Thursday, October 20, 2011

14 Most Common Call Center Interview Questions and Answers

The call center industry is one of the fastest growing in the country these days. As recently as ten years ago, there were only a few call center agents and the word call center was hardly ever used in the country. Today, almost every family has at least one member working in the call center industry. The reason for this boom is partly economics. In the Philippines, low paying jobs are very notorious and while the call centers set up shop here because of our low labor costs, Filipinos decide to work for the call center industry because they get paid higher than average wages there. Consider this: if you are an average worker with an entry level position, you probably are getting paid seven to ten thousand a month (take home); meanwhile, an average employee in the call center industry with an entry level position will get around fifteen thousand pesos a month (take home) plus free dental and health coverage. Call centers also will pay your SSS (Social Security), PAGIBIG (home building fund), and PhilHealth (health insurance) from day one in the job. It is no wonder then that almost every day, you see hundreds of applicants in the top call centers in the country. If you are reading this post, then you are undoubtedly one of the many Filipinos aspiring to work as a call center agent. Even though the demand for call center agents outpaces the availability of qualified workers, having the qualifications to become a call center agent alone does not guarantee you a job in this competitive industry.

Furnishing a resume is easy, then the hardest part begins: the job interview. Some people who are very much qualified to become call center agents seem to question at times why they aren’t able to pass call center interviews. The answer is simple. They are most probably not giving very good answers to the interview questions directed at them.

In this blog post, I will be discussing the most common and hardest to answer call center interview questions. I also would be equipping you (our dear readers) with valuable tips on how to answer these call center interview questions.

While call center interview questions will mostly resemble interview questions found in job interviews in other  industries, the way that one answers them will have to be different and tailor made for the needs of the industry. Job interviewers in the call center industry will be primarily on the lookout for skills such as flexibility, customer service, multitasking, good communication, and critical thinking.

This blog post featuring call center interview questions and answers will be presented in a question and answer format. The answers will be given in a script format. This will be followed by a short explanation on each call center interview question and answer.


Call Center Interview Question 1: Tell me something about yourself.

Call Center Interview Answer 1: Well, I can say that I am a person with varied interests. During my spare time, I like to sketch anything that I see on the street such as a dog passing by or a little girl buying candy from the neighborhood store. These things fascinate me. I guess I like to observe people. On Sundays, I do volunteer work at the orphanage in Mandaluyong. My volunteer work consists of encouraging wealthy people to donate money to the orphanage. What we do is we go to the upscale subdivisions in the city and tell them about the orphanage. When I have the time, I also like to read novels, and play basketball.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 1:

This call center interview question is probably one of the most neglected and least prepared for by interviewees. The question seems very simple and direct to the point. Your answer though to this question will set the course of the interview. From this very simple question, interviewers can likely guess at whether you are a good candidate or not so please do not take this question for granted.

Most applicants will answer this call center interview question with information that is already found on their resume like their name, address, and school information. Do not make this mistake. When being asked this question, you are supposed to answer with information that is not found in your resume. Why would the interviewer want to know about your name, age, and address when this information is already on your resume?

A very good answer to the call center interview question would be to talk about your hobbies. When you do talk about hobbies, remember that by doing this, you are also providing the interviewer with information about your skills. For example, if you say that you play sports like basketball or baseball, this tells the interviewer that you are competitive. If you say that you like to play chess, this means you’re analytical. If you tell the interviewer that you are involved with various organizations, this spells leadership and people skills. So do not take this call center interview question for granted. Make sure to answer this question by giving the interviewer an idea that you are who they are looking for. If you do not have any “good hobbies” (like all you can say is watch HBO, eating, and sleeping), another approach you can take is talking about your family. Describe your relationship with your family. Talk about your brother, the pilot, or your mom, the actress. Say that you are very close to your family, that you guys go to church every Sunday and watch a movie afterwards. If you like to watch TV, amuse your employer by saying something like I’m addicted to Lost. I watch all Lost episodes on DVD every day. If all you have in your arsenal is reading, then make it sound better and more interesting by saying that you are a voracious book reader. Rack your brain. Make sure that when you tell something about yourself, it sounds interesting and will make you shine.

