Interviews Questions by Career
Interviews Questions by Company
Interviews Questions by Topic
Get Started
Interview Coach 1:1
Gain the confidence you need by asking our professionals any interview scenario, question, or answer you are unsure about.
Let Us Review Your Answers
Our interviewing professionals will gladly review and revise any answer you send us. Allowing you to craft perfect responses for your next job interview.
Interview Questions by Topic
Interview Questions by Career
Interview Questions by Company

Secretary Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 22nd, 2018 | 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 25
Why did you leave your last job?
View Answers
How to Answer
Be honest with the interviewer about why you left your last job ensuring that you focus on yourself instead of the company. Talk about why you made the decision to leave the company to better yourself.

You might say, "I chose to leave my last job for a job with better hours that would allow me to spend more time with my family"

You may state, "I really liked my last job, and I could tell I was starting to outgrow my responsibilities. I want to find a job that is more challenging."

You might mention that you left for a higher paying job at another company, a promotional opportunity, or the opportunity to work for a company that you have had your eye on for a long time. If you were laid off from your last job, simply say you were laid off.

What happens if you were terminated from your last job? It can be a bit uncomfortable to talk about, but you need to be honest with the interviewer. Share why you were let go from the company taking complete responsibility for your actions that resulted in your termination. Finally, share what steps you have taken to ensure you are never let go again.
1000s of Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Answer Examples
1.
Why did you leave your last job?
Be honest with the interviewer about why you left your last job ensuring that you focus on yourself instead of the company. Talk about why you made the decision to leave the company to better yourself.

You might say, "I chose to leave my last job for a job with better hours that would allow me to spend more time with my family"

You may state, "I really liked my last job, and I could tell I was starting to outgrow my responsibilities. I want to find a job that is more challenging."

You might mention that you left for a higher paying job at another company, a promotional opportunity, or the opportunity to work for a company that you have had your eye on for a long time. If you were laid off from your last job, simply say you were laid off.

What happens if you were terminated from your last job? It can be a bit uncomfortable to talk about, but you need to be honest with the interviewer. Share why you were let go from the company taking complete responsibility for your actions that resulted in your termination. Finally, share what steps you have taken to ensure you are never let go again.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"I chose to leave my last job for a job with better hours that would allow me to spend more time with my family"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I left my last role because the company went under. I enjoyed the work and would have stayed otherwise. I don't like to jump around from position to position and would like to find a long-term fit for my next opportunity."
2.
How does this administration position fit into your career goals?
Is this particular position a good fit? Is it a step up in your career or - a stagnant move that you are just complacent with taking until something better comes along? Assure the interviewer that this position will be challenging for you, is a step up in responsibilities, and that it fits with your overall career goals.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My primary goal in my career as an administrative assistant is to eventually work my way from an Administrator level to an HR professional role. I feel that what your organization offers is a strong path towards those goals and I am excited about what this position has to offer."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My primary career goal is to find a position where I can stay long term. Because your company has such a strong reputation for workplace culture, it fits perfectly with my desires for a long-term fit."
3.
How do you handle stress?
You should anticipate a little bit of stress in any job. Consider it unavoidable. The best thing you can do is equip yourself with the tools to deal with that inevitable stress. Knowing how to handle pressure will help you to navigate the ups and downs in a continually changing environment.

Take some time to think about what you would do when you are busy at work, feeling your heart rate rise and your nerves begin to shake. Your coping skills outside of work might be difficult to apply, as you can't stop what you're doing and run to yoga class. However, you can take deep breaths and allow yourself to take a break in between customers, for example.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"I handle stress very well. I keep very detailed 'to-do" lists and project files. I also communicate regularly with my coworkers and teammates."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am accustomed to working high-stress jobs. If I find that I am deep into a stressful situation, I will take a minute to take a few breaths and reassess my progress."
4.
How proficient are you with Microsoft Excel?
Use terms such as beginner, intermediate, or advanced user. Then, give a few examples of things you commonly utilize in Excel for such as creating charts/graphs, making pivot tables, or analyzing data. Your response will help the interviewer understand what type of training you should be provided, should they hire you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have used Excel for about four years now, and would rate myself as an intermediate user. I am capable of making charts and graphs, and some other intermediate level tasks."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am newer to Excel in a professional setting but have used it in a personal setting for quite some time. I am going to assume that I am a beginner level user in Excel."
5.
Looking at your resume, it seems there are specific skills necessary for this position that does not stand out. How do you think you will be able to compensate for these missing skills?
Most job descriptions will have a long list of requirements. Hiring managers are aware that, to find a candidate that checks ALL of the boxes, can sometimes be impossible. If you are missing some of the 'nice to have' or even the 'must have' skills listed in the job description, do not fret! Be open about your shortcomings and discuss with the interviewer how you plan to compensate for those.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I realize that I may not check off all of the boxes for this position; however, I can assure you that I am a rapid learner. The main point I am missing is experienced in QuickBooks, but I am very well versed in another accounting program called Sage. I think that I can pick up the required knowledge quickly."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am fully committed to learning, and mastering, any skills I do not currently have. Could you share with me which skills you do not see as a stand-out on my resume? "
6.
Do you always double check or proofread your work?
Often, as a secretary, you will be the last person to see written forms of communication before they go out to clients and vendors. Double checking and proofreading are essential parts of a job well done. Assure the interviewer that you are diligent when it comes to submitting good, clean, work.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Spelling and grammatical errors are a pet peeve of mine. I will triple check my work if there is time! I feel that it is critical to submit error-free work."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am so accustomed to working under pressure and tight deadlines from my time in University. Lack of proofreading would cost me precious marks, so I always proof before sending!"
7.
Tell me about your cash handling experience.
Some administrators handle cash regularly, and many handle the petty cash for their office. Simply share any cash handling experience that you have even if you were not in an administrative role at the time.

