Data entry skills are often overlooked in the everyday running of a business. But these tasks, when performed to a high standard, can help save your company precious time and money,
Many business people often regard data entry clerk responsibilities as “entry-level.” Perhaps some would describe data entry jobs as mundane, monotonous, or mechanical. In some ways, this may be true, but it shouldn’t detract from these skills being fundamental to the everyday running of any business.
This is why companies should put serious effort into qualifying candidates with data entry skills.
Here’s what’s involved.
What Are The Responsibilities Of A Data Entry Clerk?
Before you can identify the key skills needed to hire an effective Data Entry Clerk, you should first have a clear idea of what they do.
What should be in the data entry job description?
The job title seems self-explanatory; a data entry clerk is a person who enters data. However, there is more to their job than just entering data into specific files.
In actual fact, there is a lot more to the job than many people realise.
Contrary to popular opinion, data entry clerks don’t work like robots, head tilted to one side, eyes focused on data, while fingers aggressively tap away on a keyboard.
A data entry professional does far more than just simply enter data. Below is a short list of responsibilities of a Data Entry Clerk:
Checks and Validates The Accuracy Of Data
Responsible companies understand the importance of maintaining accurate data. A company that is responsible for any type of customer data should realise the importance of keeping the data safe at all times.
With this at the forefront of their minds, all companies must make sure the data entry clerks understand the nature of the information before they even try to enter data. Therefore, the Data Entry Clerk has to undergo training before they are able to perform the live job.
They are taught what the different fields are about. In this instance, the excellent communication skills of your company are paramount in helping your employees to fully understand what is required of them.
Data entry personnel are taught what information to look out for; this is vital to the smooth overall running of a business.
Likewise, workers are trained to keep their eyes out for inaccurate entries. Accuracy is of paramount importance when maintaining any kind of customer and vendor data entry.
For example, certain identification numbers have seven digits. If the entry only has six, then the Data Entry Clerk should identify the item as inaccurate and subject to double-checking as part of their data entry duties.
They Must Be Able To Carry Out Corrections
The best data entry professional must be able to spot mistakes and carry out any corrections that are needed.
Taking proactive measures to correct any mistakes that are found is a key aspect of any data entry position.
After the correction, the data entry operator will take note of it.
Usually, they are asked to log the mistake in a special file where they can include a brief description of the error and the steps taken to correct it.
This method of working helps to make sure that everyone is working as a team, and it also saves your company time and money in the long term.
Recommends Improvements On The Data Entry Process
As the company acquires more data, organising all the information becomes a greater challenge. New categories may be needed, which may require better data entry skills. It is possible that you have acquired a new demographic for your products and services.
Unless these are efficiently sorted out and organised by the data entry operators, then the company will not be able to capitalise on the value of the data.
The data entry operator may be required to manage large volumes of data every day while working to data entry deadlines.
Company management will often ask for the workers’ recommendations on improvements to the data entry process. They do this as they know their experience in data entry is a valuable resource for improving data management systems.
They Must Be Able To Maintain Strict Confidentiality
Breach of confidentiality is one of the biggest concerns of companies when it comes to data entry projects. This is especially true for businesses that manage highly-sensitive information, such as those involved in healthcare, insurance, and finance.
Accidently giving out contact info will cause major problems for your company and will mean future and existing clients will lose trust in your business. Let’s be honest; that is the last thing any business wants.
A data entry worker is tasked to observe and maintain strict confidentiality on all information that they manage. Any breach in data confidentiality will be disastrous for a company. It is therefore vital that documents and source documents are kept confidential.
You must make sure that data management procedures are covered by strict rules or guidelines which must be imposed. And you should have a schedule of penalties that will identify the punitive measures to be undertaken per incident.
What Key Skills Of A Data Entry VA Need?
Given these responsibilities, you should now have a better idea of the key skills needed for a data entry job.
Knowing the key data entry skills of a VA will help fine-tune your recruitment and selection process. You can come up with guidelines on qualifying potential candidates for the position.
Keep in mind that when it comes to skills, you should not only focus on the “hard skills” or those that directly involve the technical aspects of data entry work. You should likewise identify the important “soft skills” or personality attributes that best define the best type of Data Entry Clerk.
Most businesses are focusing more on soft skills. Having the right personalities in the team will contribute to upholding your desired organisational culture.
You want a group of data entry clerks who possess huge amounts of people skills and communication skills. This will help the team work better together like a well-oiled machine.
Here is a rundown of the key required skills you should look out for in a data entry worker’s resume:
They Must Have High-Level of Focus and Concentration
As we mentioned, the work of those with data entry skills can be described as monotonous. It often includes carrying out repetitive tasks.
People who undertake data entry come into work and go through volumes of data every day for several hours. After a while, the level of focus and concentration may drift and eventually wane.
When this happens, the door for making crucial mistakes opens, leaving a very high possibility for the worker to enter costly errors into the database. Even though their entry skills may be high, their concentration skills may drop off.
Keep in mind that data entry workers are human beings who have emotional and physical limitations. They may have high data entry skills, but they can still be prone to bring their emotional distress into the workplace.