Call Center Interview Question 2: What is your idea of a call center?

Call Center Interview Answer 2: My idea of a call center is that it is a place where people take calls from customers and deliver superb customer service experience. I know that the people who work for call centers are extremely flexible people who adapt to different cultures, different people, and different schedules all at the same time.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 2:

This call center interview question aims to gauge how correct your expectations of a call center job are. Answer this question by giving out your general expectations of a call center job. Describe the work (selling if it’s a sales account, instructing callers if it’s a technical support account, etc) or the people working in call centers. This call center interview question would only be asked if you don’t have any call center experience yet.

Call Center Interview Question 3: Why do you want to work in a call center?

Call Center Interview Answer 3: I’d like to work in a call center because I have the skills to match the ones needed for this job. I graduated as a nursing student and during our on the job training, I learned a lot about communication skills and how to deal with people. As a nursing graduate, I became skillful in dealing with difficult people and patient in working with irate clients. In my course, we were also taught how to be good listeners which I know is a very valuable skill in this industry. Another reason why I want to work for a call center is because I know that the benefits and pay in the call center industry is better compared to those in other industries. I also know from my friends that the chances of career growth in this industry are high. In the past, I have heard of people getting promoted overnight.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 3:

This is another question which would only be directed to applicants without any call center experience. Please do not answer this call center interview question by saying that you want to improve your English or that you need money to help your parents. By applying for a call center position, you should already be confident with your communication skills in English. The interviewer also wouldn’t want to hear that you are in this just for the money. The above response is a good example on how you can relate your college degree to a job in a call center. I purposely chose to give a response that a nursing graduate could give to this call center interview question because of the many nursing graduates out there trying to look for a job in the call center industry.

Call Center Interview Question 4: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Call Center Interview Answer 4: I am a very patient person capable of dealing with irate and demanding customers. I can think out of the box so I have exceptional problem solving skills. I have good English communications skills and I can learn how to operate new computer programs very fast. I am a team player and I get along with people very well. Those are my strengths. As for my weaknesses, I guess my biggest weakness is working too much and not knowing when to stop. I would say that this is a weakness because at times I would render too much overtime that it becomes detrimental to my health.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 4:

The call center interview answer 4 is pretty much self explanatory. With this call center interview question, you would want to enumerate skills that would be needed as a call center agent. These includes (but are not limited to): flexibility, adaptability, good communication skills, good listening skills, patience, proficiency in Microsoft Office programs, good typing speed, and excellent multi tasking skills. Of course when it comes to your weaknesses, you don’t want to say that you don’t have any as this will make you look egotistic. So make sure to be prepared to come up with at least one weakness which isn’t too negative. Examples of weaknesses which aren’t very negative are: being workaholic and being too friendly. Answer this call center interview question with a lot of confidence.

Call Center Interview Question 5: What makes you qualified to work in a call center?

Call Center Interview Answer 5: I am qualified to work in a call center because I possess qualities which makes one a good call center agent. I am very flexible; I don’t have complaints with working at nights and with split days off. I am willing to learn and I am not intimidated with learning new things. I am very patient and I know how to deal with stress. I believe that these qualities make me qualified to work in a call center.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 5:

Answer this call center interview question by just reinforcing your answers to the previous call center interview question presented. You can also answer this question by expounding on your strengths and good qualities.

Call Center Interview Question 6: Why do you want to work for our company?

Call Center Interview Answer 6: I have heard nothing but good things about this company from people who have worked here. People say that the accounts here are very stable, the management is kind to its employees, and everyone is friendly.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 6:

In answering this call center interview, simply cite the company’s positive attributes.

Call Center Interview Question 7: What has been your most significant achievement?

