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Records Management – Important Interview Questions


When it comes to consultative selling for records-management services, the most important part is of the client-needs assessment or the CNA. There are important questions to be asked during the interview phase of the CNA process and we are going to go over many crucial questions to ask. The interview phase is made up of these 3 important steps:

  1. The questionnaire. This step needs to draw out issues to discuss in the client interview and walkabout phases. The questionnaire phase represents a way to develop more essential questions during the survey.
  2. The client-interview. In this step, the questions should always include these basic inquiries: who, what, when, where, how much, how often and why.
  3. The walkabout.This is the step where you check reality. You want to have the answers received in the questionnaire and the interview phases validated. The main question in this component is, “Why?” In any business process, that question will bring out the differences between perception and reality.

There are many important questions to be asked during the interview phase. Let’s go over them. Here is a list of important client-interview questions. They are laid out in a building-block approach. We will begin with the basic elements of the box and build the questions up from there.

The Box (Records-Storage Unit)

  1. What type of box do you use for records storage?
  2. Is there a “standard” storage box? If so, is there a policy regarding it?
  3. Why did you choose that specific box?

The Box Index (Contents)

  1. In your operation, who is responsible for indexing/labelling a records-storage box?
  2. When indexing a records-storage box, what are your standards?
  3. At what point is a box labelled prior to transfer to off-site storage?

The Transfer to Storage

  1. For the transfer of boxes to storage, who is responsible?
  2. What events cause files to be removed from filing units?
  3. How many boxes per day/week/ month/year do you transfer?
  4. How often are boxes moved to storage?
  5. Is there someone who keeps an inventory list of transferred boxes?
  6. Are the files recognized within the box? If so, how is that done?
  7. Is there a database? What is the form of the database? (Microsoft, Excel, or other)

The Storage Location

  1. Do you use a commercial records-storage vendor? If yes, which one?
  2. Are you happy with its help, dependability and price?
  3. Are your records self-managed? If yes, what is the location of the storage?
  4. Can we go and visit all the storage locations?
  5. Are the records safe and managed within confidence?
  6. Is the storage area tidy and offer safe working conditions?
  7. How much does storage cost?

Retrieval and Re-Files

  1. Who retrieves the items from storage?
  2. Do you retrieve files or only boxes from storage?
  3. When out of storage, how are files or boxes controlled? How are they known to be returned?
  4. When boxes or files are returned, to storage, who is responsible?
  5. How often are files retrieved per day/week/month/year?
  6. How often are files are boxes fetched to storage per day/week/month/year?
  7. How are your retrieval and re-file costs measured? If there is no measurement, how is the cost managed?
  8. How much does a file or box retrieval cost you? Think about employee time (salary and benefits) and transportation (vehicle and fuel).
  9. How much does a file or box re-file cost you? Think about employee time (salary and benefits) and transportation (vehicle and fuel).

Records-Retention Policy

  1. What is the policy of your records-retention? If there is a document, may we have a copy?
  2. Do you have a records-retention schedule? If yes, may we have a copy?
  3. Who is responsible for retention policy? If it is a records-management committee, may we meet them?
  4. Who keeps the accuracy of your retention policy and schedule?

Records Destruction

  1. Do you have a records-destruction policy? If there is a document, may we have a copy?
  2. Who is responsible for the destruction policy? (transfer to digital form)
  3. Who handles the destruction of records from storage?
  4. What is your method for destruction?
  5. Do you use a commercial destruction service? If yes, who do you use?
  6. Do you have a destruction certificate for each record series that is destroyed? If yes, who cares for the certificates?

Other Records-Management Issues

  1. Are missing files a problem in your organization? If yes, how long do you search for them?
  2. Have you ever not been able to find a missing file? If so, please explain.
  3. What was the longest time you spent to find a missing file?
  4. How much is the cost of your records- management program?

When it comes to any clients-needs assessment, there isn’t such a thing as a complete list of questions to ask. Many times, one answer can lead right to another question. Remember that issues are the core of revenue opportunities for you in your records- management business. Always be aware of any issues you uncover when asking these questions.


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