview

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Joy in Everett, Washington

75 months ago

These are some examples of the questions they asked me in my last interview:
-How many Executives did you support and what kind of assistance would you provide them?
-How important is communication in the work place? Can you give me an example of how it benefited you?
-Can you give an example how you worked with your team mates to accomplish a large task?
-How did you handle conflict and gossip in the workplace?
-If you had one area to improve on, what would that be in?
-Why did you leave your last job?

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Carm in Toronto, Ontario

72 months ago

Does anyone have any behavioural type questions for an executive assistant job interview...PLEASE HELP

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Lois in Cleveland, Ohio

71 months ago

Carm in Toronto, Ontario said: Does anyone have any behavioural type questions for an executive assistant job interview...PLEASE HELP

I had one in a phone interview: Describe an office situation in which you were proud of yourself for the way you handled it?

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Mecca in Atlanta, Georgia

70 months ago

Susan in San Francisco, California said: Here is a sample of some that I use...
1. Tell us about your most recent experience in an administrative support position. [Prompt: How many people did you directly support and what were their titles?]
2. What steps would you take to prompt your boss to act on a task (e.g., sign a rush contract)?
3. Do you consider yourself to have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office? Explain your use of PowerPoint to create a presentation.
4. Have you been directly involved in making travel arrangements and preparing expense reports? Explain your role and the process.
5. Tell us about a particular time that you were responsible for setting up a meeting. How many attendees were there and were they all internal to your organization or were they from outside as well? What steps did you take?
6. How do you perform in a fast-paced environment where specific guidance might not always be available?
7. How would you handle clarifying an unclear assignment?
8. Do you consider yourself to be a single- or multi-tasker? How do you handle being pulled in two or more directions at once?
9. How would you respond to a co-worker who asked you for information you knew to be confidential or that you were uncertain as to its confidentiality?
10. In this position, you will be required to provide guidance to other administrative support personnel. What characteristics do you feel you would bring in acting in a leadership capacity?
11. What work-related situations do you find the most frustrating?
12. What is missing from (or is a part of) your present job that you would like to see in this one?

Thanks! I found these questions to be wonderful and very helpful. Which question gives you the most indication of the best candidate, and what in their answer lead you to make that decision?

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M in Hampton, Virginia

70 months ago

Carm in Toronto, Ontario said: Does anyone have any behavioural type questions for an executive assistant job interview...PLEASE HELP

I had an interview recently where they asked me what I like to do outside of work, what the last book I read was and to sum myself up in one word. ARGH!

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Jenny in Edmonton, Alberta

70 months ago

martha in Mt Laurel, New Jersey said: I have the same question, I will be in interviews and I would like to know what the questions will be

you will get alot of question like how will yuo benifit the company, why should the company hire you, why are you applying for this job. you also light get alot of questions like if you were an anmial what would you be.

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Susan in San Francisco, California

70 months ago

I had this one thrown at me recently: "If I had a magic wand and could wave it and erase the worst work-related experience you've ever had...just 'poof'...make it go away like it never happened, what would that be?" And do you know that I actually got rejected for answering: "Well, I've had a few bad experiences, but I wouldn't want to erase any of them because each one, good and bad, has contributed to making me who I am today. I'm stronger and smarter because of my experiences, even the bad ones." She said that I sounded too "rehearsed." Now how could I have anticipated and prepared for that question?!

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Mecca

70 months ago

Wow! Thanks. I know that I'm in the right profession. Now, everything has to be so politically correct and I'm a bottom-line person.

I believe that the results are only as strong as the critical thinking skills utilized to execute the task at hand: Prioritize, use all information and seek additional info-- to be as thorough as possible, and lay down the foundation for performance.

Plainly: plan the work to work the plan, and fill in the blanks according to the demand and your goal to arrive at an ethical, professional, and quality bottom-line.

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Dona in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

70 months ago

Susan in San Francisco, California said: I had this one thrown at me recently: "If I had a magic wand and could wave it and erase the worst work-related experience you've ever had...just 'poof'...make it go away like it never happened, what would that be?" And do you know that I actually got rejected for answering: "Well, I've had a few bad experiences, but I wouldn't want to erase any of them because each one, good and bad, has contributed to making me who I am today. I'm stronger and smarter because of my experiences, even the bad ones." She said that I sounded too "rehearsed." Now how could I have anticipated and prepared for that question?!

