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interview questions

Get a head start on other potential candidates by being prepared for the most common secretary interview questions. Read our most common questions below and the recommended answers.

Practise your responses to these top five most common secretary interview questions and answers so you can turn up to your next interview feeling calm, collected and confident. For more on general interview tips and advice, check out our Interview Guide.

Common Secretary Interview Questions & Answers

Question: Why did you apply for this secretarial/administrative position?

This is an incredibly popular interview question. The best response tailors  your answer to the company you're applying for (which means doing some research ahead of time).

Look at the company mission statement online before your interview to see what is at the core of their business. When answering their questions, link their mission and values to you, your career goals and previous experiences.

Speaking confidently about the company in question shows you're interested in working for them specifically - something all employers are looking for in an ideal candidate.

Sample answer: I am aware that you are passionate about sustainability as a business and this was one of the first aspects that attracted me to your company. In my previous position as an administrative assistant for a healthcare brand, I took an active role in the company’s corporate responsibility, sourcing recyclable office materials and encouraging employees to be more environmentally friendly.

Question: What do you think are the most important skills a secretary should have?

This is a crucial question, as it not only shows that you know about being a secretary but also offers you a chance to showcase your own skills. Mention the skills or abilities that were referenced in the original job posting, along with common sought-after skills for a secretary including:

  • Organisation
  • Reliability
  • Punctuality
  • Accuracy

Sample answer: I believe that the role of a secretary is an integral part of any office environment and that you need to be an all-rounder with the ability to multitask and adapt where necessary. I have a proven track record of planning and organisational skills and pride myself on my reliability and dedication to my work.

Question: What are your main motivations to succeed at work?

Showing that you take pride in your work is a vital attribute that employers will want from a secretary, as accuracy is key in this line of work.

Some of the most common motivators that you may want to mention are:

  • Increased responsibility
  • Learning opportunities
  • Interpersonal interaction

Sample answer: I believe self-motivation is the key to being a good secretary and, as a self-disciplined individual, I am able to successfully inspire myself. That being said, I am also driven and want to be able to progress within a company, and I find that demonstrating high-quality work is the best way to achieve this.

Question: What are your main strengths and weaknesses?

This is often the question that jobseekers fear the most, but it’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. However, there are a few key strengths that are worth mentioning at a secretary job interview.

Sample answer: I believe my main strengths lie in my ability to adapt to changing situations. I am aware that the role of a secretary is a varied one and I pride myself on being flexible, a fast learner and having the ability to prioritise my own workload.

In regard to your weaknesses, mention  genuine weaknesses that you've made progress on. Top tip: don't offer up strengths as weaknesses. You want to be genuine here.

Sample answer: In the past, I would want to tackle every project as a matter of urgency. I have learned to prioritise and even set limits where necessary so I can devote my time and energy to the most important tasks first.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

The key with this question is in striking a balance between your commitment to the current position whilst still showing ambition and career drive for the future within the same company. The interviewer wants to hear from you that you plan on sticking around for at least 5 years.

You need to be able to express your excitement for the job you are applying for but you can also talk about wanting to move up the career ladder, as long as this is within their company.

Sample answer: My goal right now is to find a position where I can utilise my skills and grow as an employee by taking on new and exciting challenges. Ultimately, I want to work for an organisation that encourages career progression as I assume more responsibilities and prove my worth over time.

Preparing for these interview questions along with a great secretary CV template, means you’re geared up for success when it comes to your next interview. Secretarial jobs are well sought after so it's best to be prepared! Ready to apply? Check out our newest secretarial / admin jobs.

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