If you are good at performing administrative duties and have management skills then this role is for you! In this article, we will be sharing some of the questions with answers that you might be asked in your interview as an Administrative Secretary.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
As a major strength of multitasking, I believe I can perform well in this role at your organization. I have been working in this field for two years now and it has helped me develop my communication and management skills I am sure I can be a great resource for your company as well.
2. What Are The Roles Of An administrative Secretary?
There are various responsibilities under this role:
- Managing appointments and meetings as per calendar,
- Creating copies via scanning, faxing, and email for smoother communication internally and externally,
- Managing office supplies and ordering when required,
- Maintaining files with up to date data,
- Responding to incoming calls and emails and assigning to respective departments and
- Formatting and typing documents when required.
3. What Are The Qualities That An Administrative Secretary Needs To Be Successful?
To be successful in this role, it is important to have interpersonal skills and communication skills, both written and verbal. As required, one must also know how to operate basic office machineries like Copier, Fax machines, and Printers. On the other hand, it is important that one have basic computer skills and can work on Microsoft Office including Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
In my previous role, the COVID pandemic hit and It was a different experience for each one of us. As you know, Work from Home was applied all across the country and It was very new for all of us. In my role, It was difficult in the start as we had to shift all employees to their homes and the only specific staff was allowed to work on office premises. With my supervisor, we created several working plans and rotation plans with the help of HR so that we could ensure safety and smoother business operations.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As An Administrative Secretary?
Most of the days, my day starts with aligning all tasks with my manager so that everything is smooth for the next 8 hours. Once I am done with the internal meeting with my manager, I get in touch with project leads and suppliers. For suppliers and vendors, I mostly get in touch with them every week so that I can order office supplies on time and within budget. We all know sudden shopping for office supplies does impact the budget.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?
I started my career back in 2019 at ABC organization as an executive. As I completed my six months training, I was assigned to a project in a nearby city where the company was starting its office so I had to get in touch with all possible vendors and suppliers to set up an office. Once the project was live, I was sent on international training for 4 months in the US where companies headquarter was based.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?
I believe that there are two strategies required to perform well in this role i.e. Problem-solving skills and Efficient management of the team. The role requires a lot of patience and every day is a new challenge because every day there are new problems at the office and I have to make sure that I cater to those. As administrative secretary, I also have to focus on weekly and monthly goals to maintain the budget provided to me.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
This is a very good question! I think the biggest challenge is to maintain professional and personal relationships separately. Working in the admin department, many people try to get extra benefits from me to get their work done. Challenge is to refuse tasks if they are out of my professional capacity and also take favors from vendors and suppliers in time of need. It has to be balanced so that work goes on.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
Self-motivation is very important in this role and I make sure that I invest my extra time after working hours into some beneficial activities to stay motivated. In my free time, I read a business magazine that helps me get knowledge about new trends in the industry. I also like to spend quality time with my friends and family to ensure relaxation time for myself. Sometimes, the working hours exceed so I manage time for my family because excessive work can lead to burnout.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
At the start of my career when I was a trainee, I had to deal with an angry client who visited the office announced. I immediately tried contacting the concerned person but the phone was unreachable. I tried explaining the issue to the angry client but he refused. I also explained to him that to meet, he has to schedule an appointment at least 24 hours before but he was frustrated and was not listening to him. He called the executive manager directly from his phone and complained about me. The manager joined us on the floor to calm him down and took the matter into his hands. I learned that if there is an angry client on the premises, I can send a team message so the next line person can cater to the client instead of refusing him.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
I believe that my skills and qualification with experience match the role you are looking for. I am good at managing administrative duties without supervision and I can manage the day-to-day activities easily. I am also good at maintaining files and I am familiar with basic office equipment including printers and fax machines. I do like organized working spaces for every employee and myself too.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
As I mentioned that last 2 years were a pure surprise due to the pandemic. All staff was sent home as per government bits of advice. We were the first office in the company’s region that initiated work from home policy for all staff and set up workplaces at homes for several employees. After implementation, several regional offices requested us to share the procedure and documentation required to initiate the Work from Home Process.
13. Are You Familiar With Office Management Software?
Yes, I have used a few management software so far in my experience. I do believe in its power as it makes the process smoother and more efficient and is a great help for our role. Team Attendance, Log Times, and Project timelines can easily be tracked with its help and it does give proper forecast in all projects happening at work and gives clarity on timelines too.
14. If You Have To Set Up An Office In A Different Location. What Will Be Your Basic Tasks?
Before the staff arrives at the location, I would make sure of the following things:
- Registering Office location on Google Maps so that staff can reach the office location without any hassle. I will also add some signs on the front so that clients and employees can locate them easily.
- A coffee machine is essential as all day starts with coffee only! I will order supplies and mugs and additional items on time so that people can enjoy their coffee while they start working. I don’t want disappointment amongst the staff in the first few weeks at least.
- First Aid Box is important if there is any mishap or incident at work. Few basic medicines like Panadol and bandages with Dettol.
- Office stationery including Pens, Notebooks, and Papers will be ordered on time even though employees take all notes on their mobile phones and laptops or tablets but sometimes papers are essential items too. I will order a few extra cartridges of printer ink and fax papers and printer paper bundles.
