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Article – The Secretary Interview – How to Prepare for Success

Be ready for your secretary interview. Secretarial or administrative professional jobs are still out there but the competition is fiercer than ever. Use these expert tips to know how to handle the secretary interview and get the job you want.

Prepare the right interview answers

Secretarial jobs require a broad base of skills and abilities. The questions asked in the secretary interview will differ depending on the employer, the level of the job and the experience of the candidate. However you can prepare for typical secretarial interview questions such as:

How does your work experience prepare you for this position?
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a secretary?
What qualities do you consider to be the most important for a secretarial or Admin Assistant position?
Prepare good answers to these interview questions by using the keywords that relate to the position you are interviewing for. Review the job posting or ad and underline the words used to describe the job and candidate requirements. Examples include planning and organizing ability, oral and written communication skills, initiative, confidentiality, adaptability, integrity, reliability, accuracy and attention to detail. Check the key tasks of the position in the job posting and see which qualities and experience would be necessary for performing these tasks – for example, if “scheduling” is a key activity then the successful candidate would need to be organized and able to plan and prioritize properly using appropriate scheduling tools.

Ask the right questions

Impress the interviewer by asking insightful and thoughtful questions during your secretary interview. Do some background research on the company and the position to help you prepare a list of good questions to ask your interviewer. Here are some examples:

What are the most important priorities in this job?
How would you measure success in this position?
What is the biggest challenge facing this department/organization?
How would you describe the typical management style in this department/organization?
Use this as an opportunity to find out the information you need to make the right job decision as well as to show your commitment and enthusiasm for the position.

Wear the right clothes

Make the right first impression by wearing business-like interview attire. A suit in a conservative color or a well-tailored jacket with a skirt or tailored pants is a safe option. An unfussy blouse in a light or neutral color always looks smart under a jacket or blazer. Jewelry should be understated and not distract the interviewer from focusing on your face and what you are saying. Your attention to detail will show that you have made the effort to create the best impression. Think about your nails, your hair, your shoes. A pair of scuffed or unpolished shoes completely spoils the image. Carry a small briefcase or portfolio to hold your resume and examples of your work.

Use the right communication style

Good communication skills – the ability to listen actively and respond effectively both orally and in writing – are key to success in a secretarial position. Be aware of how you communicate during the secretary interview and make sure you impress the interviewer with your communication style and skills. Listen closely, don’t interrupt and ask appropriate questions to clarify what the interviewer is looking for. Respond in a clear and concise manner. Avoid non-words like “you know” and “like” or using negative words like “sort of” and “perhaps”. Talk in complete sentences and avoid rushing through your answers. Count to three beats in your head before answering and at the end of your sentences. Be aware of your body language – leaning slightly forward, about 10 degrees, towards your interviewer gives the message that you are both interested and involved.

Conduct the right follow-up

Timely follow-up is always one of the requirements for successful job performance as a secretary. Make sure you write and send your interview thank you letter within 24 hours of the job interview. Let your references know that they are likely to be contacted. Give them some details about the position so they can think about relevant information to provide to t he employer. Make a follow-up call to the company within a week or so of the interview. During this call you can thank the employer again for the interview and confirm your interest in the position. You can politely and professionally ask for an update on the hiring decision process.

Be well prepared for your secretary interview. Use the Secretarial Interview Questions Guide to know the interview questions to expect and to help you prepare winning interview answers.

Originally published on for Julia Penny Monday, January 19, 2009
Article Source: The Secretary Interview – How to Prepare for Success

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