Why this matters:

While most accounting skills can and should be taught to an entry level accounting clerk, attention to detail is a must-have for any accounting professional. Errors cost time and money when left undetected, so learning which strategies a candidate uses to ensure accuracy can give you confidence that they will thoroughly check their work.

What to listen for:

  • Attention to detail in all aspects of their work
  • Knowledge of specific strategies for quality control such as cross-checking
  • Commitment to actively finding and fixing any accounting errors

Why this matters:

A strong candidate will already have some training with bookkeeping and accounting software, or at least a familiarity with the most common types of accounting technology. This question will help you to understand the depth of a candidate’s experience, and how much training they will need to work with your team.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of QuickBooks, Excel, Hyperion, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Oracle Enterprise Manager
  • Experience with your company’s preferred accounting software
  • A demonstrated willingness and ability to learn new technologies

Why this matters:

Accounting clerks support the financial department, and typically answer to one or more senior accounting professionals. As a result, their schedules and responsibilities tend to vary based on the administrative needs of the larger team. Candidates who excel in the position will know how to manage their time effectively and independently.

What to listen for:

  • Comfort with managing multiple tasks at once
  • An understanding of how to prioritize their responsibilities
  • Awareness of teamwork and the importance of communicating with coworkers to strategize workflow

 

Why this matters:

The accounting clerk entry-level position is for a candidate who ideally wants to grow to be an accountant or otherwise a more senior financial professional. This question can show a candidate’s ability to lead a team — or contribute meaningfully to a shared goal. It will also reveal their willingness to be a self-starter and take initiative.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated examples of using problem solving skills under pressure
  • A readiness to adapt, learn, and grow from challenges as a professional
  • Ability to self-start and take initiative when leadership opportunities arise

Why this matters:

No one is perfect, and even seasoned professionals make mistakes. What matters most is how people handle failures, learn from their mistakes, and take steps to avoid future errors. While your accounting clerk must be committed to quality control, they must also be accountable for their errors, rather than blaming others, and learn to remedy them going forward.

What to listen for:

  • An acknowledgement of past mistakes and room for growth
  • A readiness to learn from errors and ask questions from those with more experience
  • A proactive approach to problem solving and commitment to continuous improvement

Why this matters:

This question will help you understand how comfortable the candidate is with juggling multiple projects at once or managing workflows under pressure. Tight deadlines are common for accounting clerks, so they must be prepared to work efficiently, delegate tasks, create and ask for support when they need it.

What to listen for:

  • A readiness to face challenges head-on with a positive attitude
  • A demonstrated ability to prioritize work and ask for support when needed
  • Reference to time management skills and planning ahead of their work

Why this matters:

Accounting clerk is an entry-level position with room for growth in other areas of the accounting field. With a clear understanding of what drives your candidates and their career objectives and interests, you can better determine if they’ll thrive at your company, and whether they will be interested in staying onboard for a long period of time.

What to listen for:

  • Ambition and passion for accounting, finance, and the organization itself
  • A strong interest in career longevity as related to the accounting field
  • An eagerness to learn and grow with support from upper management

 

Why this matters:

While accounting clerks work with numbers, it also benefits them to have strong communication skills, as they are regularly required to discuss and present financial data to coworkers and clients alike. This question will help recruiters understand a candidate’s communication skills.

 

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated comfort with discussing financial information
  • A willingness to explain concepts without becoming defensive or frustrated
  • Strong communication skills, especially interpersonal communication skills

Why this matters:

Accounting clerks often work with senior level professionals, and it’s important that they demonstrate a willingness to communicate problems to their colleagues. This question allows the candidate to showcase how they choose their battles, stick up for what they believe in, and manage up, if needed.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated maturity and a readiness to constructively resolve conflicts
  • A preference for direct and open communication, especially for problem solving
  • Enthusiasm for teamwork and proactive collaboration with their colleagues
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