Virtual Assistants

What Does an Executive Assistant Do?

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Have you ever wondered what an executive assistant actually does? Ever wonder if it’s something worth investing in? Maybe you’re already considering one, but you aren’t sold on them yet. Maybe you’re just looking for tips on how to go about hiring one. 

Well, in this article we hope to answer those questions and more.  

What is an Executive Assistant?

Definition and Role

Sometimes known as executive administrators/secretaries, an EA serves executives and other high-ranking individuals within a company. They work directly under them and carry out a variety of responsibilities. This includes administration and office management as well as scheduling and planning duties. While they are not project managers or accounting staff, they can perform some of those duties. 

Importance and Benefits

We’ve spoken at length on the benefits of outsourcing, and honestly, we can say the same things about executive assistants.


They help save time by taking care of important tasks such as:

  • Email management 
  • Call/message screening 
  • Calendar/schedule management
  • Organizing files
  • Filling in for you in meetings and taking notes
  • Creating reports and presentations


An assistant can help you get more things done and allow you to focus on growing your profit margins. This is especially true if you go for an executive virtual assistant as outsourcing is more cost-effective than in-house. 


These assistants can also delegate work on your behalf. They can act as your hands, feet, and mouthpiece – relaying instructions and give you progress reports. They can free up your time so you can focus on other areas that need your attention – be it business or personal. 

Skills and Qualities of a Successful Executive Assistant

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Organizational Skills

Choose an assistant who can

  • sort documents and create easily accessible filing systems
  • perform email management (filtering, categorizing, labeling, deleting, and replying to emails)
  • manage a calendar without conflicting dates 

Communication Skills

There’s a lot of communication that goes on within a company. 

You have things like

  • Hiring and recruiting
  • Internal communications between departments
  • Communications with and between remote teams and in house staff 
  • Deadline and milestone checkup meetings
  • Reporting
  • Emails
  • Meeting follow-ups

As such, an EA must be able to 

  • Express ideas clearly and concisely
  • Schedule meetings externally and internally
  • Manage communications between teams and relay instructions 
  • Arrange travel accommodations
  • Create and present reports 

Time Management Skills

  • Can multitask effectively and meet deadlines
  • Know how to prioritize tasks based on level of importance and urgency
  • Can manage another person’s schedule 

Attention to Detail

An EA must have eyes like a hawk. Their job is to notice things that their bosses may fail to catch.  For example, say you put them in charge of arranging a business trip. Something they would consider is if the hotel you would be staying in has transport services and stable internet. 

They must be able to 

  • Observe needs
  • Anticipate problems and plan ahead
  • Perform their duties with accuracy, especially when it comes to tasks like bookkeeping 
  • Strategize ways to save time, make your life more organized, and allow for a better work/life balance.

Responsibilities of an Executive Assistant

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Managing Calendars and Scheduling Appointments

Meetings are practically an everyday occurrence for those in top positions. Whether it’s meeting with potential investors, business partners, or internal staff, an EA must fit everything in without things conflicting. 

They need to be good with dates and times. This includes having a good sense of how long meetings could go. They account for time in between meetings, so executives also have time to prepare before the next thing scheduled.

Arranging Travel and Accommodations

If you’ve ever had to arrange a trip, you know how much planning goes into it. It isn’t much different from business trips. From accommodations, to restaurants, and business related site visits, everything needs to stay on schedule, otherwise the costs go up. Is the plane ticket round trip? Do they have to pay for extra luggage weight? Are the places to eat close to the hotel? Do they have backups for these places in case the first option falls through for any reason?

Screening Calls and Managing Email Correspondence

An email management virtual assistant is someone who can label and arrange your emails. An EA with these skills can sort through your spam. They can assign categories to your emails so they are easy to navigate. You can know which emails are urgent through labels.

Have a bunch of unwanted emails? No worries. They can unsubscribe you from those unwanted newsletters and block spam emails to keep your inbox tidy. 

Assisting with Meeting Preparation and Note-taking

They make sure the executive is prepared for the meeting and filled in on all the details. They also must know how to summarize and condense information while it still being comprehensive. 

