how to stand out at job interviews for secretary jobs

Standing out during a job interview is crucial for securing a job offer. Employers often have numerous candidates to choose from, so it is important to make a positive impression that sets you apart from the competition.  

When it comes to standing out at a job interview for the role of a secretary, it is not just about highlighting your skills and qualifications but also about demonstrating the right attitude, explains Joyce Kwong, Associate Manager at Page Personnel Hong Kong.

Related: How to answer secretary job interview questions (with example answers)

Employers are also looking for candidates who fit well into the organisational culture, handle challenges gracefully, and exhibit a positive and professional demeanour.

6 ways to help you stand out at your secretary job interview

1. Provide context on your answers

Context is crucial when giving interview answers. For instance, if the hiring manager asks you if you are okay with working late, do not just reply “yes” or “no”.

Suppose you answer “yes” without further explanation. In that case, the hiring manager will assume that you are okay to work late into the night every day, which may not be the case. You should provide more details and say, “Yes, I am fine with working late for up to two hours a few times a week.” 

If you want more clarity on the interviewer’s question, you should clarify and ask away. For instance, find out how often the role you are interviewing for requires you to work late and the circumstances behind that. That would allow you to learn more about the role and the company before joining.  

Keep in mind that how you present yourself during job interviews helps build a picture of who you are in the interviewers’ minds. A simple thing like clarifying questions shows that you have no qualms with asking questions to ensure you get the correct information before you act on it.

Related: How to use the STAR technique to excel in job interviews

2. Show your communication skills

Excellent communication skills are crucial as a secretary. Highlight your ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, superiors, and clients, both verbally and in writing.

During the interview, articulate your thoughts clearly, listen attentively to the questions, and provide concise and relevant answers. 

Demonstrate your organisational abilities: Being organised is a fundamental skill for a secretary. Share specific examples of how you have managed calendars, coordinated meetings, maintained files, and handled administrative tasks efficiently. Emphasise your attention to detail and ability to multitask, as these are highly valued in a secretarial role. 

“If you feel lost, take a piece of paper, put down the years that you’ve been in that company, and for every year, put down at least two major events that have happened that you were involved, and you would be able to recite what happened when the hiring manager asked about how you contributed,” adds Kwong.

“It can be a small thing or event because your job is not just about managing flashy events; it is about ensuring everything runs smoothly for your boss.” 

3. Highlight your problem-solving skills

Secretaries often encounter challenges that require quick thinking and problem-solving. Employers appreciate candidates who can demonstrate their ability to think critically and find solutions to problems.

Be prepared to share examples of how you have resolved issues, handled unexpected situations, and made effective decisions under pressure. 

4. Demonstrate your professionalism

As a secretary, you are often the first point of contact for clients and visitors, so professionalism is key. Dress appropriately for the interview, maintain eye contact, and exhibit good manners. Show respect, remain composed, and avoid negative comments about past employers or colleagues. 

5. Display your adaptability and flexibility

Organisations may undergo changes, and secretaries need to be adaptable and flexible in their roles. Be prepared to discuss how you have adapted to changes in the past, such as handling shifting priorities, working with different teams, or learning new software. Highlight your willingness to learn and grow professionally. 

6. Exhibit your interpersonal skills

Secretaries often work with people at all levels of the organisation, so interpersonal skills are crucial. Highlight your ability to work well with others, build relationships, and collaborate effectively. Share examples of how you have resolved conflicts or handled tricky situations professionally. 

Be confident, positive, and enthusiastic throughout the interview. By highlighting a positive attitude and highlighting your relevant skills, you can stand out as a top candidate for the secretarial position and leave a positive impression on the interviewers. Remember, it is not just about what you say but how you say it, shares Kwong.

Ready for a new role? Check out open secretarial roles on our job portal, submit your CV, or get in touch with a specialist Page Personnel recruitment consultant today.