Call Center Interview Questions and Suggested Answers

June 15, 2012 • written by

Call center interview questions are intimidating to many beginners.

I get messages that include examples about how their brain turns off when they enter the interview room.

The most common question that I receive is..

“What are the correct answers to the following interview questions?”

So to minimize having to explain my answers, I put together this lesson.

Call Call Center Interview Question Main Objective:

The objective of a call center interview is for the recruiter to find out if you have the qualities that they are looking for in a call center agent.

To get hired in a call center, you need to display that you are:

If you display these traits, you will pass your call center interview.

Biggest Mistakes when Answering Call Center Interview Questions:

Unfortunately, new applicants have opposite goals when they get to an interview.

They tell me they want to get hired but they also want the interview to be as short as possible and speak as little English as possible.

They give one word or short sentence answers.

That’s the thing.

If you achieved your goal of a short interview, you won’t get a job as a result.

The interviewer wants to know if you can speak in English.

The interviewer wants to hear you ask questions.

The interviewer wants to find out how you handle unknown questions.

The interviewer will test your ability to give instructions.

The interviewer will evaluate your ability to tell stories.

That’s it.

Your interview questions are designed to test all of your abilities in these areas at one point.

So when they ask you those random questions, you’re not really supposed to know the answer in advance.

You’re supposed to know how to answer questions you don’t know the answer to.

Even if it means just clarifying the question, to make sure you understand what they mean.

Even if it means acknowledging the question by saying that’s an interesting question and telling them its the first time you’ve ever had to think about the question.

Even if it means asking for a minute or two to think about it or maybe read up on it.

How to Answer Call Center Interview Questions

Do not try to guess the right answer.

You’re not a participant in a game show.

It’s not your answer that passes you or fails you but how you answer.

There are no right or wrong answers in a call center interview.

Because the answers that the interviewer expects is unique and would depend on who you are.

The key is asking yourself the questions in advance and deciding on the answer before a call center interview.

How to Make Answering Call Center Interview Questions Easy

Before I begin, here are my objectives in an interview.

  1. Get my interviewer to smile.
  2. Get my interviewer to laugh.
  3. Get my interviewer to tell me a story.
  4. Get my interview to be around 30 minutes to an hour.

Crazy objectives?

Well that’s why I often get to the final stages of the call center interview.

Call Center Interview Questions Are Not Your Biggest Problem

It’s true that I go to sixteen interviews to find my target job but only five of those fail but that’s mostly because I totally forgot about the previous four objectives.

So yeah.

When I finally remember the four objectives and approach my interview according to my four crazy objectives, I always win.

One of the common problems I see peopl do is that many people wait for the question before they start thinking about the answer.

They go unprepared.

How to prepare for Call Center Interview Questions:

In a call center job, preparation is key.

And knowing a lot of the answers beforehand saves you a lot of time and makes you sound more credible when you give an answer.

Because you don’t really have to think of an answer for very long.

Now this is important.

I don’t recommend giving a memorized answer.

Instead, it’s important to know the summary or the main points of your answer before an interview.

You want to know your history.

You want to know your positive traits.

You want to know your job hunting story.

Don’t just give an answer in an interview.

Learn to elaborate and expand all your answers.

You are not a beauty pageant contestant with a sixty second time limit.

You have the opportunity to justify your answer and or tell the story behind it.

Remember to try to form a bond with your interviewer.

Call center interview questions to prepare for:

Here are the most common questions that you need to prepare for.

Tell me something about yourself.

Start with your name, where you’re from, what you did for work and something random like a positive trait or what you do on your free time.

What are your strengths?

I recommend picking a few strengths that’s job-related or if you’re a bit more adventurous like me pick one that’s totally not job-related and explain why it’s important to the job.

An example that I used to give is.

I’m good at giving love advice to friends over the phone so I’m used to listening to a problem, asking for important details and offering solutions.

What are your weaknesses?

You can pick a current one that you’re working on or a past one that you overcame.

Always provide a solution to a problem.

Your job whether they’re hiring you for customer service, tech support or sales is to provide solutions to a problem.

Practice working on solutions to your weaknesses.

Write it down so you can explain it better.

Why you want to work in a call center?

Here are my answers:

I would like to upgrade to a higher pay.

I know this industry has high turn over (or a lot of people quitting) and I figure that if I do well there’s an opportunity for me to get promoted and earn well.

I don’t mind working night shift or weekends or holidays.

I enjoy talking to people over the phone.

I enjoy talking to foreigners and learning more about their culture (never say to improve your communication skills.