- Office Furniture including Working Stations and Pens as per requirement.
15. In Your Opinion, Do You Think Time Tracking Software Should Be Installed In Offices?
I haven’t gotten a chance to work under time tracking software directly but I have seen it getting installed in several office locations as per Headquarters’ notification. As per my knowledge, it does provide efficiency and ensures productivity among all team members. Wi the automated system, employees’ check-in and check-out times are automatically recorded in the system, and hours are calculated. If there are fewer hours recorded, the deduction is already done from the salary and processing becomes a lot easier. On the other hand, it is great for seeing the current status of all projects in the pipeline, and employees’ working hours can be tracked as well. As the system is online, managers can easily view the status reports of projects and can mention their comments or feedback when required.
16. If Your Manager Asks You To Purchase A Printer For Office Space. What Will Be Your Process Like?
First, I will request the budget bracket that I have to search for a possible printer. Once I know the budget, I will ask a few questions regarding the requirement of the printer and what will be its usage, and at what capacity. I should not be buying a fancy printer with a lot of functions that are not even required by the employees. My approach will be the same if there is a requirement of features then I should be finding a printer that fits the need too. After gathering this basic information, my next information would be related to colored or black and white printers. If a colored printer is required then obviously the cost will be higher otherwise black and white printer is an economical option. I would analyze the usage as well to understand the requirement. Once I have all such information, I would be contacting the official suppliers of the printer company and get possible rates along with discounts.
17. We Face A Lot Of Issues In Meeting Room Reservation Most Of The Time. What Is Your Solution?
I would recommend you to start using scheduling software as it allows all teams to reserve conference rooms and meeting rooms along with office equipment. As you know, modern offices have very less space for separate places for workstations due to the open floor policy, this tool works great!
18. Have You Ever Used Scheduling Software At Office Yourself? Share Your Opinion.
In my previous role, I used this software and I am a fan of technology! Booking calendars and meeting rooms became much easier with this software as reservations can be done easily with the phone application and desktop application as well. With the schedule availability, the teams were able to book their spots and office equipment like Printers or Multimedia sets and even parking spots! Few software is easily linked with Emails and invites are automatically sent to everyone in the loop even G-Suite and Outlook too. Automatic notifications are also sent if an appointment is canceled and alternate team members can book immediately.
19. Many Offices Are Managing Their Files Through Cloud-Based Software. What Is Your Opinion In This Regard?
As technology has advanced and we all must adapt it in our daily work as well! In my opinion, there are a few disadvantages when it comes to the traditional method. First, you need a lot of space to manage the file and one day, space will be filled. If you have to search for a certain file, you have to go through an entire pile to file a required file. With cloud-based software, you simply scan the document and upload it and add a relevant keyword from which it could be searched on the system. If you have to share it with someone, you can send their invitation link and it will automatically expire within mentioned hours as per your need. The document is protected and is only shared on the given network as per the accessibility permission.
20. In Admin, There Is A Lot Of Confidential Information Coming Your Way. How Do You Ensure This?
Password protection and not using a public computer to access my files! As my duty involves a lot of different tasks, I make sure that I do not leave any such paper on the desk and if I am not in the office, I lock certain drawers and only my manager has access to it.
21. Are You In Favor Of A Team Environment?
All workspaces should have healthy environments to ensure the efficiency and quality of the work. I do believe that team bonding plays an important role in this regard. If you have good members on board, the team can pull difficult tasks with much better quality and less time.
22. Do You Feel Afraid Of Asking For Help If You Are Swamped With Work?
I don’t hesitate in asking for help and I always align my tasks in hand with my line manager because he or she needs to have all updated information regarding my doings. With discussion, I do learn a lot and seek advice when I am stuck. I have always gotten a chance to work under great supervisors and this behavior is always encouraged.
23. Rate Your Shs.
I would rate myself 8 out of 10 when it comes to SHS. I have improved a lot in my situation handling skills over time as new challenges came and new milestones were achieved. In my opinion, my skill related to information gathering and negotiation has polished a lot in the past few years. I have used these to solve a lot of problems at work and maintain high team spirits.
24. What Is Your Tip When It Comes To Office Supply Management?
I order in bulk and on time because this helps in the budget a lot. I have a proper vendor list based on the requirement with whom I meet from time to time for a professional relationship. I do not order bulk from new suppliers because it’s very risky.
25. Few Employees Misuse Office Supplies. How Do You Deal With Such Situations?
First, I keep a strong check on usage throughout the office which helps me identify the issues. I encourage the teams to use the supplies carefully and I recently launched a bonus campaign for all employees who use them efficiently. A cup of coffee or a doughnut to a team member does encourage them to use it better.
The above questions will surely help during your interview! Remember, the Administrative Secretary needs to have good interpersonal skills! Overall, being in this position is a demanding job that needs the presence of mind and full involvement from the team members. If you have a passion for organization, prioritizing the workload, and multitasking, this position is for you! Don’t forget to dress up cheerfully for your interview and do it with a smile! Good luck