Data entry workers are just as prone to contracting viruses which make them unwell. If a worker is unwell, it will affect their concentration and hinder their data entry skills and overall performance.
It is important that the worker who does the data entry job is able to remove themselves from distractions while at work. When he/she enters the workplace, the only thing that matters is doing their data entry job to a high standard.
The ideal data entry job worker is one who has high data entry skills but also takes their job seriously. For example, if they do become unwell and are unable to work, they must inform management as soon as possible.
Sickness happens, but you want your data entry workers to be the type to strive to get back to work as soon as they can following their sickness.
A VA Must Be Trustworthy
A person’s resume can display that they have been on all the data entry courses, have a high typing speed, high technical skills, good software knowledge, great attention to detail, but this will count for nothing if they are not trustworthy.
Many businesses have lost clients or have been closed down because of stolen data. In this age of the Internet, where millions and billions of data points are exchanged on a daily basis, loss of information can sound like the death knell of a company.
Some of the data breaches come from within. Untrustworthy data entry clerks could copy or steal important data from your company.
A high level of trust is earned over time. You can only build trust in a person if you get to know them and allow them to prove themselves to you. This applies to all walks of life, not just when it comes to your business.
However, when hiring data entry clerks, decisions have to be made based on the information you have on every applicant. Job seekers may work well with software tools and programmes such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Excel, and have other basic software knowledge, but it is not always just about what it says on their resume.
Take the time to conduct due diligence on your best candidates. Contact their previous employers. It is always worth running a simple Google check to see if you can find out any additional information on the candidate.
Do not be afraid to visit their social media accounts. This can prove highly beneficial in helping you build a picture of the type of person and character they are from what they post about on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
By carrying out your own due diligence, you can find out more about the person and not just that they have a high school diploma. When it comes to hiring someone to work for your company, soft skills are just as important as technical skills.
They Must Be Proficient with Required Software
Data entry clerks routinely work with various software programs. Most of the time, they could be working with spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel. It will be great if you can find data entry clerks who are proficient in every feature of Excel.
Other computer programs frequently used by data entry clerks are word processor packages such as MS Office, database software, and Customer Relationship Management systems.
If you have a proprietary software program for data encoding, find out which of the top candidates have the easiest time navigating through your own computer system using your company database.
For more tips on how good they are when it comes to working with your company database, you could set them tasks as part of the interview process. This way, you will be able to have an example of their fast typing speed and their attention to detail.
It is not just all about their typing speed and being able to use your company system. The Data Entry Clerk should also be comfortable handling computer hardware.
Sometimes the Data Entry Clerk will be asked to handle printers, scanners, and other types of computer hardware to get the job done.
They Must Have Fast Typing Skills
It might seem like an unrealistic expectation, but the best Data Entry Clerk is one who combines quality and quantity. You want a Data Entry Clerk who is both accurate and can get a lot of work done. This means a candidate who has fast typing skills to enable them to do the job to a high standard.
A good average for typing speed is 48 words per minute (WPM). However, there are data entry clerks who can go 60 wpm. Again, you should find a balance between speed and precision when entering data.
It is perfectly fine to sacrifice a bit of speed as long as accuracy is not compromised when carrying out tasks. In the long run, accuracy is more important but do not disregard the need for speed to get the job done.
After all, as we all know, time is money in any business, right?
They Must Have Great Interpersonal Skills
Why should a job that requires someone to remain seated behind a computer screen for hours encoding data need great interpersonal skills?
Data entry clerks do not work alone. They work with a team. It is your aim as a business to make sure that your team is highly skilled and efficient.
When data is distributed to a Data Entry Clerk to encode, he/she is part of the team that is tasked to have all the information uploaded within a predetermined time frame.
Having excellent people skills when answering phones is just as important as having fast typing speed, basic software skills, using data backups, and so on.
Yes, there are deadlines to be met. In outsourcing agreements, the service provider’s income depends on the volume of data that is accurately encoded and uploaded onto the portal.
Having excellent communication skills is vital as data entry clerks have to regularly communicate and work with one another to make sure every person on the team pulls his/her weight.
You want to make sure you get the most out of their working hours so that you avoid getting any customer dissatisfaction which could prove harmful to the success of your company.
Creating The Right Approach To Data Entry
Take the time to qualify the people you hire as data entry clerks not just based on their typing skills and what it says in their resume.
Look at them as a person and try and judge what time of character they are. Will they have a good work ethic, which will keep them highly motivated and productive?
They have an important job to manage, and the smallest mistakes can often lead to the biggest problems for your company. You want to avoid this at all costs.
It’s a good idea to have different criteria for qualifying personnel for every key position within your company. As we know, different job positions will require a different set of skills. Hiring the right person for each role within your business will help the smooth ongoing running of your company.
Contact Us Today
Finding the right data entry VA is never an easy task, and making mistakes in the hiring and training process can be costly. If this is a new kind of process for you, then why not find out how our team can help you get your first VA up and running in a matter of days.
It saves you time, hassle, and money as we take care of all the necessary hiring and training steps.
Contact us today to find out how much of a difference a data entry VA will make.