Attention to detail is vital to your role as a court clerk. You will be managing essential documents and information that affects individuals livelihood as well as businesses and government entities. Assure the interviewer that you embody precision and accuracy.
"I noticed an error in a legal document just hours before the deadline when I was proofing the info for a big case. It was missing some information, and I could not get a hold of the lawyer. I searched my records and pulled my resources to fill in the missing information."
"When completing my Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, I am proud to say that I graduated top of my class. My attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines and particular research skills are what earned me that status."
"A fellow court clerk was out sick for her trial, so I stepped in to cover for her. While I was getting all of her documents together, about an hour before showtime, I found that she had paperwork from another case mixed in. I had one hour to go back through her paperwork. I focused and got the job done."
As a court clerk, you have a lot of great qualities that would make you an excellent candidate for the job. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived. Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This could include any industry accolades, individual achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.
"You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started my career, I was the youngest court clerk that particular municipality had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the most productive employee they had. I am dedicated to my craft and engaged in this industry to the point where I commit myself to taking at least one legal development or leadership related workshop every year. I am a competitive achiever. You won't be disappointed when you hire me."
"I'm qualified and passionate about being a court clerk. I am excited about the idea of delivering value to your jurisdiction and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your clients and cases."
"I have over a dozen years of experience as a court clerk. I have a proven track record of successes and will bring that knowledge, not only of the legal system but also how to train junior court clerks. Having been a part of the industry for nearly half of my life, I have seen a ton of change and have adapted to every policy change or innovation with ease and excitement."
The interviewer wants to know more about your work history. When asked by the interviewer about your career, focus on the positive! Explain how this environment is a perfect fit for you as you talk about what you enjoy. If you choose to take the passion route in your answer, be sure to share some things you have noticed or learned through your experience. When you share anything you dislike, make it constructive. Try not to focus on aspects of the environment that are trivial.
"I have had an extremely positive experience in my court clerk career so far. My interest in the judicial system and being a part of something that can make a greater impact is so meaningful to me. Every job has its ups and downs but, honestly, I prefer to focus on the meaningful and fulfilling parts of this career path."
"I have one year of experience as a court clerk. Because I'm a very organized and detailed oriented person, I enjoy being able to pull of the documentation for the case and review it for accuracy. I dislike the long hours it can create, but it is all worth it at the end."
"I have been a court clerk for fifteen years now and love this career path, overall. If I had to choose one downside, it would be when a client is rude or feeling anxious and chooses to take it out on me. The positive side is that I can steer them in a positive direction by showing them I am there to assist, and make their life simpler."
When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities.
"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."
"I determine priorities based on project value and deadline. The most engaged clients get my attention and the fastest turnaround."
"Assuming that the projects have different stakeholders, I interview each to determine the value of increased productivity, morale or revenue, decreased costs, and the overall impact."
Stress management will be essential for you to be able to handle tight deadlines, massive amounts of paperwork and demanding clients. Before answering this question, think of some tools that have helped you manage your stress. What will you do when you can't take a break when you need it? How will you stay calm when dealing with those challenging personalities? Share any helpful techniques that you use every day to remain clear-headed in some of the most stressful scenarios.
"I've learned not to take words or actions of stressed clients personally. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a deadline and being pulled in too many directions, I can ground myself to ensure that my work is correct and properly filed."
"If I am faced with stressful situations I've found that asking for help is beneficial. Being able to share the load makes the situation easier. In return, I am always willing to help my colleagues when they need it."
"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."
Interviewers just want to hear that you are committed to this role and that you intend to be there long-term. A simple 'I want this job' can do more for you than you may think! Show the interviewer that you are committed to this interview by discussing what you learned from their website and talking about what intrigues you about the role. Openly share with the interviewer why this job is the best opportunity for you.
"I want this job. Aside from it being close to my home, this role aligns perfectly with my post-secondary training and long-term career interests. If you were to offer me this role, you would not be disappointed."
"I am looking for a great start to my career as a court clerk and have heard excellent things about your team. I believe this is the best possible start to my career, and I look forward to showing you what I can do!"
"In my current position, I answer questions regarding judicial procedures, court appearances, trial dates, adjournments, outstanding warrants, summonses, subpoenas, witness fees, and payment of fines. Your vacancy states that the court clerk will search files, contact witnesses, attorneys, and litigants, to obtain information for the court. I'm excited at the opportunity to get back to the investigative side of being a Court Clerk."
While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned in your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work as a court clerk. Some of these skills could include: - Time Management - Creative Thinking - Business Writing - Public Speaking - Presentation Building - Independent Learning - Academic Research - Self-Motivation
"I've earned my BS in Criminology and utilized my degree in my last court clerk position. In addition to understanding the legal jargon and other components related to this career path, my post-secondary education also molded my abilities in research, writing, and communication."
"I just finished my degree in Criminology. In addition to the knowledge base, I also learned excellent time management and research habits. I look forward to being able to use my degree and my last year of volunteer experience at this courthouse."
