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Office Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. Aside from the obvious duties, what is your understanding of the role and responsibilities of an office assistant? See answer
  2. Why should we choose you over our next candidate for office assistant? See answer
  3. As office assistant, you may hear private information concerning co-workers. Describe to me a time when you were able to discreetly handle a sensitive office situation. See answer
  4. What are your favorite things about being an office assistant? See answer
  5. What types of computer software are you proficient with and comfortable using? See answer
  6. What’s your process for keeping various schedules and tasks organized and prioritized?
  7. Have you ever made a mistake when scheduling an administrator for an event? What did you learn from this experience?
  8. What’s your process for getting started on a challenging project?
  9. Describe a moment when you’ve had to keep company information confidential and discrete.
  10. What type of office environment do you prefer to work in?
  11. What’s your organizational like to ensure you complete your many administrative tasks by their respective deadlines?
  12. Is there a specific type of administrator you prefer to work with?
  13. Tell me about a large or complex project you were given in the past and how you approached it.
  14. What’s your comfort level when greeting guests and answering phone calls?
  15. Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
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6 Office Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Aside from the obvious duties, what is your understanding of the role and responsibilities of an office assistant?

A:

It can be easy for someone applying for the role of office assistant to assume they’ll serve in a background position in the company. The goal is to find someone who understands the scope of their importance and is able to recognize the crucial role office assistants really do play. They are the fuel that keeps the engine running. What to look for in an answer:

  • Dedication to precision and accuracy
  • Ability to articulate goals to make the office run smoothly
  • Signs of being a team player

Example:

“I understand how important it is for senior managers to have a reliable assistant to keep them up to speed. It’s my goal to get to know their needs before they do.”

Q:

Why should we choose you over our next candidate for office assistant?

A:

It’s important that your office assistant is able to work well on their own without excessive direction and training. After all, it’s their job to make things easier for the rest of the staff. Although they will require some degree of training to understand the intricacies of your specific office protocols and industry standards, the trick is finding someone capable of adapting accordingly. What to look for in an answer:

  • Honesty about unique qualities that set them apart
  • Knowledge of the skills needed for the job you’re hiring for
  • Confidence in their response

Example:

“I understand the importance of filing legal documents with the court with expedience and precision. I’m a great multitasker and can manage multiple client files with reliability. I also continuously upgrade my technical skills and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.”

Q:

As office assistant, you may hear private information concerning co-workers. Describe to me a time when you were able to discreetly handle a sensitive office situation.

A:

The office assistant is often put in the position of a fly on the wall who hears most of what goes on. Sometimes, this requires them to resist the urge to share information with people who shouldn’t hear it. This is the opposite direction of where human nature would have us go. Nobody wants unnecessary office gossip or awkward encounters. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to identify delicate situations
  • Creativity and quick thinking in stressful situations
  • Experience handling confidential information appropriately

Example:

“I overheard someone saying my boss was having an affair. In order to prevent further gossip about our boss, I found a moment to tell him, and he revealed that he was caring for a sick relative. This quickly and discreetly change the focus of all the staff.”

Q:

What are your favorite things about being an office assistant?

A:

The last thing you want to do is hire someone who is just seeking any new job. You want to hire a career-driven applicant who has goals to grow within your organization. You need a motivated person who truly enjoys helping your company move in the desired direction and serving as an integral driver for that growth. What to look for in an answer:

  • A genuine love for office work
  • Interests that align with your industry
  • An understanding of how your company works

Example:

“I am detailed oriented and proud that my organization of schedules, events and files helps the office stay organized. It’s a great feeling knowing that I make a difference in the big picture. I work hard to push toward company goals and help the entire team stay productive.”

Q:

What types of computer software are you proficient with and comfortable using?

A:

In the modern office, it’s generally expected that an office assistant is capable and comfortable using multiple types of computer software. Ideally, you want to hire an candidate who has plenty of experience using the programs your company relies on. Training should be geared toward company processes, not generalized skills other applicants may possess. What to look for in an answer:

  • Familiarity with current systems your industry uses
  • Confidence in using necessary software
  • Track record of using this software continuously in their work

Example:

“I’m proficient with Microsoft Office tools and Google docs. I used Salesforce in my last job, and before that I used Zoho. I’m a quick learner and can adapt to new software and technical tools as necessary.”

Q:

What's your process for keeping various schedules and tasks organized and prioritized?

A:

Office assistants are typically responsible for building schedules for several different employees while also completing their own basic clerical duties to keep the office running smoothly. To ensure all of these responsibilities are completed by their deadlines, office assistants should have a set strategy in place to prioritize tasks according to their importance. Look for a candidate who has a clear organizational and time-management process prepared that they use on a daily basis.

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Ability to build schedules and appointments effectively
  • Process for prioritizing both supervisor schedules and clerical tasks
  • Organizational and time-management abilities

An answer to this question could like this:

Example:

"As an office assistant, I'm responsible for building not only my own schedule, but the schedule of administrators in the office as well. To effectively manage these, I start my week by reviewing all upcoming meetings written in the office calendar. I'll send notification emails to each attendee. Next, I'll review each to-do item from the previous week that I added into my task-management app. I'll update myself on the status of each task and their respective deadlines. Finally, I'll create a schedule for the week according to the immediacy of my tasks to ensure they're all completed on time."

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