Some core duties under this include taking meeting minutes, summarizing information, preparing documents, and even creating presentations for the executives. Standing in on behalf of an executive is not an uncommon responsibility. As such, EAs must also be well-informed so they can present well.

Handling Confidential Information

Discretion is a quality required of assistants handling sensitive data. You wouldn’t be giving just anyone access to email accounts or company credit cards. In order to keep data secure, the person must know how to both store data and share it. For instance, Dropbox and Google Drive are a good option for both. Social media platforms are not. Even the way they talk about confidential information should signal how they will treat the data itself. This is a question you can ask them during the interview process. 

Tips for Hiring an Effective Executive Assistant

Business owners sharing tips.

Factors to Consider when Selecting a Candidate

  • Experience – Consider how long they have worked as an EA. Remember, the greater the experience, the better the efficiency.
  • Expertise – Consider the tools, software, and technical skills they have. Identify your needs and hire accordingly. 
  • Location – What country are they from? Will time zones be an issue? Can they work the same hours as you? 
  • Communication Skills – Assistants must talk to you, other assistants, clients, business partners, hotels, restaurants, and possibly even speak on your behalf. 
  • Budget and Rate – How much does an executive assistant make? You should get a general idea of the range prior to the canvassing stage. We’ll help you out on this one. According to Indeed, the average salary for an in-house EA is $60-65,000/year. If you’re looking for a virtual EA, average hourly rates come out to $40-$50. 

Best Practices for the Hiring Process

The hiring/outsourcing process involves several stages. 


Know what you want. List your needs and write a comprehensive job description with a completed list of tasks, roles and responsibilities, and qualifications.

Researching and Canvassing

Look to hire from reputable sites. Create job posts and collect applications and resumes.


Sift through the applications and select which ones make it through to the interview stage.


Get to know your candidates better and see which ones are a better fit through prepared executive assistant interview questions. Expand on what they wrote in their applications and examine personality and work culture compatibility. You may want to do multiple interview stages to get more in-depth or do skill tests. 


Rate negotiations and other details are finalized in this stage. This should typically happen during later stages or after the interview process. 

Selecting and Onboarding 

Once you’ve chosen your candidate, you must also be ready to transition them into the company. The goal of a remote onboarding process is to familiarize new hires with the company. This may involve orienting them on company culture, SOPs, mission, vision, and the like. This also includes their roles and the roles of the people they will be working with. You should also familiarize them with tools and software you use for internal communications, employee management, etc.  


Use time management, employee management, and project management software. It makes managing remote teams and tracking progress and deadlines a lot easier. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an administrative assistant and an executive assistant?

An EA fills a lot of roles, including administration. They are much higher level and have a broader range of responsibility. Any department can have an admin assistant, however, EAs work specifically under executives. EAs can also manage other assistants.

How does hiring a virtual assistant differ from a traditional in-office assistant?

Remote workers are ‌more cost-effective and outsourcing also gives you access to a wider talent pool of experts. However, their limits show if you have a task that requires their physical presence. 

Time-zones can also be a hurdle. However, you can mitigate it by hiring in similar time-zones but you can also take advantage of it. For instance, they can work during company-off hours. Your EA can make travel arrangements and manage your email inbox, so everything is ready by the time you wake up. 

How do I ensure the security of my business information when working with a virtual assistant?

Here are some short, fast guidelines to mitigate data breach risks and keep your bases covered. 

  • Hire from reputable sites sources 
  • Interview through recommendations
  • Check the data security and privacy policies if hiring from a freelance marketplace or through agencies
  • Vet hires properly by checking previous work history and previous client reviews and ratings (if possible)
  • Have workers sign contracts with clear data security terms

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


Executive assistants are a busy businessman’s best friend. From streamlining monotonously laborious tasks like answering emails, to optimizing your filing system, they make life easier for bosses everywhere. By hiring an EA, you can improve your quality of life in the office and at home. They can free up your time to do what you love and arrange the space to be with the people you love. 

Virtual Assistants

Top 26 Admin Assistant Interview Questions

An administrative assistant carrying documents in an office. admin assistant interview questions

With our list of admin assistant interview questions, you won’t need to scramble for the right question. If you find yourself stuck during interviews because you don’t know what to say, look no further. We’ve covered hard skills, behavior, and soft skills in this new post.

