Answers: Interview strategies


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Question: I’m working as a data entry operator and want to move in to call centre work. My problem is this: I have attended several interviews but have not been successful in finding a role. I get very nervous when I go for interviews and I believe this is holding me back. Can you propose any methods that will help me relax and be more like myself? And are there some questions that I should be asking to show that I am keen to work in customer service?

Answer 1

Courtesy of Ken Crosby, personnel manager at 2Touch.

One of the important areas to look at is confidence that you can do the role you have applied for and your ability to express this to the interviewer. Experience is a real selling point. Your current data entry role is a job that provides customer service and it is important that you emphasise the accuracy of the work.

  • Practise talking about your current role.
  • Why do you want to be in customer service?
  • Examples of where you have experienced poor customer service and what you would have done differently.
  • Find out about the company you have applied to work for.
  • Prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask; most interviewers will give you that opportunity.
  • Find someone you can do a role play with.
  • How you would like an advisor to sound if you rang a call centre?
  • What is good customer service?

On the day:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to be punctual; this will give you chance to relax.
  • When asked a question, it is okay to tell the interviewer you would like a little time to think about it, without too long a silence.

Remember, the majority of people are nervous when they go for an interview and a good interviewer takes this in to account. The more confident you are in understanding the role you are applying for, the less nervous you will appear.

Answer 2

Courtesy of a Call Centre Manager from a North East Call Centre.

As a major contact centre operator, we conduct thousands of interviews each year – and virtually every new candidate exhibits nerves. It is our role as interviewers to get candidates to overcome those nerves, relax and bring out their true characters. We would never reject someone purely on the grounds that they showed nerves during their first interview.

The best advice I feel I can give you is to suggest some of the responses we’d like to hear from candidates during their initial competency-based interviews for a customer service advisor or customer sales advisor role. Clearly, everyone will have their own way of answering these questions, so this can only, at best, be a rough guide.

Q1. “Give me an example of when you have encountered a problem at work. How have you worked to resolve that problem?”

A1. We’d be looking for evidence that the candidate has listened, taken on board what has been said, and followed a process to resolve the issue. We’d obviously also be interested in the outcome.

Q2. “The role you applied for involves working to targets. What do you see as the main benefits of target-setting in a customer service environment?”

A2. We’d want to hear that the candidate enjoys working to targets and would be motivated to hit those targets. Ideally, we’d also be looking for evidence that the candidate could improve performance if, for example, they failed to reach targets or were set new, higher targets.

Q3. “If an irate customer called in and was abusive towards you and the company, how would you handle it?”

A3. The candidate must show that they would listen to the customer, take time to understand the issues they raise, stay calm, show empathy, build a rapport and communicate to the customer how they can add value to resolve their particular problem.

Q4. “Describe a time when you were requested to do something in a work environment over and above your normal requirement?”

A4. In this instance, we’d be looking for the candidate to demonstrate that they are prepared to give a higher level of commitment to the company if needs dictate.

Overall, we’d be looking for candidates to demonstrate that they can work as part of a team, are capable of self-development, and have good organisational skills. If candidates give responses like those indicated above, it would give us a strong indication that they are not only keen, but also very able to take up customer service advisor or customer sales advisor roles within our company.

Answer 3

Courtesy of Jo Thomson, managing director at training and change management business The Procter Consultancy.

To answer your question: yes – there are some questions that you should ask to show you’re keen on customer service. However we would argue they are questions you should be asking yourself. There are no tricks, short cuts or magic things to say to employers, sadly.

To start with, think from your customer’s agenda – by which we mean your potential employer. You’re selling yourself to them at an interview, after all. Think about what’s important to them. What matters? What do they need to be successful? If you’re struggling, you can always ask them with a quick phone call prior to the interview. Most employers will applaud your initiative.

Once you have a clear idea about their requirements, we would recommend asking yourself three specific questions:

  • How can I reassure potential employers that I’m as good as I say I am?
  • How can I relate my skills and experiences to their unique challenges?
  • How can I resolve any concerns they might have about me?

The ‘reassure, relate and resolve’ model is based on our core understanding of psychology and is worth remembering whenever you want to help someone say yes. In customer services, of course, that’s the business you’re moving in to.

If you can write – and writing will focus the mind – answers to the above questions before attending an interview, then you’ll be able to rehearse and overcome those nerves. Above all, though, stay positive. We wish you every success.


