If your strong, well-written CV and solid cover letter for the administration job you applied for has gotten you through to the next stage, preparing for the interview is your next challenge.

Separate to common job interview advice for any role or industry, it’s important to really focus on the type of administration role you are applying for, in order to tailor your preparation and answers for the job interview itself.

Avoid being general and instead, use the job interview as your opportunity to demonstrate that you have an excellent grasp of administration skills, experience and strengths. But where do you begin?

Start by reading through the job description several times to identify what key core skills they are looking for, and then do the reverse – take a step back and try to picture what kind of employee they want overall. For example, you may deduce they want someone who is very hands-on and can handle several duties at a time, or perhaps the role requires someone who is more analytical and can suggest solutions to create more office and business efficiencies.

Following this step, begin some solid research on the company to find out other important factors such as: business mission, culture, CEO and executive team members, company divisions and areas of operation. This information should feed into your initial interpretation of the role and company that you gained from reading the job description.
Remember, if you’re using a recruiter, reach out to them to find out more about how you can do well in the job interview – that’s what they are there for.

If you want to stand out and impress your interviewer, follow these key tips to consider and take into your job interview.

1. Prepare for administration-specific questions

Again, being general in your job interview responses is not going to cut it. You only have a limited amount of time to prove to your interviewer that you have researched the company thoroughly, you have matched your skills to the job description and that you are the strongest candidate for the role.

Imagining yourself in the role as defined in the job description will allow you to think of real-life scenarios, which you then can prepare your answers for. Going to this level of thought and detail will reflect well with your interviewer, as you’re demonstrating the additional time you’ve given to this administration job compared to the other candidates.
It also means yours answer will link back to the role more naturally if you can already see yourself carrying out what will be expected of you.

If you are asked, “Why did you apply for this role?”, which interview answer do you think is more engaging and will immediately cover off what the interviewer wants to know about your experience and what you already know about the company?

(a) I’ve applied for this job because I’m ready for my next career move and saw it as a great opportunity, or
(b) I’ve had X years as an administration professional – I have honed my skills in strategic planning, I possess excellent verbal and written communication skills and in most recent years, I have a proven track record of outcomes with my company stakeholders, so I feel I’m ready to bring this into your company, which I know values time, proactiveness and finding efficiencies.

Administration professionals are also relied upon for their excellent soft skills, so be sure to highlight them in the job interview.

2. Ask smart questions

Just like you imagined yourself in the role to prepare administration-specific responses for the job interview, by the same token, some questions about the role would have naturally come to mind that the job description, your research or the recruiter couldn’t answer.

The more specific questions you ask, the clearer the answers will be from the interviewer regarding the job at hand.

Perhaps you’ve thought out a specific scenario during your day-to-day, such as stakeholder and management support:

  • How closely will you be working alongside them and how much support do they actually need? 
  • And how do they each define “support” exactly?
  • How often are last minute high-priority tasks coming through and is this a result of the business operations or is there anything you can put in place to make this more efficient and streamlined?
  • Were any procedures put in place previously but were not followed through? Why?

Remember that you are just as responsible to ask questions of your interviewer as they are of you in order to determine if they are the right company fit and if the administration role is what you want in your career.

3. Don’t overlook dress attire and presentation

Face-to-face (whether in person or virtually) can play a big part in administration roles so it’s critical that you consider the very first impression you make before you even speak – your appearance and presentation.

If the company is an organisation in a corporate white-collar industry, you should dress and look the part. The same applies if you are applying for a blue- or pink-collar job. The rule here is simple: strongly reflect the workplace you are hoping to work at.

Don’t forget about personal grooming. If you wear your hair down and you are constantly touching it during your interview, it’s not only a major distraction but how will your future employer visualise you jumping from task to task if your hair is always in the way? For men, is your hairstyle and facial hair neat and groomed? You don’t want to appear sloppy, which then says a lot about your work ethic and personality.

Looking untidy or dressing inappropriately for your administration job interview will hurt your chances so ensure this factor isn’t overlooked. It’s not about looking “fashionable” or needing to spend money for new interview clothing, it’s about demonstrating to your potential future employer that you are a professional and represent their company, image and reputation to the highest standard.

Ready for your office administration job search? See open administration roles in Singapore.

Join over 60,000 readers!
Receive free advice to help give you a competitive edge in your career.

Advertise Your Role With Us

Advertise Your Role With ReachTalent