Top hard skills interview questions for hiring administrative assistants

Hard skills are skills that you can learn at school or on the job. They are the technical skills that you would see on a job post. You will have a list of requirements in this area, and they are the ones you should ask about first. They are easier to verify because they are quantifiable, so it saves you time upfront. 

1. What office productivity software (like Time Doctor) are you most comfortable using, and can you provide examples of how you’ve used them in your previous roles?

This question will show you how versatile the candidate is. It will also show you if they have the tools you mentioned on your job post front of mind. By sharing examples, you will know that they are not just reading off a list. They should also know what this type of tool is, and not mix it up with other common admin tools.

2. What communication tools and platforms have you used in your previous roles, and how did you utilize them for effective communication?

Some admin assistant interview questions will be similar, like this one is to the question above. The point is to check the specific tools, of course, but also if the candidate answers differently. 

3. What is your typing speed, and how do you ensure accuracy in your typing?

This is a good example of balance when you’re asking questions. You want them to be fast at typing, but you also want them to be accurate. If you ask only about the first part, they can give you an impressive answer without backing it up. The second part of the question will make them think about adding accuracy into their computation. Then you get a more accurate understanding of how fast they really are, including time for correcting mistakes.

4. Describe your experience with managing calendars. How do you handle scheduling conflicts and prioritize appointments?

Booking appointments, blocking out time, and moving things around are common admin tasks. Not everyone can handle these with finesse, though. Asking questions about these types of ordinary tasks is important to understand their level of expertise. If you like, you can even specify what type of calendar you’re talking about. Or, you can identify it based on the person they will be assisting. This will make their answers more specific, giving you more information.

5. Can you discuss your experience with data entry and database management? What systems are you familiar with?

Data entry and database management are also common tasks, so the above applies. On top of that, knowing the systems they have used is also important. This question helps you to understand what they are used to and if they will handle your system well.

6. What types of documents are you experienced in preparing, and what software do you typically use for these tasks?

Every office handles documentation of some kind. Not every office prepares the same types of documents, though. You may be used to the paperwork that flows through your office. Don’t assume that every potential hire is used to handling the same types of documents. The same foes for the tools they use. You want to know how comfortable they will be integrating into your office and systems.

An administrative assistant at his desk. admin assistant interview questions

7. Do you have experience with budgeting or handling expense reports? Can you provide an example of how you’ve managed this in the past?

This is an expansion of the question above. Moreover, it asks for a specific real life example to get good details. (If you need more help with finaincial reports, check out EcomBalance!)

8. Describe a situation where you had to troubleshoot a technical issue with office equipment or software. How did you resolve it?

More than just how the candidate handles problems, you want to know if they can handle technical issues. Are they capable of solving the issue themselves? To what degree? If they can’t, do they know the right person to go to for help?

9. Have you ever been responsible for making travel arrangements? How do you ensure all details are covered?

This doesn’t have to be travel, but is an example of a complex task that has a lot of details connected to it. The point is to know how good the prospect is at not letting things fall through any cracks.

10. Tell me about a time you were involved in project coordination. What role did you play, and what tools did you use to stay organized?

Project coordination is a higher-level admin task, so not all jobs require it. Whether you are hiring for this or not, it’s good to know if the potential hire is capable of it. Or, maybe they can grow into a role like this if there’s an opportunity for it in the future.

A woman drawing a business workflow plan. admin assistant interview questions

Top behavioral admin assistant interview questions

Any good hire will have more than hard skills. You want to make sure they will function well on teams. This means checking how the respond in various situations.

1. Can you describe a time when you had to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously? How did you prioritize and manage your time?

Nothing can rattle someone’s cage quite like multitasking. Even for those who are used to doing more than one thing at the same time, it can be stressful. Multitasking is not something we humans do naturally – we just get used to handling it. So, this question will show you how cool the candidate will be when things get hot in the kitchen. Primarily, you want to know that they will not drop the ball.

2. Tell me about a challenging problem you encountered in a previous role and how you resolved it.

This is also a stressful situation, but different from troubleshooting a technical issue. Some people can detach and handle software issues but come undone when it’s interpersonal. Note what type of problem they bring up, and if they go back to the technical issue to avoid discussing a fresh one!

