Job of a secretary has a steady place on the list of most popular positions amongst women in the United States. Many people do not understand it, because they do not grasp the real quality of this job. They believe that all she has to know to do is making good coffee and answering calls with smile on her face…
In fact, this is very far from the truth. A modern secretary has an important role in a company and often manages the entire office. She does lot of administrative work, prepares a schedule for the boss and takes part on meetings. All of this is reflected in a job interview. What more, she is often the one responsible for the good atmosphere in the office, which is crucial nowadays. Good companies need good secretaries and they do they very best to hire them in an interview.
What is going to decide a winner in an interview?
Interview for secretary job is specific and can hardly be compared to any other interview. Personal preferences play a huge role on the decision making of the interviewer (typically the boss), especially in smaller companies. Bosses try to hire people they feel good with, people they like to be with. Some people say it is a discrimination, but I do not think so. Every job has some requirements and this is one of the requirements on a suitable assistant. It is similar to flight attendant position. Secretary spends a lot of time with the boss and that’s why their relationship has to be good. Otherwise, it would not work. That’s why your tone of voice is very important when answering interview questions.
However, you does not have to be former model to have a chance to succeed… All you have to do is to be pleasant in an interview, smile, be communicative and motivated to do the job. Little compliment on the address of the boss and good looking dress can not mar anything.
In ideal world, personal preferences would not play the role in an interview. Only qualification and skills would. However, we do not live in an ideal world. Therefor you need to accept the situation as it is and do your best to use it for your advantage, not contrariwise.
Answers to interview questions also matter
Times when nice smile and deep neckline were enough to get a job of a secretary are gone. Nowadays, you need to answer also many questions, show that you can listen, that you understand what is expected from you, can talk to the point and can carry out the daily job. On the top of that, interviewer will ask you several behavioral interview questions also, to see how you act in different work related situations. Let’s have a look at it:
- Why do you want to become a secretary?
- Why do you want to be an assistant here, and not somewhere else?
- What do you want to accomplish on this position?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- Can you tell me a little bit about your past working experience?
- What makes from you a better personal assistant than other applicants?
- How do you imagine a typical day in work if we choose you for this position?
- Tell me about a situation when you needed to work under pressure. How did you handle that?
- Can you work with MS Office? How would you rate your skills with typical Office software components?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Would you mind working overtime?
- Would you mind accompanying your boss on business trips?
- How would you cope with an angry customer or business partner?
- Have you ever prepared a weekly schedule for someone?
- Can you cook?
- When are you able to start?
- Do you have any questions?
Practical tests in an interview
One thing is to talk about the job, another one is doing it. Interviewer can sit you at the computer and let you to do specific tasks in MS Excel or MS Word. It is like a little test at school. They can for example give you a printed document with specific layout and let you to retype it into computer, to see how fast do you type and how fast you work with MS Word.
They can also give you an IQ test, just to ensure you are intelligent enough to perform your daily job. Therefor, I suggest you to polish your knowledge of MS Office a little bit prior to your interview, as well as to complete at least one IQ test online, just to get some practice… (it’s a good practice, even if you would not get a test at the end.)
What to say at the end?
We could continue and write an entire new website about how to win the hearts of your recruiters in an interview for secretary position. But this information should not be available to everyone – then nobody would have an edge in the interviews… Not everyone is willing to sacrifice something and put an extra effort to his interview preparation. Well, not everyone can succeed… If you want to know more than the other job applicants, have a look at our Secretary Interview Package. It’s a best possible last-minute interview preparation for secretaries.