Win one of three $100 Amazon gift cards! Take our new survey on DEI: START NOW

Executive Secretary interview questions and answers

This Executive Secretary interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

Nikoletta Bika
Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta holds an MSc in HR management and has written extensively about all things HR and recruiting.

executive secretary interview questions

10 good executive secretary interview questions

  1. How do you ensure confidentiality?
  2. Imagine your executive has to travel to a city they’ve never been before. How would you go about making travel arrangements?
  3. How do you ensure lower level support staff are performing their duties effectively?
  4. If a high level executive asked you about your boss’s plans regarding a specific matter, what would you say?
  5. How does your experience make you ideal for this role?
  6. How fast can you type?
  7. What’s your experience with “back-office” software?
  8. Have you managed a budget before? What’s your experience with expense reporting?
  9. Have you ever made a mistake while handling files? How did you correct it?
  10. Recall a time when you had to complete multiple projects with tight deadlines. How did you prioritize your tasks?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. How do you ensure confidentiality?

Maintaining confidentiality is paramount for an Executive Secretary. This question assesses the candidate’s understanding of discretion.

Sample answer:

“I always lock away sensitive documents, use password protection, and never discuss confidential matters outside of relevant meetings or with unauthorized personnel.”

2. Imagine your executive has to travel to a city they’ve never been before. How would you go about making travel arrangements?

This question gauges the candidate’s organizational and foresight skills.

Sample answer:

“I’d research the best flights, hotels, and transportation. I’d also prepare an itinerary, including local dining and meeting spots, and provide a brief on local customs or important information about the city.”

3. How do you ensure lower level support staff are performing their duties effectively?

Understanding how a candidate manages and oversees other staff is crucial.

Sample answer:

“I set clear expectations, provide training, and conduct regular check-ins. I also encourage open communication for any challenges they might face.”

4. If a high level executive asked you about your boss’s plans regarding a specific matter, what would you say?

This question tests the candidate’s discretion and loyalty.

Sample answer:

“I would politely inform them that I cannot share that information and suggest they speak directly with my boss.”

5. How does your experience make you ideal for this role?

This question allows the candidate to highlight their relevant experiences.

Sample answer:

“Having worked as an Executive Secretary for over five years, I’ve managed complex schedules, organized international travel, and handled confidential information with utmost discretion.”

6. How fast can you type?

Speed and accuracy are essential for administrative tasks.

Sample answer:

“I can type 75 words per minute with 98% accuracy.”

7. What’s your experience with “back-office” software?

Technical proficiency is key for this role.

Sample answer:

“I’m proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, Google Workspace, and have experience with CRM systems like Salesforce.”

8. Have you managed a budget before? What’s your experience with expense reporting?

Financial acumen is a valuable skill for an Executive Secretary.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I’ve managed departmental budgets and ensured we stayed within limits. I’ve also prepared monthly expense reports, ensuring all receipts were accounted for.”

9. Have you ever made a mistake while handling files? How did you correct it?

This question assesses accountability and problem-solving.

Sample answer:

“Once, I misfiled an important document. Upon realizing, I retraced my steps, found it, and immediately informed the concerned parties. I then implemented a double-check system to prevent such errors.”

10. Recall a time when you had to complete multiple projects with tight deadlines. How did you prioritize your tasks?

Time management is crucial for this role.

Sample answer:

“I listed all tasks, ranked them by deadline and importance, and then allocated specific time blocks. I also ensured to communicate with all stakeholders about progress and any potential delays.”

What does a good Executive Secretary candidate look like?

A stellar Executive Secretary is organized, discreet, and possesses excellent communication skills. They should be adept at multitasking, proactive, and always willing to learn.

Red flags

Beware of candidates who lack discretion, resist feedback, or are unfamiliar with basic office software. An Executive Secretary should be adaptable and prioritize efficiency.



Executive Secretary Interview Questions

Executive secretaries undertake administrative and clerical duties typically for senior management. They’re experienced in the role as they have a lot of responsibility. While most administrative assistants will remain focused on basic tasks, executive secretaries will have further duties involving research, writing reports and preserving confidentiality.

Some companies prefer executive secretaries to possess degrees although that’s not always necessary. Depending on your industry, you can screen candidates according to their knowledge of specific terminology or relevant legal guidelines.

Start the interview by asking candidates about common skills like communication, typing, basic bookkeeping and organizational ability. Proceed to assess how their skillset extends to knowledge of research techniques, reporting, vendor management and leadership (if they’re expected to supervise other support personnel). If the position reports to the CEO or another C-suite executive, make a point to ask situational questions about what they may encounter in this high responsibility role.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • How do you ensure confidentiality?
  • Imagine your executive has to travel to a city they’ve never been before. How would you go about making travel arrangements?
  • How do you ensure lower level support staff are performing their duties effectively?
  • If a high level executive asked you about your boss’s plans regarding a specific matter, what would you say?

Role-specific questions

  • How does your experience make you ideal for this role?
  • How fast can you type?
  • What’s your experience with “back-office” software?
  • Have you managed a budget before? What’s your experience with expense reporting?

Behavioral questions

  • Have you ever made a mistake while handling files? How did you correct it?
  • Recall a time when you had to complete multiple projects with tight deadlines. How did you prioritize your tasks?
  • Describe a complex project that you worked on with a group. What was the goal, and how did you work with others to accomplish that goal?
  • Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision in the absence of your boss

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
Regenerate with AI

Jump to section

    Let's grow together

    Explore our full platform with a 15-day free trial.
    Post jobs, get candidates and onboard employees all in one place.

    Start a free trial