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Administrative Clerk Interview Questions

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  1. Tell me about a time that you dealt with a difficult customer as an administrative clerk. See answer
  2. Have you ever used inventory management software before? See answer
  3. How well do you fare with administrative projects that require attention to small details? See answer
  4. Have you ever operated office equipment, such as photocopiers and fax machines? See answer
  5. How do you feel about completing repetitive and mundane tasks as an administrative clerk? See answer
  6. How do you ensure office systems can still operate when you are out sick or away from the workplace? See answer
  7. What steps would you take to find or replace a misfiled document in your records?
  8. Administrative clerks help manage phone lines and reach out to customers about their account records. Are you comfortable talking on the phone and directing voicemail messages?
  9. What organization techniques do you use to manage multiple staff and meeting schedules at once?
  10. Administrative clerks may have to handle large data entry projects using a word processor. How many words per minute can you type?
  11. Do you have experience organizing and sending invoices to clients?
  12. You may work with some financial data and help record information on the company ledger. Describe some of the most important best practices for accurate bookkeeping.
  13. Tell me about a time you improved a system or set of procedures to make your workflow more efficient or thorough.
  14. What do you do with a client’s files if they close their account?
  15. What is your process for sending out reminders for meetings or confirming appointments? How far in advance do you need to reach out?
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6 Administrative Clerk Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Tell me about a time that you dealt with a difficult customer as an administrative clerk.

A:

Administrative clerks will need to deal directly with customers and help answer their questions. Not all people are understanding and patient, particularly if they have been put on hold or were waiting in line for a period of time. Your candidate will need to know how to handle these situations with grace and maintain professionalism in the face of difficult clients.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Shows empathy for customers who may be dealing with difficult situations
  • Demonstrates interest in top-notch client service
  • Is able to maintain professionalism

Example:

“When I was working for Chase Bank, a customer wanted to buy Japanese yen and was very angry when I told him that we did not have any on hand at the bank to give to him right away. As he grew frustrated, I proceeded to explain to him that we needed to order his foreign currency since it was not a commonly used currency in the United States. After I explained the logic behind the wait, he calmed down, and we were able to resolve the issue.”

Q:

Have you ever used inventory management software before?

A:

Administrative clerks will oftentimes deal with external clients or keep track of inventories. You will need to hire someone who is able to do these tasks quickly and with high accuracy. Asking candidates to explain their familiarity with inventory management software will help you gauge the level of comfort that they have. This will tell you whether or not they are experienced in the types of programs that your office uses as well as whether you will be able to train them to use other systems.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Identifies a software program or several by name
  • Candidate explains the level of familiarity with software
  • Applicant is at ease with using technology

Example:

“I’ve been using QuickBooks Enterprise for the last three years, which has helped me streamline the end-to-end business management aspect of running a consignment company.”

Q:

How well do you fare with administrative projects that require attention to small details?

A:

Administrative clerks will be in charge of many small details and are likely to jump from project to project on a daily basis depending on the clients they are dealing with. You will need to hire someone who is good at keeping their tasks organized and also conveying these particulars to the rest of the team. This will help others understand what needs to be done and ensure that timelines are met.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Expresses an interest in detail-oriented tasks
  • Explains how they deal with details
  • Enjoys multitasking

Example:

“I have always been very good with details. I have an e-calendar that I use to consolidate all my project deadlines, which allows me to send calendar invites to the rest of my team so that everyone has all the relevant information.”

Q:

Have you ever operated office equipment, such as photocopiers and fax machines?

A:

Your administrative clerks will handle a lot of the detailed work in the office, which will include photocopying and scanning relevant documents for client meetings. Candidates for your position may be students who have just graduated from school and may not have extensive experience operating complex equipment. Other applicants may be older and less savvy with technology, so it is important that you gauge their comfort level working with machines.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Has experience with photocopying or scanning
  • Expresses the ability to learn quickly
  • Shows interest in detailed and possibly mundane tasks

Example:

“When I was a teaching assistant for my professor, I needed to make photocopies for his weekly lectures. I have had extensive experience with scanning and photocopying materials.”

Q:

How do you feel about completing repetitive and mundane tasks as an administrative clerk?

A:

Not all aspects of an administrative clerk position are glamorous. Since your applicant will be the one ensuring that all the meeting details and communications fall into place, there will be times when they need to perform tasks that are repetitive. It is important that your candidates come into the office knowing that sometimes they might need to file papers or make coffee for the team.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Shows patience
  • Has a positive disposition
  • Understands that there will be a mix of interesting and mundane aspects of the job

Example:

“I think every job has its exciting and more routine aspects. In my previous internship at a law office, I was in charge of filing all the past court documents into new filing folders. Although that wasn’t the most interesting aspect of the job, I saw it as a small break to my daily routine.”

Q:

How do you ensure office systems can still operate when you are out sick or away from the workplace?

A:

Administrative clerks help keep the entire office organized, and their absence can impact everyone's workflow and ability to accomplish tasks. Experienced administrative clerks maintain an organized workspace and have a clear plan for making information accessible when they are out of the office. They understand how their role impacts others and use foresight and planning to communicate with others. This question shows interviewers which candidates have a strong sense of accountability and the ability to anticipate the needs of others.

A good answer should include:

  • Understanding of priorities
  • Commitment to upkeep and organization
  • Communication skills

All administrative clerks have their own processes that they use, so this is just one example of a good answer:

Example:

"The easiest way to prepare for my absence is to make sure everything is organized and easy to find at all times. If I have to unexpectedly leave, I want my workspace to be intuitive for others to use by immediately filing paperwork and using a logical folder system for physical and digital files. When I know I'm going to be out, I set up an auto-reply on my email and messaging accounts and switch to my out-of-office voicemail message with information on who to contact with urgent needs or details on when I plan to be back."

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