3. Give an example of a time when your attention to detail prevented a mistake at work.

Accuracy is a vital skill for a good administrative assistant. You want to know that they truly have good attention to detail. This is one of the admin assistant interview questions that helps you see it in action.

4. How do you adapt to last-minute requests in your work?

Some people can handle complex issues, but not if they happen suddenly. This is why we think it’s important to ask about last-minute requests. Just looking at their reaction when you ask this can tell you a lot!

5. Can you share an experience where you had to adapt to a significant change in the workplace? How did you handle it?

In a similar vein, some people might have trouble adjusting to big changes. This is very different from being able to cope with issues that pop up here and there. 

A man with a laptop concentrating on his work.

6.  Can you provide an example where you took the initiative to improve a process or solve a problem at work?

This is one of my personal favorite admin assistant interview questions. This will help you learn about hidden talents and skills a candidate might have. It also shows you their confidence level and helps you build rapport as you celebrate with them. Another key element to note is if their boast matches the value they delivered. If they seem arrogant, they may not be the best choice. If they are too humble, you can work with them so they won’t be too shy to make future contributions.

7. Describe how you organize and prioritize your tasks in a typical workday.

You need to know if the prospect is a self starter or someone in need of hand-holding. Always go for the former – you are hiring an assistant to help you stay organized, not the other way around!

8. Share an instance where you had to make a difficult decision quickly. What was the outcome?

This is one of the admin assistant interview questions you want to pay close attention to. If you have someone who can think on their toes and also make good decisions, you have found a gem. Most people will freeze or choose poorly.

9. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed at work?

Learning about how a candidate handles hurdles is vital. You want to know that they will tackle problems in a healthy way for themselves and everyone else they work with. 

A girl holding her face while looking at her laptop screen.

Top soft skills interview questions for hiring administrative assistants

Hiring soft skills are just as important as hard skills. These are all the interpersonal aspects that make relationships with coworkers and clients flow smoothly.

1. How would you describe your communication style and how has it been effective in your administrative roles?

Good communication is essential. Everyone at Outsource School knows that this is one of Nate and Connor’s top, non-negotiable qualities in any prospect! Communication can be systematized, but also has personal elements to it. You want to know that you can communicate with your assistant easily because you will be talking a lot. Your assistant needs to be able to adapt to you quickly and understand you very well. 

2. What approach do you take to build relationships with colleagues and clients in a new workplace?

People engage in very different ways, and that’s not bad. This is just part of everyone’s uniqueness. Not all of these ways are suitable for the workplace, though. Check to make sure they are behaving professionally. In addition, you want to learn about them personally through this question. Their answer will show a lot about their character and personality.

3. Describe a situation where you had to explain complex information to someone who didn’t have your expertise. How did you ensure they understood?

There’s a delicate balance sometimes when interacting with people. This situation will show you how intuitive and caring the candidate is. You don’t want the other person to feel like you’re either talking over their head or obviously dumbing things down. It also shows how patient they are and how they adjust in what can be a challenging interaction.

4. Tell me about a time you had to collaborate with a difficult colleague. How did you manage the relationship and the project?

As above, their response to a challenging interaction can tell you a lot about them. The best administrative assistants will always know how to work well with others and treat them with respect. This real life scenario will give you specific details that will help you understand their responses even better.

5. How do you handle situations where a colleague or client is frustrated or upset?

Similarly, someone who may not be generally difficult but is currently upset can be a challenge. Pay close attention to how they might change their tone or tactics for communicating with this person. Ask follow-up questions is you need to about how they might escalate this concern to get help. Or. if they might take it outside of that specific conversation and start some ugly gossip. 

A man screaming into a phone.

6. What role do you typically play when working in a team?

The role that any candidate is used to will inform how they perform in that role. It can also affect how they will do in a different role. Understand their comfort zones and if they are willing and able to step outside of them.

7. What strategies do you use to ensure you provide excellent customer service and maintain professionalism in all your workplace interactions?

This and similar admin assistant interview questions will give you greater insight into a prospect’s true attitude. Clear strategies will show that they are driven to serve with excellence.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


The role of administrative assistant may seem very ordinary and uncomplicated. Finding really good help, however, is not that simple or easy. This is why we put together these interview questions for you. They are the best ones we have used ourselves at Outsource School to find those hidden gems. We hope they help you so the same!


