Office Managers are found in all types of organisations. This is usually an mid-to experienced level position with wide-ranging duties. It can be a very rewarding role for the right person, giving them unprecedented access to senior leaders, as well as across the whole business. The best office managers are well organised, meticulous, with great attention to detail and have the attitude that no job is too small. The ability to “manage up” is also valuable in this role. This is a role where personal and soft skills are more important than qualifications, so make sure you allow plenty of time for an interview with several key members of staff.
Discretion and confidentiality are probably key as this person will have access to data, equipment, reports, files, cash, credit cards and other sensitive information. They will also need to be flexible, equally happy greeting and working with external visitors, as arranging to keep the offices clean.
Some tasks, such as data entry, report preparation, calendar management require proficiency with workplace software such as Microsoft Office. Use these interviews as an opportunity to evaluate these skills. Some employers may even include a short skills test in the interview process. If there is a specific skill that you need, such as travel coordination, be sure to add questions about that to this list.
The office manager role often combines several other key functions such as HR Administration, reception duties, payroll, executive assistant, personal assistant, general administration, facilities management, and supplier management. So the person will need to be able to get up to speed with the demands of the role as well as manage multiple priorities.
The following open-ended and situational interview questions will encourage your candidates to speak at length about their relevant experience. Use them to guide the interview, and ask follow up questions. You won’t need every single question. They will help you get a sense of their interpersonal skills, such as how well they manage, how well they can work on a team, and what motivates them as employees. The best candidates will be able to articulate what interests them about your company, and will contribute several prepared and spontaneous questions of their own to the conversation.
- Why did you decide to apply for this position
- What aspects of the job appeal to you?
- Tell us more about your experience in the following: (insert specific skills areas, technology or knowledge requirements necessary for this role in your company)
- What strengths will you bring to the position?
- Tell us how you build strong relationships with your Director, CEO, or Senior Management Team.
- What do you to build good working relationships with staff at all levels of the business?
- What has been the most difficult situation you have had to deal with?
Which of your previous jobs have you enjoyed the most? Why?
- What area of experience/skill will you need to develop if you get the job? How will you get it?
- What type of person do you find the most challenging to work with?
- If you support multiple people at one company, how do you decide which projects to work on first?
- Have you ever had to execute a project with a small budget, or a lack of resources? How did you address these issues?
- Have you ever been on a team with a difficult coworker? How did you handle it?
- Describe a time you worked with a team to meet a common goal. What was your role?
- Describe a time you suggested a way to save time, lower costs, or help the organisation in any way.
- What does “managing up” mean to you? In what ways have you done that?
- Some of this work can be repetitive. What motivates you to excel in this role?
- How do you go about organizing your day?
- What are some of your techniques for handling personal stress?
- Who has been your best manager? Why?
- What would you do to contribute towards supporting our positive work environment and culture?
Have you any questions?
- Click here for an Office Manager job description that you can customise to your company and use to post on job boards.