Call center interviews are extremely intimidating for beginner applicants and call center newbies.
You need to get the interviewer’s approval by communicating confidently and speaking in English well in order to advance in the screening process.
I’ve been working in the BPO for over ten years and it’s important for you to know that you will not be asked any technical questions.
The initial discussion will be to test your communication skills, professionalism and work ethics and finally, character and integrity.
You don’t need to research about specific companies, instead take the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions about the company.
However, with knowledge about yourself, I recommend that you come prepared.
The most important details are:
1. Your introduction
Who are you?
Where are you from?
What are your positive professional traits?
Why do you want to work in a call center?
What skill and attitude did you pick up in your previous job do you think would be useful for a call center agent.
Write your answers to these questions down.
Be as specific as possible with your answers.
Do not answer with just one or two words.
Use a complete sentence.
Have your answers checked by somebody who’s great at speaking in English?
2. Asking questions
Questions tell the interviewer that you are an intelligent person.
If you don’t know about a specific topic, it is important to start a conversation about it and to know the answer than to look stupid at an extremely important moment.
Telling someone that you don’t understand something and would like to find out more will make you appear a hundred times smarter than all the other applicants who are afraid of looking stupid and keeping silent.
“I don’t have any call center experience, can you tell me what a typical workday looks like for your agents?”
“What traits do people who succeed as agents in your company possess?”
“What time are the usual schedules in your company’s accounts?”
“Are there any specific benefits or perks that only your company offers?”
A call center job is 80% asking questions.
If you’ve ever listened to a call center spiel here are examples.
- Thank you for calling my name is Kevin! How may I help you?
- I’d be happy to assist you with your issue. May I have your name , please?
- I’ll need to pull up your account. Can you dictate to me your complete address or account number?
- For security purposes may I have the last four digits of your social security number , please?
- Thank you for providing me with your details. Can you tell me more about the issue you are experiencing?
- Can you give me more details?
- Just to make sure I understood your issue correctly, you called today because you have an issue with your services and you tried to resolve the issue by restarting some systems and checking the connection however that was unsuccessful so we are going to do more troubleshooting steps. Is that correct?
- Is the product working now on your end?
- Do you have any questions for me before I go?
- We are trying to help the environment by minimizing our paper consumption. May I register you for digital billing and notifications? May I have your email address? Can you spell that for me?
- While I have you on the line, I also noticed that you are paying $100 for your service. We currently have a loyalty offer that will allow you to get more value or save more money. May I review your account further to see if any of these adjustments may be applied to your account?
- May I place your call on hold while I review the information?
- I can see that some upgrades can be applied to your account where you can get more features and we can order these features for only $20. Do you want to add these features?
- Is there anything else that I can assist you with?
And so on.
Mastering this part and sounding great in English pretty much guarantees getting hired in a call center.
Unless you have a rotten attitude.
This is often the main reason why an interviewer will decline someone with great English.
3. Giving instructions
It’s important to remember the following when giving instructions.
- Use complete sentences.
- Give step by step instructions complete with a beginning, middle and ending.
- Ask the person you are talking to if you were able to explain clearly at different points in the instructions.
- Pause a little between steps.
- Speak loud and clear.
4. Telling stories
It is important to follow the same rules with instructions as in stories.
Stories allow you to tell someone what you want to say without telling them directly what you want to say.
Alternatively, stories allow you to drive the point.
Here are some examples.
I understand how difficult the situation is now that your service is currently not working.
I have assisted a couple of customers who are experiencing the exact same issue that you described.
That’s why I’m confident that I’ll be able to assist you.
One of the most challenging things about sales is how some customers initially are not interested that’s why in my previous job, we begin by asking our customers questions about what they like about their service provider, then we allow them to talk about it more then we listen to them and allow them to share what they like and eventually they share with us what they would like to change and afterward we’re talking about how they can purchase what we have.
I used to be a really shy person but I learned from some friends that the pay is really good in this industry.
I asked a lot of people, read a lot of books, studied and practiced a lot until I can improve myself.
In all these areas practice how you say your words.
Speak loud and clear and pronounce each word well.
Listen to each question and ask questions if you don’t understand.
Ask for more time to think about the question or ask clarifying questions about the questions. What do you mean by “What’s my plan for the future?” do you mean short term or long term? and so on.
