Secretary Interview Questions & Answers

The position of secretary is one of the most popular among women of all ages and nationalities. This means that you should expect stiff competition in your interview–five, ten, or even twenty other candidates will be competing with you for the same position, particularly if you are applying for a well-paying secretary position.

In addition, your success in this interview depends not only on your interviewing skills, but also on your ability to establish rapport with the interviewers (especially if you apply for a job in a small company, and the person who leads the interview is the same person you will work for, and help in the office).

Secretary Interview Questions with Example Answers

However, what will occur during your interview? What questions will you encounter, and how can you succeed? Let’s attempt to discover the answers together, beginning with the questions.

Secretary Interview Questions & Answers

Tell me your story

A true icebreaker, at least in this instance. Try to make a brief introduction, but mention a few interesting points they can elaborate on later, such as relevant experience (“I’ve worked in customer service for two years”), education and computer skills (“have been using Microsoft Office for a decade”), and something from your personal life, things you enjoy doing outside of work (“running is my favorite hobby”).

The initial response should help you loosen up a bit, and in some instances it can also spark an engaging discussion with the interviewers. Another option is to bridge the introduction with your job application by describing your current professional standing, how it relates to the position, and why you chose to apply with them.

Why would you like to be a secretary?

Managers favor hiring sincere secretaries. A good statement would be that you desire a stable job and positive relationships with your coworkers and superior. You can also say that you enjoy answering calls, greeting guests, organizing the daily schedule, assisting with administrative and clerical tasks, etc., which are typical duties of secretaries. The key is to demonstrate that you want the job, as opposed to merely needing one. Don’t forget to speak with enthusiasm, and avoid discussing the past whenever possible.

What, in your opinion, makes a good secretary in the twenty-first century?

Focus on relevant skills. Responsibility, a positive attitude toward work, the ability to comprehend instructions, the capacity to adapt, employer loyalty, etc. Alternately, you can summarize the secretary’s role in a single sentence by stating that a good secretary makes their boss’s job easier and more enjoyable. They help them be more productive in their daily tasks. You may also include one or two characteristics pertinent to the type of company or secretary position you seek (legal, executive, medical, etc.).

How do you envision yourself in five years?

Secretaries should not aspire to advancement, at least within the organization. If you work as a cultural secretary or in another specialized secretarial position, your promotion opportunities may be limited or nonexistent; however, this is not the norm. Say that you will be pleased to work for them in five years, or elsewhere, as a competent secretary who enjoys life outside of work. Obviously, this does not preclude you from receiving a raise. In contrast, if you perform well, you will receive a raise.

Perhaps you have a different vision of your future, which is perfectly acceptable. Two years from now, you may wish to travel the world, launch your own business, or have a child. And there is no problem whatsoever with that. However, once you have an interview for a job, you should tell the interviewers what they want to hear. Leaving a job for travels or to start your own business do not fall into this category.

How would you describe a typical workday?

Many individuals believe that secretaries only make coffee and answer the phone. They could not be further from the truth… You should adopt a new approach to your job.

Inform them that you intend to assist the manager with their schedule, administrative tasks, and anything else they may require. Try to demonstrate that you are capable of managing the entire office if they do not have someone else in place to do so (office manager, administrative assistant, etc).

It is essential to demonstrate that you enjoy a busy work environment and a proactive approach to your responsibilities. You should be prepared to perform a variety of tasks, as the secretary’s role frequently extends beyond what is outlined in the job description. Additionally, consider the exact secretarial role you will play. Different duties are performed by the school secretary, the medical secretary, and the cultural secretary. You must keep these distinctions in mind.

Can you utilize Microsoft Office (or other office software)?

Try to provide some specifics. Instead of responding with a simple yes or no, you should explain how long you have been using the software and how it has benefited your work. If you have experience with software other than Microsoft, you should mention it. Demonstrate that you recognize the significance of your computer skills and are continually working to improve them.

And if you have little experience, you can emphasize your computer intelligence to reassure hiring managers that you will be able to quickly master any software solution the company employs. Demonstrate that you are always striving to improve your skills and acquire new knowledge; this is the attitude they seek in the best job applicants.

Other questions you might be asked during a secretary job interview

  • Why do you want to work as a secretary here as opposed to in another organization or company?
  • Why did you leave your last job? (Why do you wish to leave your current employment?
  • Describe a challenge you overcame.
  • How would you handle an angry client/customer/guest?
  • What are your objectives for this position?
  • Tell us something about yourself that you would prefer we did not know.
  • Describe your best and worst supervisors.
  • Describe a conflict you had with a former coworker at one of your previous jobs.
  • Describe a time when you were required to meet a strict deadline.
  • Have you prepared letters, reports, bulletins, and manuals before?
  • What salary expectations do you have?
  • What are three characteristics of your ideal job?
  • Why should we hire you over the numerous other applicants for this secretary position?

Occasionally, the optimal response is not necessary.

If your interviewers enjoy spending time with you in the office, above-average interview responses may be sufficient for you to succeed. In contrast, if they don’t like you, if they can’t imagine working with you on a daily basis or sharing office space with you, then your exceptional knowledge of Microsoft Office and your high productivity, not to mention your exceptional interviewing skills, may not be enough to land you the job.

Keeping this in mind, you should strive to be a good listener and a pleasant interview companion. You should also demonstrate enthusiasm for the job offer and the company’s products or services, as well as the community that they serve. Important in this instance is the research you conduct prior to the interview. Learn about their organization and use that knowledge to establish rapport with the interviewers.

Conclusion and next actions

Interviews for the position of secretary are difficult due to competition. Hiring managers may ask you a plethora of scenario-based and tricky questions, such as “Tell us about a time when you demonstrated initiative at work” and “Tell us something about yourself that you wouldn’t want us to know.”

Complete your interview preparations by examining other questions and answers;

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at

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