Why do you want to work as a file clerk?

Keeping files and documents organized is not the most exciting job in the world. You can hardly speak about a meaningful purpose of your work, or your honest desire to help to change something in the society, or in the local community. Nurses, social workers, or teachers have this privilege. Clerks don’t.

Be honest and talk about realistic expectations you have from a job of a file clerk. No need to dream big in this interview. Maybe you are just starting your professional career, and look for something you can put on your resume, your first experience. Or you struggle with money at the moment, and will accept any decent job.

In any case, organizational skills and attention to detail are on the list of your strengths, and you believe that you’ll do a good job as a file clerk. That’s one of the reasons why you decided to apply.


This is a routine and monotonous job. What will you do to stay motivated?

You have several options for a good answer. First one is saying that you actually prefer repetitive monotonous jobs, at least at this stage of your professional career. You do not enjoy to strain your mental capacities. Knowing exactly what is expected from you, and taking care of the same tasks day after day, is your idea of a perfect job.

Another option is referring to your goals, the reasons why you wake up to work. Perhaps you have children you want to provide for, or you have some dream back in your mind–starting your own business one day, buying something nice, etc. You need money to pursue your dreams, and you will think about them when you feel low in work. They will help you stay motivated.

Third option is talking about the bigger picture, options for promotion. If you apply for a file clerk position in a big corporation, you know it’s not your final position in the company. But you need to prove your skills and show your motivation in order to get a chance for a promotion.


What do you do to avoid mistakes in your work?

You can start with saying that you try to minimize distractions. When you work you don’t look at your smartphone, or check latest news on your Facebook feed. You are in work, you focus on the task at hand, and give it your full attention. This attitude helps you to minimize the number of mistakes.

You can also add that you double check the important things, or that you’d like to have some systems of control in place, for example that a software warns you automatically if you file something incorrectly. Ensure the interviewers that you try your very best to eliminate mistakes.

* May also interest you: Mail clerk interview questions.


How would you rate your skills with MS Office?

Give yourself some high ratings. Explain how long you’ve been working with each software, and say that you use it virtually on a daily basis. Surely it may take you a while to learn this or that functionality needed for your new job. But since you know the user interface of the software, and have been working with Word and Excel for such a long time, you have confidence that you will learn it quickly.

Remember that they may also give you a practical test your MS Office skills. They may ask you to perform some basic data entry to see how quickly you can typewrite, and if you can find your way around certain functions in the program. Try to stay calm and do not rush things if they give you the test. Precision is more important than speed in the job of a file clerk.

What do you consider the most effective system of file storage?

You can refer to a double storage. As a file clerk you prefer to have the documents stored electronically, on your own server. Having a cloud backup on a distant server also helps. That’s the first part.

Second part is an archive of physical documents, where you store the files in a paper form. Ideally your servers should be located in a different building than your archive. In case of a fire or other disaster that destroys the archive (or the computers), you won’t lose the documents, since you’ll always have a backup, either in a physical or in a digital form.


What do you do to ensure a great effectiveness of your work?

One word: System. Once you learn the ins and outs of the file clerk job, you will try to create an effective system in your work. That means, for example, that as soon as you receive a new document you’ll scan it (because scanner is right in your office), but you won’t rush to the archive with a single document.

You will wait until you have more things, and then, for example during a low hour when nobody needs your help in the office, you will visit the archive and categorize the files physically. Of course the most effective system changes from one place to another, and it also depends on the exact list of your duties and responsibilities. In most cases it’s enough convincing the interviewers that you want to create such a system, without specifying exactly what it will include.

* Do not forget to check also: Municipal Clerk interview questions.


What are your salary expectations?

Be modest in your expectations. File clerks earn $13 per hour in average in the US, and often even less. You should check the numbers for your country or area, and show realistic expectations in an interview.

You can also say that salary is not a deciding factor for you, and you will accept their standard starting salary for file clerks. This is actually a good answer, because if they pay you as much as theydo to other clerks you won’t end up underpaid.


What do you consider your greatest weakness as a file clerk?

You have several options for a decent answer. First one is saying that you do not think you have any major weakness as a clerk. And that’s exactly the reason why you apply for this job. You have other weaknesses, however. For example you struggle with leading a team of people or with managing someone. Such abilities aren’t necessary for a file clerk.

Second option is picking something minor, but important. Maybe that you sometimes struggle with your focus in work, or your physical fitness isn’t excellent at the moment. You are aware of your weaknesses though, and will try to improve on them.

Last option is saying that you have no idea. You have to do the job first, for a week or two, and then you’ll be able to name some principal weaknesses, things you need to work on in order to become a superb clerk one day.

Special Tip: You can also download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

What are your expectations on your new colleagues?

Try to expect a lot from yourself and a little from the others. Interviewers will love you for such an attitude.

You can say that you expect an honest and friendly communication from your new colleagues. They should not block you in your job. You hope that they will explain you the job clearly, and give you a chance to prove your skills, because obviously you won’t excel right from the get go.

It will be also nice if they tolerate some mistakes you do at the beginning. You can add that you will try to build good relationship with your new colleagues. You plan to be helpful and attentive to their needs. Instead of expecting them to come forward, you will take the initiative.


Do you have any questions?

You do not have to force a question. If things went well in your interview, if you have a good feeling from the meeting with the HR managers, you can simply thank them for their time and for inviting you. Avoid questions about your salary. If they consider hiring you, they will talk about money, sooner, or later. Let them start this talk.

You can definitely ask about the next steps of recruitment process, shift patterns, or about anything that wasn’t clearly explained on the job description, or during the interview.


Conclusion, next steps

Interview for a job of a File Clerk belong to easy job interviews. You typically won’t compete for the job with many other people (sometimes you can be the only applicant), and they won’t ask you any difficult behavioral questions.

Prepare for the questions from this article, and try to learn something about your future employer. What they specialize in, the organizational structure of the company or department, and the place of a file clerk in it, employee benefits, corporate values, dress code.

Good research will help you with your interview answers, and also to make a good connection with the interviewers. I wish you good luck!

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Matthew Chulaw
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