Administrative positions are necessary in every industry. Which is why they’re the best positions to get your foot in the door of any industry.
But despite being one of the hottest jobs, admins are some of the hardest working employees. Some basic administrative duties include greeting visitors, answering enquiries, and utilizing the organization’s telecommunications systems.
Additionally, budding admins will be glad to hear that the typical admin can earn up to $10 per hour. You can read more about the skills needed to survive in an administrative position in our previous article, “High Paying Casual Labour Jobs for the Upcoming Holiday Season”.
As a recruitment firm in Singapore, we’ve held our fair share of interviews for admins. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions during interviews and here’s how you can answer them!
1. Why do you want to be an administrative assistant?
To be fair, this is a commonly asked questions for any job seeker, no matter the position they’re applying for. Hiring managers ask this job because admin work can be tedious and stressful to some. Which is why they want to understand the different reasons why people are interested in the job. Like any other employer, the hiring manager is looking to find inspired and happy workers to contribute to a happy and productive workplace environment.
The right answer
Like any other job interview, the best way to respond to this job is by describing what you enjoy about the administrative position. For instance, do you enjoy data entry due to your meticulous and organized nature? Highlight that in your interview!
Or perhaps you believe that being an administrative assistant is a good way to get your foot into the door of the industry (e.g. tech or fintech). Don’t forget to briefly mention how you plan to use your experience as an admin personnel to supplement your dream or ideal career.
2. What experience do you have in admin?
Yet another standard and broad questions commonly asked at all job interviews. Seeing as this is a very broad question, don’t rush to answer it without thinking through clearly. Generally, hiring managers are just checking to see if you have the right stuff for the job!
The right answer
Yes, there is such a thing as the perfect answer! The perfect answer would be one that:
Summarizes all the roles you’ve had that relates to an administrative job. This can include past volunteering and internship experiences as well. Don’t hold back, you want to let your potential employer know how qualified you are.
Your latest and/or current job position and how it relates to your potential admin position.
The relevant skills that you’ve picked up from your prior experience. Include your transferable skills, technical skills, and relevant knowledge that you’ve gained.
If this is your first time applying for an entry level position, describe the skills that you’ve gained from your studies. Or perhaps you’ve learnt them through self-learning or even online courses.
Pro-Tip: The admin role is one that relies on communication, which in today’s day and age includes technology. This means that the ideal person for the job will have to have basic computing skills (think: Microsoft Office). Other notable software experience might also give you a boost!
3. Are you a sociable person?
An administrator is someone who needs to interact with a number of employees, customers, and maybe even clients on a daily basis. It’s a job that zaps the energy out of most introverts and as a front facing role, it’s a position where you cannot show your “black face”.
The right answer
Whatever you do, don’t answer this question with a “yes I’m a social butterfly, it’s easy for me to make new friends”. In fact, the hiring manager might not even ask this question at all. But it is important for candidates to stress their social skills if they want to grab the admin role.
Some ways you can highlight your social skills are:
Communication skills: A people person will have great communication skills. Some ways for you to flex your communication skills include, saying you have great listening skills, or sharing your writing and verbal communication skills.
Conflict resolution skills: Nothing spells out a “people person” like good conflict resolution skills. Having the ability to mediate disputes and resolve conflict among both customers and colleagues is a professional skill.
Empathetic skills: The ability to have empathy allows a person to fully understand what another is going through. A job candidate with this skill is able to understand the thoughts, emotions, and experiences, a person is having. Someone with good empathetic skills will undoubtly have great listening skills - which in turn gives the person awesome communication skills.
Learn more about the hottest skills you’ll need to have in Singapore’s booming job industries here.
4. Tell us about a time when you had to deal with….?
As a front facing job, admin and receptionist positions require a lot of communication with customers and clients. When a hiring manager asks you questions that begin with, “tell us about a time when….”, they’re effectively trying to decipher your behaviour on the job. This means that employers are interested in seeing how you will utilize your past experiences as an indicator on how you’ll perform on the job.
The right answer
When it comes to behavioural questions, employers are often on the lookout for detailed answers. Spefically details about your past experiences from previous jobs. Additionally, employers who ask behavioural questions also want to know how you act in crisis situations as well as your thought process.
The best way to answer behavioural questions is to use the “STAR” method:
Image: The Balance
Situation: Describe the situation when you faced a challenge at work or even in college/university. You want the hiring manager to be able to visualise the scene you’re about to set. Use this step to desribe the issue or problem within a tight deadline.
Task: Then, talk about your responsibility in the situation. For example, did you need to ensure that your colleagues were able to meet a tight deadline?
Action: How did you complete the task on hand? Talk about the actions that you had to take.
Result: Explain the outcome of your actions. Ideally, the outcome should be a good and positive one.
What are some commonly asked interview questions do you have trouble answering? Let us know in the comments section below!