Administrative assistants are responsible for completing the everyday administrative and clerical tasks which support other staff. They are employed across all sectors and sizes of businesses, and companies would just about grind to a halt without them. As a result, administrative assistants must possess software expertise, be strong communicators, and have excellent research abilities. It is common for prospective administrative assistants to attend face-to-face interviews and perform various assessments or tests relating to their skills, aptitude and personality as part of the hiring process.
To apply for any administrative assistant job, your first role is to submit an application. While some roles will require you to fill out an online form, others may only ask you to supply a CV and cover letter. Remember that whatever information you give about yourself is the first impression you give your potential employer. Tailor your CV and cover letter to the position to ensure it highlights the competencies the employer is looking for.
Common administrative assistant competencies include:
Make sure that your application, CV and cover letter show off your ability in these key areas.
These tests focus on specific aptitudes needed for the role. Administrative assistant applicants should expect to face numerical comprehension and reasoning tests which examine how well you work with numerical data. Verbal comprehension and reasoning tests are also common to admin assistant applicants and examine your abilities in understanding verbal information. Inductive reasoning, a type of logical reasoning, is also used to test your general intelligence and cognitive abilities.
Another common test is an administrative situational judgment test (SJT) which presents you with situations you are likely to encounter on the job and evaluates the how you choose to respond.
Criteria hiring company, for example, has a basic skills test including maths and verbal reasoning that are needed to do well in a number of entry-level jobs. It assesses basic spelling, grammar, maths and linguistic ability to see how ready applicants are for the role for which they are applying.
With the assessments for another employer, Saville Consulting, candidates are tested on their ability to understand written information. They are given passages to read and questions on them to answer. Another type of test Saville uses is an error checking test which looks at a candidate's ability to check the accuracy of transposed information. Original and transposed information is given and errors have to be identified within a time frame of eight minutes.
A big part of hiring an administrative assistant is making sure the candidate is the right fit for the job and this is commonly done through personality testing. You might not be able to change your character, but understanding the principles of a personality test enables you to play up to your strengths and could increase your chances of landing the job. Administrative assistant applicants should expect to undergo personality tests for the following traits:
|Faith in People||Decisiveness||Adaptability||Dominance|
Preparing with practice personality tests is the best way to aid your understanding of these tests. Becoming familiar with the question styles and answer options is your key to giving the employer a full and accurate picture of your personality and your potential fit in the role. Our personality pack and Personality Test Sample are a great resource for you to ensure you do yourself justice.
You may be asked to complete a skills assessment. This gives the employer the chance to see whether you actually have the abilities to carry out the role to an acceptable standard as well as verifying the depth of your knowledge.
Administrative assistant applicants should expect to undergo skills assessment tests for:
Make sure to brush up on your skills in these programmes before your assessment. Our Kenexa-style Excel Prove It! pack can help you review some of the trickier aspects of mastering this computer programme.
As with the vast majority of other jobs, administrative assistant applicants will usually need to undergo an interview. In preparation for this, try to learn as much as you can about the general job functions and the company's industry, products or services. You should also look over your CV and highlight previous work experience and qualifications that might put you above and beyond other applicants.
As well as “hard-skill” interview questions specific to the role, such as your software proficiency and ability to communicate, you should prepare for “soft-skill” interview questions too. These can include:
These questions only scratch the surface of what you could potentially hear on an interview, but more in-depth guides on how to prepare can be found in our assessment centre preparation pack.