I re-read your scenario a couple of times. 1) I don't really think this question was appropriate - not related to your knowledge/abilities, 2) this seems very childish approach by the interviewer 3) my experience is that this approach is a passive-aggressive approach to throw you off guard and lastly 4) would you really want to work with someone who would even pose a question like that and then "bash you" for your answer. My gut feeling is that this type interviewer wants someone who is going to be soft-spined and that is not what our profession is. Also, you may have stunned the person with such a professional, positive, and confident answer - not "rehearsed", but, well-spoken.
An Exec Admin is constantly in the front lines and has to be professional, strong, and able to think quickly. Don't be thrown by such tactics as this in interviews. I have had jobs with this type interview and the job and boss did not work out for me. Neither were "good fits" for a professional Ex Admin, they needed a clerk that would bow to any command. HOWEVER, I've had other jobs that were conducted more professionally and loved every minute.
That first impression you got from interview could be your mind telling you, this is not the job for you.

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Dona in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

70 months ago

Susan in San Francisco, California said: I had this one thrown at me recently: "If I had a magic wand and could wave it and erase the worst work-related experience you've ever had...just 'poof'...Now how could I have anticipated and prepared for that question?!

The other way that you can handle such a question is to use a rather "benign" answer, something that was "bad", but, not anything unrecoverable. For instance, you had to make a presentation, got caught in bad weather and arrived at meeting soaked. However, you dried off and the presentation wasn't damaged. The audience saw that you could handle yourself gracefully under fire, or in this instance, under water. Har. There will always be some off the wall question sometime, just try to stay calm and answer gracefully.
You've answered the question, period.

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Mecca

70 months ago

Thanks!

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Michelle in Atlanta, Georgia

67 months ago

I absolutley love this website and the people on this forum because you are all so knowlegeable in this profession. I could use your help if possible. I am looking for a website that can give me bios on just about anyone...in particular I am looking for the former surgeon general Julius Richmond. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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Michelle in Atlanta, Georgia

67 months ago

PS. I am currently using wiki to find info on him.

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Susan in San Francisco, California

67 months ago

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Michelle in Atlanta, Georgia

67 months ago

Obrigado Susan!!! I think I have seen you on another forum...you are very helpful!!! I am currently working for the former Surgeon General under the Clinton Administration and he asked that I pull this informtion for him. I so appreciate your help.

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Susan in San Francisco, California

67 months ago

Glad to help! :)

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Patrick in Southfield, Michigan

63 months ago

I guess my question would be is what are your replies to some of the questions below. not trying to plagarized but just need to get a feel on how to respond. need sample answers:

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Patrick in Southfield, Michigan

63 months ago

And your answers would be?
1. Tell us about your most recent experience in an administrative support position. [Prompt: How many people did you directly support and what were their titles?]
2. What steps would you take to prompt your boss to act on a task (e.g., sign a rush contract)?
3. Do you consider yourself to have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office? Explain your use of PowerPoint to create a presentation.
4. Have you been directly involved in making travel arrangements and preparing expense reports? Explain your role and the process.
5. Tell us about a particular time that you were responsible for setting up a meeting. How many attendees were there and were they all internal to your organization or were they from outside as well? What steps did you take?
6. How do you perform in a fast-paced environment where specific guidance might not always be available?
7. How would you handle clarifying an unclear assignment?
8. Do you consider yourself to be a single- or multi-tasker? How do you handle being pulled in two or more directions at once?
9. How would you respond to a co-worker who asked you for information you knew to be confidential or that you were uncertain as to its confidentiality?
10. In this position, you will be required to provide guidance to other administrative support personnel. What characteristics do you feel you would bring in acting in a leadership capacity?
11. What work-related situations do you find the most frustrating?
12. What is missing from (or is a part of) your present job that you would like to see in this one?

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Borislav in Sofia, Bulgaria

63 months ago

Hi every one I am looking for a job in NY

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Susan in Sacramento, California

63 months ago

Patrick in Southfield, Michigan said: And your answers would be?

Hi Patrick:

Part 1 - It looks like this will have to be a multi-part reply as I can't fit my entire reponse in just one block. That being said...

Everyone’s answers will vary greatly, and I can’t stress enough the importance of not exaggerating in an interview (because, if hired, you will be "found out"), but here are *examples* of the type of answers that I’d hope to hear from a candidate:

1. Tell us about your most recent experience in an administrative support position.

A: I most recently supported the two principals of XYZ Company’s main office. I managed their calendars, scheduled meetings and appointments, made travel arrangements, and prepared expense reports. I also supervised the receptionist and the mail clerk.

