5 Valuable HR Administrative Assistant Interview Tips


You have invested a good deal of thought and effort into your resume and cover letter. The end results are two documents that effectively showcase your abilities as an administrative assistant. You have also created variations on the original documents that use specific information to match each job description and sent out your application materials. Now, to maximize your chances of landing a position, turn your focus to preparing for the ever-important face-to-face interviews.

The overall purpose of first interviews is to give you and the company a better idea of each other. The company gets to see in person how you present yourself, how you communicate, how you greet people, and so on. And, ideally, you get an idea of the culture at the company, among other things. HR administrative assistants wear many hats, so it is important to research and prepare thoroughly for this first meeting. Follow general interview best practices as well as the next few HR administrative assistant interview tips.

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HR Administrative Assistant Interview Tips

Use Numbers to Quantify Your Technical Skills: It is a near-universal requirement that administrative assistants must be proficient in areas such as Microsoft Word or other word processing programs. Proficiency in other software such as Excel is generally necessary as well. In interviews, hiring managers often hear sentences like, “I am proficient in Microsoft Word,” but nothing about that makes the job candidate stand out. In your interview, use numbers to quantify your technical skills. For instance, offer up your words-per-minute score on a typing test (and be able to name the test, too). Detail any certifications you have. Talk about how long you’ve been using these computer programs. You can also talk about how many phone calls you handled per day at a recent job and how many clients you helped daily.

Also Use Examples: In an HR administrative assistant interview, numbers cannot give the entire picture. You should also use examples to make your case. To show PowerPoint proficiency, you could discuss one of your favorite PowerPoint presentation projects in your current or most recent job. Perhaps you were asked to put together a project on why ID cards for both visitors and employees are necessary. What did that require you to do in PowerPoint? You may want to have the slides on hand in case the employer seems interested in seeing them.

Discuss Soft Skills: There’s no doubt that hard skills such as computer proficiency are good for HR administrative assistants to have. Perhaps more important, though, are soft skills. These are often more difficult to teach than hard skills, and are vital for relating to employees to carry out HR duties. For example, you will likely be asked about why you are a good communicator, how you multitask and how you have handled stressful situations. Make a list of the ways in which you’ve handled stress and multi-tasked, and present your case using both numbers and examples. As for communication, cover the many aspects to communication: in person, email, phone and so on. Talk about how you approach each.

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Talk About Human Resources: Not only are you interviewing to be an administrative assistant, you want to work as one in human resources. Now is the time to go in-depth on any human resources credentials you have. Perhaps you have previous work experience in human resources, or you took a couple of related classes in college. It is possible you have no background in human resources, and that’s okay. You do still need to show interest in the field. Discuss what interests you about human resources and why you think it is important, and talk about how administrative assistants keep HR departments functioning smoothly.

Ask About Career Progression: Many administrative assistants enjoy the opportunity for training and education that allows them to find higher-level positions. You may already know from the company’s website about its policy on tuition reimbursement and the like, but if not, feel free to ask. Ask questions like, “Where do most HR administrative assistants here end up in five years?” If you plan to pursue a career in human resources, this interview is the ideal situation in which to ask how you can do that with this company.

There is no time like the present to ensure your first interview goes well. To be sure, there is a lot to think about, but using these HR administrative assistant interview tips will help your career search progress.