Interview Questions:Talking about How You Prioritize Work as an Administrative Assistant

Administrative AssistantAs a secretary or an administrative assistant, your ability to prioritize work is an important part of the job. You perform a range of administrative tasks such as:




  • sorting and distributing inbound mail to areas and staff within the company;
  • dispatching and shipping outbound mail;
  • writing business letters, reports, and office memoranda using word processing programs;
  • responding to telephone calls and inquiries from customers;
  • attending to visitors and assisting other staff inside the company to address their concerns;
  • filing papers and documents; and,
  • undertaking other duties such as banking, credit control, or payroll functions.

You will be required to perform a large number of tasks in small offices or concentrate on just one or two specific major tasks in larger ones. Furthermore, if you are a more experienced administrative assistant, you might be undertaking more complex tasks and responsibilities.

Now, with all these tasks at hand, how do you prioritize your work? When interviewers ask you about your techniques and strategies in arranging your workload according to their importance, how do you respond? Provided below are some tips that might help you in answering this question:

  1. Talk about:
    1. How you make your to-do list by listing on a piece of paper (post-its or notebook) what you have to accomplish for the day, ranking them according to their importance, and keeping the paper where you can always see it;
    2. How you schedule your work by establishing a time frame and writing the exact time when you have to finish it;
    3. How you avoid focusing on unimportant things and put away interruptions such as social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube)or gadgets such as camera phones; and
    4. How you set your own deadline ahead of the one given to you, and how you take everything one step at a time.
  2. Focus on explaining how you prioritize by urgency, deadline, and importance. Ranking your priorities according to their importance a strategy that works for you. To this end, you always take note of the deadlines and the urgency of the tasks. Explain specifically how you use this strategy in the workplace.
  3. Show the interviewer what he or she is looking for. Be organized in answering this question by talking about the most important information first, and then moving on to the less important ones. Demonstrate your productiveness while answering this question.

The interviewer is interested in how you manage and prioritize tasks because he or she wants to see if you are suited for the job position. He or she wants to assess your ability to organize your work and put important things first. Quite simply, the question is for him or her to evaluate your efficiency as a secretary or an administrative assistant. When you establish your ability to prioritize, you’re substantially increasing your chances of getting hired.

Read 50709 times Last modified on Friday, 04 March 2016 14:11
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.