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Administrative Officer Interview

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns
Updated November 27th, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Business    

Question 1 of 30

Talk to me about your presentation and public speaking skills. Are you comfortable speaking and presenting to groups?

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Talk to me about your presentation and public speaking skills. Are you comfortable speaking and presenting to groups?

As an Administrative Officer, you may be asked to address groups, lead meetings, or present your work to the office. The hiring authority wants to know that you can handle these types of tasks without being shy or uncomfortable. We all know that public speaking can be challenging for many people, and that is okay! If you are the type not to enjoy public speaking, you can be honest about it, but you must show a desire and willingness to improve. If you have experience presenting or public speaking, walk the interviewer through your process.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have presented to groups of 3 to 10 people every week for the past two years in my current job. I find that the more organized I am with my thoughts before I get started, the more successful the presentation is. I like to have a couple of visuals to offer the group, and I am sure to give eye contact while speaking clearly and confidently. I am more than capable of addressing larger groups if needed."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My presentation experience is limited to the three or four presentations that I have done in university. These occurred in front of around 20 to 30 classmates and were about 15 minutes long in total. Although I did not feel entirely comfortable presenting to a group, I believe I sounded and appeared confident. I welcome the opportunity to take on more presentations so that I can continue to improve."


This role requires clear and professional correspondence by email and regular mail. Rate your written communication skills from 1-10 with ten being perfect.

The interviewer would like to know how you rate your communication skills. First, on a scale of 1-10, discuss how skilled are you in communication. Try to avoid giving yourself a 10, as nobody is perfect, and you do not want to come across as overly confident or someone who has no room for feedback and improvement.

Alternately, avoid giving yourself too little credit. You do not want to paint the picture that you are a communication dud! Try to remain in the 7.5-9.5 range while staying honest and accurate. Use an example of your excellent communication to back your answer.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator, especially when relaying important policy changes to my team. Clear communication is the foundation of all success in a business setting. I continually strive to be a better communicator, and so I leave the rest as an aspirational measure."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I will rate myself an eight out of ten because I value communication but, just like most people, I have things to learn. Some ways that I ensure clear communication are by utilizing multiple methods of delivering messages, and I give ample time for questions when introducing changes."


Tell me about a time you planned and organized an office event or function. What was your least favorite part of the task, and what was your favorite?

Part of being an Administrative Officer may be ensuring that any functions or events are well planned and executed flawlessly. The interviewer would like for you to discuss a time when you were asked to perform this type of task in the workplace. Bring the experience to life for the interviewer by explaining what the event was for, and the steps that you took to ensure it was a success! If you are new to your career, you could mention that you are comfortable taking the reins on projects. Be sure to show that you are eager to learn new skills.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I plan our company's holiday party every year, along with at least one client appreciation event every spring. I have created a blueprint for every event, along with checklists. I know who I need to engage for assistance, who the top vendors are for things such as catering, sound, and decor. I work fast and within budget. The last two company events I organized, we ended up coming out around 15% under budget, which was a great accomplishment. Rest assured, I will be bringing this same level of organization and event execution to your company."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Being new to my career, I have not yet had the opportunity to organize a work event or office function, but I know that I could handle it. My organization skills will be valuable when planning events, and I have a lot of good ideas for large corporate gatherings. I feel that I already have a solid understanding of your company's mission and goals, which is important when executing a company event or function."


If hired, how long will it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our company?

This question is an excellent opportunity for you to show off your administrative and organizational skills! The interviewer wants to see that you are prepared to contribute to their organization right away. If hired, when do you expect to make a viable contribution to the company? Talk to the interviewer about your plan to create a fast impact, keeping their most significant needs and pain points in mind.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I plan to make a meaningful contribution immediately by offering my expertise in budget planning, reporting, and financial management. Because I have already researched your company and industry a great deal, I suspect that my ramp-up time will be fast. I have already begun to brush up on my QuickBooks skills; as you mentioned, this program is a foundation in this role."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Because I am coming straight out of a highly immersive administrative internship, I suspect that my impact here will be immediate. I like to learn quickly and will be immersing myself in your training manuals the moment you give me the green light!"


Do you have experience creating presentations in PowerPoint or Keynote?

As an Administrative Officer, you may be asked to create presentations from scratch or to update existing materials on behalf of your company. These presentations could be for internal or external meetings, events, and valuable company resources. Talk to the interviewer about your experience with PowerPoint, Keynote, and any other relevant program. You can rank yourself in comfort level from beginner to intermediate to advanced to give the interviewer an idea of what you can handle.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have crafted slides and outlines for many presentations ranging from team meetings to formal bids and annual financial board meetings. I rank myself an advanced user in PowerPoint and, although I have limited experience with Keynote, I believe I could quickly learn."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have created robust presentations in Keynote for school, and also outlined a couple of meetings during my internship this past summer. I am confident in my technical skills, and my research abilities are strong. These two skills together make me confident that I could take on this type of task without any issue."