If you do I’ll hunt you down and torture you and kill you slowly.

Always be confident that your communication skills is good enough and is improving by the minute).

Here are some other call center interview questions:

The top questions are always asked.

These questions are not asked as often but should come up if you have been applying long enough.

Why should we hire you?

On your notebook I need you to list down twenty positive traits that you have.

On another list, include ten accomplishments that you’re proud of.

On another list write down ten nice things people tell about you.

After you complete the list, mark the answers that are job related.

You can get creative and pick an answer that is not job related and explain why that would make you a great hire as a call center agent.

You can expand on your answer.

If you can do this, you’ll impress any interviewer.

What do you have that other applicants don’t?

Or What’s your advantage over the other applicants?

Pick one from your list.

I suggest you pick one that you consider a disadvantage and frame it as the main advantage that they will see why they should hire you.

I sometimes share a story about how I only had one year in college and had to go look for work at an early age.

I thought about what I could offer as an advantage over degree holders. I noticed how a lot of people stop learning and updating their skills as soon as they earn their diploma. They’re graduates after all in their own words. So I worked harder than anyone I know at learning and updating my skills and what I can do. The Kevin they’ll interact with a year from now will be far different than the Kevin they’re seeing. I evolve by reading, attending workshops, being mentored and doing personal experiments. I’m not afraid to spend money to make myself a better person. I pick up skills I’m interested in and I’m interested in picking up skills. Each skill I gain can contribute directly or indirectly to your team.

How to Answer Call Center Interview Questions for Your Unique Situation

If you’re a nurse

Some call center companies hate nurses because they’re the first ones to leave when they get offers to work abroad.

You can tell the interviewer that because of your education, you’re already used to night shift or difficult situations and if you’re not afraid of blood you’re sure you can take on providing solutions with TLC (tender loving care) over the phone.

If you’re a single mom

In traditional Filipino corporate culture. Single moms have experience difficulty in getting hired.

That’s because the added responsibility of raising a child or children will distract the employee from doing her work, ask for a higher pay and going beyond to do overtime and more.

In the call center industry, as long as you can prove that you are capable of doing your work, responsible for your professional obligations and have solutions prepared so you can be at work all the time, never absent, never late and performing well, you can get hired in a call center.

In any case, here are some answers that I thought of.

Tell them that being a mom is a full-time job that requires two people and you were able to deal with putting out crisis on a regular basis.

Being a first-time mom requires learning and adapting to a lot of life and death situations and the fact that you’re still a mom can say that if you did that successfully teaching someone a solution over the phone is no sweat for you.

Plus, taking care of a baby is mostly night shift.

While you’re at it you can tell them that you’re going to get to see your little angel (or devil) more because you’ll be working at night and you’d get to play with them a bit after you wake up and he or she gets back to school.

Tell them you have someone who takes care of your baby for you.

Pick one and play with it.

If you’d like to contribute your story to others, send me an email.

My email is call center training tips at Gmail dot com

Why shouldn’t we hire you?

The interviewer is asking for disadvantages of hiring you.

This is to test if you are awake or capable of thinking.

That’s because in customer service and sales situations, some customers will try to trick you to agree to something you are not supposed to agree to.

For example:

So I don’t mindlessly answer it.

In a lot of cases, I refuse to answer it.

However, I do a few things.

First I acknowledge the question.

So you are asking me why you shouldn’t hire me.

Let me give it some thought.

I pause for five to ten seconds. Pretending to think of an answer.

Then I say:

That’s a really difficult question to answer.

I really don’t know how to answer that.

We spent the last few minutes discussing why you should hire me.

I think I’ve clearly explained that I’m a good match for the job because I’m (insert five to ten reasons) and I don’t really think I can prove that unless I start working for you.

On another note:

Seriously.

Give an answer.

Just throw them an answer.

Some of them don’t really care.

Because 90% of the time, the interviewer is just testing your English skills.

And is just waiting for you to make a pronunciation mistake so they can say your English is bad.

If I’m feeling particularly brave that day, I end my answer with this strong statement.

Don’t try this unless you are really confident but I love the reaction of the interviewer whenever I deliver this answer:

You processed me for (x hours) if there’s someone better and you don’t have enough slots for the job and you’d like to take your chances on that person then by all means.

But the fact that I got this far tells me that there’s something in me that you want in a call center agent/customer service representative/salesperson/ or whatever the position is.

I don’t know.

I think you’re more qualified to answer that question than me.

