Why this matters:

Companies look to their office managers to coordinate a lot of moving parts. This might mean cross-referencing schedules, sending out calendar invites, reserving space, facilitating technology setups, organizing food and other deliveries, and even coordinating travel. A candidate’s ability to coordinate a meeting could demonstrate whether or not they possess the organizational skills required to manage an office.

What to listen for:

  • Clear organizational plan to communicate with team members, a specific approach
  • Attention to detail such as meeting technology, dietary concerns, technological needs, etc.
  • Understanding of steps required for meeting organization

Why this matters:

An office manager is typically responsible for coordinating schedules, juggling email threads, arranging vendor payments and deliveries, etc. In order to fulfill these tasks, it helps if they’re familiar with the software your company uses, such as Google Drive or Microsoft Office. Familiarity with more specialized office management programs is useful as well, especially if your office manager needs to train other staff.

What to listen for:

  • Names of software that the candidate has used
  • Detail when describing the use of programs, showing that they are skilled and up to date on the latest changes with these programs
  • A willingness to learn other programs you use, for example, Slack, Asana, Zoom, QuickBooks, etc.

Why this matters:

Office managers are often the face of their companies, welcoming visitors at the reception desk while also taking a high volume of calls. Experience with phone lines, a high level of comfort in communicating on the phone, and strong phone etiquette are musts for office managers.

What to listen for:

  • Experience with heavy call volume
  • Comfort and clarity on the phone and with people
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Why this matters:

Office managers are professional problem solvers, and need to demonstrate flexibility and quick thinking when circumstances change. Teams look at office managers to find the answers to questions so that an office can run smoothly. An affinity for problem-solving takes confidence, attention to detail, and adaptiveness under pressure. These are qualities to look out for when interviewing a potential office manager.

What to listen for:

  • Confidence in ability to solve problems
  • Approaching conflict with empathy and sensitivity
  • Strong interpersonal communication in conflict approach

 

 

 

Why this matters:

Office managers interact with a lot of people on a day-to-day basis — including staff, vendors, visitors, and bosses. They need to be excellent communicators, which may include fielding the occasional difficult conversation. This question will showcase the candidate’s ability to communicate smoothly under pressure.

 

 

 

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated resilience and backbone
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills
  • A willingness to learn from any missteps and improve

 

Why this matters:

Office managers are leaders, and are expected to learn and grow on the job. They should be comfortable taking charge of projects and teams, so that they can coordinate operations in a business environment. They should demonstrate their ability to work independently as self-starters, and staff should be able to rely on them to coordinate travel, meetings, and office facilities.

 

What to listen for:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Confidence
  • Positive examples of leadership

Why this matters:

Managing an office requires a high level of discretion regarding confidential information, and knowing who and who not to pass on information to. This could include overhearing conversations, being copied on emails, or hearing HR complaints from staff. Office managers need to distinguish sensitive information and develop a plan of action for keeping it confidential.

What to listen for:

  • Discretion
  • Good judgment about what’s sensitive and what’s not
  • A lack of gossip

Why this matters:

Someone managing the schedules and tasks of an entire office should be organized, and that starts with self-management. The systems they use — for example, to-do lists, calendars, other organizational programs — can impact the entire office. A strong candidate should be able to explain which systems they use, and why.

What to listen for:

  • A clear organizational system, including checkpoints that catch anything that falls through the cracks
  • Attentiveness to detail
  • Practices that align with your office

Why this matters:

Very often, businesses look to their office managers to train employees on how to follow office procedures. Office managers create management systems, and they are often required to teach those systems as well. Plans to teach and implement management systems are important for qualified office manager candidates.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated confidence with training
  • Examples of past successes with training or mentorship 
  • An ability to break things down into a step-by-step approach
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