Do you have any better ideas? Please leave your comments below…

Click here for our Top 50 Customer Service Interview Questions

Published On: 31st Aug 2006 - Last modified: 22nd Nov 2016

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67 Comments
  1. Im going for an interview for callcentre work tomorrow. wish me luck! ive taken these tips on board

    Morgan 7 Apr at 8:16 am
  2. Think more and get ready before doing anything. giving plenty of time is one the important thing that should be done.In general the call centers are not difficult to work in once you cross and success the interview. Hence,try to be strong during the iterview and demonstrate that you are able to have a position among the employers by your interation, by your communication skills, by your majic answers.

    jack 28 May at 1:17 pm
  3. i am very happy with the information and hope it helps me with my interview today thanks

    vicky ashby 5 Jun at 7:03 am
  4. Thank you very much for giving such a ideal guidance for interview for fresher as experience job seeker. So i hadgain a lot of confidence and trick to perform well in interview. I hope can get a job.
    thanks

    Nawang 9 Jun at 5:51 am
  5. thanks for the advice more blessing

    marrie manankil 10 Jun at 10:36 am
  6. thank you for the help…. and good day…

    rayvelyn gempeson 11 Jun at 3:05 am
  7. Above information is very useful and valuable

    Rakesh 26 Jun at 10:04 pm
  8. I have a call centre interview on Tuesday… wish me Luck guys

    Anonymous 17 Aug at 3:10 pm
  9. Im hoping i could pass my interview on tuesday, anyone have an idea for the questionaire?

    lor 17 Aug at 3:12 pm
  10. Good luck

    james reeve 17 Aug at 4:02 pm
  11. tnx! continue 2 help others in giving tips to them… Godbless

    stephanie 19 Aug at 5:33 pm
  12. thank uou for the info. it’s really nice to see this

    Princess_arlyn 10 Nov at 1:54 pm
  13. thank you sooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!

    lhen 11 Jan at 5:26 pm
  14. Thanks for giving insight on how to pass in call center interwiew , I hope I have the chance to be a part of call center company because I would like to enhance my skills in sales communication

    jacqueline 14 Jan at 2:58 am
  15. I think these are good examples and will of course help you and in most companys this should be enough. However the problem is that in most interview situations instinct seems to take priority and if the interviewer does not ‘feel’ that you are right for the job you wont get it. What this page does not cover is the psychology in an interview so I would like to raise some points of my own:

    Dress to impress – First impressions last and the way you present yourself will have a strong impact about the way they ‘feel’ about you. Remember people make thier judgments in the first 9 seconds of meeting so by being smartly dressed, shaking thier hand and smiling you will set the best first impression possible.

    Be confident – Understand that you will feel nervous and expect it to happen but just because you are nervous does not meen you can also be confident. Walk tall, be proud of yourself and tell yourself over and over that you are going to do it. If you follow these steps you will ooz confidence in the interview

    Build Rapport – The last thing you want to be in an interview is forgetful. The first thing you do in any interview is shake thier hand and smile. If you have the opportunity to build rapport or make a connection with the interviewer than do it. People like people who are like themselves.

    Body Language and Tone – In any face to face interaction your body language subconcously tells the interviewer how you are really feeling. It is best to have an open and relaxed posture. When the interviewer is talking it is important to give verbal nods to show you are listening. Your tone of voice should have an interesting inflection and should not be monotone and boring.

    Words – It is also important to avoid using negative words or statements and try and use positive words and statements. Psychologically even the words ‘negative’and ‘bad’ have a negative feeling to them so you should avoid using these types of words. There are a few words that have a massive psychological impact if they are used enough and in the right way in an interview and they are as follows;
    Positive, Motivated, Professional, Flexible, Loyal

    Although none of the above is ‘on paper’ taken into consideration, psychologically it will create a more positive experience for the interviewer and in turn they will get a good ‘feeling’ about you.

    Richard Devine 25 Feb at 7:50 pm
  16. I am going for interview next week, thanks alot it realy helping.

    P THOMAS 18 Mar at 4:06 pm
  17. Yes, I am totally convinced with discussion that is held by some of the most popular personalities in customer service.

    Personally I believe your postive attitude will take you to some job. Talking about the postive attitude I mean, what job you are applying, is it you really want to do. Once your are clear with your intrests, then everything shall be easy to you. Then the matter remains is how you are going to get it? Here expert opinions shall be helpful.

