Administrative assistants are typically pretty busy people. A big pile of papers on a table of an assistant is a common picture we see, not only in the films. And obviously, there’s “a mess” in their computer too :)…
Interviewers are aware of it and try to find out if you are able to prioritize your tasks, or to work on different tasks simultaneously. Your goal is to convince them about your time management skills, an ability to organize work and recognize the most important tasks to take care of immediately.
The best way to do it is to come up with a practical situation from the past. After all, they ask about the past: “How did you handle multitasking?“. So, show them you did not panic, even if the workload was heavy. Let’s have a look at some good answers.
I do not believe in multitasking in a true sense of a word. Human brain is capable to focus on one thing at a time only. Of course, we can clean teeth and think about something else at the same time, because teeth-cleaning is pretty automated process. When I had to handle more tasks at the same time, I always tried to focus on that one I couldn’t do without thinking, such as handling phone calls. In this way, I was able to handle more duties simultaneously. I managed to organize papers or typewrite something at the same time, since I could do it without thinking.
I have always worked on my time management skills. Actually, I can organize my work pretty well, so it rarely happens that I need to take care of two different tasks at a same time. In the morning I always prioritize my work, consult it with the manager and work according to the plan we set. Doing so, I waste no time in work and am just rarely forced to deal with multitasking.