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Executive Assistant Interview Questions

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Executive assistants provide high-level administrative and business support for company leaders, such as CEOs, directors and senior-level management. Executive assistant duties and responsibilities typically include managing calendars, arranging appointments, preparing reports and/or special projects, maintaining KPIs and organizing meetings.

When hiring an executive assistant, look for ​​the ability to multitask, excellent time management skills, professional discretion and people skills. Great candidates for your executive assistant role may also have experience in an administrative support or personal assistant role.

Ask 5-10 of the following interview questions to get a better sense of a candidate’s executive assistant skills and experience.


  1. If the CEO gave you confidential information, what would you do if another top-level executive asked you about it? See answer
  2. What software programs have you used in the past and how would you describe your computer skills? See answer
  3. Describe a time you had to adjust a schedule due to unforeseen circumstances. See answer
  4. How would you deal with an angry person demanding to speak with an unavailable executive? See answer
  5. How do you anticipate the needs of an executive? See answer
  6. What do you believe an executive assistant brings to a company? See answer
  7. What are your strategies for managing your time when dealing with multiple urgent tasks simultaneously? See answer
  8. How would you best support an international C-Level executive?
  9. Do you consider yourself an extrovert?
  10. What strengths do you have that help you excel as an executive assistant?
  11. Would past employers say you were able to anticipate their needs?
  12. If you need to schedule a last-minute meeting and the conference room was unavailable, what would you do?
  13. What sort of operational support have you provided executives in the past?
  14. Do you feel prepared to manage multiple responsibilities at once?
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8 Executive Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

If the CEO gave you confidential information, what would you do if another top-level executive asked you about it?

A:

With access to your company’s most sensitive information, executive assistants must maintain confidentiality and discretion. Ask this question to find out how a candidate will navigate complex office politics without betraying confidence, engaging in gossip or making thoughtless comments. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to maintain proper confidentiality
  • Comfort level dealing with sensitive information
  • Understanding of the significance of confidentiality in the workplace
Example:

“Since I don’t have the proper authorization to disclose the CEO’s information, even to other senior-level executives, I would politely and firmly explain that I don’t have any information to share with them.”

Q:

What software programs have you used in the past and how would you describe your computer skills?

A:

Executive assistants leverage their expertise in software programs to create business-critical presentations, prepare expense reports and triage emails, among many other crucial tasks. This question gauges a candidate’s ability to manage these tasks, which often have the power to shape company policy. What to look for in an answer:

  • Proficiency with top software programs
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Computer literacy
Example:

“In my previous role, I used Google Sheets and Docs extensively to create reports and presentations, but I’ve also been using the full Microsoft Office suite for over 10 years. I’m known by my friends as their personal tech support specialist, so I love fixing things when they go wrong and can master new tools and programs quickly.”

Q:

Describe a time you had to adjust a schedule due to unforeseen circumstances.

A:

At the heart of an executive assistant’s job is expertly maintaining calendars, booking appointments and arranging meetings that meet the needs of busy senior managers. This question reveals how skilled a candidate is at keeping a company running smoothly while dealing with complex scheduling constraints. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to create and adjust schedules
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Problem-solving skills
Example:

“An executive flying in from Boston was scheduled to present at a mission critical meeting, but his flight was delayed and he wouldn’t be able to present until two hours after his scheduled time slot. Instead of rescheduling for another day, pushing back the meeting or cancelling his presentation, I decided to switch his time slot with two other executives so that he could present when he arrived at the office, ensuring that nobody else’s schedule was impacted.”

Q:

How would you deal with an angry person demanding to speak with an unavailable executive?

A:

An exceptional executive assistant is pleasant and professional when dealing with irate people. This question reveals how a candidate will reflect their boss’s values and serve as an effective gatekeeper – all while diffusing volatile situations. What to look for in an answer:

  • Customer service skills
  • Diplomacy
  • Resourcefulness
Example:

“I would speak calmly and evenly, putting a positive spin on the situation. To avoid escalating the conflict, I would politely offer to take a message, reassure them that the executive will contact them as soon as possible and give the customer the option to speak with someone else who was available.”

Q:

What are your strategies for managing your time when dealing with multiple urgent tasks simultaneously?

A:

Whether you’re looking for a candidate to support just one or multiple executives, it’s important that they know how to juggle multiple tasks at once without cracking under pressure. Ask this question to discover how a candidate will react when situations become demanding. What to look for in an answer:

  • Multitasking skills
  • Ability to accomplish tasks under pressure
  • Organization and time management skills
Example:

“When I’m being pulled in multiple directions, I focus on staying calm and collected. I write out to-do lists and focus on prioritizing tasks based on importance and deadlines. This clears my head and helps me finish all of my tasks on time.”

Q:

How do you anticipate the needs of an executive?

A:

Instead of just responding to an upper level executive’s needs, a good executive assistant reacts to those needs before they’re even vocalized. This question lets you see how a candidate inspires trust and improves productivity by identifying trends and building solid relationships to accurately predict the needs of executives. What to look for in an answer:

  • Confidence
  • Goal-oriented mindset
  • Attention to detail
Example:

“My goal is to stay one step ahead at all times and remain involved in the changing needs of executives and the entire business. I use my own intuition and experience to determine what an executive needs to know, and what is just noise.”

Q:

What do you believe an executive assistant brings to a company?

A:

Executive assistants are an integral part of the office environment and the company as a whole. The goal of this question is to find out if a candidate sees themselves as an important and valued part of a company. What to look for in an answer:

  • Passion for excelling at their job
  • Understanding of how they fit into a larger team
  • Motivation
Example:

“Being an executive assistant makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger. I love making people’s’ lives run more smoothly and efficiently, and I believe an executive assistant is crucial for making business-critical decisions, averting crisis and acting as the face and voice of top-level executives.”

Q:

What are your strategies for managing your time when dealing with multiple urgent tasks simultaneously?

A:

Often, executive assistants handle a number of responsibilities simultaneously for the executives they work for. Asking candidates how they manage multi-tasking and deadlines can help you see if they have effective strategies for handling on-the-job stress and meeting important deadlines. Ideally, candidates will also offer examples of how they've dealt with situations like this in the past. Look for answers from your candidate that:

  • Provide at least one clear strategy for managing multiple projects
  • Offer an example of effective time management
  • Recognize the value of respecting deadlines
A strong candidate may offer an answer similar to this example:
Example:

"I'm well-versed in multi-tasking and handling a variety of time sensitive issues at once. I have a few strategies I employ to help me manage my time well. First, I keep a detailed calendar of all my deadlines for the month. From there, I create weekly and daily to do lists that ensure I stay on track to meet my obligations. I've learned from experience that it's best to leave some time every day to handle unexpected tasks or challenges, so I also ensure I have at least one unplanned hour in my day that I can always use to work ahead if needed. This strategy worked really well for me in my last position. I was on track to finish my monthly report and prep my executive's calendar for the coming week when I got a call from a client that ended up taking over an hour. Since I'd built that time into my schedule and stayed on track with my tasks the rest of the month, I was able to finish my assignments on time."

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