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5 Administrator Interview Questions and Answers

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How would you characterize the difference between an administrator and a manager? 


It's imperative an administrator understand the distinctions of the profession so that he or she doesn't attempt to do the job of managers. An administrator may play many roles though always in the interest of overseeing the company's processes and operations. As such, the administrator must also be able to adjust responsibilities based on the business's size and number of managers. What to look for in an answer:

  • A full and accurate understanding of an adiministrator's responsibilities
  • Willingness to work with a team
  • Commitment to avoiding micromanaging

"An administrator is responsible for establishing policies and procedures while managers put them into action. The administrator makes decisions while the managers execute them."


What business software programs are you familiar with, and how have you utilized them?


A business administrator must be at least familiar with, if not savvy in, a variety of technologies, including software for finance and accounting, sales and marketing, statistics and HR. While managers and assistants may be responsible for executing most tasks in these programs, the administrator needs enough of an understanding of each one to effectively oversee, evaluate, report on and optimize that work. What to look for in an answer:

  • Technical skill and technological expertise
  • Ability to learn and apply new skills quickly and effectively
  • Comprehensive awareness of the interrelated components of business operations

"I've utilized a range of these programs and have even taught coworkers how to use them. I've also assessed software and systems for former employers."


What is your optimal workflow, and how do you approach administrative procedures?


The best administrators have processes and procedures for executing any type of duty. You want to know your administrator has carefully planned and honed his or her workflow to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. How detailed an administrator's workflow is and their level of proactivity in formulating and fine-tuning procedure shows you precisely how detail-oriented, organized and committed to professional excellence he or she is. What to look for in an answer:

  • Forethought and planning in executing tasks
  • Willingness to self-assess and address inefficiencies
  • A sense of organization and commitment to detail

"I develop templates and procedural manuals before starting projects so that I can track progress toward specific goals and make real-time adjustments as needed, posting them on a shared drive for the team."


What is your experience and comfort level dealing with high volumes of phone calls?


Administrators may have assistants fielding phone calls, but that doesn't mean they don't still spend inordinate amounts of time on the telephone. Your administrator must not only make a great impression in person but also when only a disembodied voice on the phone. Moreover, an administrator must be fast-thinking, able to intelligently navigate multiple conversations at once and call up specific information at a moment's notice. What to look for in an answer:

  • Confident and eloquent speaking voice
  • Friendly and engaging demeanor
  • Sharp and flexible mind

"In previous jobs, I've managed a variety of phone systems, facilitating calls for staffs of over 100 employees, including arranging conference calls and managing voicemail systems."


What is the process you use to make administrative decisions?


Effective administration involves a combination of short-term and long-term planning across multiple functions like staffing, directing and controlling, each with its own procedural steps and requirements. Making the best decisions along each of these steps, therefore, requires different techniques at different times. An administrator should be savvy with the distinctions and tools of proactive versus reactive and qualitative versus quantitative business decision-making. What to look for in an answer:

  • Comprehension of technical decision-making terminology and techniques
  • The ability to accurately assess situations and appropriately apply solutions
  • Commitment to evaluate decisions made and actions taken and forward-adjust accordingly

"All decision-making involves steps like collecting information and evaluating future outcomes, and based on this information, I choose the best approach."

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