(Discuss the level and number of those you directly supported [e.g., staff of 25, a division head, a district manager, principal(s), regional director, CEO and/or President], and what you did for them.)

2. What steps would you take to prompt your boss to act on a task (e.g., sign a rush contract)?

A: If I had, let’s say, a rush contract to be signed, I’d check my boss’ calendar to see what he had going on. If he was out, I’d check with contracts to see if someone else could sign for him. But if he was in, I’d write a note—something really short, like “Rush—Contracts is waiting for this”—stick it to the contract, peek in his office to make sure it was okay to enter, and then hand it to him. I’d explain what was needed, or I’d let him read the note if he couldn’t talk. I’d take his verbal or nonverbal cue and either wait for him to sign it, come back for it in a few minutes, or see if someone else could sign.

Look for Part 2...

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Susan in Sacramento, California

63 months ago

Part 2

3a: Do you consider yourself to have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office?

A: I do. I’ve used Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for X years and can create, edit, and format documents and spreadsheets. And I use Outlook’s email, calendar, contacts, and time management tools.

3b: Explain your use of PowerPoint to create a presentation.

A: I’ve created PowerPoint presentations using templates, and from blank slides, choosing the layout, graphics, fonts, color schemes, animation, and sound. I’ve also edited presentations prepared by others, and I’ve printed handouts to accompany presentations.

4. Have you been directly involved in making travel arrangements and preparing expense reports? Explain your role and the process.

A: I have extensive experience in both areas. When making travel arrangements, I ask travelers for their meeting times because that determines what time they need to arrive and depart, and whether they’ll need lodging. I also ask if they prefer a taxi, shuttle, or rental car to get from the airport to their meeting or hotel and back. I might also book them into a hotel that’s within walking distance of their meeting. I’ve booked online with airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies, and through travel agencies, depending on company protocol.
I’ve also prepared and submitted expense reports. Some companies have a policy to submit expenses within a certain number of days, others on a specific day in the payroll cycle, so I calendar this as a reminder to get my boss’ receipts and mileage so I can turn them in on time. I also note on my boss’ calendar the date that something was expensed. For example, if she takes a client to lunch, I’ll note “Expensed on 2/2/09.” And when a client takes her to lunch, I record “Client’s expense” so we’ll both remember that she didn’t incur an expense.

Look for Part 3...

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Susan in Sacramento, California

63 months ago

Part 3

5. Tell us about a particular time that you were responsible for setting up a meeting. How many attendees were there and were they all internal to your organization or were they from outside as well? What steps did you take?

A: I’ve arranged internal and external meetings with anywhere from 2 to 100 people. Internal meetings are easier when the office is using Outlook because you can create a meeting request that includes all of the attendees, click “scheduling” to check everyone’s availability, and then hit “AutoPick Next” to find the next date/time that all invitees are available. This is a real timesaver! But when arranging a meeting that includes outside attendees who may not all use Outlook, I’ll send an email with suggested dates and times and let them tell me what works for them, or if it’s a meeting that has to take place on a specific date/time, I’ll send an Outlook meeting request. I’ve also reserved and set up meeting rooms, made menu choices and ordered food, taken minutes, recorded key points on flip charts, worked with IT and presenters to set up equipment, worked with venue staff to ensure our needs are being met, and worked with attendees to arrange their travel (like which airport to fly in to, which hotels to stay at, and how to get to our office).

6. How do you perform in a fast-paced environment where specific guidance might not always be available?

A: Being busy doesn’t rattle me; I focus on each step with the bigger picture in mind, and take advantage of all available resources. But when there’s no one around to guide me, or there aren’t any written guidelines, I use my best judgment and do what I think makes the most sense to get the job done. Depending on the type of job, it’s sometimes better to “act first and seek forgiveness later.”

Look for Part 4...

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Susan in Sacramento, California

63 months ago

Part 4

8a. Do you consider yourself to be a single- or multi-tasker?

A: I’m definitely a multi-tasker. I’ve always got several things going at once.

8b. How do you handle being pulled in two or more directions at once?

