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STEP 4: Look for Administrative Assistant Jobs and Apply

STEP 4: Look for Administrative Assistant Jobs and Apply

Currin Berdine / AdminSecret with Monster Contributing Writers Peter Vogt, Carole Martin and Therese Droste

Acing the Interview

Administrative assistants must shine during the interview, mainly because the job requires a lot of personal interaction and communication with managers, executives, human resources, and clients. You must be poised, personable, well-spoken, well-groomed, and — most importantly — be comfortable with whatever the interviewer throws at you. If you want the job, you need to nail the interview so prepare and practice!

So how you do you prepare? The basic interview rules are straightforward: Look sharp, be on time, research, prepare, show enthusiasm, listen, be specific in your answers, ask questions, and follow up. To help you actually pull this off, we suggest you make a cheat sheet — a checklist to make sure you stay focused, prepared, and confident before, during and after the interview. Don’t try to memorize what’s on the sheet or literally check it off during the interview, just use it to remind you of key facts. Here are some suggestions.

In the Days Before the Interview
1. Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, make a bulleted list of what the employer is looking for based on the job posting. On the right side, make a bulleted list of your qualities that match those requirements.
2. Research the company, the industry, and the competition.
3. Prepare your 60-second personal statement — your answer to the inevitable “tell me about yourself” question.
4. Write at least five success stories to answer behavioral interview questions (“Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of a time…”).
5. List five questions to ask the interviewer about the job, the company and the industry.
6. Research salary data to determine your worth.
7. Determine your salary needs based on your living expenses.
8. Get permission from your references to use their names.

Before You Go to the Interview
1. Do you look professional? Check yourself in the mirror; part of your confidence will come from looking good.

2. Carry these items to the interview:
o Several copies of your resume on high-quality paper
o A copy of your references
o A pad of paper on which to take notes (Notes are optional)
o Directions to the interview site

3. Prepare answers to common interview questions:
o Tell me about yourself
o Why did you leave your last position, or why are you leaving your current position?
o What do you know about this company?
o What are your goals?
o What are your strengths and weaknesses?
o Why do you want to work for this company?
o What has been your most significant achievement?
o How would your last boss and colleagues describe you?
o Why should we hire you?
o What are your salary expectations?

Upon Arrival
1. Arrive early. Enter the building 10 minutes before your appointment
2. Review your prepared stories and answers
3. Go to the restroom and check your appearance one last time
4. Announce yourself to the receptionist in a professional manner
5. Stand and greet your interviewer with a hearty — not bone-crushing — handshake
6. Smile and maintain eye contact

During the Interview
1. Try to focus on the points you have prepared without sounding rehearsed or stiff
2. Relax and enjoy the conversation. Learn what you can about the company
3. Ask questions and listen; read between the lines
4. At the conclusion, thank the interviewer, and determine the next steps
5. Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can send a follow-up letter

After the Interview
1. As soon as possible, write down what you are thinking and feeling.
2. Later in the day, review what you wrote and assess how you did
3. Write a follow-up thank-you letter, reminding the interviewer of your qualities

These tips should help you ace any interview. Read our helpful advice to sail through your administrative assistant interview.

Read on to “Follow-Up Makes a Difference” (seriously)


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