Virtual Assistants

20 Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring an Executive Assistant in 2024

A man smiling while being asked executive assistant interview questions on a video call.

What executive assistant interview questions should I be asking potential candidates?

You’ve done it. You’ve scrolled through digital stacks of resumes and you’ve narrowed it down to a select few. They’ve got impressive resumes and well-written cover letters, but now the next step is the initial interview. You might even have a few interview questions for your job candidates ready. Maybe you’re completely new to this and you don’t even know what to ask. 

Whatever the case, we’re here to help with 20 questions covering topics like skills, experience, behavior, and career goals. 

Interview Questions to Evaluate Candidates’ Skills and Qualifications

1. Can you describe your previous experience as an executive assistant & the specific tasks & responsibilities you handled?

This question gives you a great overview of their experience and what they can bring to the table. This gives you a chance to compare their answers to what they’ve written on their resume and cover letter. You can also ask about specific experiences they’ve listed on either of these application documents. It’s important to keep note of this because this sets the expectation of what they can deliver. 

2. How do you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines?

An executive assistant (EA) should be no stranger to juggling tasks. This question gives you insight into their work and productivity habits and their discipline when it comes to getting things done. It also reveals their ability to judge which tasks require more time and effort to complete. Do they know how to categorize tasks, divide their efforts, and set apart adequate time for each? Time management and organization are two qualities that are crucial to prevent dropping the ball.  

3. Describe a situation where you had to handle confidential information. How did you maintain discretion?

It isn’t uncommon for executive assistants to handle sensitive company, partner, or customer data. Based on the way they answer this question, you’ll know if they are someone trustworthy. Even the way they talk about the topic itself can already clue you in. Are they aware of secure methods of storing and sending data? Are they familiar with confidentiality agreements? 

Two women handling confidential documents.

4. How do you handle situations where an executive is unprepared for a meeting?

This isn’t to say executives are sloppy or uninvolved. The reality is, sometimes these high-ranking businessmen are constantly jumping from one important thing to another. I mean, that’s one reason they would need an EA in the first place. 

This is about seeing how resourceful and adaptable EAs are. Can they condense information and get executives up to speed quickly? 

Also, on top of these general executive assistant interview questions, feel free to take opportunities to ask follow-up questions like:

  • What other steps (if any) have they taken preemptively to help their boss? 
  • Were they able to find a way to reschedule the meeting? 

5. What software tools do you use in your daily tasks as an executive assistant? How proficient are you with them?

In this age, proficiency in software is almost a “must mention”. Executive assistants have more on their plate than most assistants do and software can definitely improve their productivity and accuracy. If they know how to automate certain tasks, this means they have more bandwidth to focus on more complex ones. You can also find out if they are familiar with tools you already use internally. More than that, this gives them an opportunity to offer other technical solutions with their own expertise. 

6. Tell me about your previous experience with event planning/managing a calendar/managing an inbox.

This can show you how they organize, coordinate, and plan.They must be able to plan things months in advance. Scheduling must happen in a way that executives can complete all their obligations without one single day being overbooked. 

This also shows how effective they are at managing internal and external communications and replying to key personnel. 

7. How do you ensure effective written communication on behalf of an executive?

Here’s where a resume cover letter can be a great way to tell how effectively someone communicates. You can assess their tone, level of professionalism, etiquette, clarity, brevity, and general writing prowess. 

You can also ask if they have experience with email management. If so, this could mean they have experience responding to people of various positions. The ability to adjust tone based on who they are speaking to show valuable flexibility when communicating. 

8. What strategies do you use to manage travel arrangements, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness?

Travel can get expensive and hectic. Would they think of ways to maximize all the traveling happening? Like, for instance, would they consider registering you for a frequent flier program or other passive benefits?

It’s important to have complete accommodations and comfortable travel arrangements. However, they must also know the limits of what’s modest and what’s bordering on lavish. Though, this does vary depending on the preferences of the executives. 

