The first time I applied for work was with call center companies. I was a clumsy kid and made a lot of mistakes. Most of them are embarrassing. But I do my best to get over this fear and share my experience in the hope that you picked up something valuable. So here goes.
1. I was too serious. When I was eighteen I didn’t smile a lot and had serious answers to most rapport building questions. I only made friends with people who were like me or something like that. As a result my application was harder because I ended up taking rejection personally and I’m the guy who didn’t have any fun answers. I think the better thing to do is to take things lightly and have fun in the process.
2. I gave one sentence answers. I gave single sentence answers composed of one to three words. I didn’t expound on what I could do. Most call center interviews had the purpose of testing my communication skills and people skills. If I didn’t elaborate on my answer then theres no way I can showcase my skills with a few words. The better thing to do is answer and explain your answer whenever you can. You don’t have to give them the full rundown of your answer but add two sentences.
3. Too much emphasis on non work related answers. I wanted to be a mixed martial arts cage fighter. I was into this hobby back in high school and college that I didn’t think a lot about anything else. I had fun talking to my male interviewers who were into the same thing but my female and she male interviewers would roll their eyes as I told these stories.
4. Not mixing what I have into something I can offer. Despite being a fan of mixed martial arts I didn’t relate it to learning something new, conquering hardships, difficulty trainings, physical and mental exertion, forming new habits and facing my fears in the job. I make friends fast in the gym and I think I can move that skill there. I’m also easy to teach. If I can learn to win against opponents stronger than me then I can do well in this job.
I gave none of these answers when I was applying.
I didn’t think these answers were useful. I was wrong.
What are you in to? How does that make you a better candidate over the other applicants?
5. Not building relationships with my interviewer. An interview is not a question and answer contest. An interview is an opportunity to make friends with a pretty call center recruiter and sell myself so I can see her more often. I’m just kidding. But you get what I’m talking about.
I’m from so and so school. Are you from (insert nice school) I think I’ve seen you somewhere.
I spend my free time practicing mixed martial arts. Do you enjoy watching that kind of sport? What kind of hobbies are you in to?
End your sentences with a question so you feed your curiosity and try to make friends.
6. Bringing my negative self to the interview. A call center interviewer asked me about the Philippines. I couldn’t think of an answer. I thought about the traffic and the garbage and the street kids and thought to myself that I’d better keep my mouth shut. I gave two half hearted sentences to answer the question and hoped for another one. The guy interviewing me said they’ll evaluate my application and just call me. That was a nice way of saying I didn’t make it to the next step.
As a call center agent whether you ll be in sales, customer service or technical support you’ll be assigned to solve problems. To solve problems you have to be positive and not pessimistic. Being positive allows you to believe that the problem can be solved as problems are easier to solve with a smile and the belief that you can.
7. I had mixed priorities. I made it to the final interview of a big local call center. I also passed the interview. My interviewer and I were pretty comfortable with each other for some reason and she was scheduling me for contract signing at their other location. She noticed on my resume that I only had one year in college and asked how I planned to continue my studies. I told her I’ll do it while working. I later found out that the preferred answer was that I would work first and if schedule permits I could take a few subjects and not force the two schedules to fit together.
You’ll probably get asked about conflicts with work an personally goals. Companies put a premium on people who will prioritize the company goals.
8. Not looking at the calendar. My second final interview was with West Contact Services in Makati. I was with my friend and we both made it to that stage. The next day I called her to remind her about tomorrows interview at three pm. It was two thirty that day. After chatting for a bit I realized that tomorrow was today and I had mixed up the dates. We didn’t get to continue our application because we were too embarrassed about the reason why we didn’t make it. Another wrong decision. We still could have tried to get another schedule.
9. Not planning my answers in advance. After a few call center applications, I realized that I got asked the same call center interview questions. If I prepared a list of answers I would have a faster time and would appear more confident when answering the questions and that would have increased my chances of getting hired.
10. Not planning my job hunt well. If I knew more call center companies and didn’t rely that much on recommendations I might have spent less money, covered more ground and got hired faster. This is mostly a logistics issue but I did this I could have gone to three call center companies a day and got hired after failing for two or three weeks. That’s just me though.
Failures are lessons. I hope you learned from my mistakes. This had been really embarrassing to recall and share online. Would you be willing to share your mistakes and what you learned?