The interviewer would like to know how you react when your desk is piled high with work, and there is no end in sight. Are you the type to put your head down and stay on task? Or, perhaps you get overwhelmed and need to walk away from it all before you can collect yourself. Be honest but do assure the interviewer that you are capable of handling a high-work volume professionally.
"I am often overloaded with work, surrounding tax time, in my line of work. I fully understand that every February through May, I will be working some overtime hours and will have very few lunch breaks. Because this isn't the expectation year round, I can keep up without becoming burnt out."
"I found myself buried in work many times during my University career. I exercised the art of time blocking and was able to work out a schedule that allowed a balance between my education and my social life. I was apparently very good at this because I graduated with a 3.89 and an amazing group of friends by my side, with many new memories."
"I have been overloaded with work from time to time. I do not feel sorry for myself when this happens because it's par for the course with any job, in any industry, and any business! I am thankful for the busy times because this means that my company is going strong, and offering me a secure place to work. I will prioritize by the date of the deadline and chip away at my work from there!"
This question presents an opportunity for you to brag about yourself a little bit. Are you ready? Think back to the times when you received a pat on the back, or public recognition for a job well done. Perhaps there is a time when your actions saved the company a great deal of money or when you trained an employee who was frustrated and ready to quit. There are many examples of what makes you a great administrator!
"My proudest moment as an administrator was when I caught a major typo in a financial document, that was about to be released to our board. The typo was related to an important number regarding capital investments and would have had a lot of people shaking their heads. The CEO was incredibly thankful for my keen eye and proofreading abilities. So thankful, that he gave me a paid Friday off!"
"I have not been in an administrative career for long, but I would say that my proudest career moment so far was completing my training ahead of schedule and earning a promotion very quickly, in my current role. I was not expecting to be recognized so fast for a job well done, but the extra diligence certainly paid off."
"My managerial career has been full of a variety of wins. The greatest, I believe, was when I noticed that my junior administrator had become somewhat disengaged in her work. I took her out for lunch where she opened up and told me that she often felt lost in her day-to-day tasks. I took the next couple of weeks to re-train her on a few of our core activities. She was much happier after the re-training, and much more confident. The fact that she did not quit was very satisfying to me, and it saved the company a lot of funds and time by not having to re-hire and onboard someone new."
You can bring in a little bit of your personal life into the answer. Perhaps you are successful because you have a never-ending curiosity and you spend a lot of time researching the industry in which you work. Maybe you read a lot of business books or listen to podcasts on your way to work. Perhaps you take part in activities that offer you a definite mind-shift, like yoga and meditation, which allow you to give your best at work and be uber-focused. Share with the interviewer the ways that you ensure you are successful in your career.
"The secret to my success as an administrator is my ability to earn rapport with clients, over the phone, very quickly. When someone feels comfortable with you immediately, you can almost guarantee that they will become a repeat client. For this reason, I often have customers telling my boss how lovely it is to speak with me. It makes me feel good, and this appreciation goes a long way in fueling my fire to be better every single day."
"I believe my secret to a successful career as an administrator will be the fact that I am a strong researcher and inquisitive about business and how this particular industry ticks. I will be well-versed in the industry terminology which will set me up for success now, and in the future."
"I am successful as an administrator because I genuinely care. My work is my career, and not just a job, to me. I care about my company, my boss, my coworkers, and the clients that walk through our doors. In addition to that, I genuinely care that the work I deliver is top-notch."
You have many assets that you plan to bring with you to this new job but how do they fit in with what the company is actively seeking? Take another peek at the job description or job posting, and make a note of which assets crossover with their must-have's. Be sure to use unique keywords that will make you memorable. Some great assets for an administrator to possess: - Strong knowledge of related industry terminology - An understanding of industry trends - Full grasp on the technology used in the company - Skilled in the use of social media - Exceptional writing skills, either technical or persuasive - Understanding of business finance, profit, and loss - Experience dealing with vendors, or contract negotiations
"I believe that my best asset is the fact that I have experience with contract negotiations, and dealing directly with vendors. This skill sets me apart from other candidates because I can easily cross over between administration tasks, and account management, or even accounts receivable or payable."
"I have been a bartender for a couple of years and believe that the most applicable transferable skill that would be the biggest asset to you is my understanding of customer service. I can read non-verbal cues from customers very well and am quick to read someone from the cues they give."
