Clerical Interview
Questions and Answers

Which clerical interview questions can you expect in your clerical or administrative job interview? Prepare winning answers using the practical answer guidelines.

Clerical vacancies occur in a wide range of organizations and clerical jobs include a wide range of tasks and activities. These common interview questions for clerical positions explore the key abilities and skills required for success in this type of job.

Prepare for these frequently asked clerical interview questions about your skills and experience for a clerical or office administration position.

How does your work experience equip you for this job?

Find the key abilities and skills required for this position in the job posting. Describe how you demonstrated these skills in your previous jobs.

Key skills for clerical positions usually include communicating with customers, employees and other individuals to answer questions and obtain and give information, taking and directing calls, filing, compiling, checking and distributing documents and correspondence, recording data and scheduling activities.

Which computer software have you used?

Detail the packages you are familiar with and explain what you have used each package for. Give specific examples of the functions you are proficient in such as creating and formatting spreadsheets in Excel and creating and editing tables in Word. Relate your computer skills to the job requirements.

What types of correspondence were you responsible for?

When answering clerical interview questions like this, indicate the level of responsibility you had with regard to generating and editing correspondence.  Did you type correspondence from rough drafts, corrected copies, voice recordings, dictation or previous versions? Highlight your knowledge of  English composition, spelling and grammatical rules. Explain how you ensured accuracy. Provide work samples to support your answer.

What reports did you have to compose, format or check and distribute?

Give examples of the reports you were responsible for and explain how you obtained and managed the necessary information and what systems you used to generate and distribute the reports.

What types of data management systems have you worked with?

Highlight how you made sure that data was kept current and being done accurately. How did you ensure efficient retrieval of  information? Detail the different systems you are familiar with and explain their advantages and disadvantages. Discuss any improvements you made. This shows that you actively managed the data system and not just maintained it.

What information were you responsible for processing?

Focus on the types and volume of information - forms etc - to be captured and processed. What software and systems did you utilize? An important part of answering clerical interview questions about information processing is to detail how you verified or audited the information before processing it? How do you check for errors?

What sort of information did you have to keep confidential in your last clerical job?

Show how you used your judgment to determine what types of information and situations to keep confidential. Give specific examples of the confidential information you managed. How was this information stored? How did you monitor it? What was the process for retrieving it?

What experience do you have with handling money?

Detail what your responsibilities were in this area. Did you collect, count and disburse money? Was there any basic bookkeeping involved? Were you responsible for any banking transactions?

What experience do you have with setting up meetings?

How did you organize venues, inform participants, organize documentation, set up the meeting room? Were you also responsible for taking and distributing minutes?

What sort of interactions did you have with the public?

Focus on dealing with queries or requests from customers or members of the public.

Highlight your use of knowledge of the department and company to successfully answer queries and provide information. These clerical interview questions are exploring your ability to provide an efficient information service to the public, clients, colleagues and managers.

How many calls did you have to take on an average day?

This provides an indication of how busy you were and how much time was spent on dealing with requests for information. If you also dealt with the public via written communications then include this in your clerical interview answer.

Were you responsible for coordinating any events, projects or programs?

Have a good example ready of a project where you were involved in the planning and organization. Clerical interview questions like this are designed to explore your planning and organization skills as well as your initiative and ability to work independently. Focus on these skills in your answer.

Describe the busiest work situation you have recently experienced?

Again have an example ready for the interviewer. Describe the situation, the actions you took to meet the demands and the outcome. Focus on your ability to perform under pressure by planning and prioritizing successfully. Avoid making negative comments about having to handle a busy situation but rather convince the interviewer that you enjoyed the challenge.

Can you give me an example of the sort of deadlines you had to meet?

Be specific about any daily, weekly, quarterly deadlines you regularly had to meet. Explain how you scheduled your activities to ensure that you did meet the deadlines.

How do you prioritize your work?

Describe the techniques you use to organize your work. How do you determine the importance and urgency of a task? What else do you consider when prioritizing your work - for example, the available resources to complete the task? Show how you are able to use your judgment and plan the most appropriate course of action.

Describe any innovations you successfully made in your last job to improve efficiency?

The interviewer wants to know if you are able to analyze a problem and come up with a workable solution. Show how you use your initiative to pro-actively make positive changes.

What do you consider to be the most important qualities for this clerical job?

A clerical or administrative type job mostly involves information management and communication. Qualities like good listening and communication skills, planning and organizing, flexibility, adaptability, independent judgment, confidentiality, attention to detail and accuracy are all key to clerical jobs.

Use this detailed clerical job description to make sure you have a clear picture of the task and competency requirements for a clerical job.

Find out how to successfully answer behavioral interview questions that explore your clerical competencies.

Common Interview Questions

Expect the 5 common interview questions that are asked in almost every job interview including:

Tell me about yourself?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Expect clerical interview questions that explore your motivation and commitment to the clerical job:

What motivates you in a job?

Why do you want to work for this company?

Prepare for standard clerical interview questions

Clerical Job Interview Tips

Make the right impression with your interview clothes

Top 10 Interview Tips

Interview Communication Tips

Interview Body Language

Clerical positions often involve a wide range of duties including secretarial and administrative-type work. 

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