Sample administrative assistant job description and interview questions

Are you looking to hire and need the perfect administrative assistant job description to bring in top talent? Hiring is a lengthy and costly process so it’s best to get it right the first time — and that means bringing the best applicants into the interview process.

In this BusinessManagementDaily.com article, we cover:

  • Details of the administrative assistant job description.
  • Key responsibilities of an administrative assistant.
  • Interview questions and comparison tools for hiring the best administrative assistant.

What is an administrative assistant? Basically, it’s an office assistant who creates great workflow and communication in your workplace. An admin may support an entire group or report directly to a leader in an organization. Either way, they need excellent communication and organizational skills. Some admins may also take on more responsibilities depending on the department they support. So, before you hire your next admin assistant, be sure to read over these guidelines to help you do the job right. A virtual assistant may be a remote title for this position.

Administrative assistant job description

Position: Administrative Assistant

Salary Range: It’s a good idea to include a salary range for your position to avoid having applicants that might later reject an offer.

Reports To: Who will the administrative assistant report to in your company?

Job description

We’re seeking a strong self-starter for implementing administrative systems, administrative support, policies, and procedures that can also contribute to administrative projects. You’ll provide high-level secretarial support with operational/supervisory support functions. In addition, this position is responsible for supervising filing systems and preparing and recording accurate reports, summaries, and tabulations from such data. At times, the position may assist with special projects as assigned and will be responsible for organizing the office workflow and providing any necessary training to staff.

Qualifications & skills

Applicant must possess the capability to work independently when carrying out assignments to a satisfactory completion. The ideal candidate must have impeccable communication skills and be able to interact with managers in all departments and levels. The position also requires the ability to adhere to routines and practices, and, at times, make process improvements to such practices. Additionally, you’ll need to be able to maintain standard operating procedures relative to office clerical activities and workflow both in and out of the department. A successful candidate will have close attention to detail and advanced problem-solving skills.

Punctual time management skills and interpersonal skills are a must-have for this position.

Education/Background

A high school diploma or equivalent (GED) is required. Associate degree/Bachelor’s degree or equivalent office experience is preferred.

Administrative assistant responsibilities and duties

Below are approximations of the amount of time you’ll spend carrying out key functions of the position.

Percentage of Job Classification Duty
______ % Non-exempt Organizing office workflow and providing organizational training and guidance to the staff.
______ % Non-exempt Supervising records and filing systems/bookkeeping/data entry/memos.
______ % Non-exempt Preparing accurate summaries, reports, and tabulations from company data.
______ % Non-exempt Maintaining workflow and operational procedures relative to office management in and out of the department.
______ % Non-exempt Performing clerical duties such as dictation, proofreading, faxes, typing, office supplies/office equipment, etc. when necessary.

______ %

Non-exempt Schedule appointments.

______ %

Non-exempt Expense reports.
______ % Exempt Conducts subject research as necessary to complete special projects and report assignments.

______ %

Exempt Assisting supervisor in administrative projects.

Exemption Analysis

The administrative exemption is possible, however, it is not likely to apply unless the employee is the administrative assistant to a member of high-level management in a large firm. Even in the case of exemption, a careful evaluation should be performed to avoid misclassification.

Duties reflected as “exempt” have been given this classification because they might possibly qualify as exempt administrative activity, but they still might not actually be non-exempt–everything depends on the duties to management/general business operations and the extent of the duties include “the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance”.

If the basic requirements have been met for executive exemption, at least a part of the duties under Essential Duties 1, 2, 4 might be exempt, causing a possible combination exemption.

Category decision

The duties and responsibilities for this position have been analyzed.

  • Manager:
  • Date:
  • On that basis, this position has been judged to be: √Exempt__ √Non-exempt__

Administrative assistant interview questions

Once you bring in great candidates, consider some interview questions for achieving the best results for hiring an administrative assistant. These questions will help you distill the traits or qualities you want out of your administrative assistant using the answers given.

Use a 1-5 rating system to grade the applicant’s answers, and it’s also important to learn from your job seekers. For example, if you’ve never heard of a certain operating system or word processing software, then it might be a good thing to research for future development.

You may also require a cover letter from applicants. Here are a few interview questions:

  • Tell me about a particularly challenging assignment and how you handled it.
  • What special skills related to this position have you trained for (short-hand, typing, telephone)?
  • Tell me about word processing (e.g., Microsoft office/ms office), spreadsheet (Powerpoint), and database management programs that you have worked with, explaining which ones you like the best, and which ones you have had problems with, and why?
  • What operating systems are you most proficient with and why?
  • Exactly what are you looking for in your next job that is different from your current/previous one?
  • A manager tells you to screen all telephone calls from a certain individual. What do you do if this person becomes angry or upset at not being able to get through?
  • Why do you think your previous work experience qualifies you for this position?
  • The position you’re applying for reports to three different managers, all of whom will place demands on your time. How would you handle a situation in which two managers insist that their respective jobs must be given top priority? Evaluate: Candidates who become flustered when trying to explain how they would set priorities are probably not good candidates for the job.
  • An administrative assistant has access to a great deal of confidential information about employees and customers. How would you handle a request from a manager for such information?
  • A company calls for reference information on a former employee who was fired for excessive absenteeism. How would you handle the request?
  • In what ways do you motivate yourself at work when you are under pressure?
  • Have you ever made a decision or suggestion that saved your company time or money?
  • Have you ever been told by a supervisor to do something you knew was wrong? How did you react?
  • How many years of experience do you have as an admin assistant/executive administrative assistant?

Wrapping up interview questions

Human resources: feel free to add additional questions to the list that may be specific to your operation.

Write an overall impression of the applicant, and give them an average rating of 1-5 for further comparison with other applicants.

You can also give upper management three recommendation choices:

  • Hire
  • Do not hire
  • Second interview

Follow the above formula for successfully hiring candidates for the administrative assistant position. Don’t forget to spread wide when putting out job postings — the more online platforms you use for hiring, the better the candidates you’ll get. We hope this helped you hire the perfect administrative assistant.