"I have been an administrator in a cross-departmental environment for many years, giving me exposure to tasks related to budgeting, finance, and more. I would say that my greatest asset is my sound understanding of the financial structure of an organization."
The interviewer wants to know what the driving force is behind your application to their organization. Perhaps your education is directed towards a career as an administrator. Maybe you have a penchant for process and organization. Or, you chose a job to follow in the footsteps of someone you admire. Whatever your "why" be sure to express it with enthusiasm.
"Initially, I wanted to work as a personal assistant but found that the work was too casual and inconsistent. Then, my career counselor mentioned working as an executive assistant. I looked into the scope of that career a bit further and realized it was the career direction that I had been looking for."
"I have worked in an administrative function for many years now and am excited at the thought of taking the additional step towards being a senior administrator in the corporate suite. I have had a wonderful mentor along the way who did a lot to guide me into this career path, and I'm thrilled at the thought of entering this elevated stage of administration."
The interviewer would like to know the extent of your experience when it comes to training, coaching, and mentoring others. You may not have formal experience in a workplace setting, but it is highly likely that you have coached someone in the past. This situation may include tutoring a classmate while attending University, or perhaps training someone in a volunteer capacity. Explain the approach that you took and express which aspects of coaching someone else you enjoyed.
"In my current position I am responsible for training any temp administrators. We have a variety of executives that need additional support, depending on the volume of client work, or even seasonally. Also, should one of our executive assistants be on vacation, we will call in a temp from an agency to fill the gap. This training usually includes our computer systems, our phone lines, and everyday processes."
"I have worked as a part-time chemistry tutor for struggling students, through high school and now University. Chem has always been one of my stronger subjects, and it was a great way for me to earn extra cash while in school. I think that I am a great teacher because I am patient and can break down complicated concepts into easy-to-understand terms."
"I have coached and trained many other administrators, through my twelve-year career as an administrator. In our current organization, we do see a fair amount of turnover. I train approximately 3-4 new people per year. My training style is easy to follow, and I encourage a lot of hands-on learning."
The interviewer would like to know that the type of work available to you in this role is going to be work that excites you! Think back to projects that you have worked on in the past that indeed fired you up. Describe that particular situation to the interviewer, highlighting what it was that made you enjoy the scope of the role so much. Perhaps you were introduced to a new department or given additional client-facing responsibilities. Whatever it was, be sure to exude a lot of enthusiasm in your answer. You would be wise to tie your reply in with the duties included in this particular role.
"I get excited when included in high-volume projects with some of my company's biggest clients. Of course, my involvement with these high-profile clients means being extra-dutiful, but I embrace challenges like that, wholeheartedly. I like to feel like I am making an impact on the bigger picture. What caught my eye about your particular role is that the administrator will be supporting the executive suite, meaning involvement in bigger-impact projects."
"I would love to be involved in a project with a new client so that I can experience your process from step 1 to completion. I think that being involved in that type of capacity would give me a full scope of the work here. Any project that gives me a bigger picture understanding of your company's goals is an exciting opportunity for me."
"I get excited working on projects geared to the growth of the company for which I work. When I saw your position was greatly focused on streamlining internal processes to prepare for future growth opportunities for the company, I became very excited to apply here."
The interviewer would like to know about those handy apps and resources you may regularly use, to keep yourself organized and on top of your administrator game! This question also represents an excellent opportunity for you to ask the interviewer what types of resources they prefer at their company.
"Right now, I am pretty obsessed with the Evernote application. The app keeps my notes and documents updated and synched on all devices so, whether I am on my desktop, or my tablet in a meeting, I know that my notes are backed up and synched. What has been your favorite technical resource, as of late?"
"Google Drive has saved me time and effort throughout my time in University, compared to any other application. I can share documents, and store files, accessing them anywhere. I can see many ways in which this application would be helpful in an office setting. Do you utilize Google Drive in your office?"
"As an Administrator for a smaller company, I am also the social media manager. I have found that HootSuite and Plann have been lifesavers for me when it comes to planning the content, and dispersing it amongst a variety of platforms. Have you used either of these apps before? I would love to know what tech you turn to, to stay organized and on top of your tasks."
The interviewer would like an example of what you consider to be 'organized' and how you remain that way. We all know that digital files can become pretty disorganized, quickly, if we don't pay close attention. Describe the methods that you use to ensure your data is easy to locate.
