It’s open season for job hunting. Tens of thousands of college graduates are ready to pounce at every job opportunity available. There is a wealth of tips in the Internet on “how to land on your dream job” that can help first-time job seekers. However, there is no accurate formula to landing your dream job. The “dream job” may not even exist.
This article is especially designed for you, labor market neophyte. Hopefully, the listed interview questions and suggested answers can help you crack your way to a reputable company.
Before we go over the Q&A portion, let’s have an overview of the sunshine industry and why you should be part of it. According to a Technavio report, Asia Pacific (APAC) is the fastest growing region in the call center industry. The region, although the smallest global contributor, is expanding at an annual rate of 13%. By 2019, the APAC is expected to contribute $1 billion to the global call center industry.
The Philippines is one of the leading countries in the industry. In fact, experts have placed the Philippines as the no. 1 trend to look out for. A call center agent is receiving higher-than-average compensation and comprehensive benefits package. The pay, however, is not the end of the story. Call center agents in the Philippines are offered free trainings, a conducive working environment, and several wellness and extra-curricular programs to ensure their overall developments.
Now, if you want to join this exciting type of work, better run through this list of call center interview questions you will likely encounter as a first-time applicant.
Tell Me Something About Yourself
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The first question you have to prepare for is not a question. When an interviewer asks you to introduce yourself, don’t narrate your life story—where you were born, the name of your preschool, etc. Think of it as speed dating. In less than two minutes, how will you convince your interviewer that you’re the person he’s looking for? Skip the boring details in your resume and offer information about yourself that will be useful in the position you’re applying for. Instead of reciting the schools you’ve been to, share your extracurricular activities that helped boost your social skills.
Where Do You See Yourself Five Years from Now?
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When an interviewer asks you about your long-term plans, he’s not expecting you to pledge a lifetime to the company. He wants to know if you have a plan at all. Whether you’re eyeing for a supervisory position or an opportunity in the training team, confine your answer within the bounds of the company—meaning, your plans should involve staying with your employer in the next five years.
How Do You Handle Stress?
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You should answer this question in two ways: how you handle stress in and out of your personal life. Why is this question important? A call center job can be particularly stressful, just like any other type of job outside this industry. The way you handle stress says a lot about how you are as a person. Do you retain grace under pressure? Do you find ways to cope? Recommended answers to this question should include effective time management, pursuit of life-work balance, and creative endeavors outside work.
What Do You Do During Your Spare Time?
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Employers want to know about your interests and hobbies for two reasons: they need to know if they’re hiring a well-rounded individual; and they want to make sure you have a life outside work. They want to know that they’re not hiring a lifeless robot. Show yourself as a passionate person who deeply cares about his or her life outside the job. Impress on them that you are inspired to better at your job because factors in your hobbies, family or personal life drive you to excel.
Why Apply for A Call Center Job?
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One mistake job applicants commit in a call center interview is the obvious intention to impress. Resist the temptation to throw in highfaluting words, motherhood statements and answers straight from the beauty pageant handbook. Strike a balance between honesty and marketing. Be truthful about your intentions but do it in a way that will market yourself to the company. Quote the facts about working in the industry, such as the quick career growth rate, competitive salary, and exciting employee engagement activities.
Why Should We Hire You?
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A call center job interview is pretty much the same with those in other industries. An interviewer wants to know what you have to offer so always frame your answers on what you can give, not on what you can get. “Why should we hire you?” only means “What are your strengths that can contribute to the growth of the company?”
Why Shouldn’t We Hire You?
This question has to be the toughest to answer. “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” is a double-edged sword as a seemingly positive answer may be the cause of your downfall.
One strategy to use is confidence. Have a dramatic five-second pause as if expounding on the question, then make a bold statement: “I’ve made my research on the company including the type of people it needs in its team. Before I sent my application, I’ve made sure that I fit all your requirements. I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t hire me.”
Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
If you’re a fresh graduate with no work experience, this question obviously is not applicable to you. However, work experience may include summer or part-time jobs you’ve held while studying. The only rule you need to remember in answering this question is to NEVER talk ill about your former employer. Instead of saying that your boss was a jerk—committing a daunting interview mistake yet again—cite “professional differences” or “my employer and I were no longer on the same page.” Filter the ugly details of your resignation.
How Do You Deal with Conflict?
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The best ways to answer call center interview questions don’t involve a list of well-crafted statements. In the first place, you’re not supposed to memorize your answers. Just develop a process to smartly answer questions. More than the substance of your answers, the interviewer is assessing your communication skills and how quickly you respond. When you’re asked how you manage conflict, concentrate on the right steps to take in dispute resolution. You may cite a specific incident such as when you’ve had a misunderstanding with a family member. Don’t dwell on the emotions involved and pounce on the solutions.
Have You Had Any Experience When You Had to Use Your Leadership Skills?
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If you’re asked whether you’ve displayed leadership skills in past, there’s only one sensible answer: YES. This question doesn’t necessarily cover leadership in the workplace, so this is applicable even to fresh graduates. The interviewer wants to know if you can lead other people, regardless if they are former colleagues in the office, classmates or even family members. Cite experiences when your decision making skills was made an important impact in your friends’ or family’s plans.
Why Do Donuts Have Holes?
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Here’s when you think you think on your feet. In fact, the answer may be irrelevant. It’s about how you answer, not what you say. Expect curveball questions like these designed to make you say something that you probably have not rehearsed. It’s best to project a look of calm and collected, and give an honest answer. If you don’t know, say so and imply that you will find out at the soonest.
For the record though, no one really knows. The leading theory is that donuts have holes so that the insides of the cakes would cook as evenly as the outsides.
How Will You Sell a Pen to The Blind?
A call center career is not only about taking calls. It may also involve making calls (outbound calls), doing documentation and providing email support (non-voice), quality analysis, workforce management, training or supervisory jobs. When you apply in a call center, you will be tested for various skills to know where you fit best. Be prepared for sales-related questions. If you’re asked to sell a pen to the blind, the interviewer is assessing your ability to think on your toes. Zero in on the pen, your product. Create the demand.
How Will You Handle an Irate Call?
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Every call center agent dreads an irate call. Even outside the office, no one wants to deal with an emotional person who spews profanities without reservations. Handling difficult callers will be taught during your soft-skill training, but it will only cover the concepts. You will learn the art of handling irate calls over the months and years as a call center agent. When answering this question, relate it with an experience that required your empathy, control and patience. The interviewer wants to know how well you control your own emotions in a heated situation.
What Do You Know About the Company?
Going to a job interview with zero knowledge about the company is like facing your interviewer wearing the inappropriate attire. Don’t give the impression that you’re not taking the job interview seriously. Do a little research about the company—when did it start operating in the country, where else does it operate globally, etc. It’s not necessary that you investigate on its clients or campaigns. All the information you need are available in the call center’s website. You can also tap the IBEX Global call center agents among your friends to ask for some helpful info about the company.
What Other Companies Are You Interviewing with?
If you’re applying in other centers, you can tell your interviewer that you’re exploring similar options in other companies in the industry. Specify that this is your backup plan, though. Indicate that you really want to work in the company you are applying for.
Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
Generally, the answer to the final question in a call center interview is a list of questions—smart questions, that is! If your interviewer asks you if you have questions for him, don’t bombard him with queries whose answers are readily available in the company website. This will only suggest that you didn’t do any research on the company. Asking about the offered salary and other compensation-related questions is not only inappropriate, these are better addressed to the Compensation & Benefits people. Instead, ask about growth opportunities for agents, the company’s long-term plans for its workforce, and future prospects in the industry.
Knowing how to answer call center interview questions is not enough to secure a job post. You should also pay attention to how you dress up and make sure you wear the right interview attire, use the right tone of your voice, and are mindful of the way you shake hands with your interviewers and your overall disposition. Finally, keep your head high regardless of the result of your interviews.
First-time interviewee? More tips here!