As an Administrative Officer, what do you believe is your best skill or asset?

This question is another way of asking, 'Why should we hire you?' or 'What are your greatest strengths?' Bragging about yourself in an interview can be tough to do, but this is your time to shine! Which skills and assets make you a stand-out candidate? Perhaps you have received some academic awards or have been given individual accolades in your most recent position. There is nobody like you, and now you need to express that to the hiring authority.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"The best skill that I bring to this Administrative Officer position is my ability to look ahead and see needs into the near and longer-term future. For example, I have led many budget-saving initiatives in my current position by looking at the data and utilizing this data to show future trends. This skill positions me to help your company continue to break into new markets and exceed financial metrics."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My greatest asset, which will make me a stellar Administrative Officer, is the unwavering dedication I possess, which is uncommon in the workplace. As a student, my professors were always very responsive to my dedicated approach when it came to attending classes and being an active participant. You will not be disappointed in my performance if you choose to hire me."


Are you a Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)? If not, are you interested in gaining this credential?

You can earn a CAP (Certified Administrative Professional) credential through IAAP, which is short for the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Although this credential is not often a firm requirement given by potential employers, this certification is something that can help you advance your career as an Administrative Officer. The non-profit organization is 'dedicated to helping office, and administrative professionals advance their career in a demanding and ever-changing business environment.' Discuss how you believe a credential like this would help you build your knowledge and skills as an administrative professional.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am CAP certified and have been a member of the IAAP for about six years now. The organization has helped me advance my skills and knowledge, boosting my career and opening up new opportunities for me along the way. I feel much more confident knowing that the IAAP keeps me up-to-date on the latest changes and shifts in the business landscape."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am very open to the idea of gaining industry certification and certainly see the value in this. If the Certified Administrative Professional credential through IAAP is the route you recommend that I take, I will look into taking the first steps right away."


How knowledgeable are you when it comes to our industry terms and jargon?

Jumping industries is not uncommon for an experienced Administrative Officer. If you know how to do your job well and have the correct systems in place, you should be able to work for nearly any industry confidently. If you do have relevant industry experience, then take a minute to walk the interviewer through that experience. If you do not have industry experience, be sure to express to the interviewer how you plan to learn the terms and jargon that you need to know.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have worked in the XYZ industry for a few years now and consider myself at an intermediate level when it comes to my understanding of common industry terms. I can conduct important research and have valuable conversations with clients and the associates whom I support. I look forward to taking an even deeper dive with your organization."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Since applying to your role, I have taken a few hours to familiarize myself with the industry and the language used on your company website and blog. I plan to come fully prepared to perform well in this job. If you have any recommendations on resources where I can learn more, I am open to suggestions."


Walk me through your experience tracking and maintaining inventory. What are your favorite inventory tracking tools?

There are many inventory tracking tools available in the marketplace, including Zoho Inventory, Asset Panda, and UpKeep. If you have used resources like this, be sure to mention it to the interviewer. Talk about any time you have spent working on inventory tracking and maintenance tasks. If you are new to your career, you can focus on the fact that you are eager and willing to learn new systems and tools. You can also ask the interviewer what type of tools they use within the company. This way, you can invest time in learning more by searching for and watching online tutorials, if available.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my current role I track inventory through Oracle NetSuite. We use NetSuite for nearly every business function manageable, including key inventory control and supply chain management measures, tracking inventory trends, and analyzing supplier performance. Could you share with me the systems you use here? I would be happy to learn what I can, ensuring that my ramp-up time is optimized."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"My exposure to inventory tracking tools is limited; however, I am very tech-savvy and confident in my ability to learn your preferred systems very quickly. If you are willing to let me know the systems you have in place, I would like to better prepare by learning what I can through online tutorials or YouTube videos."


Walk me through your experience supporting department managers, staff, and the c-suite.

The interviewer wants to know that you are well equipped to support those in their office that will need you the most. If this role is to help their c-suite, and you are accustomed to only assisting junior or mid-level staff, you will need to clearly express that you are ready for this jump in responsibilities. Take the time to bring your experience to life for the interviewer.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"In my current role, I support everyone from mid-level management to the CFO, CTO, and CEO. I book meetings, make travel arrangements, and keep financial reports up to date. I have carefully read through the responsibilities required in this role and am confident that I will be able to exceed your expectations on all points."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"In my recent internship, I helped to support the activities of the mid to senior-level sales team. My tasks ranged from building manuals, updating policies, tracking sales commission for junior staff, and arranging meeting rooms for weekly sales meetings. I am eager to gain even more experience with your organization, seeing my responsibilities grow over time."


Are you experienced in making travel arrangements for staff?

