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A Few More Interview Questions for Admins to Ask the Interviewer

A Few More Interview Questions for Admins to Ask the Interviewer

Julie Parrine CPS/CPA

From the blog post “A few more Interview Questions to Ask the Interviewer” and a follow up to “Questions for Administrative Professionals to Ask the Interviewer”

Upon reviewing my personal customized list of interview questions that I have developed over the years, I realized that I should share a few others that may be helpful also.

Additional questions to consider asking in an interview:

1. How many of the executives in this company commute on a weekly basis from another state?

(I once worked for a company where several key members of the leadership team commuted from another state. When they don’t have to leave the office to go home to waiting family members in the evenings, it makes it more difficult for those that support them to leave at reasonable hours also. It also makes for a work environment that is not as family friendly.)

2. When was the last time you went on vacation? For how long? How many calls did you receive from your office while you were out? Were you expected to keep up on your e-mails while you were gone? Did you?

(This is another way to find out just how respectful of your personal life and time the company you are interviewing truly is.)

3. How would you best describe your method of thinking – in shades of gray or more black and white – and give me some examples.

(Of course, people always want to say – both, but I usually press for a specific answer. I favor one over the other even though I have instances where I may stray the other way. ASK for specific examples of both if they won’t commit and give you a straight answer. If you know your own tendancies and you can learn theirs, it’s just another way to determine if this future manager is a good fit for you.)

4.I’m sure you’ve heard people refer to co-workers as “high maintenance” or “low maintenance” in their summation of how it is to work for someone. How would you define “high maintenance” and “low maintenance” in terms of working with your assistant? What makes an assistant high or low maintenance for you? Would you describe yourself as a high or low maintenance manager/executive to support and why?

(We’ve all figured out after we arrived on the scene what we’ve landed in – high maintenance or low maintenance territory. But if you know you don’t do well supporting someone who requires you to get their breakfast and lunch daily, schedule their haircuts and doctor appointments, then you need to be asking probing quesitons in the interview to find out where they land on the low to high maintenance spectrum. On the flip side, if you need to be very involved or “desperately needed” by your executive and you really enjoy doing a lot of the more personal things that sometimes come up, then working for someone who only needs you to screen their phone calls and sort their mail isn’t going to be a fulfilling experience for you either. Establish your own personal scale of 1 to 10 and identify on that scale what consists of high or low maintenance. Then have them identify where they think they would rate themselves.)

5. Explain for me the types of things your assistant does to make you more efficient and productive throughout the day/week. How many types of more “personal” things does your assistant handle for you (i.e. scheduling doctor appts, haircuts, family vacation planning, etc.)?

(Everyone has their “line” that they have personally established on what’s appropriate to do in support of your executive. You have to know where yours is and know how to ask questions to find out where your potential employer’s line is as well. Plus asking these things in the interview can set things up for a nice follow up conversation after you potentially get hired to discuss these things in more depth in a more comfortable setting because you already broke the ice.)

6. When you are coming and going from meetings throughout the day, are you typically on time and moving from meeting to meeting unassisted or do you find that you need your assistant to regularly come and get you or remind you of the next meeting you are headed to?

(This can help you determine one element of the high/low maintenance equation also. If you cannot get a clear answer out of them, then tell them what you prefer. I typically follow that up with a comment like…“so if that comes pretty close to describing your style, then we’ll be a great potential fit.” I let them deduce from that comment that we may NOT be a great fit if that doesn’t explain their style.)

7. What makes a great first impression? How do you make a great first impression?

(I like to learn how they view things and what’s important to them. This can also help you learn about their future expectations of you as well.)

Write down the experiences that you have encountered in your professional career that you wish you could have learned about your future manager or company before you started working for them. There may be good things and not so good things that you identify. Then think about how you can wrap words around a scenario or develop an appropriate question to ask to learn how the company/manager you are interviewing would respond or handle it.

You must be willing to expand your comfort zone and ask clarifying questions in the interview phase to ensure you have all of the information you need to make the right decision when the job offer is ultimately extended.

To your interviewing success!

Julie Perrine CPS/CAP
Qualifified Myers-Briggs Administrator

Read Julie’s original blog post “A few more Interview Questions to Ask the Interviewer”

See the first article “Questions for Administrative Professionals to Ask the Interviewer”


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