Updated on November 2nd, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
Working as an attendance clerk in the school system can be stressful. How well do you handle stress and pressure?
How to Answer
Entry Level Example
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know that you can handle the stress associated with being responsible for droves of students at all times. To answer this question, start by giving an example of a situation where you were faced with a stressful situation and you managed it well.
"Whenever I feel overwhelmed with work, I try to divide it into parts and prioritize it by importance. In my last job, when one of my colleagues went out on holidays and another one fell sick, my workload greatly increased. I decided to take up the challenge and worked over time. My supervisor was pleased and treated me to lunch."
Entry Level Example
"I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
"I am often under deadline when it comes to providing teachers and school administrators with reports detailing student attendance observations. I know this stress will not go away because my work duties are my work duties. Stress is part of any demanding job, and I embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."
Being an attendance clerk requires you to negotiate with your students quite often! The interviewer wants to know if you are capable of negotiating when needed. Tell the interviewer about some situation where you had to use your negotiation skills. It will be useful to mention how often you have to use this ability in your job and how successful you are.
"Negotiating is a very regular part of my job. I have to regularly use this skill while communicating with the students, teachers and sometimes the maintenance staff. The last time I had to use my negotiation skills was when things got stuck in calculating the holiday benefits for the employees. The administration wanted to make some cuts while the employees were not in favor of this. I mediated and explained to the employees the reason behind this decision. I explained to the administration that it was unfair to dismiss the benefits. We reached a mid-ground, and everyone was happy."
Entry Level Example
"I imagine that an attendance clerk would need to use negotiation skills when giving out tardy notes, verifying the authenticity of absence notes or calling parents of students to verify absences. I have a small background in retail sales, in a commission driven background, so I am confident in my negotiation abilities."
"My negotiation skills are strong! Working with kids for so long, and being a parent myself, I have had no choice but to hone my negotiations skills."
Tell me about your experience in handling challenging parents.
How to Answer
Entry Level Example
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How to Answer
As an attendance clerk, you will have to collaborate with challenging parents, as well! The interviewer would like to know that you would handle this type of situation professionally, and with class. You can share a specific example or just state how you would react if faced with this situation.
"Being in this profession, it is not uncommon to come across problematic parents from time to time. Dealing with them is pretty simple for me. You just have to listen to their problem, talk to them, and try to figure out a satisfactory solution. I believe in open conversation with parents, and students."
Entry Level Example
"Parents can be protective of their children so I understand they may become defensive if they think their child has been unfairly disciplined for tardiness, for instance. If this were to happen, I would remind the parent that dedication to their kids education is important."
"I am sure that I have been a challenging parent myself, from time to time! I try to have empathy for everyone's situation. If a parent is giving me pushback, I will ask them if there is anything I can do to help make their situation easier. That calms them down and opens up communication."
The interviewer would like to know more about what drives you to be in this line of work. When answering this question, you can incorporate a personal story. You could also talk about what inspired you to become an attendance clerk in the first place. Make sure you go through the job description while preparing the answer to this question. You can use some of the responsibilities mentioned in the job description for developing your response.
"I always wanted to be in an educational administrative role. I believe that by being an attendance clerk I can get closer to my objective. Also, I love the sense of responsibility that comes with this job."
Entry Level Example
"I love working with kids and also the administrative responsibilities associated with the role. My level of organization is high, and my dedication is strong. I know I will be successful in this role."
"I first became an attendance clerk after I had kids. It was my way of being near them while working a schedule that mirrored theirs. They have graduated now, but I still love the work. It feels good to be around kids and help them to stay accountable, from a young age to their success in school."
Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or co-worker? How did you handle the situation?
How to Answer
Entry Level Example
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to know how you handle conflict, and how you behave in a team situation. Do you end up having conflicts on a regular basis or are you a team player who always slides away without difficulty in conflicting situations? Avoid saying anything negative about your team member or the supervisor and also avoid praising yourself too much.
"I avoid conflicts with my team members as I believe in clear communication whenever any issues are present. There is no reason to have tension in the workplace if you are honest, transparent and an effective communicator."