Call Center Interview Answer 7: My most significant achievement would have to be graduating from college. I say this because for four years, I have labored so much to get good grades and recognition and it all culminated into my achievement of a college diploma.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 7:

This call center interview question aims to look at how you see yourself as a person. Most of us would apply for a job at the age of twenty and at that age, it is presumed that you already have some sort of achievement even if it is only to your own right such as motherhood, marriage, and etc. Rack your brain. You’ll think of something.

Call Center Interview Question 8: Give me one quality that you have which will not make me not hire you?

Call Center Interview Answer 8: A lot of my friends say that I am a perfectionist. I never consider something done as long as I don’t find it perfect. In my previous job, I sometimes would go on overtime just to make sure that I complete all my tasks and they are done to perfection. I show up for work every day and I am never late. I remember that when I was still in school, I never missed an assignment or a project. I also remember that whenever we were tasked to come up with a play, I would always be the one who would be insisting that we practice three times a week and all my classmates would complain and get mad at me saying that they only want to practice once a week. Being a perfectionist can be bad especially when the people around you are lazy but I believe that in certain situations, it can be a valuable trait.


Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 8:

This call center interview question is tricky and will stump a lot of people. In effect, this question is asking you for your weakness. Do not say that you don’t have any qualities which are negative. If you do this, you would look proud and conceited to the interviewer. The best approach to answering this call center interview question is to present a trait of yours which is not that negative. Examples of traits which are bordering positive and negative are being perfectionist, overly friendly, too loyal, and workaholic. Of course, reinforce your answer by explaining this trait of yours to the interviewer. Make sure as well that you know how to turn your negative attitude into a positive one (just like the interviewee did in the response provided above). Remember to answer this question with a lot of conviction and confidence.

Call Center Interview Question 9: How do you see yourself five years from now?

Call Center Interview Answer 9: I see myself working for this same company but with a higher position.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 9:

In this question, the interviewer wants to know if your goals in life are in line with the company’s objectives.  It is good to be honest with the interviewer on this question so that expectations will be properly set.

Call Center Interview Question 10: What are your goals in life?

Call Center Interview Answer 10:  My short term goal is to have a stable job with this company. After working for a couple of years with this company, I would like to see myself take on more responsibilities like maybe become a supervisor or a trainer. Meanwhile my long term goal is to have an upper management level position with this company.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 10: This call center interview question is almost the same with the previous one presented.

Call Center Interview Question 11: What do you know about this company?

Call Center Interview Answer 11: I know that this company is one of the leading companies in the call center industry. You have several sites in the country, one in Cebu, and four in Metro Manila. You have several accounts but most of them are medical and financial accounts. I also happen to know that most of the accounts in this call center company are very stable because this is what my friends who work here tell me.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 11:

This call center interview question is simply for the interviewer to know if you know anything about the company. It isn’t necessary to know when the company was established or how much they made in the last quarter. You can answer this call center interview question by just giving out general and insignificant information about the company. Of course if you know tidbits like the name of the company president or a recent merger between the company and another call center, then by all means, do impress the interviewer with this information. So as not to be caught empty handed, it is advisable to do some research about the company before the interview. Obviously, please avoid telling anything negative about the company.

Call Center Interview Question 12: What is your idea of quality customer service?

Call Center Interview Answer 12: My idea of quality customer service is going out of your way or going the extra mile to provide customer service or to help customers. It is not simply providing assistance according to what you are expected of.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 12:

This call center interview question is simply for the interviewer to know how you view good customer service. The idea when answering this question is to say that good customer service is going out of your way to help the customer.

Call Center Interview Question 13: What is your expected salary?