The interviewer will be looking for signs that you understand what it takes to plan a business trip. Making travel arrangements could include booking flights, being aware of time zone changes, and itineraries. Also, selecting suitable accommodation for your corporate travelers. This work may require research on the destination, itinerary preparation, and meeting outlines for those that you support. Explain to the interviewer some of the work-related travel arrangements you have made in the past.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I have booked travel arrangements for my executive team for the past four years. I believe I have made arrangements for approximately 60 trips in total. I have a checklist that I follow, which ensures that I do not miss any important details. I know the top hotels for the most popular company destinations and have alerts set up for pre-sale tickets to our industry's top events."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have traveled extensively and know that it takes a lot of attention to detail to plan a smooth trip. I believe it would be wise of me to have a travel booking checklist to keep me organized."


Do you have a strong command of the language, including grammar and punctuation?

Since you will be communicating in a professional business landscape, the interviewer needs to know that you will represent their company with the utmost professionalism. Perhaps you use tools like spell check or Grammarly to double-check all correspondence before it goes out. Or, maybe you have a strong educational background in language and business. Show the interviewer that you are a confident written communicator, whether that be writing RFP's, client emails, or internal memos.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am incredibly careful with the quality of my communication since I am often the first point of reference for our business. I used a few tools, such as spell check, Grammarly, and Yoast. These tools ensure that my formal written communication, such as emails and announcements, are clear, concise, and easy to understand. I speak the way that I write, which leans on the more formal side. I believe these action steps are important in a professional setting for gaining the trust of others."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"Being a recent Business Administration graduate, I feel very confident in my ability to write and communicate clearly and professionally. When writing papers for school, I would submit them to my student union, who offered a free proof-reading service. Most of my papers came back with very few errors. I have a habit of double-checking my work before it goes out, as I do have a strong sense of pride in everything that I do."


Walk me through your post-secondary education and how it relates to this Administrative Officer role.

While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to this Administrative Officer role. Think about what you learned at your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include:

- Time Management
- Creative Thinking
- Proposal Writing
- Public Speaking
- Presentation Building
- Academic Research

Be sure to comb the job description for keywords so that you can match your post-secondary experiences with the skills for which this company is seeking!

Rachelle's Answer #1

"My degree is in Business Administration, which taught me not only the theoretics behind a business but also interpersonal relations across departments and stakeholders. I learned a lot about presentation building, public speaking, and working in a collaborative team environment. These skills have been an asset to date, and I am eager to put them to work for your company."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I am a big believer in post-secondary education. Education adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace, like myself. My post-secondary education was in Communications. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger business relationships through professional correspondence. I also learned persuasive writing skills, which will be incredibly helpful when working on budgets, proposals, presentations, and when building SOPs."


What makes you an effective problem solver?

As an Administrative Officer, you must foresee potential problems and quickly solve the issues that come your way. The interviewer wants to know that you have a systematic approach to problem-solving. Consider the skills and qualities that help you successfully face problems. Perhaps you have a keen eye for detail. Maybe you can see opportunity when others can only focus on the issue. Share your strengths as a problem solver, and your ability to come up with innovative solutions.

Strong problem solvers are:

- Systematic thinkers
- Open-minded
- Always researching and exploring
- Able to identify the core problem
- Ready to reverse engineer a challenge to avoid future issues
- Able to come up with multiple avenues that work well for all stakeholders
- Are do-ers and not worriers

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am an excellent problem solver because I have a bit of an engineering mind. I can take the issue, work backward to solve it, and then use that resolution as a basis for avoiding future issues to come up. I am also a big-picture thinker, which allows me to come up with various resolutions per problem. When I come across a new problem and effectively solve it, I will then write a new procedure or policy around it, preventing the situation from coming up again."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I have a keen ability to research, read, and explore so that my recommendations are fact-based. I am a great problem solver because I draw from the experience of others, whether solicited advice or through my prior observations. I'm not afraid to ask for help or advice along the way. As a recent graduate, I know that I don't know everything. I like to ask for input when I feel I am not fully equipped to do the job alone."


What type of leadership style do you best work with?

As an Administrative Officer, you must be able to collaborate well with your management and leadership team. The interviewer would like assurance that you are going to get along well with people whom you would be reporting to in this role. There are many different management styles, and perhaps you do well with a variety of them. Tell the interviewer about your favorite leader in the past, and why you worked so well together. You should also ask the interviewer to describe the working style of the person to whom you would be reporting.

Rachelle's Answer #1

"I am the type of leader who prefers to show versus tell. In turn, I like to work with people who live by the same philosophy. I appreciate urgency but do not appreciate those who panic and create unsettling urgency in everything they do. Please tell me a bit more about the leadership style present in your organization."

Rachelle's Answer #2

"I work well with leaders who set clear guidelines and then allow me to perform my best work. I am independent; however, I love a collaborative work environment, especially because I am so new in my career. I am eager to soak up anything I can learn from those senior to me. Could you share with me a bit more about the work style of the person to whom I would be reporting?"

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