Interviewalley's Blog

February 10, 2010

Administrative Interview

Filed under: Uncategorized — interviewalley @ 9:05 pm
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Finding a job these days is daunting.  However, many people who apply for administrative positions tell me that they find Interviewing even more daunting.  It’s not just you’ve got the one interview and you’re either in or out.  Now, you’ve got to go through a series of interviews before even arriving at the employer to get that interview with personnel.

How does one navigate the alley of administrative interviews without losing their cool or lose sight of the objective?  First of all, let’s define administrative.  Administrative is the support personnel who help managers and higher level administrators get their work done well.  This includes administrative assistants, secretary (all levels), clerks (all levels), and receptionists.

Although considered the lower part of the administrative system, these people are the ones who carry the bulk of the work for the office.  I’ve heard from industry, companies and employment agencies across the board that the pool of available, knowledgable, and experienced administrative personnel aren’t available.  To avoid losing valuable time, these organizations have devised a gauntlet of interviews that each possible candidate must pass before moving on to the next interview.

The first step is defined as the “telephone” interview.  This interview is scheduled for a certain time on a certain day and may last five to 30 minutes depending on what the Interviewer wants to know about the candidate.  This may include personal information.  Take heart, by law, there are certain personal questions that these Interviewers are no longer able to ask you outright like: are you married?  are you planning on starting a family? are you over 50?  do you have a car? take public transport? smoke? drink?

I call this type of Interview, “welcome to my reality.”  It means that they’re forming an opinion about you via the telephone.  If you can answer their few questions, it will tell them whether or not you’re the ideal candidate for the position and whether you merit a second look.  Based on this “intro” conversation, a few suggestions.  Speak slowly and enunciate your words.  Think before you speak.  Make sure your answer the question head on.  Be brief.  Don’t volunteer information.  This telephone interview is a ‘fact finder’ for the Interviewer.  They want to make sure that you can answer in a positive fashion without running off at the mouth.  Once the interview is finished, thank them.  Wait until they put the phone down first, and then  disconnect or place the receiver in the hook. 

Once the candidate passes this first hurdle, the second interview may be another phone interview or you might be invited to meet the PR person at the office.  Find out first what you should bring with you to the interview:  Resume and Recommendations (junior secretaries, receptionists and clerks).  Be forewarned that  Personnel will call your former company and verify why you left.  Make sure you have a designated person  to handle this.  Leave your attitude outside the door.  Be positive.

Depending on the vacancy you’re applying for, the interview might include: typing tests, shorthand, math tests, spelling, grammar, and different types of computer software: word, Word Perfect, excel, quicken to name a few.  Each interview allows the Interviewer the opportunity to study how you present yourself to them.  How you modulate your voice tone.  How you answer questions.  What types of questions you might have.  Remember that the interviewer has a list of people he’s going to interview Before and After you leave their office.  Make sure you say or present yourself in such a manner that it distinguishes you from the rest of the herd.

When an Interviewer tells you about the position, listen to what they’ve got to say.  Frame your answer around the question.  You might want to add that extra internship you did last summer or that you ran your former bosses office while he was away in the National Guard for an eleven month tour of duty.  Make sure that you let the Interviewer know what you did that lifts you head and shoulders above the competition.  Make sure your voice tone remains even.  If you feel that they ask a question you consider personal, answer to the best of your ability.  Keep yourself from fidgeting.  Keep your hands in your lap.  Smile.  Keep direct eye contact.  Don’t get mad.  Don’t let your lips loose.  Remember those celebrity interviews I posted on Tuesday?  Well?  The last thing you want is a potential company to remember is how you acted during or even after the interview.

Interviews are revealing demonstrations on how well a person acts and reacts to a set of questions–any questions.  If you’re not sure whether you can handle those types of questions, practice with your spouse.  Make up a list of questions and try answering them without whining, crying, screaming, yelling or walking out of the room.  Practice your entrance into an office.  Practice leaving an office.  Remember to pick up your purse, pocketbook, briefcase, coat and hat.  If offered coffee, tea, or soda, accept it and leave it on the desk.  Remember, the Interviewer is just as anxious as you are.  They don’t know what to expect.  Telephone interviews don’t always prepare them for the strangers that come walking through that door.

Administrative interviews determine who is the best candidate for the job.  You can go through a series of them or have just one.  You might get the job.  Then again, you might not.  A piece of advice I found in the alley.  Don’t bad mouth the company that interviewed you.  It’s a small world.  Word gets around.  You might find yourself blacklisted as an ‘unwelcomed’ candidate.


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