Entry Level Example
"Conflict is certainly not something that I seek. There was one incident when a coworker was constantly dumping his work on my desk. He wasn't doing it to be rude; he just didn't understand the full spec of his responsibilities, or mine. Once he knew about our process, he understood his error and apologized. We have worked very well together since then."
"Earlier in my career, I worked at a school with a principal who led the school more like a dictatorship. I did not agree with his approach but rather than creating a fuss; I looked for another position. I did not believe that I could have changed his ways so, in that situation, it was best I moved on."
6. When have you worked among a diverse group of people? Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? As an attendance clerk, you will have to interact with different types of people and situations. Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity. Here is an answer example: "I have been working as an attendance clerk for past six years, and in this time span I have worked with, and for, people from several backgrounds. I feel very comfortable with diversity and adapt easily to new situations." Here is an entry level answer example: "I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have worked with diverse groups all of my career. For instance, in my current job, I get to work with teachers, ground staff, and higher management of the school. Despite the wide variety of people I get to interact with, I have never faced any conflicts at work due to diversity."7. Do you have any questions for me? Before your interview, make sure you conduct research on the school and thoroughly review the job description for any clarification you may need on the position. Asking intelligent questions demonstrates to the interviewer your level of interest in their position.
Ask questions regarding workplace culture, traits they are looking for in the ideal candidate, and if there is anything not listed in the job description that they would like to share.
Typically, pay is not discussed during first interviews, so avoid asking any compensation related questions if this is an early stage interview. Here is an answer example: "From what I understand this is a newly created position, so can you tell me how you identified the need and what types of duties may not be listed in the job description? I would love to further understand a day in the life of an attendance clerk with your school." Here is an entry level answer example: "Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this position filled?
- How long has this role been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role?
- What is your favorite part of working here?
- What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not move me to the next stage of interviews?" Here is an experienced answer example: "Absolutely! What are you looking for in an ideal candidate? What type of pain points is your school currently experiencing? And lastly, what is the last attendance policy your team implemented and how is it going?"8. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Many interviewers will start off with this question, which could throw you off a bit. You've done all of this research on the company but have you prepared to talk about yourself?
The interviewer is looking for relevant information to the position for which you applied. Respond by mentioning your education, how many years of experience you have in your field, and be sure give some details about your most current position. Conclude your response with a statement about what you are looking for in a role at this time. Here is an answer example: "I have a diploma in Administration. I have three years of experience in Marketing, and Communications, prior to entering the education industry. My most recent position was at our local elementary school, and I'm currently looking for a position with a larger range of duties, which is why I applied to your high school." Here is an entry level answer example: "I started my career in retail very young. In fact, my first job at sixteen was as a sales associate at a large department store. I returned to college to obtain my teachers assistant certificate am currently looking to take my education to work for me in the school system." Here is an experienced answer example: "With pleasure! I have over ten years experience in an administration role. On a more personal note, I love to read, go hiking and spend a lot of my extra time volunteering with the humane society."9. What qualities do you think an attendance clerk should have? This question requires detailed research into the job description. Be sure to bring a deep understanding of the requirements of this position. An excellent way to answer this question is to give a small but useful list of the qualities you believe a talented attendance clerk should possess. Here is an answer example: "I believe that an attendance clerk should be quick-witted, have strong attention to detail, and be reliable. I see these are all qualities that you are looking for and I am pleased to say that they describe me to a tee!" Here is an entry level answer example: "Some of the qualities that you can mention here are:
- Attention to detail
- Time Management
- Good communication skills
- Trustworthiness" Here is an experienced answer example: "An attendance clerk should be personable, pay strong attention to the patterns of their students, and be able to analyze data. I have found that, in addition to these qualities, it's been helpful for me in my attendance clerk career to be tech-savvy."10. What programs/software are you most experienced in? When answering this question, you just need to tell the interviewer about what programs and software you have been using in your past positions, or even at home. Your answer will help in determining if you are capable of handling their current software or program. The software they use is likely mentioned in the job description, so take a look and be prepared to discuss it in the interview. Here is an answer example: "I am very well versed in the Microsoft Suite and would consider myself an intermediate level user when it comes to creating spreadsheets in Excel. I am very comfortable and quick when it comes to learning new software and programs." Here is an entry level answer example: "I am very computer savvy and am confident in my ability to pick up the software that you use here. If you'd like to share with me the names of the programs I will be using most frequently, I am happy to start learning them through online tutorials." Here is an experienced answer example: "I saw in your job description that you use Personify for your internal attendance system. I used this program in my previous position for five years and would rate myself as an expert user."11. Do you have experience in handling challenging students? The interviewer wants to know how you deal with challenging students. As an attendance clerk, you will likely face several situations in which you will have to deal with tough students.