A: I’ve learned to “go with the flow.” Priorities change frequently, that’s just the nature of this job, and I can quickly switch gears. If I get pulled from an assignment, I can easily pick up where I left off once the more pressing assignment has been dealt with. But if what I’m already working on is as equally pressing as the new assignment, I’ll talk to the requestors and explain my dilemma. More often than not, one of the projects can wait for a little while. But I rarely have to do this because I can most often make those types of decisions on my own.

9. How would you respond to a co-worker who asked you for information you knew to be confidential or that you were uncertain as to its confidentiality?

A: I guess it would largely depend on my relationship with the co-worker. If I knew him well, I’d just smile and say, “Come on, now…you know I can’t go there!” But if it was someone I didn’t know well, I’d say something like, “A lot of people are wondering about that these days, but I’m sure the boss will make that announcement when he’s ready.” If he pressed, I’d say something nebulous like, “I’m sorry, I really don’t have any information that I can share with you.” Either way, I would try to be as tactful as possible, but I wouldn’t share the information.

Look for Part 5...

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Susan in Sacramento, California

63 months ago

Part 5

10. In this position, you will be required to provide guidance to other administrative support personnel. What characteristics do you feel you would bring in acting in a leadership capacity?

A: I’m very good with people…even those some might consider difficult or problematic. I identify and look for ways to build on their strengths and find ways to enhance other areas, which has resulted in motivating my staff to work as a team and do their best. I’m also very big on analyzing work flows and processes, and recommending any necessary changes after I’ve had a chance to get acclimated and understand how things are done and why.

11. What work-related situations do you find the most frustrating?

A: When there’s a lack of communication, and when my boss doesn’t know that he doesn’t know what he wants, so he isn’t able to communicate it to me. And then he gets frustrated because his needs aren’t being met, and I get frustrated because I’m not able to meet his needs…even though I’m doing everything we’ve discussed. To avoid this, I developed a list of job responsibilities that are typical for this position, which I go over with my boss early on to find out what he’d like me to take on. Most often, my bosses’ reactions have been: “You mean you can really do these things for me?” I’ve found that, in most cases, at some point in their careers they’ve inherited an assistant even though they have no idea of what to expect from one. They’ve all been very appreciative when I’ve taken on the burden of figuring out what I should be doing for them.

12. What is missing from (or is a part of) your present job that you would like to see in this one?

A: I’d like to have an opportunity to grow the position to fit the needs of the company rather than be locked in to the duties defined in a job description.

That's it! These are just my opinion; others, I'm sure, will have their own opinions and ideas about what an interviewer might want to hear. Good luck!

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Manny in Chicago, Illinois

58 months ago

M in Hampton, Virginia said: I had an interview recently where they asked me what I like to do outside of work, what the last book I read was and to sum myself up in one word. ARGH!

So how did you anwer the question? They just want to know what you do outside of the office?

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Patrick in Dearborn, Michigan

58 months ago

I would use the acronym IMPACT

I - Information Expertise
M - Maturity
P - Political Skills
A - Adaptability
C - Communicator
T - Takes Initiative

Got that from the last book I read. The New Executive Assistant by Melba J. Duncan

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Shirley in Washington, District of Columbia

58 months ago

I have a question, not a comment. When the President & CEO would like to meet with an executive from another company, would it be better if he or she made the call personally, rather than have his executive assistant make the call? In my opinion, I think it would be more expedient for him or her to make the call because they know their calendar better than anyone else, and it would be more convenient to set up the meeting at the time of the phone call, rather than have the executive's secretary give the President's secretary some convenient times for them to meet and then for the President's secretary to check her boss's schedule for the most convenient time for the meeting. In my opinion, this would save time for all concerned and would be much more efficient because, in my case, I don't have complete access to my boss's calendar because he never synchronizes his Blackberry with his Outlook Calendar.

Any suggestions?

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Donna D in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

57 months ago

Patrick in Dearborn, Michigan said: I would use the acronym IMPACT

I - Information Expertise
M - Maturity
P - Political Skills
A - Adaptability
C - Communicator
T - Takes Initiative

Got that from the last book I read. The New Executive Assistant by Melba J. Duncan

That is such a cool description. I already have most of this in my resume, backed up with examples and letters of recommendation. Thanks for a handy tool!

