Data Entry Operator Interview Questions

An excellent Data Entry Operator will thrive in performing tasks that are highly repetitive and intensely focused on details. Look for a candidate who takes pride in accuracy, has the stamina to work for hours at a computer, has experience with word processing tools and computer systems, and can communicate well with the data team and company staff. 

The most qualified candidates will recognize the importance of the Data Entry Role to the ongoing operations of the company. A breakdown in data entry can have serious implications for the storage and retrieval of information necessary for business strategy development, customer service, and legal compliance. By the nature of the role, the Data Entry Operator will be exposed to confidential and sensitive information so ensure your candidate is well-versed in the rules of confidentiality and discretion.

General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position. 

Below are Data Entry Operator interview questions to help you get started: 

What are your typing skills?   

What you want to hear: Your candidate should be able to recite their typing skills without hesitation. Listen for a candidate who shares not only typing speed but also their level of accuracy. For example, a candidate might say “I type 55-60 words per minute with 92% accuracy.”  

Red Flag IconRed flag: A disclosure of words per minute without the associated level of accuracy is not very helpful. Without both speed and accuracy a Data Entry Operator is a high risk for dragging down team productivity due to more frequent reconciliations of entry output to source data. Consider administering a typing test to all candidates to verify qualifications.

What software programs are you familiar with? 

What you want to hear: A qualified candidate will be familiar with a range of common software programs such as MS Office, GSuite, and PDF Reader Pro. Additionally, challenge your candidate’s experience with software specific to your industry. For example, if you are a medical office, has the candidate worked with the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) or Kareo? For a retail business, what is their experience with Oracle CX or Microsoft Dynamics CRM? 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate unfamiliar with basic or specialized software, or seemingly unenthusiastic about being trained in software needed for data entry in your organization, is not well-suited for the role. 

Tell me about your experience with handling confidential or sensitive information?

What you want to hear: By the nature of the role, a Data Entry Operator will be exposed to confidential and sensitive information of all kinds. This can include healthcare information about a medical office patient, strategic company contracts, proprietary consumer research, and the like. Your candidate should be able to outline how they ensure confidential or sensitive information is securely protected, including keeping files off their desk when not in use, discussing the information only with those authorized to receive such information, and ensuring proper security for digital and paper files. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: If a candidate appears in any way to be casual about the inviolate rules of confidentiality you should consider that a risk of legal liability for your company. 

How do you remain focused even when fatigue sets in late in your shift?   

What you want to hear: An excellent candidate will first share that they have a great deal of stamina and rarely do they experience fatigue during a typical work shift. However, they might continue by explaining the techniques they use should they feel the effects of a particularly stressful day or as the result of overtime hours. For example, they may share the value of closing their eyes for ten minutes during a break, or taking a brief walk outside, or eating a snack to raise their energy level. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who is not self aware enough to recognize the onset and effects of fatigue is a risk for increased mistakes in their data entry. 

If you are handed a stack of documents to digitize on a short deadline, how do you prioritize the task?   

What you want to hear: A strong candidate will suggest that experience in the company will give them the judgment to know which documents to prioritize higher or lower. Short of that level of experience, or for documents that fall outside of the norm, a diligent Data Entry Operator will be assertive enough to communicate with the appropriate staff member for guidance on their preferred prioritization. 

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A candidate who does not appear to recognize the importance of prioritizing work may frequently run afoul of deadlines on matters of significance to the organization. 

Tell me about a difficult situation you encountered in your past data entry work.

What you want to hear: Data Entry Operators work with large volumes of information on a variety of software applications. It is not uncommon in these circumstances for difficult situations to arise. Listen for a candidate who is open and honest about a situation they encountered in the past. Do they fully understand what occurred? What measures did they take to resolve the problem and prevent it from happening again? Were they humble in accepting fault for the mistake, or did they shift the blame to others? 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who is cagey about disclosing a mistake or failing is raising a red flag about their character and how they will respond in difficult situations at your company. 

Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Data Entry Operator position.

Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:

  • Thrive in a repetitive and detail-oriented role
  • Have a command of relevant word processing and computer software
  • Understand the importance of confidentiality and discretion