How to Prepare for an Executive Assistant Interview
Interviewing for a new job can be daunting for anyone, especially when you’re applying for a position that’s pivotal to the organization’s success. An executive assistant is an executive’s right-hand person and an integral part of a company’s organization. This importance means they’ll look for the perfect candidate to fill the role.
This post reviews our top tips for how to prepare for an executive assistant interview.
Know Common Executive Assistant Interview Questions
One of the best things you can do to prepare for an executive assistant interview is to know the type of questions interviewers may ask. Knowing the common questions gives you time before your interview to prepare your answers the best that you can.
Here are some examples of questions interviewers may ask and advice for answering them.
Why Do You Want to be an Executive Assistant?
Whether you’re already working as an EA or interviewing for your first position, this question will likely come up. An interviewer will want to know your motivation for working as an EA to assess your dedication to the position.
The best way to answer this question is to be as honest and authentic as possible. Be passionate when you discuss why you want to become an executive assistant. Tell them what excites you most about the role.
You may also want to mention what you hope to achieve in your EA career. Recruiters look for someone who wants to grow in a position, not someone looking for temporary work.
How Do You Prioritize Your Workflow?
Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize are essential qualities of a successful executive assistant. Being an EA is a busy role that requires jumping between tasks and projects, so a version of this question is likely to come up.
Let the interviewer know how you organize and prioritize in your current or previous positions. For example, do you use digital to-do lists and project management software? How do you decide what the most pressing tasks are? And how successful have these prioritization habits been for you so far?
How Do You Handle Stressful Situations?
The role of an executive assistant often involves staying calm during high-pressure situations. The world of a high-level executive is often fast-paced and stressful. A recruiter will want to know that you can handle being a part of this.
Explain why you are well-equipped to work in a stressful environment. Back this up with examples of a time you worked to meet a strict deadline or a time that you stayed composed and offered constructive advice during a high-pressure situation.
Other Possible Interview Questions
Other interview questions interviewers may ask, based on an executive assistant’s job duties, include:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as an EA?
- How do you handle a demanding executive?
- How do you anticipate an executive’s needs?
- Can you give an example of a positive change you’ve made in a previous workplace?
Research the Company and Team
Thoroughly researching the organization you’re interviewing for will help you prepare for any specific interview questions thrown your way. Plus, a good knowledge of the industry and company is a sure-fire way to impress your interviewer.
Delve into the organization and determine:
- Who are their clients?
- What is their mission and values?
- What big projects are they working on?
- Have they been in the news lately? If so, for what?
- What is their company culture like?
You can find this information by looking at the company’s website, social media channels, relevant industry publications, and Googling them.
You also should do some additional research on the executive you’re interviewing to work for and the person or people doing the recruiting. In addition to the resources listed above, LinkedIn can help you learn more about individuals.
Understand the Job Description
Before your executive assistant interview, another vital thing to do is review the job description to understand exactly what the company is looking for.
Make sure you know:
- The duties and tasks involved in the position
- Specific skills needed for the position
- Where the role fits into the organization
By thoroughly reviewing the job description, you’ll be able to align your interview answers with the needs of the job.
Prepare to Answer Administrative Questions
You’ll need to answer typical administrative questions during your executive assistant interview. These are the type of questions that might also come up in an administrative assistant interview.
Interviewers may ask you to demonstrate your:
- Communication skills – verbal and written
- Organizational skills – maintaining an office filing system
- Technical skills – competency using relevant computer software
- Event planning skills – travel, parties, conferences, etc
Think of various scenarios from your current or past positions that illustrate these administrative skills in a relevant way. Using examples of times when you’ve used these skills to negotiate difficult situations will help get your point across clearly and effectively.
Prepare Yourself for the Day
Other than preparing for the interview itself, there are some things you should do to ensure the day of your executive assistant interview runs smoothly.
Make sure you:
- Plan your exact route to the interview
- Learn the dress code and prepare your outfit in advance (more on this below)
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview so you’re not rushing
- Pack a copy of your resume, a notepad, and a pen
If you’re interviewing for a remote executive assistant role via video call, make sure to check in advance that your computer, WiFi, audio, and camera all work. The last thing you want is technical issues on the day.
When preparing for an executive assistant interview, the dress code is something that often gets overlooked. But it shouldn’t. As an EA, you’ll often be the face of a senior executive and the organization. In other words, presentation is key. Wearing the right thing will demonstrate your professionalism and may even affect your chances of being hired.
The dress code for every company is different. You can determine the dress code by asking the person who schedules your interview or by doing some research. Check the company’s website and social for photos. Or, if you live nearby, scout the office to see what employees are wearing on their way in and out.
Chances are, when interviewing for an executive assistant position, the dress code will be business smart or business casual. Keep things formal, classic, and conservative with a suit, dress, or dress slacks with a coordinating blazer.
Prepare Questions to Ask
Asking questions to your interviewer can be just as important as answering their questions. Asking questions shows that you’re interested in and passionate about the position. Consider asking the questions below during your interview.
Do you have any questions about my experience that I can address?
Asking this question allows you to address any of the interviewer’s concerns. If unanswered, these concerns might otherwise lead to you not getting the position or another candidate getting it.
By addressing these hesitations, you’ll put their mind at ease or show that you’re eager to grow and progress if you do get the position.
Can you describe the day-to-day routine for this position?
Not only does this question show the interviewer that you’re eager to learn about the position, it also gives you a chance to see if the role is for you. You can find out whether the daily routine of the job meets your expectations. Accepting a job offer is a two-way street, after all.
What do you love most about working here?
Similarly, this question will give you an inside glimpse into what it’s like to work at the company. Does this sound like somewhere you want to work?
How LifeSquire Can Help
Are you currently searching for a new executive assistant position? Want to learn more about how to prepare for an executive assistant interview? At LifeSquire, we’re always looking for hardworking executive assistants to join our candidate pool. Contact us today to find out more.