9. What is an accomplishment you’re proud of?

This not only shows you what they are capable of but also shows you what they value. In fact, we’d say this is one of the most insightful executive assistant interview questions you can ask. A good follow up question could center around why that accomplishment made them feel proud. This reveals what lessons they learned from that experience. Were they proud because of the hard work it took to get there? Was it because they valued helping the company succeed? Was it working alongside other talented individuals as a team?

5 hands piled on top of each other as a symbol of teamwork.

Behavioral Interview Questions to Assess Candidates’ Experience and Behavior in Certain Scenarios

10. Tell me about a time when you had to step in to represent an executive in a professional setting.

Sometimes executives cannot be present for certain meetings. They may task their EA to give a presentation, relay information, or stand in on their behalf. An EA also relays information back to the executive. 

There’s a great deal of trust put into an EA if they are to be a mouthpiece for those in top positions. Thus, an EA must be knowledgeable and well-researched on the topic. They also need to be a good spokesperson. They should be ready to answer rudimentary questions about the topic. 

11. How do you handle challenging personalities at work?

When you’re working with a team, not everyone is going to be equally enthusiastic or cooperative. Sometimes there can be a difference in opinion or idea when beginning a project. 

Butting heads can happen, but how will they be able to mitigate work conflict? This is one of the most important executive assistant interview questions.

Assess their responses and ask yourself:

  • Would they be able to keep a cool head and stay calm? 
  • Could they still communicate effectively to get deadlines met? 
  • How would they resolve conflict if it were to occur? 
  • Would they try to fix things with the person privately or go directly to HR? 

All of these are an important glimpse into their people-skills, values, professionalism, attitude, and compatibility with your company work culture. 

12. How do you handle difficult or demanding requests from other employees or executives?

This question is not simply to gauge their ability to work within a tight timeframe or under pressure. An executive assistant should be capable of handling a comparatively heavier workload than other assistants. However, it’s also about their ability to assess how plausible these demands are. Can they give a more realistic timeframe based on their experience? Are they able to communicate honestly if something is unrealistic in that time period?

However, this also reveals what their first response would be. It’s not a very good sign if their first instinct is to try and push the deadline. 

13. Can you describe a challenging situation you’ve faced as an executive assistant and how you overcame it?

This is your opportunity to evaluate their problem-solving skills, resourcefulness, and creativity. In fact, depending on the situation they describe, you can get a good feel for their soft skills, personality, and tenacity. 

Challenges also teach people something. How did they make sure that this never happened again, or how did they equip themselves afterward? 

14. Describe a time when you had to handle conflicting priorities in your work as an executive assistant.

There will be times where deadlines or tasks clash with one another. In these instances, you need someone who knows which ones take precedence over others. This can reveal their thought process and critical thinking abilities. Do they have strategies or solutions they use to help them with things like this? 

For instance, the Eisenhower Matrix or Urgent-Important Matrix is a valuable concept for any executive assistant to know. It helps sort tasks based on importance and urgency.

Eisenhower Matrix for executive assistant task management.

Additional Interview Questions to Evaluate Candidates’ Fit for the Company Culture

15. How do you stay organized in a fast-paced work environment?

With a lot to get done and with limited time, it can be easy for organization to take a back seat. It can snowball into disorder very quickly unless it’s managed. This question helps give you insight into how candidates maintain order through healthy habits or the help of software. It isn’t so much about doing everything to avoid disorganization. Rather, it’s about what they do to ensure it doesn’t stay that way and cause issues down the line.

16. How do you handle stress and pressure in your role as an executive assistant?

Morale and mental health play an important role in the workplace. The lack of a healthy outlet can be detrimental. You can ask them to describe a stressful situation and evaluate their stress response and coping strategies. A negative stress response could affect both their health and their work in the long term. 

This is one of the executive assistant interview questions that can also turn into an opportunity to build rapport with your potential hire. You can also take this opportunity to reassure your candidate that you care about a healthy work environment.                      

17. Can you provide an example of a time when you collaborated with a team to solve a problem?

”Works well with others” should be a requirement. After all, they are likely going to manage or oversee several departments of assistants. You can ask them about their role in the project and the experience of working with others. How did they overcome obstacles? How did they celebrate? Was there some kind of debrief after? 