You see I don’t have experience working in a call center but I made it this far.

At the moment do you see any reason why I’m not a good match?

My main advice on answering interview questions is:

Be creative and have fun. Be unforgettable.

What’s your expected salary?

Be honest and creative here.

I tell them how much I’m expecting.

I know that the offer is around fifteen to twenty thousand per month and some additional perks.

Did I get that correctly or do you offer more?

Why did you leave your previous work?

Never tell them anything negative about your previous work.

Tell them things you’d like to gain by working in a call center like higher pay.

Tell them you are interested in new and exciting opportunities.

Tell them that you want to experience a new environment.

Tell them that you want to expand your mind through the exposure to a different kind of people who are (young, positive, fun think of something).

This works especially well when you are older.

Why would you want to shift to a different industry?

Same reasons as above.

It looks exciting.

The pay could be better.

It might be a perfect match for me because…

You can think of your own answer at this point if you read all the above examples.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Problem-solving.

Check.

Long term thinking.

This is what this question is supposed to check.

Main Reason Why Call Center Interview Questions are Difficult

Here’s the thing.

Call center companies invest in you.

When they hire you, they train you.

They pay the trainer.

They pay the resources you are using.

The materials, the computer, the office space.

The call center company pays your salary while you train.

So they want to know that they will make back their investment.

How do they make back their investment?

If you do your job well and you stay for at least two years.

My answer is usually along the lines of:

I heard the promotion in a call center if you’re not a job hopper is quite fast.

In one or two years I could be a team leader or a trainer or a QA (quality assurance).

I don’t know what’s next but I’m sure I’ll aim higher when I get there.

I heard that unlike most local companies as long as I get my work done really well and I learn to lead there are opportunities for me here.

I don’t know the details about this company but that’s what I understand about opportunities from reputable BPO companies.

Is my expectation correct?

Smile and wait for your interviewer’s answer.

You’ve sold yourself now it’s their turn to sell your company.

The key here is you have to let them know that you have ambition.

Don’t just say I want to take your job, of course they won’t hire you if you have a negative attitude.

How do you manage stress?

It’s simple.

I smoke and I’m done.

This was my previous answer.

I don’t really smoke anymore.

So I’m thinking of a better answer.

I stay positive, think of solutions and understand that thing will turn out well and I have an opportunity to make things better.

If you think that’s too much of a Miss Universe answer.

Here are more practical answers.

I know these influences how my brain responds to stressful situations.

It’s cliche but a sharp mind requires a healthy body.

What do you think is an advantage of working for this company?

I like the fact that..(choose a few)

Be honest about your answer.

If you don’t know, tell them that you don’t know and start asking some questions about what’s to like.

Asking questions show that you’re interested.

Spend some time thinking about these things.

I recommend writing down interview questions and ask yourself if your answers are good enough.

If you were hiring yourself as a call center agent, would you pick yourself for the job?

If not, what do you think would be a better answer?

Do you have any other questions for me?

Here’s a secret, in a call center interview the recruiter is secretly counting how many questions you asked in an interview.

Why?

That’s because a call center job involves asking questions 90% of the time.

Whether you do sales, customer service or tech support all you’ll be doing is asking questions.

So that’s actually another test.

They test your interest in the job and they test your communication skills by the number of questions you asked during the interview.

So if you ever got this question at the end.

This is to remind you that you should be asking a lot of questions during your interview.

Additional Call Center Interview Tips:

  1. The longer the interview the better for you.
  2. Confirm that you understand the answer.
  3. If you don’t know the answer, tell them that it’s your first time being asked the question and you need a minuter or two to think about it. Ask questions about the question.
  4. Include stories about your answer.
  5. Don’t take it seriously.

In summary:

  1. Ask yourself the questions.
  2. Write down the answer.
  3. Be honest and be creative.
  4. Deliver with confidence and elaborate.
  5. Try to form a bond with your interviewer by asking some questions.

How do you answer questions before?

How will you answer questions now?

Thank you for reading this far and thank you for your attention. God bless.

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Always remember that if I can do it, you can do it too.

MY LESSONS ALREADY HELPED HUNDREDS OF FILIPINOS GET HIRED IN A CALL CENTER.

CHAMPIONS are willing to experience temporary discomfort and VOLUNTARILY face difficult activities that LOSERS are NOT willing to do. And this is the reason CHAMPIONS are able to BUILD the life and enjoy benefits and SUCCESS that LOSERS will never have.

We may never meet but I'm happy I am able to contribute to your life through my work.

I am always praying for your success.