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5 Executive Secretary Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

Can you tell me about a time when you needed to adjust an executive's schedule because of an unexpected change?

A:

Asking executive secretary candidates this question lets you assess how talented they are at doing things like booking appointments and managing a calendar. Getting them to describe a specific situation that required fast-paced thinking and calmness under pressure is a good gauge of how the person handles scheduling. Their response can tell you if they enjoy challenges or get frazzled when faced with sudden changes. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to adapt when plans change
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Good attitude in a potentially stressful situation

Example:

"An important client missed a presentation due to a delayed flight. I adjusted our schedule to fit him in later without canceling other meetings."

Q:

What would you do if a disgruntled employee or customer came in and demanded to speak to an executive who was not available?

A:

Executive secretaries function as gatekeepers in the office, so you want to learn a little about how well the candidate could fulfill this role. Their response can tell you a lot about their customer service abilities. Consider whether the person seems likely to get flustered, upset or belligerent when speaking to difficult people. Asking this question also allows you to learn about the applicant's problem-solving skills. What to look for in an answer:

  • Capacity to remain polite and pleasant
  • Firmness and confidence when doing their job
  • Resourcefulness to manage tense situations

Example:

"I would politely explain that the executive isn't available. I would offer to take a message or let the person speak with someone else."

Q:

What software do you use to manage your tasks and maintain efficiency at the office?

A:

Using technology is an essential part of the executive assistant's job. When you talk to them about the software they know, be sure that they can use the basic office programs. Their response can let you know how comfortable they are using technology in general, and it allows you to see if they are quick learners who can figure out the applications your company uses. What to look for in an answer:

  • Confidence using software programs
  • Interest in using technology to increase workplace productivity
  • Ability to learn new software quickly

Example:

"I've been proficient in Microsoft Office for years, and I recently learned how to enhance office collaboration by using Google Docs and Sheets."

Q:

Can you give me an example of a time when you anticipated the needs of an executive?

A:

To find the best executive secretary, you need to ask interview questions that let you see whether the candidate shows initiative. Their answer should illustrate the ability to work independently and to anticipate what the executive needs without having to be explicitly instructed. Asking for a specific example also lets you see how skilled the applicant is at summarizing and recalling information. What to look for in an answer:

  • Proactive approach to their work
  • Concise and clear communication
  • Good problem-solving skills

Example:

"I noticed my boss often forgot about weekend meetings. I set up his phone to give him reminders a few hours before they started."

Q:

How would you deal with an executive asking you to divulge private information that the CEO told you?

A:

Executive secretaries have access to confidential information, and you need to make sure that they understand the importance of discretion. A person's reply to this question is useful because it tells you about their ability to navigate sensitive situations. Remaining professional and composed in the face of a challenge will reflect well on the company. What to look for in an answer:

  • Capability of maintaining workplace privacy
  • Tactful in encounters with others
  • Not intimidated into breaking company rules

Example:

"I would politely explain that I don't have the authorization to share that information. Then, I'd suggest that I could arrange a meeting for them with the CEO."

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