Skills Recruiters Look for in Clerical Candidates


Clerical assistant skills are essential to the day-to-day operations of every office. While many clerical assistant jobs are considered to be interchangeable, the skills, training, and education required to perform certain tasks are actually quite unique to each job description. These days, most jobs require the use of computers, which means that all employees are expected to have basic computer skills. But there are certain tasks like filing, updating patient or client information, and data entry that can and should only be performed by trained clerical assistants.

If you need to hire a skilled clerical worker like a secretary, administrative assistant, or receptionist, keep reading to find out what you should be looking for in your candidates.

What Is Clerical Work and What Does It Entail?

Before you start your search for the appropriate candidate, it’s important to understand clerical job requirements as they pertain to your company. Every company has its own culture and system for doing things. Additionally, not all clerical positions are one and the same. Depending on the size of your company and the number of people or departments each clerical worker will be serving or working with, you need to outline the stipulations of the role and customize it for your needs.

The stipulations of the job also depend on the type of clerical work that needs to be done. Clerical work can involve the following tasks:

  • Answering phones and e-mails
  • Greeting patients or customers
  • Data entry
  • Updating patient or customer files
  • Word processing
  • Typing or taking dictation
  • Photocopying documents
  • Booking appointments
  • Keeping records
  • Taking minutes at meetings
  • Organizing important files
  • Minor bookkeeping for the office

Clerical workers like secretaries and receptionists are expected to complete these types of tasks and act as a liaison between departmental workers as well as between customers and the company.

Examples of clerical jobs include the following:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Receptionists
  • Customer service representatives
  • Secretaries
  • Administrative assistants
  • Data entry clerks

What Are the Necessary Administrative Assistant Clerical Skills?

When it comes to finding the right candidate for the job, many hiring managers might find themselves asking, “what are some good clerical skills?” or “what does a clerical assistant do?”.
Despite the fact that not all clerical job descriptions are exactly the same, there are certain generic transferrable skills that are necessary for most clerical jobs across the board. Here are some of the general skills and experience you should be looking for when hiring a clerical worker for your company.

Attention to Detail

Data entry, including creating new files and updating existing ones, is an important aspect of any clerical job. And that means the person you hire needs to have exceptional attention to detail because even the slightest error can cause some major issues for your business and your clients. This is especially true if you work in a medical facility that relies on updated patient information for insurance purposes and billing. Clerical workers need to be extra careful when entering information into office databases and ensure that all data is accurate and there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

Excellent Time Management Skills

Oftentimes, clerical workers work in fast-paced environments like legal offices or medical facilities where excellent time management skills in addition to close attention to detail are paramount. Catering to the needs of the business and customers at the same time is a tough job, but clerical workers with superb time management skills should be able to aptly handle the daily demands of their job.

Great Verbal and Written Communication Skills

Since clerical workers like administrative assistants, secretaries, and receptionists are the first point of contact for your business, it’s important that they have excellent communication skills in general. From sending e-mails to making notes on client files and using a polite and courteous speaking voice both in person and on the phone, clerical workers represent your company and should do so in a professional manner.

Computer Skills

Clerks, secretaries, administrative assistants, and bookkeepers must have exceptional computer skills. Most of their jobs entail working with various computer programs including Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, QuickBooks, etc. Fast and accurate typing abilities are an absolute must. On top of that, clerical workers should also have highly adaptable computer skills so that they can easily learn to use new and different programs as they progress their careers. New technologies and updated softwares are constantly being released and it’s important that clerical workers are able to keep up with the demand for new skills.

Exceptional Organizational Skills

Offices depend largely on clerical workers to maintain a detailed organizational and filing system. Since clerical workers are responsible for the majority of the filing and data entry in an office setting, it’s important that they come up with a feasible and manageable organizational system that works for the whole office. This includes signing for mail, ensuring all documents are delivered to the correct recipient, overseeing office operations, photocopying and collating documents, helping to plan inter-office events, and helping to boost efficiency in the workplace.
As the backbone of the office system, clerical workers are usually privy to all the goings-on of the office environment and should leverage this knowledge to improve working conditions for themselves and their coworkers, while also providing the necessary support.

Are you looking for a qualified clerical assistant for your office, but need help finding candidates with the right skills and experience?

Resolve Recruit Inc. has a vast database of highly qualified clerical workers throughout Toronto and the GTA. From recruiting to interviewing and on-boarding, we can help you polish your hiring process to ensure that you find the right administrative assistant for your company. We’ll guide you through every step of the hiring process. Contact us today to learn more.