Some insights you can glean based on their answers: 

  • Their leadership ability/ ability to delegate 
  • What they contribute to a team 
  • Their ability to take suggestions and manage people 

18. How do you anticipate the needs of an executive and proactively assist them?

The main thing this question gauges is their ability to take initiative. Initiative takes foresight and observation. Are they sharp and attentive? Do they bring attention to potential problem areas and come up with ideas to solve them before they arise?

Questions to Assess Candidates’ Long-term Goals and Career Aspirations

19. Where do you see yourself in the next five years in your career as an executive assistant?

Note their career goals and milestones. Where do they see themselves in the long term? Do they care about building their career in this field? Is this job a good stepping stone towards those goals? Does their mission align with the company’s?

20. What motivates you to continue growing and improving in your role as an executive assistant?

Driving force is important. It can mean the difference between a job-hopper and a partner. Are they in it for the money and benefits or are they growth-minded? Do they care about building a career? Are they passionate about this or are they just trying to make ends meet? Would they be a good fit for your company’s mission-vision and culture?

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


The interview process can be nerve-wracking for both parties. Sometimes the difference between a good answer and a great one lies with how you frame the question. We hope these executive assistant interview questions will serve as a useful template for that next job interview. 

If you want to know why we use Slack to interview, click on over.

Virtual Assistants

Executive Assistant Job Description: Template with Examples for 2024

Standard Operating Procedures for an executive assistant job description.

To hire the best help in 2024, you need an updated executive assistant job description. Times are always changing, so we have to stay on top of the trends. This means clarifying role responsibilities, adding skill requirements, and verifying that your offer is an attractive one. In this post, we’ll go over all that plus provide templates. This way, you can see what your executive assistant job description should look like.

What Is the Role of an Executive Assistant?

A good executive assistant job description will have a wide array of skills. They will also have a higher level of proficiency in executing all kinds of admin virtual assistant tasks. Executive assistants have diverse responsibilities and provide crucial services within a business. They function at the executive level. So, what they do and how they do it can actually spell success or failure for the business. Sure, these tasks look simple enough – booking flights and hotel stays, making restaurant reservations for meetings, taking and making phone calls, calendaring appointments, generating reports, managing documents, and the like. 

Managing the office of a company executive, however, is not so easy. Mistakes at this level are not as forgivable because this office is the end of the line. No one else is going to come along to check an executive assistant’s work. No one is going to save the day. The tasks themselves are also stricter. Travel arrangements are often within tight schedules. Reservations must be in appropriate settings and with high-level service for important meetings. Phone conversations as a representative of this high office must be executed without room for complaint.

How To Write an Executive Assistant Job Description

The way you write the job description itself is vital. This is what prospective candidates will read first and base their initial interest on. The best ones will be looking for attractive opportunities because they know the value of their work. So, you need to craft the description to carefully include key elements that grab their attention. At the same time, unqualified candidates will hesitate to apply when they read your requirements.

Job Brief

A job brief comes at the top of your description. It defines the reason and purpose for the job. It explains what you want the position to contribute to your company for the next year or so. This description also outlines the tasks that you expect the right candidate to execute and how often. For instance, is it a daily job requiring 8 hours of work, 5 days a week? Finally, the brief must clearly show what it takes to be successful in the job.

You don’t need to be too specific here, because you’ll give more details later. Just say enough to paint an accurate overview of the job. The point is to let the right kind of people know within a minute of reading that it’s a job for them. This is also what you will base your executive assistant interview questions on.

Executive Assistant Responsibilities

An executive assistant provides high-level support to owners or executive officers of a company. They may also extend services to other senior staff members. This section is where you define the types of support and services you require.

Generally, an executive assistant will do clerical and administrative tasks for leadership staff. They might work exclusively for one executive and still liaison with other officers. Sometimes, however, you may want them to take care of other areas. For instance, you might want to task your executive assistant with the HR duty of recruiting and interviewing junior administrative staff for different departments. They are administrative experts, so they will know what to look for and who to hire.

Executive Assistant Skills and Qualifications

An executive assistant must, at the very least, have excellent time management and attention to detail. They need to be highly organized and are often required to be excellent verbal and written communicators. The offices of executives are often the busiest and most fast-paced in any company. So, assistants to these heads must also have the ability to function well in what can be a stressful environment. 

