17 Records Management Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a records management professional, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

From hospitals to law firms, businesses of all sizes rely on the accurate and efficient management of records to keep their operations running smoothly. Records management employees are responsible for organizing and tracking all the paper and digital records a company produces. This often includes creating and maintaining databases of information, as well as developing and implementing retention schedules.

If you’re looking for a records management job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. One way to prepare for this important meeting is to learn how to answer records management interview questions before talking with an interviewer.

Employers look for records management employees who are trustworthy, reliable, well organized, and able to solve problems. You’ll also need physical strength and stamina, as well as knowledge of the best ways to clean different facilities and types of equipment. A records management interview is your chance to show that you’ve polished these skills to a shine. To help you get ready, we’ve listed records management questions and answers that will help you figure out what you want to say during an interview.

Are you familiar with the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 15489 standard?

The ISO 15489 standard is a set of guidelines for records management. It includes information about how to create and maintain an organization’s records, as well as the procedures that should be in place to ensure compliance with legal requirements. An interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience working within a records management system that complies with the ISO 15489 standard. In your answer, try to explain why you think it’s important to comply with these standards.

Example: “I am familiar with the ISO 15489 standard. I worked at my previous company for five years, where we implemented the ISO 15489 standard when creating our records management system. This was beneficial because it helped us stay compliant with state and federal regulations regarding record keeping. We also found that implementing the ISO 15489 standard made it easier to train new employees on our records management system.”

What are the different types of records you would store in an active file?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your knowledge of records management. It also helps them understand how you would organize files and folders in an active file. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list the different types of records that are typically stored in an active file. You can also explain why these records are important to store in an active file.

Example: “There are three main types of records I would store in an active file. The first type of record is temporary records, which are documents that need to be kept for only a short period of time. These records may include receipts or invoices that need to be filed until they’re reconciled with other documents. Another type of record is inactive records, which are documents that have been filed away but still need to be accessible at some point. For example, if someone requests a document that was previously filed away, we would need to retrieve it from our inactive file.”

How would you define the lifecycle of a record? Can you provide an example?

The lifecycle of a record is an important concept to understand in records management. The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your knowledge of the lifecycle and how it applies to records management processes. In your answer, define what a record’s lifecycle is and provide an example of how you would apply the lifecycle to a real-world situation.

Example: “The lifecycle of a record refers to the entire process that a record goes through from its creation to its disposal. There are five stages in the lifecycle of a record, including active, inactive, scheduled for disposal, disposed and permanently preserved. For example, when I worked at my previous company, we had many documents that were no longer relevant but needed to be kept for legal reasons. We applied the lifecycle by moving these documents into our inactive stage so they could be stored until we needed them again.”

What is your experience using records management software?

This question can help the interviewer learn about your experience with records management software and how you use it. Use your answer to highlight your knowledge of different types of software, including which ones you’ve used in previous positions and what you like or dislike about them.

Example: “I have worked with several types of records management software throughout my career. I started out using a proprietary system at my first job that was easy to navigate but didn’t allow for much customization. At my second job, we used an off-the-shelf solution that allowed us to customize our workflow and add new features as needed. I prefer working with systems that are customizable because they allow me to create workflows that fit my needs.”

Provide an example of a time you had to help an employee understand the importance of properly managing records.

This question can help the interviewer determine how you communicate with others and your ability to lead. Use examples from previous experience where you helped a team member understand records management processes or procedures, and highlight your communication skills and leadership qualities.

Example: “In my last position as records manager for an accounting firm, I had an employee who was new to the company and didn’t know how to properly file documents. She would often misfile important documents, which caused delays in our client projects. After several meetings, she still wasn’t filing correctly, so I decided to shadow her during her workday to see what she was doing wrong. I found that she was simply confused about the organization’s filing system. Once I explained it to her, she understood and began filing correctly.”

If you saw that an employee was consistently misfiling records, how would you address the issue?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to handle sensitive situations. In your answer, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation in which you helped an employee improve their filing skills and the steps you took to do so.

Example: “In my previous role as records manager, I had an employee who consistently misfiled important documents. At first, I tried to help them by explaining how to properly file each document type. However, they continued to make mistakes. So, I scheduled a meeting with them to discuss the issue. During our meeting, I explained that if they didn’t improve their filing skills, they would lose access to the company’s record management system. They understood the importance of maintaining accurate records and agreed to take additional training.”

What would you do if you noticed that an employee was using a paper filing system instead of the digital one you implemented?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you would handle a situation that could arise in your new role. Your answer should show that you are willing to take action and ensure employees follow company policies.

Example: “If I noticed an employee was using paper files instead of digital ones, I would first meet with them to discuss why they were doing this and what their concerns were. If they still insisted on using paper records, I would create a plan for them to convert their filing system into a digital one within a certain time frame. If they didn’t comply with the policy after the deadline, I would document the issue and present it to my supervisor so we could decide together how to proceed.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

This question is an opportunity to show your ability to work under pressure and still meet deadlines. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a time when you had to complete a task or project in a short amount of time.

