First step on your career ladder, or a good options for earning some extra income. Office clerk is an interesting job. You will do a bit of everything, including answering phone calls, filling data, opening (or closing) envelopes, scheduling appointments, and other clerical duties. The exact working duties depend on your future place of work. Let’s have a look at the questions you will face in the interview for this entry level job.
Why do you want to work as a clerk?
Be honest, but try to find something positive about the job. You can say that you consider it a starting point for your career if office management, or that at this stage of your life you do not have much choice.
You should also refer to things that make from you a good applicant for the position.
Diligence, attention to detail, responsibility, ability to work independently, good reading and writing skills, basic computer skills, etc will work just well for your answer.
Try to speak with enthusiasm in your voice. They shouldn’t get the impression that you apply only because you can’t get a better job elsewhere.
How do you imagine your typical day in this office?
Show them that you are ready to work hard. You can say that you expect to get orders from office managers and/or administrative assistants, and follow them, performing a variety of clerical duties all day long.
Do not go into details, such as going for a lunch or having a coffee break with a cigarette. These things belong to a daily life of every single office in the world, and you will enjoy them. But it is better to talk about things which you will do in job, not about the breaks you will take in between working.
Hint: Refer to a job description to understand better the exact things you’ll do in the office on a daily basis.
Do you have any relevant experience?
Experience is not pivotal for your success in this interview. But you can mention anything you have done before, even at school or at home, that helped you to get ready for the job.
For example writing something on computer, organizing the office, working on any repetitive tasks, being a part of a team at school, anything. Just show them that you are not afraid of work, and that this won’t be your very first experience with clerical tasks.
Special Tip: You can also download the list of questions as one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
What are your expectations on office managers (other people you’ll work with)?
As a good clerk, you should focus mostly on your own work. You should expect a lot from yourself–diligence, responsibility, working fast, avoiding mistakes, etc, and you should not care much about the work of other people.
Anyway, you can say that you expect them to give you clear instructions on what you should do, and to have a friendly and professional relationship with you. Everything is easier in the office when you have a good relationship with the others, so it makes sense to have this one expectation.
Can you work with MS Office (or with other software)?
You should be honest, and stay positive. Even if you have no experience with certain computer program, you should ensure the interviewers that you are ready to learn to work with it–if the skill is is needed for the job.
And if you have the experience, you can tell them how long you’ve been working with the software, where you learned the skill, and how it helped you in your past job or in your studies.
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Why clerk? Why not office manager or a secretary?
Both office managers and secretaries earn more than the clerks do (at least in average they do). So the question makes sense, especially if you have the qualification which is required to become an office manager (or a secretary).
You can tell them that you prefer to start with the basics, and want to learn the ins and outs of the daily life in the office, and hope to progress to the position of as secretary later on.
Most hiring managers will be happy with such an answer, as it indicates that you plan to stay with them for several years.
What are your salary expectations?
Anything you say at this point, it should not sound as if the salary was the most important thing in the world.
I suggest you to say that you will accept the standard starting salary they pay for new hires on this position (in most cases they won’t offer you more anyway).
Alternatively you can check the average salary for office clerks in your city (just Google it), and start with this number (for example, in 2017, the median annual salary for office clerks reached $30,600 in the US).
Other questions you may get
- What motivates you the most in this job?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Tell us about an obstacle you overcame in work, or in life.
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
- Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Tell us about a conflict you had with your colleague.
- Describe a situation when you were unable to meet your goals in work.
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other job applicants?
- How would your best friends describe you?
- Tell us one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want us to know.
- Tell us about a time when you showed initiative at work.
- Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
Conclusion, premium answers to all office clerk interview questions
Interview for a position of an office clerk belongs to interviews with average difficulty. You won’t typically compete with many other people for the job, and the expectations won’t be extremely high.
However, you still have to show the right attitude to work,to your colleagues and life in general, and convince them of your motivation and willingness to work hard with your interview answers, and of your right attitude to some situations that happen in the workplace (feeling pressure, having a conflict with a colleague, meeting a tight deadline, etc).
If you are not sure how to answer the questions from my list, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to basically all questions you may face in your Office Clerk job interview will help you streamline your interview preparation, find the right words in every moment of the interview, outclass your competitors, and eventually get the job. Thank you for checking it out, and I wish you good luck!
Matthew Chulaw, Your personal job interview coach
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