Executive Assistants undertake administrative tasks which support executives within the organization to focus on high-level strategy operations. They are generally responsible for the management of this executive including scheduling their meetings and travel, responding to emails, answering phone calls, maintaining records and preparing reports. However, their role goes beyond just administrative tasks as they are often the executive’s ‘go-to-person’ and can act as a representative of their assigned executive. Performing this role requires strong organizational skills, excellent communication skills, as well as the ability to prioritize and multitask.
Core skills for Executive Assistants
Attention to Detail
How to effectively interview Executive Assistants
While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as an Executive Assistant in your company, a well-developed set of interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in an Executive Assistant role will go a long way in helping you decide.
But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great interview questions?
The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates.
At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the Executive Assistant role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral and situational questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills. And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created an Executive Assistant Interview Template for you that integrates other interviewing best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process.
Example interview questions to ask
How would you approach proofreading and editing a document that has been written by multiple authors? What would the biggest challenges be?
- Understands the importance of consistency (in style, format, tone, etc.)
- Suggests checking organizational guidelines on content creation
- Suggests asking the authors how they would prefer to reach consistency
- Demonstrates excellent attention to detail and communication skills
- Understands the need for sensitivity in the task
Imagine your executive's flight has been canceled. They need to be in a very important investor meeting in that location the next day. What would you do?
- Would consider alternative solutions to get them to the meeting on time
- Would contact the flight agent and attempt to book the next flight
- Would remain calm and proactively try to solve the situation
- Would assess alternate options (e.g. other means/times to schedule the meeting)
- Discusses how to avoid/be prepared for similar situations in the future
Tell me about a time you made an error on an invoice or report. What did you do and how would you avoid making that mistake again in the future?
- Clearly describes the situation and the error they made
- Elaborates on how the error was spotted and fixed
- Understands what caused the error and the implications of it
- Discusses learnings and key takeaways to avoid the mistake in the future