If assisting someone with their work is an innate passion you have, then a job as an executive assistant is the right pick. If you have already made up your mind for this job, then the next step is to pick out the top hiring companies and interview them. This article will help you get a job as an executive assistant by cracking the interview with 15 sample questions and answers. These questions are generalized and have been asked by interviewers over the years. Since your job entails a huge responsibility, i.e., to assist your executive in administrative work, organizing their itinerary, schedule meeting and appointments, and sort their travel dates, the human resources will be careful to select the candidate that fits the job description and demands perfectly. You might be aware of the fact that ‘the first impression is the last impression.’ These questions and answers will leave quite an impression on your hiring manager’s mind.
Your responsibility is to assist the higher-ups. Hence, if you have previously worked as an administrative assistant, do not expect to get the same kind of questions in your administrative assistant interview. As an administrative assistant, you serve the middle management, but as an executive assistant, you serve the top management. So keep your expectations high. Do not only prepare yourself for menial questions.
Here are Executive Assistant 15 sample questions and answers that will guarantee your placement as a executive assistant in a top company:
- Tell me about yourself and why do you think you fit the job description.
My name is (your name). I hail from (your place of birth). I have completed my education at (the last educational institution you have attended), following which, I got a job as a (your first job). Over the years, I have worked for (number of companies you have worked for) companies, gaining expertise and sharpening my knowledge as an administrative assistant. My company had earned a revenue of (the revenue your company has earned) during my presiding years as an administrative assistant. I describe myself as a hard-work, punctual, and professional employee who does any job with utmost dedication. Your company and I have the same objective, which makes me a perfect fit for the job. Apart from my required work experiences, I have a good understanding and knowledge of other projects and tasks associated with this job. My employers have relied on me to carry out their tasks as they believe that I do my job efficiently. I meet the deadlines assigned and pay great attention to detail. I can assure you that if you hire me as an executive assistant, you will be pleased by my performance and be in awe of my professionalism.
- What qualities do you possess that make you the right person for the position of Executive Assistant?
My job experience over the years has helped me enhance my skill set and develop the attributes that are required for this job. The biggest attribute that I possess is professionalism. I manage my tasks and organize them in a manner that lets me complete those tasks perfectly and up to my employer’s standards. I adapt very quickly to my environment and learn tricks and techniques along the way. This ensures that you do not have to guide me for everything. I also value those who work under me and hence will be a positive role model for them.
You can count on me to keep all your information and files safe. I can assure you that I will minimize my errors as much as possible. I will deal with my clients and partners respectfully and cooperate and comply with them when they need me. I will always strive to work toward the best of my abilities and access my full potential while doing so. I am tech-savvy and have up-to-date knowledge of the technical world, which will be an asset to your company.
- How would you deal with a situation wherein you do not agree with your manager’s ways of working?
First, I will clearly listen to what my manager has instructed me to do. Once he is done addressing his points, I will politely and calmly ask my manager if there is any other way to tackle the situation. I can advise him of some ways he can improve his work if he agrees to it. I will try my level best to persuade him in the humblest way possible. If the manager disagrees with my ways, I will have no other choice but to follow his ways.
- If you were given confidential information to handle and another executive wants to know the details about it, what will you do in such a situation?
I would assertively yet politely say that I am not allowed to disclose any information regarding the document under my care. By doing so, I will be violating my work ethics. If the other executive wants access to this information, they can contact my executive and decide what they would like to do further.
- If a disgruntled client calls you, demanding to speak to your executive when they are not around, what would you do?
First, I will calmly greet the client. Then I will patiently listen to what they have to say and note all the essential details. After the client something, I will respond by saying, ‘Yes Sir, I understand.’ I will assure the client that I will relay all the information I have gathered from them to my executive. I will also assure them that my executive will get back to them as soon as possible. In case they are still disappointed, I will connect them to the head of the department in the area they are facing problems in.
- How do you make sure that you can properly anticipate an executive’s needs?