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Patrick in Royal Oak, Michigan

57 months ago

Donna D in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina said: That is such a cool description. I already have most of this in my resume, backed up with examples and letters of recommendation. Thanks for a handy tool!

great book!! It sure assisted me. Interviewers really like it

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Small Town near Big Town in Charlotte, North Carolina

57 months ago

Shirley in Washington, District of Columbia said: I have a question, not a comment. When the President & CEO would like to meet with an executive from another company, would it be better if he or she made the call personally, rather than have his executive assistant make the call? ...this would save time for all concerned and would be much more efficient because, in my case, I don't have complete access to my boss's calendar because he never synchronizes his Blackberry with his Outlook Calendar.

Any suggestions?

If you have complete access to boss's calendar, maybe suggest-as one of those minor but important things you do-sync the calendar. Many busy execs overlook this type thing - it's another thing on their list. One thing I've tried to set up w/boss is to have a 5-10 min mtg each day for snapshot of the day. One way to help boss is arrive 15 mins before boss to print calendar (and e-mails if possible), hi-lite/mark vital events to stand out. While reviewing list, ask to borrow his Blackberry, sync-then you add to the above list. That way you share same info. Also, you're being proactive to help boss out, show that you want them to have a smoother day, etc. Most jobs I've had at this level, it was my responsibility to check calendars for my info, make sure boss has needed info, set up meeting, delegate what you could, and make sure they have info, paperwork, whatever for that day. Also, add deadlines,criticals to your calendar.
What is relationship and purpose of the meeting? Sales/marketing situation -invitor may not want to impose available days first. Let invitee offer days/times.
Then, prioritize work in colored folders w/bolder (ylw, etc.) down, for most important etc.; individal ones for that day's activities: making this a joint effort, you're knowledgeable of day's event, and developing a team relationship. Usually the execs admins are main coordinator. Not professional caught with the "I don't know what he/she's doing."

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Small Town near Big Town in Charlotte, North Carolina

57 months ago

Small Town near Big Town in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina said: Most that I've seen are:
-Technical skills
-Who have you supported
-How do you handle conflicts: priorities and people?
-How many years experience for each skill?
And watch the tricky questions
What irks you in a job?
What is your weakness in your previous positions?
I really hate those, only because I don't like to think of the negative aspects - I just don't.

The silliest question I had was "Almond Joy or Mounds". I replied Almond Joy, I like nuts. This was my true answer - I like almonds. But, also if they are going to through a question like that at me and not accept a quick funny answer back (showing they have a sense of humor) I don't think that would be comfortable place to work in. I worked in purchasing, expediting, and contracts. BELIEVE ME you have got to keep a sense of humor - especially being an electrical utility staging equipment for the next hurricane.
You get my drift.

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

57 months ago

She may have the kind of boss who has an inflated ego and feels too self-important to make the call himself, even though it would be easier!

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Small Town near Big Town in Raleigh, North Carolina

56 months ago

Most of the C-levels I work with, not making some calls is not because their egos are inflated, they just need to use that time for other calls, e-mails, etc. At this level, time management was part of my job - managing the bosses time and mine. Plus, the EA is aware of anything boss may need, EA develops relationship with other party (helps if this relationship continues), etc. Plus, this is one more way the EA makes her/himself valuable.
You are the "gatekeeper" of time, info, "accessibility to boss" to help the boss, not use as a power play. To be really effective in your position, you constantly have to form partnerships/relationships with everyone you come in contact with. You may be the best paid Admin in the dept, section, whatever - but, you do not do all the work. There is someone that provides work to your boss and you.
One of the most stressful occurances at my old office was the heating/cooling in the bosse's office - was extremes at both ends (not due to bosse's health). I worked with the office maintenance for 3 hrs to rectify, usu, this takes work order etc., a 3 day process. This is when relationship with all is important.

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Small Town near Big Town in Raleigh, North Carolina

56 months ago

Bottom line, the more you help your boss, the better you are in the information loop - not to have that "power", but to make you both more effective and a better team.

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

55 months ago

Susan in San Francisco, California said: I had this one thrown at me recently: "If I had a magic wand and could wave it and erase the worst work-related experience you've ever had...just 'poof'...make it go away like it never happened, what would that be?" And do you know that I actually got rejected for answering: "Well, I've had a few bad experiences, but I wouldn't want to erase any of them because each one, good and bad, has contributed to making me who I am today. I'm stronger and smarter because of my experiences, even the bad ones." She said that I sounded too "rehearsed." Now how could I have anticipated and prepared for that question?!

*******************
Rehearsed = PREPARED. HR people are downright silly at times.

Sounds like a cunning way to find out the "dirt" on you! It's sleazy. I would have answered with a MINOR situation however. HR people get frustrated when you OUTWIT THEM!