Example: “I have experience working under pressure at my current position as a records manager. My company was undergoing a merger with another organization, which meant I needed to organize thousands of documents from both companies into one system. This process took several months, but I managed to get through the entire project without any issues. The merger went smoothly because of my organizational skills.”

Do you have experience working with confidential information?

Records managers often work with sensitive information, so employers ask this question to make sure you have experience handling confidential documents. Before your interview, read through the job description and highlight any responsibilities that involve working with confidential information. In your answer, share a story about how you handled confidential information in the past.

Example: “In my last role as a records manager, I worked with confidential information every day. For example, we had to keep track of all financial records for our company, including invoices and receipts. We also kept medical records on file, which meant we needed to handle private information like patient names and diagnoses. It was important to me that we maintained these records securely, so I implemented several security measures to protect them.”

When is it appropriate to dispose of a record?

Records management is a complex process that requires you to know when and how to dispose of records. An interviewer may ask this question to see if you understand the importance of disposing of records properly. In your answer, explain why it’s important to follow record disposal procedures. Share an example of a time when you disposed of records in the past.

Example: “Proper record disposal is essential because it ensures sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. I always make sure to follow my organization’s record disposal policy. For instance, I recently worked with a client who had old paper files they wanted to get rid of. We shredded all of the documents before recycling them.”

We want to improve our records management process. What experience do you have with process improvement?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with process improvement and how you might apply it to their organization. Use examples from previous roles that show your ability to identify areas for improvement, develop solutions and implement them successfully.

Example: “In my last role as records manager at a small nonprofit, we were looking for ways to improve our filing system. I met with each department head to learn about their processes and needs. We decided to create a new filing system based on the information I gathered. The new system helped us organize documents more efficiently and reduced the time it took to find specific files by 50%. This allowed employees to spend less time searching for files and more time working on projects.”

Describe your experience with records destruction.

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with records management and how you apply it to your work. Use examples from previous jobs to describe what you did, why you did it and any challenges you faced.

Example: “In my last position as a records manager, I oversaw all aspects of record retention and destruction. My team and I developed a plan for destroying documents that included an annual audit of our facility’s compliance with state regulations. We also implemented a system where employees could submit requests for document destruction online. This helped us reduce the number of paper files we had in storage.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your relevant experience and soft skills.

Example: “I am passionate about helping organizations manage their records properly. I have worked in several different industries, which has given me valuable insight into what works best for each organization. For example, my previous employer was a small business with limited resources. I developed a system that helped them organize their documents without spending too much money. My knowledge of various systems and strategies makes me well-suited for this position.”

Which records management software programs are you most familiar with?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with records management software. It can also show them which programs you prefer to use and how familiar you are with their company’s records management system. When answering this question, it can be beneficial to mention a few systems that you’re comfortable using and explain why you like each one.

Example: “I have used several different records management software programs in my career so far. I am most experienced with FileNet P8, however, as I’ve worked with it for over five years now. I find it easy to navigate and understand, and I really enjoy its features. For example, I love being able to search through documents by keywords or phrases because it makes finding information much easier than sorting through folders.”

What do you think is the most challenging part of being a records manager?

This question can help an interviewer get to know you as a person and how you might fit in with their company. It also helps them understand what challenges you might face on the job, so they can make sure you have the skills and experience needed to overcome those challenges. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about your own experiences working as a records manager or talk about the challenges that other records managers have faced.

Example: “The most challenging part of being a records manager is knowing when to keep documents for compliance reasons and when to destroy them. There are many different laws and regulations regarding record retention, but there’s no way to know exactly which ones apply to every document we create. I’ve found that having a system in place for organizing and storing all documents can help me determine which ones need to stay and which ones can be destroyed.”

How often should you destroy old records?

This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of record retention schedules. It’s important to know which records you should keep for a long time and which ones you can destroy after a certain period of time. You can answer this question by explaining how you determined when to destroy old records in previous positions.

Example: “In my last position, I had to regularly check state and federal guidelines to see when we could destroy different types of documents. For example, some documents needed to be kept for seven years while others only needed to be kept for three. I would also check with our IT department to make sure that none of the documents were required as part of any electronic databases.”

There is a fire in the building and you have time to evacuate or gather important documents. What do you do?

This question is a way to test your knowledge of records management and how you would react in an emergency situation. It also shows the interviewer that you understand the importance of keeping important documents safe. When answering this question, make sure to mention which documents you would save first and why.

Example: “If there was a fire in the building, I would immediately grab my computer with all of my files on it. Then, I would gather any hard copies of important documents like client information or financial data. I would then put them into a box and take them home so they are safe until I can return to work.”


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