Administrative Assistants: How To Ace Your Next Job Interview

Although you may have heard this saying before, it’s certainly worth repeating if you’re planning on going on an administrative assistant job interview any time soon: You only get one chance to leave a strong first impression.

In a field where you are constantly communicating and collaborating with different groups of professionals, the way you present yourself in the interview is key. While it’s important to show your proficiency with standard admin functions such as scheduling and expense reports, those technical skills aren’t enough to secure you the job. You must also prove that you would represent the company and executive you’d be supporting in a positive light.

To present yourself well in an administrative assistant job interview, you must take the time to prepare.  Part of this preparation includes knowing what steps to take before, during, and after the interview to show you are the most qualified candidate:

Before the interview

  • Do your homework: In addition to doing research on the company’s website and looking for articles about the company online, check out the person you are meeting with on LinkedIn. This will allow you to get a sense of their background and how their role fits in with the company.
  • Brainstorm: Make a list of your top strengths (with examples of how you use them), accomplishments you’ve made throughout your career, and some examples of challenging situations that you handled successfully. These can all serve as great talking points throughout the interview.
  • Do a mock interview: Whether you ask a friend or talk to yourself, it’s important to have a practice interview before the real thing. When doing this, run through some common, but tricky questions such as, why should I hire you? and what is your biggest weakness?

The day of the interview

  • Be aware of your surroundings: As an administrative professional, every impression you make counts. From the security guard to the receptionist, treat everyone with the same level of professionalism and respect as you would the actual interviewer.
  • Be enthusiastic: Regardless of whether or not you think the opportunity is for you, it’s important to let your enthusiasm and personality shine through for the entirety of the interview. To do this, smile, actively listen and participate in the conversation, and sit upright.
  • Ask questions: Asking questions not only expresses your interest in the role, but also gives you the opportunity to evaluate whether this role is the right fit for you.

After the Interview

  • Ask for feedback: At the conclusion of the interview, ask for feedback on your background and whether or not the hiring manager feels you would be a fit for the role. This is your final opportunity to sell yourself and/or address any concerns the hiring manager may have.
  • Follow up: Within 24 hours of the administrative assistant job interview, follow up with a thank you note.  A good thank you note is personalized, expresses your gratitude, references something that came up during the interview, and concisely reiterates why you are a good choice for the role.