    Uzair 24 Apr at 5:55 am
  18. Thank you friends for such a helping information…actually i am nervous about my interview tomorrow at a call centre. I reall need this job. Wish me Luck

    Nipun 12 May at 11:20 pm
  19. Thank you for the tips get your cash in heaven godbless…

    ponx 29 May at 6:00 pm
  20. The above mentioned questions are very helpful however I would be more intrested in finding how a psycometric test over the phone will help to understand employee’s or applicant’s deliverables and responsibilties that he/she going to take up if employed.

    krishna 29 Jul at 9:05 pm
  21. i am going for an interview and i think this will be very helpful to me. Thanks

    sonia singh 31 Aug at 11:32 am
  22. i hope it will help me to answer the question in call center so i would like to say thank you for this site…. keep it up…

    arjel joseph bien 4 Oct at 4:15 am
  23. Thanks for the information it is very useful and i hope that it will help me in my interview next week.

    hanna 12 Oct at 1:25 pm
  24. thanks hope i pass this interview?

    garvin 26 Oct at 6:25 pm
  25. itot! tae! palagpat

    Mark 29 Oct at 5:23 am
  26. i hope that i’ll passed the interview..cud u please giv more ideas nd tips, eg.best answers on interviews..

    bloody_countess 8 Dec at 6:22 am
  27. i hope that i’ll pass the interview..cud u please giv more ideas nd tips, eg.best answers on interviews..coz ive been through lots of call center company nd still…

    bloody_countess 8 Dec at 6:25 am
  28. thank you for sharing those words of hope,i know i can do all that things in my hardwork…

    gentle 15 Dec at 2:28 am
  29. Thanks everyone….u guys were great help!

    Asma 14 Mar at 7:24 am
  30. i have a call center interview tomorow wish me luck…

    Anonymous 18 Mar at 3:52 pm
  31. Im a plain housewife for over 6 years,i admitted that i loose my confidence dealing with other people using english language.That’s why i started to learn and excell more on reading,and searching the net about how to be confident and concise with my communication skills.I am so eager and willing to learn..i really like to be part of this rising industry..call center.I am thankful for your halp im looking forward to your new tips and points on how to cope up with this nervousness.

    Michelle Cabungcal 25 Mar at 1:45 am
  32. What’s your favourite Colour & why ?Tell me abutur last movie, Which have you seen abut ur mom daily routine and ur birthday plzz help me

    deepikavarshney 4 Apr at 11:18 am
  33. thanks.. i hope that it will help me on my interview later, its my first time to apply a job.. the nervv

    zzzzz 5 Apr at 8:44 pm
  34. thank you for the source that ive’d read,it helps me a lot,to motivate myself to pursue my call center career,i hope that this would help me to pass an interview.

    ramil montesena 9 Apr at 7:54 am
  35. I am sure your answers will help me in getting job in call center.

    Mehar Prakash 12 Apr at 9:43 am
  36. my husband ask me to work in a call center industry even he really knows that i’m not good enough in English but he push me and he expect me to pass…but lots of company rejected my ability, i feel down but my husband trying to pick me up and support me.the good thing is for the 15th company that i applied i was passed…

    franz 13 Apr at 12:43 am
  37. i have a call centre interview tomorrow at randburg wish me luck

    letty mangi skosana 18 May at 9:08 am
  38. i have applied so many times for international bpo. but i am unable to get job there. so what should i do?

    puneet kumar gupta 22 May at 12:53 pm
  39. Thanks for the information its helps me to cope with the confident answer..

    Roger 12 Jun at 1:18 pm
  40. what would be the first question in the interview

    rahul 25 Jun at 1:55 pm
  41. why i cant pass the interview?

    Patrick 27 Jun at 4:10 am
  42. Can u give me advise for question- why do I wanna be customer advisor at Barclays???Thank you

    Lucia 28 Jul at 5:29 pm
  43. I am going for an interview.these questions are really help for preparing interview. thanks

    M.Haseeb 28 Aug at 12:08 pm
  44. hi sir, i m working in a 5 star hotel i wanted 2 move in another 5 star hotel .i completed my 5 months overther . .for making more confident for my next interview what i have 2 do?

    sandeep 21 Sep at 7:43 pm
  45. ooh thaanks it was very useful for me to state the questions…

    Anonymous 9 Nov at 2:30 pm
  46. I shouldn’t say this, as going for a perfect job, but told successful people help others suceed, but not if that means taking my best job!:) But all those key skills are fine and great on CVs, but you have to give concrete very specific examples from work experience situations and put to life the key terms/skill on the cv handed out as work in but elaboarte in much detail. Words and terms can be thrown around and be generic lacking substance; so no good unless you can back it up.

