Clerical staff and administrative assistants perform a wide range of basic administrative duties. As such, they are employed in many different settings, including hospitals, law offices, school districts, and manufacturing facilities. The Department of Labor indicates the wide variance in clerical duties; less experienced administrative staff often answer phone calls and handle day-to-day tasks while more experienced clerks are tasked with maintaining spreadsheets, taking inventories, and supervising other staff. This, as you might expect, leads to differing pay rates with less experienced administrative assistants earning minimum wage and more experienced hires commanding a higher hourly rate.
Regardless of the level of the position, there are some qualities that are universally important for all successful administrative assistants. Flexibility, reliability and cooperativeness are some of the most common personality traits employers seek when looking to hire office staff. Basic skills such as communication, reading comprehension, spelling, grammar, and attention to detail are crucial as well. Depending on the responsibilities, customer service skills, basic computer skills, and comfort with math may also be considered. Employers that use Criteria's tests to evaluate applicants for clerical positions typically use the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST), sometimes pairing it with a personality test such as the Employee Personality Profile (EPP).
The minimum educational requirement for clerical positions is typically a high school diploma or GED. Depending on the company's needs, proficiency in computer work or another specialization may be needed. In this case it may be in the best interests of employers to administer specific computer skills tests that measure proficiencies related to their job responsibilities.
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Rank in HireSelect:
4 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
$30,820/year or $14.82/hr
Expected growth rate 2012-2022:
Number employed (2014): 2,889,970
Education level of Clerical (Office):