Preparing for the executive assistant interview means developing a set of key questions that will give you enough insight to make a hiring decision. These questions will allow you to assess the candidate’s fit for the job.
Before you meet with the interviewee, take these two critical steps for a successful interview.
Preparing for the executive assistant interview
First, when developing an interview question, avoid any query that can be answered with a simple “yes”or “no”. Instead, ask open-ended questions that will require explanation. You’ll be able to see the candidate’s thought process, and you’ll have a better understanding of how your future assistant will handle challenges.
Next, section your interview questions according to the skills for which you are looking. These can be categorized in three groups: the job itself, behavior, and communication.
Providing support for an executive requires diverse skills.
- How do you prioritize your day?
- What computer experience do you have?
- Which software programs do you use most?
- If the executive for whom you work has simultaneous engagements, how would you handle the conflict?
- Explain how you would make travel arrangements for an executive who needed to fly to a speaking engagement.
- How do you handle confidential information?
- If you had to set up a half-day meeting for executives, how would you plan it and be sure that everything would be ready?
- What’s your most significant professional accomplishment?
The person you hire for this role should have the necessary skills and characteristics to get tasks done completely and confidently.
- How would you handle an emergency if you are already busy working on a project with a deadline?
- What are your thoughts about occasionally working from home evenings, weekends and holidays?
- Explain how you maintain flexibility in your daily schedule.
- How do you keep your work-life balance amidst hectic schedules?
- What do you do when things don’t go the way you planned?
- Who has been the most challenging person to work with – and how did you handle the difficulty?
Also known as soft skills, these characteristics will establish a candidate’s ability to communicate with others.
- How do you prioritize your day?
- Tell about a time you had to deal with a demanding visitor or caller, in person or on the phone.
- Describe your process for writing an email for the executive to send.
- What three words describe the perfect executive assistant?
- Tell about a time you had to think on your feet. What was the outcome?
- How do you handle constructive feedback?
Finally, ask the candidate you interview what questions they may have for you. Both of you should walk out of the interview knowing clearly whether the job is the right fit.
If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact a recruiter who knows the industry.
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