"In my current role I created a new digital file naming system now incorporated across our entire office. The system includes all lowercase, first client name, file description, and then the date added at the end. For instance, pepsi_hexcolors_2018."
"I should show you my laptop so you can see how well-organized I am! I keep everything in labeled folders with descriptive terms that are easy to search. I also ensure to back everything up on a weekly basis. I would be so upset if I lost an important paper or project!"
"I keep my digital files organized by always following the naming order set forth by my current company. The more descriptive, the better, as the file will be more likely to pop up in a keyword search. It's important to me that, at the end of every day, I have properly filed everything away, both digital and paper related. Being organized is what makes the world go round!"
The interviewer would like to know what tasks and duties make up the bulk of your day. Discuss your primary responsibilities, who you support, who you talk to in a day, and how you handle a large workload.
"A typical day for me begins at 8 AM and ends around 6 PM. When I first arrive, I ensure that my executive is all set with the materials she needs for her meetings. I call all of her appointments to double confirm they are coming in. Then, I check all of my emails. Mid-day, I start to take lunch orders for the group. I answer calls, email inquiries, and file the morning's work. Before leaving for the day, I ensure that my executive's appointments are all set for the following day and that there are zero unanswered emails or voicemails to which I must return. I have a great system to keep me organized and on task."
"I am currently wrapping up my University degree, so my days are primarily spent on research, studying, writing, and tweaking my final papers. I am very driven to maintain my 3.89 GPA, so I spend most of my time in the library or my home office, working towards that goal. When hired, I will bring that same level of discipline and dedication to work every day."
"I spend a lot of my day training new staff, writing training manuals, and handling customer disputes. I am the go-to administrator for all junior admins, in a variety of departments. I love that I can influence the work of so many people, on a daily basis."
If this administrator role places you at the front desk, in the middle of all the action, then the interviewer needs to be assured that you are not going to fall victim to distractions left, and right! Talk about how you would ensure that you remained on task. If you are currently in an environment with high-traffic, refer to that experience and what you do to minimize distractions.
"I like to time block and avoid working in a reactive state, where I switch back to my email every time it dings, for instance. I will also let my colleagues know when I have a deadline approaching, and they are then more respectful of my time, keeping the chit-chat to lunch breaks or for after-work hours."
"As a recent University graduate, I know all about distractions! There will be a major paper due and a great sorority event on the same night. I have learned how to say no, keeping my end goal in sight at all times. I will apply this same level of discipline when it comes to distractions, being at the front desk, or working around a lot of different people in a day."
"I minimize distractions by setting timed goals for myself. If I have a report due, I will tell myself that it has to be done by 10 AM for example. When I set solid time-bound goals for myself, I can remain on task."
The interviewer would like to know that you have an interest in continued learning, and education. There are many admin related courses available whether they be online, at a community center, or at your local college or university. Chances are, the class that you would choose is one of your areas of weakness, so this question can be a less direct way of asking what your greatest weakness is. The way in which you reply could also give the interviewer an indication of your most significant interests when it comes to the scope of your administrative work.
"I believe that continued education is vital, so I do appreciate you asking this question. If I could take any admin related coursework, I would take a workshop on technical writing. In my current role, and in this role with your company, I see that a lot of the admin work is related to curriculum writing and preparing RFP's and RFQ's. I am confident in my existing skills; however, there is always room to improve."
"If I could take an admin related coursework I would take a class to improve my typing speed. I am currently at about 58 words per minute but would like to be in the hight 70's."
"This is a great question! I would say that any coursework related to dispute resolution would be helpful. I have stellar administration skills and would like to learn even more when it comes to increasing my ability to put out fires before they escalate to the executive whom I support."
Your answer to this question can be short and sweet. Chances are since you are applying to an administrator role that you have exposure to the Microsoft Office Suite. Included in Microsoft Office Suite may be: -Excel -Access -OneNote -PowerPoint -Outlook -Publisher -Word Rate your skills from 1-10 with 10 being an expert and 1 being no exposure at all. There is almost always something to learn so unless you are teaching a program at a University level, chances are you have not achieved a 10 in any of these programs. Point out your areas of strength and discuss your willingness to become stronger in this suite of applications.
"My current company uses Office 2016, and I have been working with most of the applications for a year or so. I would rate my overall skills as an 8-10 because I am tech savvy and can perform higher-level tasks such as pivot tables and macros. There is still a lot to learn; however, especially tips and tricks in Excel."
