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Questions for Administrative Professionals to Ask the Interviewer

Questions for Administrative Professionals to Ask the Interviewer

As my career has progressed and I’ve added some interesting on-the-job experiences to my work history, I started to develop a list of interview questions that I asked the interviewers when I was in a job interview.

An interview is an information exchange between you and a potential employer. They are not obligated to offer the position to you, and you are not obligated to accept it even if they do. It is your responsibility to find out as much information about this company as you can BEFORE the interview. Then, you need to fill in as many gaps as possible DURING the interview by asking good questions.

Listen to their responses and watch their body language and facial expressions as you ask the questions and you may learn a lot of valuable information before you take a position that isn’t right for you.

Here are some questions to consider asking in your next interview.

Questions for Administrative Professionals to Ask the Interviewer

1. Can you describe the duties and the responsibilities of the job for me? (If a future manager cannot describe what the position does, I would be concerned about how out of touch with their staff and departmental functions they may be. I like the next two questions for this purpose also.)

2. Describe a typical daily schedule in this position for me.

3. Describe a typical weekly schedule in this position for me.

4. What is a typical workweek? Is overtime expected? How often?

5. What kind of characteristics are you looking for in the candidate?

6. Have there been any personnel or production problems in this department? (If there is more than one person in the interview, I like to watch their exchange of glances or facial expressions when I ask this. It may help you to know if you should ask a follow up question or not.)

7. What are the department’s strengths and weaknesses?

8. What kind of career path is typical for your employees?

9. WHO will be my biggest challenge in this position? Why? What will I need to do to work successfully with this person? (If you had told me a “personality” would be my biggest challenge when I walked into one of my executive assistant roles, I would have laughed at you. I had never encountered anyone that I couldn’t figure out how to consistently work successfully with…until this one. So this question has become a REQUIRED question for all interviews now.)

10. What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this position? How do you think these could best be handled?

11. How many assistants have you had support you over the course of your career? Who has been the best and why? Who has been the worst and why?

12. How do you view the administrative support role in the overall functioning of this office? (If they view this role as the person who keeps the coffee made and the mail sorted, then it may not be the career ladder position you had in mind. If they view this role as the hub of the wheel that keeps all of the spokes connected and smoothly rolling down the road, then you’re probably entering into a potentially great relationship.)

13. What do you do to support your assistant in his/her professional development?

14. Do you support membership in professional associations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) or other local networking groups?

15. If I were to talk to any of your past assistants, what would they tell me was the best part about supporting you? The worst part about supporting you?

16. Why is this position open?

17. How often has it been filled in the past five years? What were the main reasons?

18. What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?

19. Do you encourage/support daily lunch breaks for your assistant?

20. Who provides backup for this position when they are out of the office?

21. Who will review my performance? How often?

22. How do you determine or evaluate success within the company?

23. How do you determine or evaluate success for the person in this position? How will I know I am successful in this position?

24. How do you reward and recognize achievements of your team members? How often do you do it?

25. What don’t you like about working here and what would you change?

26. What do you think is the greatest opportunity facing the organization in the near future? The biggest threat?

I’m sure there are other great interview questions to ask. If you have some others, please share them with me at <> Interviewers want to see someone engaged in their profession and engaged in what is going on around them. Asking questions during an interview is a great way to find out the information you need to make an educated and informed decision should the job offer be extended.

To your interviewing success!

Julie Perrine CPS/CAP
Qualified Myers-Briggs Administrator

See the original blog article “Questions for Administrative Professionals to Ask the Interviewer.”

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