"I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in Communication and Journalism. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger relationships through professional correspondence. I also learned persuasive writing skills which have proven to be incredibly helpful when working on some court documents."
Due to a wide variety of personalities, relationships can take time to form. How do you ensure that you have a strong line of communication with your co-workers and supervisors, right from the start?
"I understand that some relationships come quickly and others take time to nurture. When starting a new job all that I can do is be my true self and let my personality, integrity, and reliability speak for itself."
"I show up on time and dressed appropriately. I spend as much time as I can getting to know my new coworkers and telling them about myself and my family. It is important to understand people on a bit of a personal level to know how to approach them."
"First impressions are everything, and I make a strong attempt to build relationships with all of my peers right up front at starting a new job. I make an introduction and ask discovery questions to learn how I can best support them when working together. It is also important to gain insight into their preferred methods of communications."
Being a clear communicator, in written form, is a very important skill to master. Have you taken any courses in communication and writing? Are you confident in your written communication skills? Talk to the interviewer about your written communication abilities and support your answer with a brief example or story.
"I would describe my written communication skills as very strong and would rate myself as a 9/10. I have always had a penchant for writing and have taken university courses related to communication, writing, and journalism."
"My written communication skills are very strong. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. They provide a great resource for associates to go back to, and reference, plus they might answer any questions that come up along the way."
"I have above average written communication skills. I am an experienced writer and have also written many court documents and judicial procedures in my career. I would describe my written communication skills as clear, concise, and thorough."
As a court clerk, you have responsibilities within the courtroom. Tell the interviewer how you manage juror lists and roll call. Discuss any issues with jurors when directing them on their steps in the process and how you resolved them. Demonstrate your knowledge and experience by talking about a trial in the past.
"I'm quite comfortable in the courtroom. I'm able to keep everyone on track and keep trials from getting off course."
"I would handle jurors in a trial with respect. I would be a helpful member of the team and answer as many questions as possible, and as thoroughly as I could."
"As a fellow member of the legal team, I respect all members to include Jurors. They are there to do a job, so I support and respect them the entire way."
A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
When the interviewer asks about your work ethic, they are looking for specific examples or keywords they can relate to. When you read the job posting or job description, do they refer to particular organizational ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your personal work values.
"I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on your website that you describe your vision as honest, transparent and you go the extra mile for your clients. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my employer every day."
"I am honest, dependable, and hard working. I am sure that any of my coworkers would agree."
"My work ethic can be described as reliable, honest, and consistent. You are welcome to speak to my references in regards to my work ethic. I am very proud of my reputation in the industry."
Are you the individual who prefers to know what the routine will be, or do you thrive on the challenge and excitement of unpredictability?
"I prefer working in a more predictable environment because I can be more effective in my tasks. With that said, I can certainly work in an unpredictable environment from time to time."
"I am accustomed to working in an unpredictable environment and tend to prefer that pace. It's fast and makes every day different. I certainly enjoy the challenge!"
"I am comfortable either way, but I would probably grow bored if nothing ever changed. Having a few days of status quo now and then is good for my sanity though."
It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position.
"Ideally, five years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within the court system. My career interests align very nicely with your company's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."
"In 5 years I would like to be seen as an authority in the clerk department. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here."
"Five years from now, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of my own. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility."
Companies will have confidentiality agreements for a variety of reasons. These could be to protect their trade secrets or to ensure that you do not bring clients over on the occasion that you leave their company. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on confidentiality agreements.
"I never have, to my knowledge, broken a confidentiality agreement. Despite my reasons for leaving a position, I would never choose to hurt a previous employer in any way."
"No. I have only once had a confidentiality agreement and had no problem adhering to it."
"Confidentiality agreements are necessary and important to protect an organization. I understand the need for confidentiality and take those factors very seriously. I have never broken the trust of my employer."
As a court clerk, you may have had the opportunity to supervise an individual that you found challenging. Briefly discuss why this employee was challenging without using their name or too many details. Similar to questions asking about problem-solving or when you made a mistake, focus your answer on the solution. Your reaction to the situation is far more important to the interviewer than the problem itself. Explain your approach and why you decided to handle the situation in that manner.
"When I encounter a difficult employee, especially in a group setting, I like to observe the situation so I can evaluate the members' strengths. Once identified I could re-direct them to work on something that they will excel at instead of bringing down the team."
"I have not had the opportunity to be a manager as of yet; however, I would handle an under-performing employee the way I have observed my professors working with under-performing students. You give them the tools to succeed; however, you cannot hold their hand through the entire process."
"A fellow court clerk was finishing his education at night so that he could apply to law school. He was falling asleep at work, couldn't concentrate and was falling behind on his work. I brought my concern to him, and he ultimately decided he would take a leave of absence to give 100% to his studies. I supported his decision and am very proud of his accomplishments."
As a court clerk, you may have had the opportunity to be in a supervisory role. Tell the interviewer your ability to train others, take the initiative to solve problems and listen to clients and other staff members. If you feel your leadership experience is limited, reflect on your education and your interactions with clients and coworkers in your previous roles. Your willingness to take the lead shows you are an active leader.