"I have used just the basics in Microsoft 2016, including Word and Outlook. For that reason, I would describe myself as a beginner-to-intermediate level and rate myself as a 6 out of 10. I am a very fast learner and have already subscribed to a few YouTube channels dedicated to learning this suite of programs."
"I have trained other employees over many years on tips, tricks, and shortcuts in Excel, PowerPoint, and more. Currently, my office uses Microsoft Office 2013, but I do have 2016 at home. I would rate myself as a 9/10 in most of the applications."
The interviewer would like to know the type of office environment that you respond best to. Be honest when you answer this question as it's crucial there is a two-way fit here. Nobody wants to take a new job and then quickly realize that the environment is not what they wanted. If there are cues on the company's website regarding their workplace culture, be sure to reference those.
"I am resilient and can work in almost any environment; however, what is ideal for me is that I join an office environment that is collaborative and positive. I had been in environments where people do not support each other which makes it very hard to enjoy the day-to-day. Would you say this describes your office environment?"
"I have not been exposed to an office environment yet, so it is important to me that I work with people who support each other and lend a hand to the newer employees. I would like to work somewhere that I can freely ask questions and have frequent learning opportunities and resources."
"The office environment in which I thrive is best described as friendly, full of problem-solvers, and willing to work well with other departments to complete a project smoothly. From the online reviews that I have read, I believe that this describes your office environment very well. Would you agree?"
The interviewer wants to see that you know your role as an administrator is a valuable one. Answer confidently, and prove to the interviewer that you are the highly-valued teammate, the missing piece of the puzzle, the comrade that they need!
"I believe that a great administrator is one that is the eyes and ears of the company. They often talk to the customers one-on-one, more than anyone else in the organization. They understand the needs of the clients and are the first impression of the company to most. For these reasons, I ensure that my attitude, and my appearance, is highly professional at all times."
"I think that an attentive administrator will ensure the daily activities go round. A good admin should keep everyone organized and on task. They will have the ability to put out potential issues before they become bigger disasters. An administrator should act as a buffer, in a sense, taking care of the tasks that the executives may not need to."
"An experienced administrator, like myself, understands that our contribution comes in many forms. For myself, I know that my work keeps everyone in the office on task, keeps our processes and deliveries streamlined, and ensures that we never skip a beat when it comes to the deliverables expected of us."
The interviewer would like a more comprehensive idea of your technical skills. It's likely that there is a list of desired skills on the job posting or job description, so be sure to refer to those "must-have" and "nice-to-have" skills in your reply. Some of the most common technical and computer skills an employer will look for these days include: -Microsoft Word -Microsoft Outlook -Microsoft PowerPoint -Microsoft Project -Microsoft Excel -Microsoft Access - Google Suite (G-Suite) - QuickBooks - WordPress -Photoshop - InDesign - Oracle - PeopleSoft - SAP (Various modules) - SalesForce - Point of Sale (POS) Systems
"I have strong skills when it comes to social media planning, and posting. I have exposure to google analytics as well. I have primary experience in Mac-based programs such as Keynote and Pages, but these skills will translate very well to Microsoft based programs such as PowerPoint and Word."
"My computer and technical skills are strong as I continually take coursework to stay up to date on new trends and technologies. If I had to choose my top three core competencies, I would choose QuickBooks, the Microsoft Suite, and SalesForce. Anything you require that I may not know, I can study before my start date."
Administrators will have several duties in an office environment. Some of these functions include; greet clients and vendors, answer telephone calls, direct phone calls to proper personnel, organize office equipment, keep office supplies in inventory, organize events, coordinate meetings, assist other team members, coordinate travel arrangements, and many other functions.
An administrator should have the following characteristics to excel at their career; positive, upbeat attitude, motivated to succeed, capable of multi-tasking. They should have the ability to work under a heavy workload, treasure their organizational skills, excel at communication (both written or oral). Lastly, they should be capable of presenting themselves in a professional manner and have a passion for their work.
Interview questions to prepare yourself for an administrator interview will include teamwork questions, customer service questions, and leadership questions. You should be able to give examples of when you have worked under stress and heavy workloads. Think of a few examples of when you have solved a customer's problem or handled an angry customer. Almost all interviews open with the question, Tell me about yourself. Start the conversation strong by providing your background and why you chose to apply for this company. Describe your passion for the company and how this job would align perfectly with your career goals.