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

55 months ago

Manny in Chicago, Illinois said: So how did you anwer the question? They just want to know what you do outside of the office?

*********

They want to get for your real personality by the books you read. If you don't read any, you're probably not as inquisitive/patient or something as they hope? If you'll be working closely with your coworkers, they want to see if it will be a fit, though how does one know if a reader of Biographies will get along with a Science Fiction reader?

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MSTAPPY in Sugar Land, Texas

55 months ago

I have a question for this forum that I hope is not insulting to anyone but I am genuinely curious about. The question is, how do you work so closely & intimately with a boss & not get emotionally involved? I am not at a large corporation, my boss is a small business owner but I have seen T.V. shows (e.g. Ugly Betty) where the assistant is very emotionally involved. After 10 years of being my boss' assistant we got married & have been for 13 years (that's after 10 years of not being married, just working together). Is it easier to not get emotionally involved when it's a large corporation? Because as an assistant the number one job is to make your boss' life easier & to want to do that you must like/care about making that happen.

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EssGee in Sacramento, California

55 months ago

First, are you for real?! Second, I'm not insulted...I'm confused.

I've worked side-by-side with some very bright, powerful, dynamic and exciting executives, traveling by car and plane all over the Country, working in to the evening on some very challenging projects, and I've never fallen in love with one of them...man or woman...because I've never allowed myself to "go there." I, too, want to make my boss' life easier (within reason), but I don't have to be in love with him or her to do that. And despite what you've seen on TV, the *reality* is that the vast majority of us *don't* fall in love with our bosses.

So the question, then, isn't how the rest of us *don't* fall in love with our bosses: it's how did YOU allow yourself to fall in love with yours? (Which, by the way, is an answer best kept to yourself.) Good luck with that...if you're for real.

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

55 months ago

MSTAPPY in Sugar Land, Texas said: I have a question for this forum that I hope is not insulting to anyone but I am genuinely curious about. The question is, how do you work so closely & intimately with a boss & not get emotionally involved? I am not at a large corporation, my boss is a small business owner but I have seen T.V. shows (e.g. Ugly Betty) where the assistant is very emotionally involved. After 10 years of being my boss' assistant we got married & have been for 13 years (that's after 10 years of not being married, just working together). Is it easier to not get emotionally involved when it's a large corporation? Because as an assistant the number one job is to make your boss' life easier & to want to do that you must like/care about making that happen.

****
Have you ever heard of BOUNDARIES?

I guess if that's your goal, to marry your boss, then you have that figured out real well!

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MSTAPPY in Sugar Land, Texas

55 months ago

Yes I have & that's why it took 10 years for anything to even happen & it certainly was not my goal but after 10 years of mutual care, it happened.

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MSTAPPY in Sugar Land, Texas

55 months ago

EssGee in Sacramento, California said: First, are you for real?! Second, I'm not insulted...I'm confused.

I've worked side-by-side with some very bright, powerful, dynamic and exciting executives, traveling by car and plane all over the Country, working in to the evening on some very challenging projects, and I've never fallen in love with one of them...man or woman...because I've never allowed myself to "go there." I, too, want to make my boss' life easier (within reason), but I don't have to be in love with him or her to do that. And despite what you've seen on TV, the *reality* is that the vast majority of us *don't* fall in love with our bosses.

So the question, then, isn't how the rest of us *don't* fall in love with our bosses: it's how did YOU allow yourself to fall in love with yours? (Which, by the way, is an answer best kept to yourself.) Good luck with that...if you're for real.

I am for real & that statement speaks volumes as it shows that you must be quite jaded which is the understandable reason why you do not let your emotions get involved. It also sounds like you have had many jobs when I have had the same one for 21 years. Good luck with that.

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EssGee in Sacramento, California

55 months ago

You've misinterpreted my post; regardless, the number of jobs I've held or whether I'm "jaded" or "emotionless" are not at issue. You posed a question that you assumed would insult many ("I have a question...that I hope is not insulting to anyone..."), so it should come as no surprise that some of us might have taken offense or responded defensively. That being said, it was not my intention to offend. The nature of your question lends itself to questioning as it's so far "out there" as to appear manufactured. And my skepticism has nothing to do with being "jaded" or "emotionless." I've just never believed in "fishing off the company pier." I'm a professional and keep my work and personal lives separate, which is one of the many reasons I've enjoyed such huge successes in my career. At the same time, my boss and I truly enjoy one another: we appreciate each other's sense of humor and values, and share *some* of the personal details of our lives. I love my boss as a fellow human being, I'm just not *in love* with my boss.

