Top 10 Executive Assistant Interview Questions
While you should always be prepared for common job interview questions, there are assistant-specific questions that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced before hand.
Top 10 executive assistant interview questions
Make sure you’re prepared with these interview questions and answers for an assistant job
Whether the job title is executive assistant, office assistant, administrative assistant or personal assistant, you want to do everything you can to show the interviewer your organization, communication and customer service skills. While it’s important to be prepared with common job interview questions and answers, there are assistant-specific questions you’ll want to make sure you’ve practiced beforehand.
Executive assistant questions and answers
Typically, an executive assistant is at a higher level than administrative or other types of assistants because the focus is on supporting the c-suite or higher-level executives, and the duties are typically elevated. Most of the time, questions and answers should reflect the importance of this responsibility.
What are the most important qualities to have as an executive assistant?
With this question, the interviewer wants to make sure you understand the specific skills required to be a successful executive assistant. Some skills you may want to consider highlighting or providing examples for include:
Effective communication via phone, email and face-to-face
Ability to relay information effectively and accurately
Attention to detail
Event or travel planning
How do you prioritize tasks?
As an executive assistant, your job entails several varying duties. Sometimes you may have a number of tasks at once. The interviewer wants to understand your success in prioritizing these duties and tasks, and how you go about doing so. Some ways you may do this include:
Creating to-do lists
Organizing tasks by deadline or urgency
Assessing the value of tasks and completing them based on estimated effort
In addition, you may want to highlight your ability to be flexible and adaptable as different tasks are presented.
If you had several tasks and had to finish them all by the same deadline, how would you approach this?
Occasionally, you may be put in stressful circumstances, such as having several tasks to complete at once. The interviewer wants to make sure you are able to handle the pressure and still effectively and efficiently complete your duties, as well as resolve any issues along the way. You may want to focus on:
How you assess work involved for each task and prioritize getting them done
Your ability to have a quick turnaround without sacrificing quality
The importance of meeting deadlines
What you will do to make sure tasks are complete, such as working late
What is your greatest strength and how will it help your performance in this position?
The interviewer is trying to figure out what strengths and strong attributes you can bring to the position that other applicants cannot.
Take a look at the job description and be sure you understand what specific skills the interviewer is looking for. Highlight those in which you excel. Also focus on skills and strengths that are important to be successful in an executive assistant role, and provide specific examples of how you showcase those strengths.
What do you think will be your daily job if we chose you for this position?
With this question, the interviewer wants to learn your expectations of the job and see if they correlate with their expectations of an executive assistant. In most cases, your work and tasks will vary from day to day, so share how you’re aware your tasks may vary and you enjoy that type of environment.
Focus here on how your main goal is to ensure the executive’s business is organized and taken care of, and how you’ll do what it takes to accomplish those goals.
If you were given confidential information by the executive you support, what would you do if another executive or personnel asked about it?
As an executive assistant, you’ll often see or be told confidential and sensitive information. It’s critical that you keep the information confidential, so an interviewer may ask this question to understand how you handle this information and your level of discretion. They may also want to understand how you approach difficult situations.
Share how you would address the situation or what you would say to another executive, such as not having the authority to share the information. If you’ve worked with confidential information in the past, or have experienced a challenging situation, share the example and what you did to resolve it.
How do you make sure you properly anticipate and execute an executive’s needs?
A great executive assistant can not only complete tasks and meet the needs of an executive, but also anticipate needs and react to them before they are even shared. An interviewer wants to understand if you’re trustworthy and productive, and able to build relationships necessary to execute needs and tasks. Some skills to highlight may include:
Attention to detail
Experience with other executives and similar tasks
Ability to develop a trusting relationship with the executive
What is your experience with booking domestic/international travel?
Oftentimes you’ll be asked to book travel for an executive. When traveling for business, it’s essential that the executive is where they need to be at the right times, while also traveling in the most cost-efficient way possible. Some points to highlight may include:
Resources or companies you use to book travel
Research you do and how you make decisions on airlines, rental car companies, hotels, etc...
How you schedule travel around meetings, calls or presentations and ensure the executive gets to where they need to be on time
How do you handle a demanding supervisor? What is your experience with dealing with difficult visitors or callers?
It’s important that you remain pleasant and professional in a variety of circumstances on the job. Many executive assistants are often the face of the executives they work with, and the person who deals with clients or visitors first. Unfortunately, sometimes these people can be unpleasant. The interviewer is looking for your experience with handling these situations, as well as your ability to do so professionally.
Some skills to share include:
Ability to reflect professionalism and company values
Give an example of what you would do in this situation. For example, you may politely offer to take a message, reassure the visitor the message will be seen by the executive, and you’ll have them contacted as soon as possible. You may also provide the option of speaking to someone else who is available or can help resolve the situation faster.
How would you describe your computer skills? What software programs have you used in the past?
In an executive assistant role, you may be asked to create important presentations, prepare expense reports, triage and respond to emails and other computer-related tasks. An interviewer wants to make sure you have the ability and skills to complete these tasks.
Share your computer skills and any software programs you’re proficient with. Include top programs such as Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Skype or Zoom, calendar software, project management software and more. Also share examples of computer skills you’ve used in the past, such as creating the annual budget report presentation or responding to emails for the executive.
Five executive assistant interview questions to ask
In addition to being prepared for answering questions from the interviewer, you should also have some questions of your own prepared. Asking questions can help you decide if this job and company is right for you. A few questions you may want to consider asking include:
What skills or characteristics do your best executive assistants have in common?
What is the company’s core mission and values? How can an executive assistant help the organization achieve that mission?
What is the biggest challenge or struggle the executive supported by this position faces? How can their assistant help with that?
What is the role of an executive assistant with this company? What would the primary job responsibilities entail?
What qualities would a person in this position need to be most successful? Do you offer any career or personal development opportunities to improve?
Now that you have an idea of what to expect in your executive assistant interview, as well as some questions you can ask to see if this is the right job for you, you’re ready to head into your interview with confidence. Good luck!