"At my current position I serve as a mentor to a junior court clerk. I'm able to help him along in his career, provide advice, give on-the-job training and allow him to assist me in cases to gain more experience."
"I have not had the opportunity to serve in a leadership role. I'm confident that my knowledge and five years of experience have prepared me to step up and take the lead."
"I have taken many workshops and courses to improve my leadership skills over the years. My leadership qualities are best summed as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize my employees' small wins because that motivates them to continue achieving."
When proofing documents, there may be times you find errors or incomplete sections. You may see a problem that you're not quite sure how to solve. Draw from your education, training or professional work experience to give an example. Share tools, ideas or creative solutions that helped you solve the problem.
"Our supply order had been coming up short on legal forms each month. I was able to research our invoices and discovered that we were being shorted 100 forms per month due to an unclear order request. I was able to get the order fixed immediately and our invoices prorated."
"I received a challenging case study when I was studying for my Bachelor's Degree in Criminology. The amount of research was overwhelming, so I chose to break the research into a few groups over a few days. This solution helped me to concentrate and remain on task."
"A few weeks ago I had a hard time finding any information on one of our cases. I determined that the name was an alias and had to do a little digging to find their legal name. Once I identified the correct name, I was able to pull the required information for presentation."
As a court clerk, you face challenging situations on a daily basis. You may encounter difficult personalities. You may need to spend time motivating and training your clerical staff. Sometimes each task is relatively easy to accomplish; it's just everything at once that can become a challenge.
"My biggest challenge as a court clerk was learning all of the legal jargon. It's endless! I spent many hours studying, working weekends, and taking additional coursework so that I could come to work confidently in my knowledge."
"When I first became a court clerk it was challenging not having a legal background. I had amazing mentors that guided me along the way, and feel that I have now created a great pace for myself in this career."
"I supervised two entry-level staff members in my last role. Both were fairly new and needed quite a bit of direction from me. At the same time, I was managing paperwork during a busy time, and it got to be a lot to handle. I took time daily to prioritize and check in with my staff. Through creating a routine and learning how to manage my time effectively, I was able to support my team."
Are you determined to complete your tasks on time or do you frequently miss deadlines? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to act diligently on the job and work well under pressure.
"Last month I had a client who made a lot of additional and last minute changes to our file. Despite the changes, our deadline remained the same. The lead lawyer on the case was becoming stressed that we would not meet our deadline so I agreed to stay late three nights that week to ensure that all expectations were met."
"Tight deadlines seem to be the norm in the legal world. If I am faced with a stringent deadline, I am prepared to take work home with me, or work overtime, to get the job done."
"Last week we had a case that needed to be ready in 24 hours. I formed a team of 3 court clerks, assigned them duties and presented all the required information to the team within 12 hours."
Before your interview, you may want to find out if they have a bottom line for the speed they expect from you when it comes to typing. If you're not sure, now is the time to ask! Consider taking a test online to brush up on your skills. Speed and accuracy will be necessary for this role. Make sure you feel confident in your abilities so that you give an assured answer.
"I was recently tested on my typing speed. I can type 87 words per minute with an accuracy rate of 97%. Is this the skill level you are seeking for this court clerk position?"
"I can type 70 words per minute. My accuracy is 92%. I recently took a typing class that greatly increased my skill level."
"I have never seen my typing skills or speed as an issue. I have not been tested recently but can assure you that I am well experienced in the area of typing and accuracy."
The interviewer would like to know if you are satisfied with your interview performance. Be honest when you answer this. If there have been awkward lulls in your interview, or poor answers, you both know that it has happened. Own up to those moments and do your best to recover! If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: "I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?"
"If you feel that your performance in the interview is not going well: "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more that I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."
"I feel confident about our discussion today and am looking forward to the next steps in the interview process."
Court clerks are responsible for performing a wide range of administrative tasks in the civil and criminal justice systems. They may work in district or bankruptcy courts, the Supreme Court, or a court of appeals. Their duties include administering oaths to jurors and witnesses, maintaining court records and authenticating court orders and judgments amongst others. Court clerks may work at the municipality, state or federal levels.
A high school diploma may be sufficient to get an entry-level court clerk position in a smaller court but this has limited advancement opportunities. A better way to start your career as a court clerk is by completing a bachelor's or associate's degree in administrative assisting, the criminal justice system or any other field related to the justice system. Working in the federal court required advanced education in law. Extensive knowledge of legal procedures is essential for anyone looking to pursue a career in this field. Court clerks must also have strong business management, accounting, word processing and budgeting skills.
At your interview, the interviewer will want to determine if you know exactly what the job involves and if you have what it takes to work as a court clerk. They will also want to know more about your short and long term career goals. Finding the right answers can sometimes prove to be difficult, especially when you are under pressure to perform well. The best way to be more confident at your court clerk interview is to be prepared. At Mock Questions, you will find several questions that interviewers often ask at court clerk interviews. You can prepare for your interview by practicing your answers to these questions.