Executive Secretary Job Interview Questions and Answers

Executive Secretary Job Interview Questions and Answers
When preparing for the interview for an Executive Assistant or Executive Secretary or Secretary or Personal Assistant position, you should be able to convince the interviewer that you have excellent secretarial, organizational and customer service skills. While you should also be prepared for common job interview questions, here are some specific Executive Secretary Job Interview Questions and Answers that you’ll want to make sure you have practiced beforehand.

Executive Secretary Job Interview Questions

( Please CLICK on the Question to reach the model answer, tips and related video)

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Question #1 How do you prioritize tasks?

Question #2 What are your strengths and how will your strengths help you perform better in this position?

Question #3 What do you think will be your main responsibilities, if we choose you?

Question #4 What should be the most important qualities of a candidate to become a good secretary?

Question #5 How would you deal with an angry visitor to office demanding to speak with your boss who is unavailable?

Question #6 Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Question #7 What software packages are you proficient in?

Question #8 What experience do you have with planning meetings?

Question #9 Do you have any administrative experience?

Question #10 As an Executive Secretary, what sort of confidential information you deal with and how do you handle it?

Executive Secretary Job Interview Questions and Answers

Question #1 How do you organize and prioritize tasks?

Understanding the question

As an executive secretary, one of your main job responsibilities is to help increase the productivity of your boss. You have to organize several things and also perform varying duties on your own and on behalf of your boss. The interviewer is evaluating your skill in prioritizing those duties and how you go about doing so.

Suggested Answer

I have been trained to be a good time manager. For this I use tools like to-do list and sorting tasks between urgent, important and crucial. This helps me to clearly lay out the things I need to accomplish within the given time.

Sometimes I do consult my boss to seek his views and expert advice in dealing with some unique activities and assignments about which I am not very familiar.

Over the years, I have become quite skilled at multi-tasking without losing the quality of my work.

Short Video: How Do You Organize And Prioritize Tasks Secretary?

Question #2 What are your strengths and how will your strengths help you perform better in this position?

Hint to answer the question better

The interviewer is assessing if you have requisite skill set and mental make up to deserve selection for this position.

Suggested Answer

When I read on your website, the job profile of executive assistant, I found my skill set was a great match for the requirements of this position. I would think that my greatest strength is my interpersonal skills. I am genuinely good at interacting with various kinds of persons. It will be beneficial in this position because my boss would be the Head of Customer Service.

Also I am good at time management and customer grievance handling.

Short Video: What are your strengths and how will your strengths help you perform better in this position?

Question #3 What do you think will be your main responsibilities, if we choose you?

Hint to answer the question better

By asking this question the interviewer is assessing your expectations of the job and if the real job profile matches with their expectations of an executive secretary.

Suggested Answer

Based on my experience in the role of executive secretary, every day brings a new set of requirements and unique challenges. Hence I am quite aware that my day to day tasks will vary. However, my main responsibility would always be right hand man of my boss and make sure his work is well organized and productivity never suffers.

Short Video: What do you think will be responsibilities, if we select you?

Question #4 What should be the most important qualities of a candidate to become a good secretary?

Understanding the question

The interviewer wants to make sure you know what it takes to become a good secretary and have most of the specific skills.

Suggested Answer

There are quite a few qualities and professional skills required in a person to become a good secretary. A crucial quality to become a good secretary is the ability to communicate effectively. Since a Secretary’s role requires communicating on behalf of the company via telephone, email and one to one interaction, it’s important that information is passed on correctly and in a professional and timely manner.

In addition to communication skills, organizational skills and time management skills are equally important. It’s vital that the person does not break under the pressure. Rather a good secretary has to stay on top of things and maintain efficiency and order for self and boss and the office in general.

Short Video: What should be the qualities to become a good secretary?

Question #5 How would you deal with an angry visitor to office demanding to speak with your boss who is unavailable? 

Understanding the question

An efficient executive secretary is pleasant and professional when dealing with irate people. This question checks how a candidate will reflect his or her organisation’s values and serve as an effective gatekeeper to the boss’s office – all while diffusing volatile situations.

The interviewer would love to see in the answer:

  • Presence of mind and cool composure even under demanding situations
  • Customer service skills
  • Diplomacy
  • Resourcefulness

Example Answer 

I would make the agitated person sit down and offer him water. While speaking to him calmly and evenly, I would explain to him that my boss is away to a meeting. Putting a positive flavor to the situation, I would politely offer to take a message, reassure them that we will try to find a solution to his issue even in the absence of the boss.

To avoid escalating the conflict, I would give him the option to speak with someone else from the organisation.

Short Video: How would you deal with an angry visitor to office demanding to speak with your boss who is unavailable?

