A Degree in Filing


Filing was every single Receptionists (and managers nightmare). Scanning is the new filing now and that sometimes can get just as behind.

No one enjoyed filing – it was always left, not being done blamed on shortage of staff due to sickness or holidays. Not enough hours in the day and so on…………

Every so often one of the doctors would come into my office complaining on the state of the filing. Of course the longer it got left, the harder the job became and it just became a vicious circle.

Then at the surgery we had a Receptionist leave. She worked 6 hours every day so I decided to replace her hours with a Receptionist that worked 4 hours per day and I was going to create a new role for a filing clerk 2 hours every day. I was worth a go – the filing had to be done.

I decided that we would have the filing clerk working 4-6 pm every day. She (or he) would do nothing but filing for 2 hours. The other Receptionists were over the moon with the new proposal – but on the understanding that they were still at times expected to help out with the filing.

Some of the GP’s wondered if this would work, they asked who on earth would want to come in for 2 hours every evening at 4.00 to do filing – but they agreed that if I felt it would work I should give it a go.

I advertised the position and was just overwhelmed with the response that I received – far more applications than I did for the Receptionists position that I advertised at the same time.

I went through the many application letters and CV’s.

I received letters that showed they really were not interested in the position and that they were probably just applying for the position so they could tell the job centre that they were “applying for jobs”. I received letters from teenagers still at school looking for a part-time job. I received letters from students looking for temporary work until they went on to university. I received letters from mums at home looking for some part-time work, and I received a letter from a lady with a degree who had a vast amount of qualifications and experience.

I whittled the numerous applications down to a sensible number. I carefully chose some from each group, an unemployed person, a 18-year-old student, a local mum and the lady with the degree. For some reason something was telling me that I should interview her.

As I usually did with every interview I let the Staff Partner have a look at the applications. He came back to me with some comment on the forms and the form of the lady with the degree he had written –  I don’t feel that this position is not for her.

I still felt for some reason that I should interview her.  Part of me wondering why she had applied for this position – no qualifications required yet she had a degree, and what really could be seen as a boring job to a lot of people.

So, I made my list for interview and included my “degree lady”.

I arranged for the people to come in for interview.

The person that was on the dole didn’t show up, didn’t even phone to cancel the appointment – nothing – not a word from. Sadly this did happen a lot. Even those that often appear to have the qualifications for the position.

The student that came told me they would not be able to made certain nights due to a course they were taking – so in fact the position was advertised for 5 evenings a week and the were telling me they could do 4 evenings a week. Errr not what we wanted at all.

The mum was very eager for the position, but told me that she might have problems actually getting to the surgery for 4.00, as she would have to wait until her husband came in from work before she could leave. The times could have been adjusted slightly but I felt she was not right for the job.

One lady came along for the interview and I realised that I knew her – not very well, but I did know her – and she seemed to think because of that the job was her’s!

I also interviewed another couple of people who I felt could have fitted in just right with the team, and do the job.

Everyone at the interview was told that the role would be filing for 2 hours every night and at times it could get pretty boring – but they all understood and still wanted to be considered.

Then last of the interview was the “degree lady”

She was lovely. She had a vast amount of experience and her CV just blew me away.

I had to ask the question “why do you want a job that is just filing for 2 hours every day”

Her reply was  her previous jobs had not been without stresses and strains. Recently bereaved it made her look at her life and decided she wanted to make changes. She decided this was the time for her to retire from her previous job. She had grandchildren she wanted to spend more time with. But she also wanted to still have a purpose to get out every day; to be with people and for her the job and the hours were just perfect. She actually said she felt she would enjoy the filing.

She was truthful, and a really lovely woman.

So, much to the surprise of the GP’s and the Reception Team I hired the “degree lady”. There were a few that doubted that she would last – why would someone like her just want to file for 2 hours every day. Some even said she would not last the week.

The “degree lady” started the following Monday. What a delight she was. She soon was very much part of the team, was loved by everyone and was excellent at her job and had the filing up to date and in order in just no time.

She was extremely helpful and in no time was actually helping out in Reception, and soon became a bank Receptionist for us – coming in to cover for sickness and holidays. But she never gave up on her filing hours. She loved the job.

For me she was one of the most successful applicants I ever employed.

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved