Job of a secretary has a steady place on the list of most popular jobs among women. That means one thing only – you will face some competition in your interview.
But what questions will they ask? How to make a good impression on the interviewer? And what decides the winner at the end?
Simply, how to prepare for your interview and walk away with a signed job contract? We will try to find the answer on our website that specializes only in secretary interviews.
Written by Jacob Gates, Independent Recruiting Consultant & Interview Coach
What will decide a winner in a secretary interview?
Typical secretary interview can hardly be compared to any other job interview. Personal preferences play a much more important role than they do usually do, especially if we speak about interviews in small and middle sized companies.
Some people call it unfair, or even a discrimination, but I would not say so. Every position has some specifics, and requirements for the candidates. Think about a flight attendant position–a bad looking or obese person will hardly get the job, since looking good (or at least charismatic) is one of the basic requirements flight attendants have to meet.
Secretaries spend a lot of time with their bosses. This employment relationship just won’t work if there is not a right connection between the two, if they do not fell good around each other.
You do not have to be former model, however, to have a chance to succeed… It’s more about being friendly, and nice, simply a person who brings smile to the office, someone it is a pleasure to talk to and be with–and that has nothing to do with your physical appearance, but everything with your personality.
Answers to interview questions
Old times when nice smile and deep neckline sufficed to an applicant for a secretary job are long gone. Now you will deal with some tough questions, and will have to demonstrate your listening skills, social skills, and understanding for the job. On the top of that, interviewers will ask you several behavioral questions, trying to foresee your behavior in various work relates situations. Are you ready to answer the following questions?
- Why do you want to become a secretary?
- Why do you want to be an assistant here (at our school, in our office), 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 you a better personal assistant?
- How do you imagine a typical day in work?
- Tell me about a situation when you were under pressure. How did you handle the pressure?
- Can you work with MS Office? How would you rate your skills with the software?
- 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?
- Do you have experience with preparing letters, reports, bulletins, handbooks, etc.?
- When are you able to start?
- Do you have any questions?
Practical tests in an interview
To talk about doing the job is one thing, to really do it another. Interviewers can ask you to perform simple actions in an office software, or in a scheduling program. For example they may give you a printed page with specific layout, and ask you to retype the text, and format it to the same layout.
Doing so, they can easily see how fast you can type, and how well you work with the program.
What else to expect?
If you are interviewed in an agency, you can encounter a simple personality test, or even an IQ test. While it is possible to prepare for the personality test in advance, you can hardly prepare for an IQ test.
Sometimes, if there are way too many applicants for the same job, the employer may invite you for a group interview first. However, in such a case nothing changes for you–success is always about giving brilliant answers to their questions, making a good impression, and building a good connection with your interviewers. Whether they interview you online, on the phone, in the group, or in one on one interview, doesn’t make a big difference…
What to say at the end?
It is not easy to succeed, and you should prepare upfront to have any chances. We suggest you to read the analysis of questions presented on this page, and think about your own answers. If you can practice the answers with a friend, do so.
Alternatively you can have a look at our Secretary Interview Guide, an eBook in which you’ll find brilliant answers to all common secretary interview questions, winning interview strategies, analysis of a personality test, and much more.
Thank you, I wish you good luck in your interview!
Your Personal Job Interview Coach