But please re-read your post: you'll see that you worded your question in a way that infers that we assistants aren't capable of satisfactorily supporting our bosses unless we're emotionally involved with them. That's insulting. This may be true for some, but the majority of us who are *not* in love with our bosses feel that we, too, are fully capable of adequately supporting them.

And now that we've established that your question is legit, please understand that we on this forum are here to help, not insult. I apologize for making you feel that you were being attacked. And so my question is, if you've worked with your boss/husband for 23 years, why are you asking your question now? After so many years? I don't want or expect an answer; we can't help you with this personal issue here. I only ask to give you food for thought.

Again, good luck with that...and I mean that sincerely. Good luck.

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Kaitlyn in Fresno, California

55 months ago

Shirley in Washington, District of Columbia said: I have a question, not a comment. When the President & CEO would like to meet with an executive from another company, would it be better if he or she made the call personally, rather than have his executive assistant make the call? In my opinion, I think it would be more expedient for him or her to make the call because they know their calendar better than anyone else, and it would be more convenient to set up the meeting at the time of the phone call, rather than have the executive's secretary give the President's secretary some convenient times for them to meet and then for the President's secretary to check her boss's schedule for the most convenient time for the meeting. In my opinion, this would save time for all concerned and would be much more efficient because, in my case, I don't have complete access to my boss's calendar because he never synchronizes his Blackberry with his Outlook Calendar.

Any suggestions?

I worked in a Board of Supervisors office as a Deputy Clerk. When County Counsel and/or the CAO walked thru the office, and upon seeing the Supervisor engaged with thier appt (obviously with the door closed) would interrupt the meeting, the Supervisor would apologize to the constituent and have their asst reschedule the meeting.

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Amazed at the Economy in San Diego, California

54 months ago

I used to wish my boss would just make the call as well (similar situation with the syncing), however, it is a status thing mostly. It appears much more stately to have your assistant call their assistant. I handled this through emails mostly, but would often take the time to call or engage in a little witty banter. You never know when they can help you out in the future or vice versa. We all know it's the assistants that really keep the wheels greased in the organization.

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Amazed at the Economy in San Diego, California

54 months ago

Susan in Sacramento, California said: Part 5

10. In this position, you will be required to provide guidance to other administrative support personnel. What characteristics do you feel you would bring in acting in a leadership capacity?

Susan, you are worth your weight in gold! I hadn't interviewed in over 10 years and just reading your answers reminded me of what I already knew and helped solidify all the swirling information in my head. I will just comment in general to everyone that if you go into the interview ready to talk at length to every point in their job description then half the battle is won. I found I got the most positive responses and head nodding when I tailored everything in this manner.

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EssGee in Sacramento, California

54 months ago

Amazed at the Economy in San Diego, California said:

Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback. I'm glad you found my post useful. (P.S.: Note the user name change to "EssGee." Ess is for the "S" in Susan.) ;)

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Amazed at the Economy in San Diego, California

54 months ago

Sus

Susan in Sacramento, California said: Part 5

10. In this position, you will be required to provide guidance to other administrative support personnel. What characteristics do you feel you would bring in acting in a leadership capacity?

A: I’m very good with people…even those some might consider difficult or problematic. I identify and look for ways to build on their strengths and find ways to enhance other areas, which has resulted in motivating my staff to work as a team and do their best. I’m also very big on analyzing work flows and processes, and recommending any necessary changes after I’ve had a chance to get acclimated and understand how things are done and why.

11. What work-related situations do you find the most frustrating?

A: When there’s a lack of communication, and when my boss doesn’t know that he doesn’t know what he wants, so he isn’t able to communicate it to me. And then he gets frustrated because his needs aren’t being met, and I get frustrated because I’m not able to meet his needs…even though I’m doing everything we’ve discussed. To avoid this, I developed a list of job responsibilities that are typical for this position, which I go over with my boss early on to find out what he’d like me to take on. Most often, my bosses’ reactions have been: “You mean you can really do these things for me?” I’ve found that, in most cases, at some point in their careers they’ve inherited an assistant even though they have no idea of what to expect from one. They’ve all been very appreciative when I’ve taken on the burden of figuring out what I should be doing for them.