Initially, it might be a bit difficult for me to ascertain my executive needs, but as I work with my executive for a longer time, I will pick up the likes and dislikes of my executive. Over time and with practice, I will know my executive needs even before he asks for them. When I see that my executive is not happy with something, I will rectify my mistakes and learn from them. I also believe that my executive will teach me all the tricks of his business to fulfill his needs. Also, a bonus is that I am a fast learner.
- Can u tell me a time when a situation arose wherein you have made a scheduling mistake? What did you do to overcome that situation?
Yes. I have been in a similar situation (no. of years) years ago when I was working as (a post held in that job) at (name of the company). There was an executive of another company who wanted to discuss some important matters regarding an ongoing project at that time with my executive. The assistant of that company and I had agreed upon a time the aforesaid meeting was to be held. But the assistant of the other company called up a day before the meeting was to say that the executive of their company wants to postpone the meeting due to some unprecedented circumstances.
I checked my executive’s schedule for the other days and found a vacant slot. We both agreed upon the new date and time. But unfortunately, I forgot to note this new date in my appointment book as I was busy with some other work. On the day of the meeting, the other company’s assistant called me up and said that they would be reaching the venue in an hour. That is when I realized that I had scheduled a meeting with them and forgot to inform my executive. My executive was in another meeting and hence could not attend this meeting. So, I called up the assistant of the other company and apologized to them for their inconvenience. I politely told them that due to some errors on my part, the meeting could not be conducted. I then requested them if we could decide upon another date and time for the meeting.
Fortunately, they obliged, and we conducted that meeting on another date. My executive did warn me to be more careful in the future and ensure that such a mistake never occurs again.
- Let us assume you are in a situation where you are working with two executives simultaneously. Both of them have their own ways and standards of working and expect you to work accordingly. But both these ways of working are conflicting with each other. How will you deal with it?
As an executive assistant, it is my priority to work as per my executive’s instructions and meets their demands. In working under two executives and following their conflicting demands, I would go to both these executives individually and politely request them if they could agree on a way where both ways of working are in unison. I can accommodate minor differences in their instructions, but it will be quite tedious to carry out their instructions if they completely conflict with each other. I would also ask them if they have suggestions, then I would abide by them.
- If at the feedback you are given constructive criticism, how would you react or respond to it?
As an employee, feedback plays an essential part in shaping me in my career as an Executive Assistant. Of course, everyone can’t do the job assigned perfectly. People are bound to make mistakes. If my employer were to give me constructive criticism, first of all, I would gladly receive it with an open mind. I will note down the inaccuracies I have done in my work in my mind and find ways to resolve them. I would also request my employer to guide me to solve some inaccuracies in not being able to do so myself.
After my executive is done giving constructive criticism, I would thank him or her and assure my executive that I will work harder to improve myself. If I do not completely agree with what my executive has to say, I will tell the executive and discuss it openly with him or her and conclude. I will have a curious approach to this constructive criticism rather than strongly reacting to it.
- Throughout your professional experience, can you describe a time, where you and your colleague did not see eye to eye on a project you both were assigned to work on together? Did you get past your differences? If so, how did you resolve them? Did your project succeed?
In a profession such as an executive assistant, I am always teamed up with my colleagues working with me in the same environment. Most of the time, we get along pretty well, with each member knowing the responsibilities they have to undertake. Seldom has the opportunity arisen where my colleagues and I do not get along. An instance of this is when I was working as a (post you held at the company) at (name of the company) (number of years) ago. I was assigned a project with my colleague I had been working with for the past (number of years) years. We had our share of tiffs throughout our time working together at (name of the company).
But in this particular instance, we had a huge row during one of the most major projects that could be a breakthrough for our company. We did not see eye to eye and faced a lot of challenges while working on our project. Due to this, we could not complete the assigned schedule on time. I realized that it was high time we resolved our issues, or else we could both see our careers going down the rain. I had a talk with my colleague, and we resolved our issues and decided to put our differences aside for the sake of this project. We coordinated with each other on the project, and while doing so, we once again developed a great rapport. The project was completed on time, and our project helped the company bag the deal.