    Good luck

    Alen Davies 29 Nov at 4:04 am
  47. Thanks a lot! I’ve got an interviw tomarow and I’ve been prepping for it all week, this websie was by far the best on I came across.

    Hope it goes well, and to others in my situation, good luck! xx

    P De Silva 23 Feb at 12:13 am
  48. Thanks a lot for these guidence, i learnt a lot from these guidelines. Hope you continue helping others in my situation, thanks.

    Thabo 18 Mar at 10:16 am
  49. Thanks a lot for your guidelines.

    marlon 23 Mar at 8:00 am
  50. Thanx a million,these G and A are very helpful.

    Baloyi 28 Mar at 11:29 am
  51. Im edryl,20 years old.honestly,i haven’t enough confidence for applying in a call center even some of my friends convinced me to apply for, just knowing that i will undergo such interview made me feel too much nervous until i did a research on the web and found out this article.it really helped me to understand that there’s no reason to be felt nervous and have a fear feelings on the interview.thanks for the tips and advise.i hoped one of these days i will find myself walking into a call center for an interview.hope nearly soon.

    Edryl wayne d. Grefaldo 3 Apr at 11:51 am
  52. Hi,

    I am working for a multinational organization as a contact center Team Manager and i am about to make an interview for a position of call center manager hence i would like to know what are the most common question i would probably be asked and its ideal answers!?

    Thanks

    Mahmoud El Zahhar 7 Apr at 4:38 pm
  53. Hi thanks for those information it really helps me a lot. I am applying for a call center so wish me goodluck!

    nanette antipala 12 Apr at 2:42 pm
  54. great words. good job! 🙂

    dalla 7 Jun at 1:35 am
  55. Well, in most cases nervousness can’t be avoided but controllable.Showing your nervousness to interviewee affects your possibility to get the job. Be prepared and do research of the company you are applying, know them because you will be asked by that for sure.Its just like when you are going to a battle there is a lot of preparation-mentally, physically and emotionally. When you are ready and know what you are doing everything will run smoothly but don’t be too over confident.

    gaile 16 Jul at 7:11 pm
  56. well for me!!! it is not enough that.. well somehow its helpful and good..

    khulata 24 Sep at 4:56 pm
  57. i got a interview for sky and its stuctured based interview for customer advisor any help?

    many thanks Amy

    Anonymous 26 Nov at 11:12 pm
  58. i have an interview on friday, at telperformance. i just wish that i will pass the interview. with the help of this interview tips.. thnx

    Anonymous 6 Dec at 4:06 am
  59. I want to be part of the call center but the problem is i dont have any idea and any experience in call center agent.. can you give me an advise?

    Jam 17 Mar at 9:37 pm
  60. I have an interview with barclays for a branch advisor position.. Is there anything I need to know that’s job specific or whether there will be a phone interview first??
    Not sure what expect but really want the job.

    Please can you advise me.
    thanks

    Anonymous 22 Mar at 5:25 am
  61. My friends and i have an interview tomorrow as a customer service relation…wish us luck we really need this job tnx and god bless every one 🙂

    wizz 9 Sep at 4:39 pm
  62. I really want to be a call center agent,problem is I’m afraid to failed again,i have tried dozen times but still unable to find one,but very optimistic to be hired in a good one,someone out there who has a good heart give me advice pls.tnx in advance…

    renz 24 Apr at 7:26 am
  63. this site truly helps improve my skills more, thanks a lot for those who made this guide… i have more confidence after reading this ad than you once again…

    renz 24 Apr at 2:30 pm
  64. I am also going on a call center position interview in two days!! Am very nervous, but i hope i get it! Wish me luck. Thankyou for these questions and answers i wrote them down and am practicing i want to be as prepared as possible for my interview

    Anonymous 11 May at 9:09 pm
  65. I have a call center interview tomorrow this was really helpful

    shilz 9 Jun at 9:25 pm
  66. Ive got an interview tmorrow! Im excited and nervous the key is to sit up look approachble smile when yu talk eye contact think about your answers

    maya 4 Dec at 7:49 pm
  67. Ive been in three consecutive call cneter interviews all failed, unfortunately. I failed all in final interviews that was psychological and situational interview like ” how do you describe a color in a blind person ” huhuhu its so simple i failed because i felt nervous Im not able to think an answer.

    Ykcaw28 9 Aug at 6:21 pm
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