50 School Secretary Interview Questions (Plus Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employers typically schedule interviews with candidates they may have an interest in hiring to determine if they have the qualifications to succeed in the role. If you have an upcoming interview for a school secretary position, there are many common interview questions you can review before you meet with the hiring manager. Studying these questions and creating your own responses can help you feel confident and prepared for your interview. In this article, we share 50 school secretary interview questions and give five example answers you can use as inspiration when crafting your own responses.

General questions

An interviewer may ask you general school secretary interview questions to learn about your personality and interest in the role. Here are 15 general questions interviewers often ask:

  1. Can you tell me about yourself?

  2. What do you like to do outside of work?

  3. What do you consider your three greatest professional strengths?

  4. What's one area of your career in which you want to develop your skills?

  5. Why did you decide to leave your last position?

  6. What interests you about working at this school?

  7. What are the three words you think best describe your personality?

  8. Do you prefer to work by yourself or as a member of a team?

  9. Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?

  10. Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years?

  11. What's your ultimate career goal?

  12. What's your greatest career achievement so far?

  13. Do you know anyone who works or has worked at this school?

  14. What are your salary expectations?

  15. Do you have questions for me about the job?

Related: What Does a Secretary Do? (With Average Salary and Skills)

Questions about background and experience

Hiring managers often follow general interview questions by asking about your professional background. Here are 15 common interview questions they may ask you about your experience:

  1. What do you find most rewarding about being a school secretary?

  2. What do you find most challenging about being a school secretary?

  3. Have you ever held any other positions within a school setting?

  4. How much experience do you have working as a secretary in any setting?

  5. Do you have any experience managing office professionals?

  6. What types of software do you feel comfortable using at work?

  7. What types of office equipment have you used?

  8. What tools or resources help you manage your time?

  9. Do you have more experience managing physical or digital data?

  10. What are some regular duties you've had in a school secretary or similar job?

  11. Do you have any specialised skills that may differentiate you from other candidates?

  12. Do you have any professional certifications or licences that might benefit you in this role?

  13. How would your most recent manager describe your work ethic?

  14. How would you describe your relationship with your most recent colleagues?

  15. Do you have any transferable skills you've gained in other industries that may help you in this role?

Related: What Does an Executive Secretary Do? (With Salary)

In-depth questions

The interviewer may continue by asking challenging or job-specific questions to help them evaluate whether you may be a suitable candidate for the role. Here are 15 in-depth interview questions they may ask you:

  1. How do you think you can help further the school's mission and vision?

  2. How would you ensure any personal connections you create with families remain professional?

  3. What steps would you take to encourage open communication between parents and staff?

  4. What's the most complex task you've completed to help a teacher or another colleague?

  5. How often do you create and monitor your professional goals?

  6. How do you prioritise your primary duties so you can complete them efficiently?

  7. Can you explain an idea you implemented that benefited the school?

  8. What's the most challenging news you've ever had to give a student?

  9. What's the most challenging situation you've ever had to help a student resolve?

  10. What surprised you most about working as a school secretary when you started your career?

  11. What do you like about working as a secretary in a school versus other organisations?

  12. What did you like best about your most recent position?

  13. What did you like least about your most recent position?

  14. Why do you think you're a suitable candidate for this position?

  15. Can you tell me about a time you had a conflict with a colleague and how you resolved it?

Related: 56 Personal Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Interview questions with example answers

Here are five interview questions with example answers you can use as a reference to help you prepare your own responses:

1. Can you tell me about a time you had to have a challenging conversation with a parent and how you approached it?

When interviewers ask this, they're trying to determine how you've handled challenging situations in the past and evaluate the strength of your communication skills. When you answer, include how you helped the parent by actively listening to their concerns, providing resources or insight and working with them to develop a solution. Then share what you learned from this experience.

Example: "Last year, there was a student at the school where I work whose parent was late picking them up multiple times per week. I didn't realise this was happening until the student approached me one day and told me they felt scared because their dad was late again and they were waiting alone. When their parent arrived, I talked to them about it and learned the parent sometimes couldn't leave work on time and didn't know about the after school care programme. They felt relieved to have this option and enrolled the student."

Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Method (With Example)

2. What is your favourite part of being a school secretary?

Hiring managers ask this question because they want to know that you're passionate about this job. Answer honestly and include two or three of the most important reasons you enjoy working in this role, such as being able to learn from your peers or working with children.

Example: "My favourite part about being a school secretary is getting to interact with so many people. While other administrative professionals may work with a limited set of coworkers from their company, school secretaries interact with students, parents, teachers and other faculty members. I enjoy getting to build relationships with other people and I learn something new each day from these interactions."

3. Can you tell me about a time you made a mistake and how you handled it?

Interviewers often ask this question to determine how you've corrected an error or mistake you made. When you answer, try to include how you took responsibility and made things right. Remember to show what you learned and the steps you've put in place since then to prevent making the same mistake again.

Example: "In my most recent role as a school secretary, I made the mistake of listing the wrong date for parent-teacher conferences in a newsletter. A few hours before I had the newsletter scheduled to be emailed to parents, I checked my calendar and realised my error. I immediately corrected my mistake and updated the newsletter with the right date. This experience taught me how important it is to double-check dates before I send newsletters or other communications to parents, students and faculty members. Since then, I've added a proofreading step to my process to avoid future mistakes."

4. What are some skills you think a school secretary should have?

Hiring managers may ask this question to make sure you know what skills this position requires. Try to include relevant skills that you have in your answer to show that you meet the qualifications. You can also explain why each of these skills is important to your success as a school secretary.

Example: "I think the most important skills for a school secretary are organisation, communication and flexibility. Staying organised is important because I often manage several tasks throughout the day. I also talk to many people, including colleagues and parents, so communication skills allow me to work effectively with my peers and students' families. Flexibility is critical in this role because situations can change quickly in a school setting, such as when a child becomes ill or a teacher requires unexpected assistance with a project."

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Key Differences and Examples

5. What is something about this role that you may find challenging?

Hiring managers may ask this question to determine if you have the skills and personality to find success as a school secretary and to assess how you approach challenges. Be honest in your answer, but make sure you include how you overcame this challenge in the past or how you plan to overcome this challenge in the future. You can also use this as an opportunity to highlight one of your skills that may help you overcome this challenge.

Example: "In my previous job, I worked as a school secretary for both the elementary school and the high school. I handled a wide range of tasks at both schools, including reading the announcements, organising files, answering phone calls and emails and writing the school newsletters. There were days that could feel overwhelming, which was a challenge, so I downloaded a time management app that allowed me to balance the time I worked on tasks for each school. This helped me multi-task confidently and stay organised."

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