Question #6 Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Tips to answer the question better

Good and loyal secretaries are not expected to be ambitious and dream of promotion. This is because if they get promoted then the organisation will have to recruit another secretary who may take long time to understand the intricacies of the work and imbibe the culture of the company.

It is better to say them that you will be happy to work for them for next five years, doing a good job of a secretary, and enjoying your personal life outside of work.

Suggested Answer

You may try answering like this:

I always make effort to advance my career, skills, and knowledge. Continuing the same habit, in five years, I hope to have acquired more in-depth knowledge of the company and industry. Those new skills will make me a better person, more efficient secretary and help me advance my career.

Short Video: Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Question #7 What software packages are you proficient in?

Tips to answer the question better

Secretarial job requires different combination of skills and competencies and it depends on the needs of the employer.

Therefore, while answering such a question first briefly mention all the software packages which you are familiar with. Then you may describe in detail the particular software and its functions you are proficient in because of regular use.

Model Answer

I am quite adept at MS office, Tally and Microsoft Outlook. I am using MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, on a daily basis.

Since my boss heads finance department of the company, my job requires thorough knowledge of Excel. I have been creating, modifying and formatting spread sheets to record and analyze the financial data on a daily basis.

Short Video: What software packages are you proficient in?

Question #8 What experience do you have with planning meetings?

Understanding the question better

From the question it is clear that planning meetings is going to be one of the important functions of your job as the executive secretary.

Hence the interviewer wants to ensure that he is hiring an experienced person in you.
Therefore, list out the steps or the procedure you take to set up and coordinate meetings in the office.

Model Answer

I am posted in the Sales and Marketing Department and I am the senior most executive assistant to Chief Marketing Officer. A good number of meetings are organized regularly in the office. There are certain scheduled meetings like weekly or monthly meetings with people at the predefined positions. The second sets of meetings are need based meetings.

My job is to organize and plan all the meetings by fixing the venue, agenda and related documentation. Next I inform the participants and take their confirmation.

I take down the minutes of the meetings, type them up and distribute it among the participants with a ‘to do’ action points.

Short Video: What experience do you have with planning meetings?

Question #9 Do you have any administrative experience?

Understanding the question

Some administrative experience always adds weight to your candidature for the position of a senior level secretary or Administrative Assistant job.

Therefore, you should be ready to share your administrative experience in the current or previous organizations. Discuss the work flow, administrative processes, with some examples.

Model Answer

When I joined my current employer organization, I found that there were no set procedures or guide lines for taking loan for buying car by the employees.

I brought this to the attention of my boss who is Chief of Human Resources Department. He encouraged me to prepare a draft for the car loan policy of the company.

Hence I worked on it and within a week prepared a set of procedures for processing loan application and submitted it to the boss for approval. After consultation and approval with our legal department, it was approved as a part of company manual.

Short Video: Do you have any administrative experience?

Question #10 As an Executive Secretary, what sort of confidential information you deal with and how do you handle it?

Understanding the question

The question is intended to check information both about your loyalty and employer’s level of trust in your ability to deal with sensitive information.

Make sure that your answer does not reveal too much confidential information about the organization. Therefore, speak in general but be convincing.

Model Answer

Because of the confidential nature of the whole subject matter, all I can say is that being in Human Resource & Administration Department (HRD), I am involved in everything from employees’ personal records, future plans and legal matters.

I keep the papers under lock and key and digital records are password protected. Beyond this, I cannot go into details.

Short Video: How you handle confidential matters and information?

How to give a better interview performance?

Probably you are aware that the position of a secretary is one of the most popular jobs among women.

This means that many candidates would apply for the job and there would be tough completion at the interview level. Therefore, you should well prepare and give your best performance at the interview.

Your success in this interview depends on a combination a number of factors such as your qualifications, communication skills and experience so that you are able to create a favorable impression on them. Also please refer to: How To Improve Your Interview Performance.

Types of Questions

Be prepared for a wide range of interview questions asked in a secretary job interview. Use the suggested answers above to help you develop your own excellent interview answers and get the secretarial position you want.

Short Video: Ultimate Tips to Crack Interview

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About the Author

Sundeep Kataria CV MakerSundeep Kataria is the CEO of ACS Consultants – a Management Consulting Firm. He holds multiple qualifications: MBA, PGDIT (IIFT), MS in Counselling & Psychotherapy and Diploma in Company Law. He has also formally learnt Digital Marketing and Website Making.

In 1995 he pioneered the concept of professional Career Counselling, Executive Coaching and Mentoring. Over the years he has mentored many professionals, like CAs, Engineers, Sales & Marketing Professionals, IT Experts etc.

The unique style of Sundeep Kataria is that he connects with each and every individual personally, holds in depth discussion before undertaking the assignment.

 

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