What is a great call center agent?
A good majority of call center companies serve American customers.
You need to speak in English well.
You need to be willing to work graveyard shifts.
You need to be willing to work on weekends and holidays.
You need to be on time all the time. Better an hour early than a couple of minutes late.
My previous company sometimes fires people if they accumulate fifteen minutes of total late in a month.
You need to learn and apply new instructions fast because incentives and rules change fast in a call center.
You need to prioritize work.
Minimize night outs or personal errands that will conflict with your work schedule.
You need to build an environment that will guarantee that you can get eight actual hours of sleep.
You need to eat well and stay healthy.
In terms of attitude, you need to cooperate with your boss and team leaders.
You need to have the mindset of a problem solver.
You need to see the positive in every issue.
You need to be emotionally detached from the job and remain objective.
You need to be careful with your words.
You are not allowed to get angry at your boss or your customers.
Your job is to find a solution that satisfies both your employer and their clients.
You need to cooperate with the rules.
You need to be attentive and take note of important rules and policies.
You need to continually improve your listening skills and how you phrase your answers to questions you are asked.
If you say something that offended a customer always ask yourself how you can say the exact same thing without getting the same negative response.
Here are common questions that Interviewers usually ask new applicants.
1.) Tell me about yourself.
My name is Kevin. I live in Parañaque. I used to work in Makati as a sales representative and I want to work in a call center because my friends tell me that the pay is exciting and there are opportunities to advance in my career if I do well.
I recommend you review your introduction answers and come up with your own answers.
2.) Why are you applying in the call center industry?
I usually try to answer this answer with my introduction but if you were asked this separately here’s an example of how I’d answer using a story..
“I previously worked for a local company and I discovered from experience that the pay is sometimes not consistent. When I discovered that reputable call center companies pay well and pay on time that had been very exciting for me. I’m also aware that there’s a lot of opportunity for advancement if I do well.”
If you can’t find a job with your particular course it’s okay to share this.
If you want to work in a call center because of the good money, it’s also okay to share this.
It’s important to communicate that you want to work with the company long term.
3.) How would you describe the color “blue” to a blind person?
This is one of the many “random questions” that you may get asked.
I often need to take some time to think of an answer.
However, a lot of times I don’t have a good answer for questions like this.
However I still pass this part in the interview.
You want to know why?
They are not interested in your answer.
Instead, they are interested in your communication skills and your thought process.
Here’s how I answer.
I ask them if I understood the question by rephrasing the question.
“Just to make sure I got your question right you would like me to describe the color blue to a blind person. Is that correct?”
I ask for some time to gather my thoughts.
“Wow! I’m caught off guard. That’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. Can you give me a minute to gather my thoughts and compose an answer?”
I describe the answers I’m considering and maybe ask clarifying questions.
“I’m having some difficulty coming up with an answer but at the top of my head, I’d first ask the person I’m speaking with was born blind. If he is not then I’d point out the color of an item that is blue. End of story. If the person is born blind, then I would begin by explaining to the person that colors allow people who can see the ability to tell the difference between some items. For example, it is common for work shoes to be black. The color red is usually used for stop signs. The color green for go. And after we have established some context I will begin giving examples of items that are colored blue.”
Then I’d ask the interviewer if they are satisfied with my answer.
“Was I able to explain my answer clearly?”
4.) How do you see your self 5 or 10 years from now?
The numbers here change. Here’s the thing.
1-2 years: I see myself established in this company. I’ve learned how to execute the work and have mastered the day to day tasks. I also see myself being able to save some money to purchase some upgrades in the house that I’ve dreamed of being able to afford.
3-5 years: I see myself qualifying for a higher position. I’m not really sure how things work in your company but from what I understand from what my friends have shared, if I would do well with my agent position, there are opportunities for internal hiring in different departments as well as higher positions such as team leader, trainer, QA, etc.
5-10 years: It’s difficult for me to determine how far exactly I’ll be able to advance given my lack of knowledge in the call center hierarchy but I imagine that the first two years will be spent mastering my tasks in the agent level and if an opportunity opens, I’ll go for the first promotion that I can go for and take it from there.
5.) Do you have any questions for me?
Scroll back up to my answering questions section.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.