You can use a real-life example or simply mention how you would handle it should you find yourself in that type of situation. Here is an answer example: "I have been handling challenging students as a part of my job on a regular basis. There is always a student who doesn't like attending classes on a regular basis and doesn't have the required attendance to pass their grade. I try to speak to the student to figure out if the problem can be resolved on my own. If that's not the case, then I contact the school counselor who will contact the parents for resolution." Here is an entry level answer example: "If would not hesitate to reach out to the principal if a student was consistently challenging me. From there, the student's parents would become involved. That course of action would likely fix the student's behavior." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have a great deal of experience with challenging students. I find that they usually want some attention, and to be heard. I have compassion for these students who act out. If the situation is more severe, I will bring the behaviors up to the school counselor."12. When you come across a school policy that you do not necessarily agree with, what do you do? There is always a moment in our jobs when we come across decisions or policy with which we may not agree. What is your reaction in such situations? Take an example of a situation where you had a disagreement regarding some school policy and how you reacted in that situation. Did you argue or did you act wisely in that particular case? What was the result? Try to avoid exhibiting any negative expression. Here is an answer example: "Although I usually comply with all the policies of the schools I work with, there was one time when I didn't agree with how our school was handling a new anti-bullying policy. The new policy still did not include cyber-bullying. I discussed my concerns, professionally, with the principal and she chose to make some amendments." Here is an entry level answer example: "I am newer to the education industry so, at this time, I would not feel like I have the expertise to bring up my concerns about the policy. If I do have concerns, I will have a one on one conversation with my supervisor." Here is an experienced answer example: "Over my years as an attendance clerk, I have never come across a policy that I disagreed with enough to react to it. The school board is very thoughtful when creating policy and I fully trust they are putting the student's interest first."13. What type of work environment allows you to be the most productive? Are you able to be productive in any environment, or are there particular types of situations that you find distracting? Discuss your preferences with the interviewer. Be sure to research the kind of environment here. Here is an answer example: "I understand that your work environment is very collaborative. I come from a similar environment and found that I could be very productive when there was the 'buzz' of a team around me. I can also be productive in quieter environments although that isn't my preference." Here is an entry level answer example: "My ideal environment would be working indoors with my hands. I like working independently for the most part, but I like to have some interaction with people throughout the day. I am happy to work with many types of environments, but this is my preferred style, and where I am most productive." Here is an experienced answer example: "I work well in a busy, demanding environment that requires you to work smart in order to succeed. I am competitive in nature and love to be personally challenged."14. Your role as an attendance clerk will be very busy. How do you handle a larger than average workload? The interviewer wants to know that you can handle the workload required of you in this position and that you will not become overwhelmed if/when workloads unexpectedly increase.
The role of an attendance clerk does get very busy at times, and you may have to handle several tasks at the same time.
How do you tackle such situations? Do you succumb to pressure or do you have some fixed method of managing your work? Tell the interviewer about your way of managing your workload. Mention if you keep some buffer time for squeezing in some urgent task if they come up without prior intimation. Here is an answer example: "I agree with the fact that our job does get busy at times and it's difficult to manage work on those occasions. I follow a routine which involves making a list of the tasks that I have to do in a day and keeping some time extra for urgent or unplanned tasks." Here is an entry level answer example: "Here are some suggestions on how to handle a large workload:
- List your tasks and prioritize them
- Think of which functions add to the company's bottom line, and start there (Closest to the money!)