Susan, would you consider posting the "list of job responsibilities" that you mentioned here? I think it would be very beneficial to many of us. Cheers!

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EssGee in Sacramento, California

54 months ago

Amazed at the Economy in San Diego, California said: Sus

Sure...here's a generic list, which should be tailored to your office, followed by my comments, which shouldn't be included in the list you give to your boss. (This is the first of two posts.)

ACTION ITEMS
* Track and follow-up on actions assigned to you, and/or actions you assign to others
EMAIL
* Triage incoming email; prioritize by moving to established Inbox folders (e.g., action, urgent, approval, FYI, travel, etc.)
* Send new or reply emails on boss’ behalf (from “Your Name on Behalf of Boss’ Name”)
CALENDARS
* Post meeting details, appointments, travel and itineraries, holidays, tasks, reminders, etc. (any or all of these)
* Send or respond to meeting requests on boss’ behalf
* Prioritize commitments
* Color code MS Outlook items [NOTE: See footnote for more information.]
MEETINGS
* Schedule meetings and conference calls: coordinate dates/times, secure conference rooms and equipment, send meeting requests and/or notices
* Take meeting notes, as needed; prepare and distribute meeting minutes
MAIL
* Collect, open and distribute incoming mail; toss junk mail
* Distribute outgoing mail
CORRESPONDENCE
* Compose
* Coordinate input from others
* Finalize with your input
DOCUMENT PREPARATION
* Prepare presentation and spreadsheet materials for conferences, correspondence, appointments, meetings, telephone calls, etc.
* Review documents for spelling, grammar, and syntax
* Make (or coordinate production of) photocopies, scans, and/or PDF files
* Assemble documents, prepare mailings; prepare mailing lists
TRAVEL & EXPENSES
* Coordinate travel arrangements (hotel, flights, rental car, etc.)
* Register at conferences
* Prepare expense reports
MISCELLANEOUS ADMIN
* Coordinate reports, presentations, etc.
* Conduct basic Internet research; download files
* Maintain files, logs, lists
RECEPTION
* Greet visitors
* Direct or escort visitors to meeting location

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EssGee in Sacramento, California

54 months ago

EssGee in Sacramento, California said:

This is the second of two posts.

OTHER
* Track standing with professional organizations re accreditation or membership (e.g. continuing education requirements, membership renewals, licensing requirements, expiration dates, etc.).
* Confidential assistance (e.g. mid- and annual review process, interview and hiring process)
* Help organize office

FOOTNOTE. There are 25 color categories in MS Office 2007; here’s how I use them:
* Red – Important (Calendar Category)
* Orange – Review Time (Calendar Category)
* Peach – Boss 1 Contacts (Contacts Category)
* Yellow – Phone Call (Calendar Category)
* Green – Personal (Calendar Category)
* Teal – Boss 2 Contacts (Contacts Category)
* Olive – Holiday (Calendar Category)
* Blue – Travel Time (Calendar Category)
* Purple – Birthday (Calendar Category)
* Maroon - @Someday/Maybe (Task Category)^
* Steel – Vacation (Calendar Category)
* Dark Steel - @Deferred (Task Category)^
* Gray - @Reference (Task Category)^
* Dark Gray – Not Used
* Black – Not Used
* Dark Red - @Action (Task Category)^
* Dark Orange - @Office (Task Category)^
* Dark Peach - @Waiting For (Task Category)^
* Dark Yellow - @Calls (Task Category)^
* Dark Green - @Home (Task Category)^
* Dark Teal - @Errands (Task Category)^
* Dark Olive - @Ideas (Task Category)^
* Dark Blue - @Anywhere (Task Category)^
* Dark Purple - @Agendas (Task Category)^
* Dark Maroon - @Computer (Task Category)^
* Dark Steel - @Deferred (Task Category)^

Bright colors are calendar items, coordinating darker colors are task categories (e.g., yellow=calendared calls/teleconferences; dark yellow=tasks that a phone is needed to complete).

^The “@” categories are based on “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. See my 11/3/09 post to this board entitled, “Need Help Getting Organized? This Book Just May Change Your Life.”

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Kimuri in Troy, Michigan

54 months ago

Sweet!! Thank you for the input, Sue.

Have you ever come accross a difficult situation as an admin and rectified it by implementing an idea of your own where that situation would not come up again as a problem?

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