As expert administrative personnel, an executive assistant will have proven knowledge of general office administration and clerical procedures. These can include phone etiquette, record-keeping systems, note-taking, office software tools, and the like. Ultimately, it depends on the specific responsibilities and office setup.

Additional Information To Include in the Job Description

If you have any educational requirements or expectations around years or level of experience, include all the details. You might want them to work certain days and times and not on a regular schedule. If the job has physical or other special requirements not mentioned already, list them out. Whatever you need that isn’t explicitly clear, make sure you explain it.

Executive Assistant Job Description Examples

Below are a few examples of executive assistant job descriptions that you can take inspiration from.

Example 1. Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer

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Example 2. Executive Assistant at an Ecommerce Business

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Example 3. Executive Assistant to Chief Marketing Officer at a Large Financial Services Company

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Experience Requirements for an Executive Assistant

Internship Opportunities

You might require specific types of experience. Some of these can only be obtained through special programs or by working similar roles at similar companies. If you can’t find an assistant who has these special skills, you can try hiring an intern. This avenue can cut costs, but might mean that you or one of your managers needs to do training. How extensive that training will be depends on how many special skills you require, and how difficult they are to learn.

By opening up intern-level positions, you will have an easier time finding the right candidate. You can teach them exactly what you want and they will gain the experience in a less demanding environment. This will turn out better for everyone in the long run as the grow into the higher-level position you are targeting. 

Most executive-level administrative positions require experience, even if it isn’t special experience. Look into hiring people who have worked as interns in the past. This means that they have a few years under their belts, focused on learning skills despite getting lower pay. 

Below are some websites where you can check out options for experience through internships. 

Entry-Level Positions vs Experienced Professionals

Entry-level positions do not require experience, but they may require some level of education. Usually, you want administrative assistants to have at least a high school diploma at this level. If you are looking for an executive-level assistant, you should target candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Some exceptions exist, however, and loads of special experience can trump a degree. Either way, make sure you are not preventing otherwise great candidates from applying because your requirements are too strict.

Most executive assistant posts require certain skills, whether it’s an entry-level position or a job for experienced professionals. For instance, any assistant will most likely need to know how to type, use the internet, take notes, and create reports and memos. They should also know the basics of how to book appointments, talk to clients and customers, file reports, set inter-departmental meetings, and the like. 

Salary Expectations for Executive Assistants

A pen on a bank cheque. executive assistant job description

Factors that Affect Salary Range for this Position

1. Experience

How many years someone has done the work you need will mean a higher rate. Experience equates to efficiency and a generally more valuable contribution to the company. Be prepared to pay more than the average rate if you want quality or special experience. The same goes for requiring many years in previous positions.

2. Industry

Some industries are more complex than others, which means that the work done within them is also more complex. Working as an executive assistant in the advertising and marketing sphere, for instance, is harder than in the eCommerce arena. Working in the smallest biotechnology company, however, would be much harder than in any digital agency. The industry will dictate many details of otherwise common tasks. For example, creating scientific reports can mean understanding nuclear chemistry. A report on monthly sales, on the other hand, entails simple math. The more specialized an assistant’s experience needs to be to excel at the job, the higher you need to pay to find the rare gems who can keep up with you.

3. Location

Hiring from different countries means paying different rate ranges. All other things being equal, this is because of two main factors. First, countries have differing costs of living. Second, a certain hourly rate can buy different amounts of goods in that location. Of course, everything costs different in different countries. The way you can measure an appropriate rate is to look at the costs of thebasics in each country. 

All that being said, here’s an example of the differences you can expect in average salaries of executive assistants. These are monthly rates for hires from the US and the Philippines:

  • Entry-level: US $4750-5250 vs. Philippines $850-1100
  • Mid-level: US $5250-6250 vs. Philippines $1100-1500
  • Expert: US $6250-7500 vs. Philippines $1500-2100

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This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

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A business owner or manager should never take lightly the task of hiring an executive assistant. Executive assistants perform many vital tasks within a business. This entails that they possess a broad skillset. A good assistant at this level is not easy to find, so it’s up to you to attract the best.