- Exhale. Relax for a minute and collect yourself
- Organize your tasks by which ones you can complete independently and which ones you need help with
- Take sufficient breaks, so you do not exhaust yourself
- Communicate your struggles with your leadership or team" Here is an experienced answer example: "I first take a step back and make a list of all the deliverable work that I have. Then, I prioritize the list by deadline and ease of completion. I always try to hit the easy tasks first and get them off my to-do list. Feeling like I am making progress keeps me motivated."15. Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader? The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader.
Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time.
Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading. Here is an answer example: "I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all about how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion." Here is an entry level answer example: "Yes, I think it is possible! What makes a great team member is not that they agree with everything but the level of respect and positive thought that goes into the person's communication style. It's okay to disagree you just have to communicate your thoughts professionally." Here is an experienced answer example: "I do feel that it's possible to be a good team member, whether or not I am in agreeance with the leader. In my previous roles, I have been able to get along very well with my leaders. Even if I do not necessarily agree with every decision, that is okay. They are the leader for a reason, right?"16. Are you available to work overtime, as needed? Tell the hiring manager about your ability to work overtime hours and on weekends, if needed. Be honest about your availability to avoid overselling yourself. If you have restrictions in your schedule, this is a good time to bring those up. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I am available to work overtime as needed. In my current position I am often relied upon to work additional hours and I am happy to do so in this role as well." Here is an entry level answer example: "Could you share with me the average weekly schedule? I can certainly make myself available at times, for overtime work." Here is an experienced answer example: "My preference is to work the same schedule as my kids, who are students at this school. I am; however, available to take work home or come in on the weekends as required."17. Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating. On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself? Here is an answer example: "I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything." Here is an entry level answer example: "I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator, so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure." Here is an experienced answer example: "I will rate myself an eight because I value communication but, just like most people, I have things to learn. Some ways that I ensure clear communication are by utilizing multiple methods of delivering messages, and I give ample time for questions before implementing changes."18. Are you comfortable being in a role where students may look up to you as a mentor? A significant part of your job, apart from the calculation of attendance, is also to help students whenever required. You may find yourself in a situation where some student might come to you for help. The intention behind this question is to see if you are capable of handling the role of a mentor as well. Here is an answer example: "I have two children of my own, so I am accustomed to guiding children through life. I feel that I have a responsibility towards my children and the kids of others. I am very comfortable being a mentor if there is a need." Here is an entry level answer example: "Yes, I am comfortable being in a role where students may see me as a mentor. I have volunteered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters in the past and am an extraordinary auntie to two fun nieces." Here is an experienced answer example: "I became aware of the mentor component when I worked as a teachers assistant, earlier in my career. I am comfortable, and capable when it comes to being a mentor to the students at my school. It's a pleasure and an honor to be a mentor."19. Why do you feel regular attendance is important for students? As an attendance clerk, you ought to understand the importance of the work that you are doing and also the importance of student attendance. Try not to sound negative or say anything negative about the students who are not regular attendees. Here is an answer example: "Regular attendance is important for students so they don't miss important lessons in class and can keep good grades. Regular attendance also creates strong habits for the students when they get into the workforce." Here is an entry level answer example: "Regular attendance is important for students because school is the first job that they have! It's a responsibility and a great way to enforce strong habits from the start." Here is an experienced answer example: "School is a responsibility and records are permanent. If a student is frequently absent, it may affect their opportunities for acceptance into a university, for example."20. Do you have any post-secondary education? Post-secondary education isn't always a requirement to be a successful attendance clerk. Talk to the interviewer about your educational background and ensure that it is a match for their needs. Here is an answer example: "I have a certificate in accounting, and also I am very well versed in the use of spreadsheets. Most of my knowledge comes from my on-the-job experience. Is post-secondary education a requirement for this position?" Here is an entry level answer example: "I have a diploma in administration. I feel that this diploma will help me in this role as an attendance clerk because it assisted me in gaining further proficiency in spreadsheets, organization, and data analysis." Here is an experienced answer example: "I do not have a formal post-secondary education; however, I have twelve years' experience working in an attendance clerk role. If there is any training you would like for me to have, I am happy to attend."21. If a student had more absences than usual, what would you do? As an