I got the honor today, to pass into the second stage, the face to face interview, for the position of “Consul Assistant” in the Consulate General of Canada.
To be honest, the professional way I had been welcomed and introduced to the interview details made me comfortable, relaxed and more confidence that “Oh, Yes, This the place I want to work”!
The first question was the typical one, which was “Why do you want to work here and how do you fit this position?” then followed with four behavioural questions, which I would like to discuss my answers with you. The main purpose is reaching the benefits of this kind of open global discussion, so I will give more attention to my weak answers, develop my techniques and learn new ones. In the other hand, the same will apply for who is reading the comments.
So, let’s start!
FYI: The job description could be found at the end of my post as it advertised.
Q1- A new consul is appointed and you have to introduce him/her. To who will you introduce and how you can arrange it?
A1- I selected two target categories, government body and businessmen/women who are in concern with the consulate. The arrangement will be through the media channels and invitation emails (the database which the consulate own)
Q2- A demanded journalist told you that he/she has an information about illegal stuff done by your colleague and it concerned to the consulate reputation. Taking in your consideration that the consulate is absent (not available). What will you do?
A2-First, I explain that it depends on the power of authority which will be provided to me to take an action in similar cases. But, the first two things that I’m sure about, are: 1- Asking the journalist to provide what he/she has through the official channels to the consulate. 2- Asking the lawyer of the consulate about the importance and risk level of these kind of information so I can take an action to inform the Consul or not.
Q3- The Consul asked you to not disturb him/her at all as he/she is so busy. You got a call from governmental party asking you to meet the Consul urgently. What will you do?
A3- It’s the time to apply my diplomatic and professional communication skills! Where I have to understand this official request, I mean, the subject and purpose of it and calm down who request the meeting with Consul if it’s necessary. Then according to my experience gained during my work in the Consul office, I can decide the urgent level of this request. And the usual action I take in similar scenario is passing a piece of note on Consul office, so he/she can later decide if he/she will take or pass it. The main idea is the both sides should respect the time and schedule of each other.
Q4- The Consul asked you to prepare an invitation cards for an event. This is the first time you are facing this kind of task. What will you do?
A4- First, I explained that I never hesitate in asking for help from my work colleagues, but on the other hand I have almost nine years of administrative experience. So, first, I’ll prepare my plan and the best way to handle this task then I’ll discus it with the Consul and ask my colleagues to amend it where the changes should be done.
This was the end of behavioral questions interview and I believe that there are no right or wrong answers but only “good” and “better” answers.
Clue: At the end of interview, when it was my turn to question them, I asked: “What are your expectations for this role during the first 30 days?”, and his answer was: Quick learner, Good character, Good relationship with the colleagues and supervisor, and Quick “do it”.
Here you can find the job description:
Job Title: Assistant to the Consul General
Location: Consulate General of Canada in Dubai
Summary of position: Under the general supervision of the Head of Mission, provides personal administrative assistance; reviews correspondence requiring Head of Mission’s action, signature or received for his information; prepares quarterly budget reports and performs other duties.
Education: - Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent combination of experience, education and training
Language: - English (oral and written)
- Minimum 5 years of recent* experience working in an office environment in an administrative support or similar capacity with at least 2 of these years being in the role of an Executive Assistant
*Recent is defined as within the last 10 years.
- Knowledge of policies and procedures related to official hospitality and organization of events
- Knowledge of protocol and etiquette
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook)
- Effective Interactive Communication – Oral and Written
- Ability to plan and organize workflow, coordinate information
- Attention to detail
- Client focus
- Ability to perform under pressure
- Discretion and professional integrity
- Ability to adapt quickly to procedural and technological changes.
Asset Qualifications: Preference may be given to candidates who have the following asset qualifications:
- Previous experience in a Government or Public Sector environment.
- Fluency in French
- Fluency in Arabic
Operational Requirements: - Occasional overtime will be required