Questions may be applicable to other positions and jobs such as receptionist, office assistant, secretary, coordinator, supervisor, Administrative Assistant etc.
- Tell me about yourself
Tip: Be brief. Highlight on your educational and work history. You may discuss certain skills you gained from your previous experiences and how those skills would enable you in succeeding at this job. You may also discuss your personal background, but keep this short.
- Tell me about your previous work experience that best relates to this position. What were your duties and responsibilities? What skills did you learn and how would they be applicable to this job position?
Tip: Make sure you are aware of the key responsibilities/duties of this current job position. Describe the skills (e.g. taking and directing phone calls, filing and compiling documents, distributing mails, recording data and scheduling meetings, communicating with customers and employees, conducting projects, etc) you learnt and how they would be applicable to this job position.
- Do you have experience interacting with people? Can you give an example of a difficult interaction? What made it difficult and how did you resolve the interaction?
Tip: It is important to highlight the use of your knowledge in answering questions and interacting with people. To resolve difficult interactions you may consider how you listened and responded carefully or took a specific action in resolving a difficult interaction.
- What kinds of interaction did you have with the public? Tell me about a time you provided excellent customer service.
Tip: Discuss requests and questions you received from customers or clients from your previous job(s) and how you answered them efficiently. You may discuss times you gave great service such as maintaining a friendly and positive attitude while resolving customer complaints and issues.
- What was the reporting structure in your previous jobs? What types of interactions did you have with other departments and within your department?
- Tell me about your communication and listening skills
- What do you know about our company/organization?
Tip: Do some research on the company/organization. Be familiar with current news and issues surrounding the company/organization. The company or organization website may be a starting point for this. Doing enough research on the company shows your interest in the company.
- Why should we hire you?
Tip: Sell yourself! Talk about your previous work experiences, competencies, successes and achievements you have made pertaining to this job position. Explain how you can add value or benefit the company. You may even consider how your services would ultimately enhance profits or increase efficiency for the company. Don’t give common answers such as “I am a hard worker,” provide thoughtful answers on how your services can benefit the company.
- Are you familiar with using Mac or PC systems? Which are you more comfortable with?
- Which computer software have you used before? Are you familiar with Microsoft Excel, Outlook, or Word? If so, what did you do with it and what was the goal of project/task you were carrying out?* This may be more applicable to Administrative positions
Tip: You may give specific examples of the functions you are competent with e.g. “I have experience in creating spreadsheets, and using mathematical and statistical functions on excel” You may discuss new programs you have learnt through certifications, classes, one to one training, etc.
- Are you comfortable using a phone system with multiple lines and high volume of phone calls?
Tip: You may discuss certain work experiences that have enabled you in doing this. You may also express or emphasize the importance of being polite, friendly, and professional on the phone.
- Imagine you worked for this company and you received a phone call, what kind of information would you request in taking a phone message?
- Discuss some of your experience in handling money
Tip: You may discuss some bookkeeping activities you have engaged in. You may discuss your experience with banking transactions, and other money related situations. If your previous company lost money because of your activities, you should not discuss this at all. Focus on the positives.
- Have you coordinated or scheduled travel times for employees before? Do you have experience with expense reports? * This may be more applicable to Administrative positions
Tip: It is important to be fully aware of the duties the job requires. Some jobs might not require tasks involving travel scheduling, budgeting, and expense reports.
- What kinds of documents, formats or reports have you generated or distributed in your previous jobs?
Tip: Budget or Expense reports? Accounting reports? Letters? Spreadsheets? Invoice payment? Mailing lists? etc. You may discuss in some detail how and why you generated such reports or documents. This shows that you are well knowledgeable on what you were doing.
- Discuss some of the projects you engaged in and your role in the project. Discuss some of your experiences and expertise in project management* This may be more applicable to Administrative positions
Tip: You may discuss the goals or objectives of the project(s) you have managed. You may discuss how information was effectively retrieved and updated and how the goals of the project were balanced with certain constraints such as financial constraints and time constraints. You may give an actual example of how a certain project was designed, executed, monitored, and completed. Emphasize your role in the project, how did your decisions or suggestions enhance the project? This is another opportunity to sell yourself.
- Please tell me some of your experience in planning meetings and calendar maintenance
Tip: Discuss how you informed meeting participants, organized and booked meeting venues, updated calendars, etc.
- Please describe the types of correspondence you have composed or were responsible for
- Tell me about your experience in record keeping, data management and handling of confidential information
Tip: You may discuss how information was effectively retrieved, stored and updated, and how certain types of information or data were decided to be kept confidential. Talk about the systems you used and how you used them.
- What information were you responsible for processing at your previous job(s)?
Tip: Discuss the types or information you actively processed. You may discuss the software you used and how information was used.
- How do you go about planning your work priorities? Do you have a system of carrying out your tasks accordingly?
Tip: With questions like this, the interviewer is trying to assess your level of organization, time management, logical approach, judgement, and prioritization. Consider the unique techniques you use in organizing and prioritizing your work. Discuss how you decide which task is urgent and which is not, this may be based on deadlines or resources available.
- What kind of mistakes have you made in your last job and what have you learned from them?
Tip: It is important to state your mistake(s), clearly explain how you addressed the mistake and what your learned from it. Make sure you state that you learned something positive from the experience. Avoid negative lessons or outcomes e.g. “After the mistake, my boss lost complete trust in my work”
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Tip: State strengths that are important for the job position. You may consider certain strengths such as great attention to detail, experience with data management and classified information, great communication and listening skills, etc. Do not mention weaknesses that may be required for the job. Do not say something like “sometimes I am disorganized”. Do not say you have no weaknesses too. You may consider weaknesses that may not be relevant to the job and how you have taken steps in addressing the weaknesses.
- How do you handle pressure and deadlines?
Tip: You may consider stating certain examples, what you learnt, and how you handled the pressure and deadlines. Do not provide examples of when you actually created the pressure e.g. by procrastinating on a project/task. Sometimes, interviewers may ask challenging or unexpected questions to see how you can handle pressure and think quickly.
- What type of schedule are you looking to work here? Are you willing to start sometime next week?
Tip: It usually is a good sign when an interviewer asks if you are willing to work few days or a week after the interview. It is important to answer this with a resounding “Yes” and to show enthusiasm.
- Would you be able to work more hours if needed? Tell me about a time you took up responsibility to do a task or take more work shifts when you didn’t have to?
Tip: This assesses your ability to take the initiative in doing a task. Make sure you emphasize the fact that you took up responsibility and properly carried out the task. Show that you are willing to learn new tasks/skills and are a team player. Companies do not want to hire someone who just wants to work for money. They want key players who would support their mission and foster their goals.
- Would you be ok doing a lot of routine work?
Tip: Certain clerical or administrative positions may require routine work. It is important to show that you are ok doing this and that you look forward to taking up more responsibilities to help support the company.
- Can you speak multiple languages? If so which ones?
Tip: With globalization and the increasing diversity of the marketplace, certain companies may value employees who can communicate effectively with non-traditional or non-English speaking clients. This may be a significant advantage in you getting the job. If you speak multiple languages, state this in your application or resume. This may help you stand out from other applicants.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years, or the future?
- Any Questions?
Tip: Make sure you ask a question. Ask questions that deeply demonstrate your interest in the company. Don’t ask questions that can be easily answered from the company website.
NOTE: These are very relevant questions that may help in the interview. Questions may be asked in a random fashion. Questions not included on this page may be asked during the interview.