attendance clerk, you will regularly come across situations where some students won't have the required attendance record in order to pass their grade. How do you react in such cases? Do you lose your temper with them, or do you keep calm and try to get to the bottom of the situation? This question will help the hiring manager to determine if you have the problem-solving skills required to be successful in this role. Here is an answer example: "If a student has more absences than average, I will bring up my concerns with the principal. It is then up to him or her to create a course of action to help the student increase their attendance record." Here is an entry level answer example: "As an attendance clerk, it is not within my training to make opinions on a student's dedication or home life situation. I need to be observant, organize attendance data, and then report as required to the principal." Here is an experienced answer example: "I care about my students, and if they are showing more absences than usual, I will keep an extra eye on them to make sure they do not fall behind unnecessarily. If there is a great concern, I will bring it up to the principal."22. What is your strongest administrative related skill? Everyone has some strengths and some weaknesses. Mention your strong points as an administrator. Try to go through the job description and see if you have been handling some of the essential activities mentioned in the job description in your past jobs. Your answer should help in striking the right chord with the hiring manager and will also ensure them that you know about the requirements of the position and will strengthen your chances of selection. Here is an answer example: "My strongest administrative skill is my ability to manage my time effectively as well as communicate efficiently and respectfully. These two help me in getting all my work done on time and also without any conflicts in the workplace." Here is an entry level answer example: "Here is a list of excellent administrative skills you may have:
- Technology or software skills
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Time management
- People management
- Data analysis
- Data management" Here is an experienced answer example: "I have been told by previous supervisors that my best administrative skill is my ability to make connections with the parents who I call regarding absences and tardiness. I am quick on the phone but lighthearted."23. Walk me through your career history. Do you have any experience working in a school system? The interviewer wants to know about your work experience related to the education industry. Your answer will help in determining if you have the desired knowledge and skills to perform this job well. You either have an experience working in a school system, or you don't. If you do not have experience working for an educational based facility, you may have experienced working in an environment of similar structure. Be sure to make that connection for the interviewer. Here is an answer example: "I have three years of experience as an attendance clerk and in this time span I have been handling tasks related to absences and tardiness. I am well versed in the requirements for this job." Here is an entry level answer example: "I am newer to my career; however, I do have experience in a school system through my practicum hours. I worked a few different support roles in a local elementary school including teachers' assistant, principal's assistant, and administrative assistant. I look forward to bringing this experience to work at your school." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have four years experience working as a volunteer teacher's assistant. After spending a great deal of time volunteering in the school system, I knew that I wanted to work in it full time. I applied at my kids' school for the attendance clerk role and have been performing well in this function ever since."24. Do you prefer to work independently or do you thrive in a team environment? This question will determine for the interviewer whether you are a team player or someone who works better independently. Make sure that you mention that you are comfortable with both settings. Try not to exaggerate your abilities to work in either of the settings. Just a simple explanation that you are comfortable with working in either set up as both of these are part of any regular job. Here is an answer example: "I believe that I am a combination of both a team player and an independent worker. I feel comfortable while working with a team but if there is a task that I have to handle all on my own, then I do that without any inhibitions as well." Here is an entry level answer example: "I have no preference! I can work autonomously and remain diligent. Teamwork is welcome as well. I love to learn from others." Here is an experienced answer example: "The majority of my career has been in an administrative function within the educational field. This exposure means that I work in a team setting. Although I am most used to a collaborative work environment, I am certainly able to be diligent when working on my own."25. Why are you the best attendance clerk for us? The objective of this question is to show what you believe makes you the best candidate for the job. Highlight the skills that you think make you the best candidate for this position. Be sure to mention any awards or accolades for your work in the past. Here is an answer example: "I believe that my administration skills along with my attention to detail and accuracy make me an excellent candidate for this job. I have always received praise for the quality of my work by my past supervisors." Here is an entry level answer example: "Here are some skills that would make you a stand-out candidate:
- Works well in cross-functional environments
- Experience around children
- Typing speed
- Writing skills
- Initiative and drive
- Positivity" Here is an experienced answer example: "In addition to my experience in an administrative role, I also bring five years' experience working for an educational facility as a teachers' assistant. I look forward to taking this experience to work for your school."
Writers for Attendance Clerk Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 06/05/2013 Last modified on: 11/02/2018
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