Sample administrative assistant job description and interview questions

Administrative assistants are the glue that holds many companies together. They keep things running smoothly behind the scenes and are an essential part of many projects, meetings, and more. When hiring an administrative assistant, it’s vital that you have a good, accurate job description to bring in talent with the skills your organization needs.

If you’re thinking of hiring an Administrative Assistant for your company or just want to learn more about the role, explore the below Administrative Assistant job description example to learn about the key job duties and required qualifications. We’ve also provided some suggested questions to ask Administrative Assistant candidates during job interviews.

What is an Administrative Assistant?

An Administrative Asisstant is a support staff member that handles a variety of administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings, answering phone calls, bookkeeping, sending faxes, and filing documents. This role is often the backbone of the department or office, as the Administrative Assistant performs the support tasks that allow others to do their jobs effectively. From creating a positive work environment and maintaining the supplies and equipment that others need to setting appointments and taking phone calls, the Administrative Assistant position keeps the organization on track.

Administrative Assistant job description template

Overview

The Administrative Assistant will be responsible for providing administrative support to management and managing the day-to-day office activities such as filing, taking phone calls, data entry, and maintaining filing systems. The ideal candidate should have excellent communication skills and organizational skills, as well as familiarity with standard office equipment and software tools.

Job Responsibilities

  • Assist supervisor in all administrative projects.

  • Answer and route phone calls and take detailed messages.

  • Schedule appointments and meetings for leadership.

  • Make travel arrangements as needed for executives and managers.

  • Order office supplies.

  • Create and document office procedures.

  • Maintain physical and digital office filing systems.

  • Support the human resources team in maintaining files and distributing job postings.

  • Submit and reconcile expense reports.

  • Greet office visitors and provide general support to clients.

  • Perform clerical duties as necessary, including typing, proofreading, dictation, etc.

Qualifications

  • Two years of experience in an office setting preferred.

  • High school diploma or GED required. An associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree is preferred.

  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

  • Excellent problem-solving and time-management skills

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Administrative Assistant interview questions

Here are some helpful questions to ask when interviewing candidates for an Administrative Assistant role.

What office software tools are you familiar with?

Administrative Assistants use a variety of software programs for calendaring, emailing, creating documents and reports, reviewing expenses, and more. At minimum, an admin assistant candidate should be proficient with MS Office and Google Suite products including email, document preparation, spreadsheet, and presentation tools.

However, it’s also nice to leave this question a bit open-ended so that the candidate can share any specialized tools that they’ve used such as CRMs, HRIS systems, accounting or bookkeeping software, photo editing tools, or anything else that may come in handy if they are hired.

While an applicant can certainly learn new software, having a baseline understanding of key programs will help them get started more quickly.

Tell me about a particularly challenging assignment and how you handled it.

While the day-to-day activities of an Administrative Assistant may seem fairly routine, many Administrative Assistants are actually tasked with a wide variety of special projects to support company leadership or different teams within the organization. Learning more about the most challenging assignment that the candidate received in a past role and how they handled it can tell you a lot about their problem-solving skills and how they will handle challenges in their next role.

Since Administrative Assistants can engage in a variety of activities, there are a lot of interesting answers that you may get to this question. Maybe they had to make last-minute travel accommodations for an executive but the local hotels were already booked out due to a big conference or event. Perhaps they had an experience with a particularly challenging client. They may have had to collaborate with human resources, marketing, or finance on an important yet challenging project.

Whatever challenge they choose to share, you’ll want to pay close attention to how they persevered and worked toward a successful outcome and their attitude toward taking on that challenge.

Have you ever made a suggestion that saved your company time or money?

This question helps you learn more about the candidate’s approach to their work as well as their strategic and critical thinking skills. Administrative Assistants often get a big-picture view of the office compared to other staff members. They tend to provide support to a variety of departments or functions within the organization (unless they act as a dedicated executive administrative assistant to one member of senior leadership), and thus become aware of a lot of the internal company processes. They also have the opportunity to build or update administrative office procedures. As such, Administrative Assistants can be a great source of time-saving or cost-saving ideas.

However, not all Administrative Assistants will provide these suggestions or proactively look for ways to improve how they are doing things. If a candidate is able to provide a concrete example to answer this question, it means that they don’t just go through the motions and complete their tasks, but they also look for ways to help the company improve and succeed.

How do you prioritize your daily tasks and projects?

A great Administrative Assistant will be organized and demonstrate exceptional time management skills. They’re often the ones that stay on top of things that other team members may forget such as returning calls, ordering printer ink, or submitting expense reports. However, staying on top of all of these routine tasks gets a bit trickier when they’re getting requests from different people in the office who all want their needs prioritized.

Answers to this question should cover how they stay on top of their tasks and decide what order to complete them in. The candidate will likely share how they track deadlines, who they talk to if they need help prioritizing, and how they stay organized.

How do you stay motivated when completing routine or repetitive tasks?

It’s important to hire an Administrative Assistant that can remain focused and motivated while doing repetitive or routine tasks. Completing data entry or reconciling expense reports may not be exciting, but it is important that the work is completed with a high degree of accuracy and efficiency.

Many people break out large boring or repetitive tasks into smaller goals to stay motivated. For example, they may break a large data entry project into smaller data sets and take a short break or work on something else for a bit in between data sets. Some people listen to podcasts to provide some mental stimulation during less exciting tasks. Others simply enjoy calm, routine activities. There are a variety of answers that you may hear for this one.

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