Remember working at that fast food restaurant or grocery store as a teenager? You can draw off of that experience, as well. Share where you worked, how often you handled cash, and if you were responsible for balancing your drawer at the end of each shift.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have been handling cash on the job since I was a teenager. It's no problem for me. I have strong attention to detail and can ensure there are no discrepancies."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have not yet had the opportunity to handle cash in any previous roles; however, I am very trustworthy, excellent with numbers, and able to handle the responsibility that comes with the task of handling funds."
8.
Have you ever coordinated an event? How did it go?
The interviewer would like to know you understand the ins and outs of event coordination. If you have coordinated an event, pick your favorite one that turned out the best! Explain why you were organizing the event, what steps you took to coordinate everything and provide a brief overview of what the event entailed. How many people were there? Finally, be sure to express how pleased you were with the outcome of the event, and share any kudos you received from event attendees regarding the execution of the event.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I coordinated my first event last month, helping my boss throw a client appreciation party. The party was for approximately 200 people. I helped find the caterer, had the invitations designed and sent, and then was responsible for the follow-up thank you's post-party. It was a great event, and I loved every minute of the planning process. Will there be event coordination responsibilities in this role?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If you have not coordinated an event, that is okay! Just tell the interviewer that you have not had experience organizing an event, and you look forward to taking this on as part of your duties! Then, share that you would seek out a mentor, such as another co-worker, the first time around to assist you with the process to ensure you execute the event flawlessly."
9.
Tell me about yourself.
When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful admin career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and goes to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer!"
10.
Have you ever taken a role in a company that hasn't fit into your long-term career plans?
Most people have taken on a position that was not a fit for them in the end. It's best to openly discuss any positions that you have held that were not a fit. This will assist the interviewer in being able to place you within their organization accurately. Be sure to end your answer on a positive note, discussing how you bounced back from the misstep.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Yes, you will see that from March to May 2007 I held a role as Executive Assistant with Company XYZ. This particular role was not what I was expecting and had little to do with administration and more to do with cold calling from the phone book. This wasn't nurturing my plan to grow the admin side of my career, so I resigned after just two months. Luckily I landed a wonderful job immediately after and grew with that company for the following six years."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have not taken a position simply to have a job. I am cautious who I work for and am happy that my discretion has worked well for me and my career path."
11.
Describe a bad customer service experience you have had in the past and how you handled it?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand the ill effects that follow poor customer service. Focusing on a time when you received terrible customer service is a great way to approach this question.

Think about a time when you received bad service. Explain where you were at, the poor service you received and how you reacted. Next, share how you would have handled the situation differently if you were the one in the employee's shoes, and mention how outstanding customer service is to maintain the company's positive reputation.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"I recently visited a lawyer's office where the receptionist was very dismissive. It didn't make me feel comfortable, so I ended up leaving and finding new representation. I understand that a secretary or receptionist is the first impression of any business which is why I will be ready with a warm welcome for anyone who comes through your doors."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have had many bad experiences yet also some great ones, related to customer service. Generally speaking, the worse experiences have been in a mall or retail environment where little training is offered, and pay is minimal. I am sure to give great customer service because I understand that I am often the customers' first impression."
12.
What signs of trust have you demonstrated in the past while working?
Being a trustworthy employee is incredibly important in any career path. As an administrator, you are often working independently without much direct supervision, and employers need to be able to trust that you do not take advantage of the situation. Discuss the ways that you demonstrate that you are trustworthy.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I show trust in the workplace by being one step ahead of my employer, at all times. I am ready to take on any challenge they give me, without complaint. I also spend time learning new skills and expanding my existing skill set. I do this through reading, taking workshops, and staying up to date on new software trends."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Trust can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, such as:

- Always arriving to work on time.
- Completing your daily tasks.
- Being consistently open to feedback.
- Being a team player and helping out when needed.
- Accepting changes to processes and procedures with a positive attitude.
- Always having a balanced drawer, if you handle cash.
- Displaying a willingness to learn new duties."
13.
Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.
Possessing the skills to improve communication in the workplace is a very valuable asset. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to improve communication in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current position I have one particular client who was an exceptionally brief communicator. If I asked 2 questions, he would answer just one. I learned quickly that he would not acknowledge anything he did not have a direct answer for. I began to ask him questions in a different way. For example, I would say 'Do you have an answer for me on question X?' and he would say yes or no. We would then go from there. This was an effective method of communication for that particular client."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I had a client who often missed email updates. It caused us to cross our wires a few times. I suggested that we book a quick call every week to review any outstanding areas that need to be addressed. This process worked really well for us."
14.
You have been asked to set up a meeting. Quickly go over the steps you take to make this meeting happen.
Easy!

- You send out a meeting request via your calendar scheduling system. If necessary, you call any parties who need to be included and are not able to access the scheduling system.

Before the meeting:

- You ensure the room is prepared with any necessary supplies including paper, pens, and various technology. You also make any photocopies of materials that everyone will need for the meeting.

- Double check that the room is neat and tidy ahead of time. Draw the blinds/curtains if the sun will be peering in to create a better environment. Ensure the lights are turned on.

- If visitors are attending the meeting, you have water, coffee, soda, and a few snack options available.

- You ensure you are present to greet any visitors when they arrive for the meeting.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"If I were asked to set up a meeting, I would first contact all involved parties and find a time that worked best for them. Once a common time is arranged, I will then send out a calendar invite to all."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Setting up meetings quickly, and efficiently, is incredibly important. You are dealing with busy professionals, so accuracy is of utmost importance. I will send out a calendar invite for a time that works best for my boss, with the option for others to adjust the time if necessary."
15.
Why do you want to be an office administrator?
The interviewer wants to know what draws you to the office administration field. Perhaps you love being in an office or corporate setting. Maybe mingling with clients is the best opportunity for you to feel energized, socially. You may even have a hospitality background, and this role as an office administrator will allow you to utilize that experience.

Do you enjoy knowing that you play a vital role in the background of essential office meetings and events? The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate your field of work. Show that you will stay engaged in the environment.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I want to be an office administrator because I love organizing people's day, arranging appointments, helping customers, and being a friendly face."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I want to be an office administrator because this role will allow me to take my experience in retail and customer service while learning new skills. I love to learn new things, and this would be a perfect way to blend these skills."
More Interview Q&As
Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
Behavioral
Common
Phone
Tough
Leadership
All Interview Topics
All Career Q&As
25 Secretary 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. Why did you leave your last job?
  2. How does this administration position fit into your career goals?
  3. How do you handle stress?
  4. How proficient are you with Microsoft Excel?
  5. Looking at your resume, it seems there are specific skills necessary for this position that does not stand out. How do you think you will be able to compensate for these missing skills?
  6. Do you always double check or proofread your work?
  7. Tell me about your cash handling experience.
  8. Have you ever coordinated an event? How did it go?
  9. Tell me about yourself.
  10. Have you ever taken a role in a company that hasn't fit into your long-term career plans?
  11. Describe a bad customer service experience you have had in the past and how you handled it?
  12. What signs of trust have you demonstrated in the past while working?
  13. Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.
  14. You have been asked to set up a meeting. Quickly go over the steps you take to make this meeting happen.
  15. Why do you want to be an office administrator?
  16. Explain your greeting and how you handled phone calls at your previous employment.
  17. How many days were you absent from work last year?
  18. Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine occasionally?
  19. Tell me about your relationship with your previous boss.
  20. How do you handle a larger than average workload?
  21. Have you requested extra responsibilities in any of your previous roles?
  22. Judging by your resume, you appear to be overqualified for this secretary position. What would keep you here, if you were offered the job?
  23. Have you ever broken a confidentiality agreement?
  24. Do you have any questions for me?
  25. What are the top duties of your current position?
Disclaimer
Our interview questions and answers are created by experienced recruiters and interviewers. These questions and answers do not represent any organization, school, or company on our site. Interview questions and answer examples and any other content may be used else where on the site. We do not claim our questions will be asked in any interview you may have. Our goal is to create interview questions and answers that will best prepare you for your interview, and that means we do not want you to memorize our answers. You must create your own answers, and be prepared for any interview question in any interview.
Learn more about what we believe >
Read our Terms of Use for more information >