Best Interview Questions for An Executive Assistant

by | Nov 2, 2023 | Blog, Executive Assistant

Finding the right executive assistant is crucial for top CEOs and executives. An EA handles the tasks you do not have time for to help make your life a little easier. It’s a high-importance position that can have a considerable effect on a company’s success. But this also means that hiring the right executive assistant is not an easy task. And to hire the best EA for your organization, you need to know the best interview questions for an executive assistant.

Best Interview Questions for an Executive Assistant

The best interview questions for an executive assistant showcase the broad range of skills needed for the role. There’s a lot to remember from assessing soft skills such as personability to hard skills like technical proficiency. 

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the best executive assistant questions. We’ve also included what to listen for in a candidate’s response.

Why Did You Want to Become an Executive Assistant?

While this might sound obvious, it is one of the best interview questions for an executive assistant. Yet many hiring managers seem to leave it out.

You can gauge their motivation for working as an EA and assess their dedication to the position through a candidate’s answer. Are they passionate about helping others? What excites them about the role? What are their career goals? Look for a person who wants to grow in the position, not someone looking for temporary work. 

What Three Words Characterize a Great EA?

A candidate will likely answer this question with the three traits they believe are their personal strengths. It will also give you an indication of which parts of the role they consider a priority. See if these align with your needs and preferences in an executive assistant.

Traits and skills that characterize a great EA include being:

  • Organized
  • Resourceful
  • Detail-orientated
  • Analytical
  • Trustworthy
  • Personable
  • Professional
  • Flexible

If You Had Confidential Information and Another Executive Asked Questions About It, What Would You Do?

Executive assistants are privy to a lot of sensitive and confidential business information. It’s essential to be discreet and keep this information private. Trust is the basis for a successful executive and executive assistant relationship.

Listen to how they would handle this challenging dilemma. Would they assess the situation first? Can they be assertive when necessary? Do they offer an alternative solution? Their answer will also show how well they can navigate office politics.

Executive assistant works with CEO on employee engagement

What Was Your Last Job Like? What Did You Like or Dislike?

This question will help you find out if a candidate is a good fit for your company culture. Cultural fit is a significant factor when adding a teammate, especially when you’ll work so closely.

Do the things they liked most about their previous position match with the culture in your office? Or will the aspects of their last job that frustrated them continue in this role?

Describe a Time You Had to Reschedule an Entire Meeting-Packed Day.

In the busy world of executives, urgent matters can pop up and require your assistant to put everything else on hold. Unforeseen circumstances result in throwing an EAs well-organized schedule out of the window. An excellent EA should be comfortable adapting to such changes and restoring order when things don’t go to plan.

When answering this question, does the candidate sound negative and stressed by the situation? Or does it sound like they relished the challenge? 

Tell Me About a Time You Had to Prioritize Your Work to Meet Strict Deadlines.

A successful executive assistant can prioritize their time when juggling numerous projects. 

Listen for how a candidate determines a task’s importance and how they adapt their workload accordingly. Strong answers will show they can easily handle the pressure of meeting multiple strict deadlines.

Describe Your Computer Experience. Which Applications Do You Use and Why?

An executive assistant needs to be comfortable using software like Microsoft Word and Excel and troubleshooting basic tech issues. They will also know the best tools, software, and resources to help save time, increase efficiency, and streamline workflow around the office.

A strong candidate will be familiar with time management, scheduling, travel coordination, and expense tools. They will also sound eager to master new software and quickly adjust to changing systems.

Discuss Your Experience Booking Travel

Travel planning is a task almost every EA performs at some point in their career. A candidate’s process when booking travel is a good indication of their planning skills and attention to detail.

Listen for evidence that they think about the small details and consider every eventuality. A good candidate knows that travel planning is much more than just booking flights and hotels.

  • Do they have a system for keeping all reservations and tickets in one place?
  • Will they vet hotels for features such as strong WI-FI before booking? 
  • Can they compile a list of restaurant suggestions in the local area?
  • Do they plan alternate routes from the airport in case the pre-booked taxi cancels at the last minute? 

Other Possible Executive Assistant Interview Questions

The above list of executive assistant interview questions is not finite. The questions you ask depend on your specific requirements as an organization. Think about the qualities you want in an ideal candidate and make sure your questions fit accordingly. You need to ask the right questions to get the right person.

Other questions may include:

  • ​​How do you handle a demanding executive?
  • How do you anticipate an executive’s needs?
  • Tell me how you would go about setting up a meeting.
  • Can you give an example of a positive change you’ve made in a previous workplace?
  • How would you handle being asked to do too much outside the typical workday?
  • Why should I hire you as my executive assistant over other candidates?

Let LifeSquire Help You Find Your Next Executive Assistant

If you are still uncertain what interview questions to ask an executive assistant, LifeSquire is here to help. 

LifeSquire Connect simplifies the executive assistant hiring process by connecting you with the right EA. We create a custom job post, review resumes, and perform interviews to help you find the perfect executive assistant. Contact us today to help.

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