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Admin Interview
Questions

20 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Updated August 13th, 2020
Job Interviews     Careers     Business    
Question 1 of 20
As an administrator, what do you believe is your best asset?
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How to Answer
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
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Answer Examples
1.
As an administrator, what do you believe is your best asset?
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

Ryan's Answer #1
"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."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
2.
Walk me through a typical day in your most recent position.
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"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."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
3.
If you could take any admin related coursework, what would you choose?
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"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."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
4.
Are you comfortable handling a very busy, multi-line phone system?
The interviewer would like to know more about the volume of calls you are accustomed to taking, on an average day. If you are an experienced administrator, you probably know this answer off the top of your head. Think about how many hours per day you work, how many lines you handle on a daily basis, and how often you find yourself picking up a new call.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role I work with three phone lines, and would estimate that I received about five calls per line, per hour. So, on average, I would say that I answer between 100-125 calls per day. In addition to these calls, I also reply to about 60-80 emails and a handful of walk-ins. I am confident in my ability to handle your multi-line phone system."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I do not have experience with a multi-line phone system; however, I am very tech savvy and am highly confident in my abilities to learn. I understand that you have a strong training program in place as well. I look forward to showing you what I can do!"
5.
Being at the front desk, how do you minimize distractions?
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"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."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
6.
Why do you want a career as an administrator?
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I want a career as an administrator so that I can best utilize my Administrative Assistant degree. I love working on technical projects, juggling a lot of moving parts at once. This role seems like an excellent fit considering all of those interests and skills I possess."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
7.
How well do you work in a cross-departmental environment?
Working in a cross-departmental environment is one where teams from different groups, or business units, work together to achieve a common goal. This situation could mean that administrators are working with the accounting department, or marketing and sales work together to reach a particular result. A cross-departmental collaboration can often involve working with people in varying seniority offering you a broader range of exposure to the business. Show the interviewer that you are excited about these cross-collaboration opportunities. If you have exposure to this type of working environment, discuss it.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role, I work closely with the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable departments, primarily when it comes time to close out a project or close a client account. I like these bits of exposure to other departments because it gives me a deeper perspective into how our company operates, making me all that more knowledgeable!"
Ryan's Answer #2
"I have not had exposure to a cross-departmental environment; however, I do understand the concept. I think it would be great to have that added exposure to professionals in different areas and see that as a valuable learning opportunity."
8.
Have you ever trained or coached another administrator?
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"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."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
9.
What technical, and computer skills, do you possess?
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

Ryan's Answer #1
"I am an expert level user in the Microsoft Office suite, primarily in Excel where I can create highly effective spreadsheets with macros and other effective tools. I have experience in various SAP modules and QuickBooks. I know you were seeking someone with experience in these areas and I assure you I am very well-trained in all of them."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
10.
In which ways can an administrator contribute to a company's overall success?
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!

Ryan's Answer #1
"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!"
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
11.
What are the latest versions of Microsoft Office you have used? Rate your level of comfort in the suite of programs, from 1-10.
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"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."
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
12.
What are your favorite apps and technical resources?
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.

Ryan's Answer #1
"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?"
Ryan's Answer #2
"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?"
13.
What is your proudest achievement in your administrator career?
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!

Ryan's Answer #1
"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!"
Ryan's Answer #2
"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."
14.
How do you evaluate success in your day-to-day activities?
How you view a victory can be a substantial determining factor on whether or not you will be a good fit for this particular role. Share with the interviewer your thoughts on success, and what a successful day would look like to you.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I define a day as successful when I have spent some time working on a project that I am passionate about, I have helped someone else succeed, and I have learned something new. These three factors would equal a very successful day for me."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I would consider my day successful if I were to complete my tasks on time and deliver more than my employer expected of me. If I were to receive a pat on the back or a verbal accolade, even better."
15.
What is the most difficult situation you have had to face as an administrator? How did you overcome it?
The interviewer would like to know how you react when it comes to workplace challenges, and what you would gauge as a problematic situation. If finding that a colleague has eaten your lunch is your example, chances are, the interviewer will see you as unable to handle substantial challenges. Use a relatable case and be sure to highlight what you did to overcome the situation and make the best of it. This question is not the time to complain about your jobs or co-workers. Keep your response as positive as possible.

Ryan's Answer #1
"The most difficult situation that I had to face, as an administrator, was the time when our entire system went down for three days. Our IT department was fabulous when it came to their dedication to repairing the situation; however, many of our clients were incredibly frustrated and upset. I made individual phone calls to those whom we had contact information on, via paper source, and explained our situation. It was a lot of damage control, but my boss recognized me later for maintaining a calm disposition throughout all of it."
Ryan's Answer #2
"While working as a server, I had a customer have a severe allergic reaction to one of the dishes he ordered. I followed our policy to call 911 and not interfere with any medical assistance unless fully trained, which I was not. It was a terrifying situation to be part of, but I naturally took on the role of calming down the people at surrounding tables and containing the situation on an emotional level. I knew from that situation that I was great under stress and pressure. The customer was okay in the end!"
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20 Admin Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. As an administrator, what do you believe is your best asset?
  2. Walk me through a typical day in your most recent position.
  3. If you could take any admin related coursework, what would you choose?
  4. Are you comfortable handling a very busy, multi-line phone system?
  5. Being at the front desk, how do you minimize distractions?
  6. Why do you want a career as an administrator?
  7. How well do you work in a cross-departmental environment?
  8. Have you ever trained or coached another administrator?
  9. What technical, and computer skills, do you possess?
  10. In which ways can an administrator contribute to a company's overall success?
  11. What are the latest versions of Microsoft Office you have used? Rate your level of comfort in the suite of programs, from 1-10.
  12. What are your favorite apps and technical resources?
  13. What is your proudest achievement in your administrator career?
  14. How do you evaluate success in your day-to-day activities?
  15. What is the most difficult situation you have had to face as an administrator? How did you overcome it?
  16. Have you ever been overloaded with work? How did you manage?
  17. What is your secret to a successful career as an administrator?
  18. What types of projects do you get excited to work on?
  19. How do you keep your digital files organized?
  20. Describe the office environment in which you best thrive.
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