Job interview questions & answers for a school clerk

Written by denise brandenberg
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Job interview questions & answers for a school clerk
School clerks must be able to work well with teachers and students. (school symbol image by michele goglio from Fotolia.com)

School clerks typically work in the front offices of educational institutions, such as primary and secondary schools (elementary and high schools). They are responsible for a wide variety of duties, including answering the phones and providing administrative support to the principal. School clerks also interact with teachers, students, parents and administrators. If you are interested in this type of career, be prepared for typical interview questions.

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School questions

School clerks are often the first person new students and parents come into contact with, and they need to represent the school and district well. Therefore, many school clerk interview questions are about a candidate's knowledge on these topics. According to the Principal's Pal website, a common question is, "Why will our school be better by hiring you?" This allows the interviewee to demonstrate her knowledge of the school and apply his/her individual experience in his/her answer. For example, a good answer may be, "I know the school is one of the best in the state for its bilingual program, and I fluently speak Spanish. I would have no problems communicating with native Spanish-speaking parents and students."

Principal questions

Many school clerks report directly to the school principal, as well as provide him/her administrative support. Some interview questions are focused on this potential work relationship and personality match. For example, one question may be, "How would you describe a successful principal?" The interviewer is typically looking for an answer that will demonstrate that the interviewee's philosophy on the principal's role fits with the actual person in the position. For a school clerk position, an appropriate answer to this interview question may be, "For me, a successful principal is someone who can lead a diverse team of individuals, and motivate them to reach overall district goals. I think a principal should care about the teachers, students and parents equally."

Attitude and demeanor questions

Most school clerks will be faced with challenging situations in the school's front office. He/She may have to deal with angry parents, frustrated or belligerent students and crisis situations. When the school has an emergency, he/she is often the one who must field the calls from worried parents and stay calm in hectic situations. Some common attitude and overall demeanour questions may include, "What do you do to handle frustrating situations?" and "Tell me about a situation where you had three things to do at once. How did you prioritise and handle things?" The best answers for these types of question are basically giving an example of how you handled a past emergency in a calm, collected manner. Emphasise how the situation was quickly remedied and how all parties left it feeling satisfied.

Skill set questions

Most school clerks need to have proficient telephone, computer and writing skills. Skill set interview questions may include, "What is the most complicated thing you've done on Excel?" or "Tell me about your experience with presentation software." Other questions may include, "Tell me about how you've handled confidential information in the past." For these questions, just give real-life, honest examples that prove you have competence in these areas.

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