- Mention a weakness that holds you back in your work. Why does it hold you back?
A weakness that has stuck with me throughout my career is my quest in wanting to be perfect. I want my job to be done extremely perfectly, and I will always look for ways to make it better. In the quest of attaining perfection, I keep on finding minor inconsistencies, which another person will look past or anyone else would not mind it much and worry if I could make any more changes. This, at times, can lead to a delay in my project. But over the years, the occurrence of such an event is limited to two or three times. I always try to find faults in my work to improve it and not stop till it is handed over to the other party. While you may think of this as a blessing, at times, it can also be a curse. But I will ensure that this weakness does not become an obstacle in my way.
- If you face any problems while working, how will you find the solution to them? There are many instances when I have come across a problem while working. Following are the steps I take to deal with the problems:
- Familiarize The Problem. While working on projects, I come across many similar problems like time restraints, insufficient resources, etc. I try to get used to them as these problems are bound to pop up over a period of time. I step aside and take a minute or two with myself to understand and let the problem settle in my mind. I keep in mind that I should not make rash decisions as they can lead to bad consequences. I question myself as to what could be the root cause of the problem. I then pose this same problem to my co-workers to see if they have understood the problem in the same manner.
- Break Down The Problem. When we come across a problem for the first time, we are quite perplexed. It is tough to see past the problems at the first chance. So, I will try to seek ways to get effective solutions to solve these problems. I will discuss these problems with my friends and colleagues and see how they respond to them or any advice to solve them. Discussing the problem with others is one of the most effective ways of solving it.
- Try To Find The Good In The Problems. The problems that I face while working will be the same problems that my predecessors have faced. Of course, they have sought away and moved on. Similarly, I need to find the virtues in my problems rather than digging deep into the vices. I have to see what I will gain from it and work towards those gains. I have to realize and make use of the great opportunity that may be hiding in the problem.
- Segregate The Problems Into Smaller Segments. A problem cannot be a large problem in itself. Many small problems constitute a large problem. We generally avoid these problems. Hence, it is important to identify these small problems and look for solutions to solve them first. As I solve these smaller problems, my larger problems will begin to diminish. I will identify which problem needs my attention the most so that they can be tackled quickly.
- Was there any occasion wherein you breached the confidentiality? What was the reason for doing so? What was the outcome of this situation? [There are 2 answers to this situation, yes or no. Below I have mentioned answers in both the situation]
- Situation 1: If you have not breached confidentiality. I have never come across such a situation wherein I have breached my executive’s contract’s confidentiality. I strictly abide by my company’s policy, and I have maintained all confidential information throughout (number of years of experience) years serving as an Executive Assistant in my career.
- Situation 2: If you have breached confidentiality. Unfortunately, I have been in this situation while serving as an executive assistant (name of the company). During a conversation with one of my colleagues who worked under an Executive of another company, I leaked some confidential information. Of course, this happened by mistake but it was negligence on my part. I had violated my company’s policies and hence my contract was terminated.
- If you have to book accommodation for your Executive for a meeting, what things will you consider before booking?
After working for (number of years) under my Executive, I will have a strong knowledge of their likes or dislikes. I will ensure the room is the way my Executive wants it to be. I will also check that the accommodation has made the necessary arrangements to house other members of the meeting. I will personally visit the accommodation hours before my Executive and other members of the meeting are supposed to check all the things.
- How has your work experience helped you prepare for the role of Executive Assistant?
My work experience has shaped me to be an Executive Assistant, and it has provided me endless opportunities to prepare for the role. My work experience has guided me to amend my errors and to be the best. It has also helped me gain a sharp knowledge of an Executive Assistant’s work.
Also read How I Became a C-Level Executive Assistant