Call Center Interview Answer 13: Whatever amount you give to people with my qualifications is fine.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 13:

As much as possible, do not answer this question with a figure. The best way to answer this call center interview question is by saying that you are fine with whatever the company decides to give you. If the interviewer asks you to give a figure, then that is the only time that you should give a figure. Of course, make sure that you can defend your answer. Do not give a figure that is very small. The interviewer might think that you don’t value yourself and you have a low self esteem. A good practice is to come up with a figure that is a few thousands higher than the industry average or what you were given previously by your old company. When the interviewer asks why, then you can simply say that this is the average salary in the industry or that you want to have a job that pays more than your previous one. 

Of course if you are in the position to dictate the salary you want the company to give you (meaning you have a lengthy experience in the call center industry already) then by all means, give them a figure right away when answering this question.

Call Center Interview Question 14: Why should we hire you?


Call Center Interview Answer 14: I have all the qualities that a good call center agent should possess. I am punctual, disciplined, patient, and flexible, and organized. You won’t have any problems with me when it comes to attendance, and my behavior. I have good communication skills, multi tasking skills, and I am a fast learner. I can guarantee you that I will be able to deliver what is being asked of me and I will give my one hundred percent to this company. I know that I have what it takes to become a good customer service representative.

Explanation to Call Center Interview Question and Answer 14:

This call center interview question isn’t intimidating as it sounds. To answer this question, simply reinforce your position by enumerating your strengths and how these strengths can relate to being a good call center agent. Answer this call center interview question with a lot of confidence and conviction.

These call center interview questions and answers are not by all means perfect. They have been provided to you as a sort of guide.

Please do not just memorize whatever was written in this post and use it in your interviews. Do not be tempted to lie to the interviewer. Remember that interviewers will always try to catch you lying. 

Most people say that it is not what you say, but how you say it. While it is true that how you deliver your answers to the interview questions hurled at you matters a lot, the content of your response would also be significant.  So please do not dare to think that you can pass a call center interview with just confidence as your weapon.

One valuable tip that I can impart to you is to make a script. Yes, make your own script for the call center interview questions listed above. After making your own script, try to make an outline for each answer. Let’s take the call center interview answer 1 as an example. For this particular answer, your outline can be: varied interests, sketch, and volunteer. Memorize these keywords so that you will be able to deliver your answer smoothly. This will minimize the need for fillers like uhms and ahhs. Remember that fillers can make you look like you don’t have a chain of thought and can make you feel less confident. Try to sprinkle your response with some filler though. If you don’t have any fillers, you will look like you have just memorized all your answers. You do not want this to happen. This is why I recommend memorizing just an outline or the keywords of your response and not the entire response. This will make sure that you will still have some filler and pauses in between for responses while formulating your answers. It won’t be a big obstacle though, as you already have a ready outline of keywords in your head. Do not sound like a robot, just have a ready and organized response in your head.

Please remember as well to come up with answers to possible follow up interview questions the interviewer may have. If the interviewer asks you what you’re hobbies are and you say reading, then please expect the interviewer to ask as well questions like what is your favorite book or who is your favorite author and why.
When the interviewer asks an interview question that you haven’t prepared for, remain calm. Take a second or two to think of your answer. Two second pauses are definitely accepted. Pauses which are longer than two seconds though might give an impression that you can’t express yourself well in English

It is also a good idea to conduct job interview simulations or role plays. This will help you practice and gain confidence. Practice with your parents or with your friends. Make sure to act serious about it though (as if it were the real thing).

Always remember that the interviewer is on your side. The interviewer is not a wicked witch sent out to make you squirm. The interviewer wants you to pass. No matter how inquisitive the interviewer is, know that behind that wall of indifference is an office employee who has to meet a quota on hired applicants.

In the call center industry, it is very important to possess chain of thought and confidence. Why do you need confidence? Simple. You will be speaking with Americans. Remember that America is an industrialized and fast paced country. This means that most Americans are living with a lot of stress. When they will talk to you, they will be impatient. So when you deliver them bad news, you will have to be firm and confident.

In your call center interview, this is one of the many things that the interviewer will look in you. Will you be able to carry out this job? When the customer on the phone will shout at you, will you cower in defeat or will you stand your ground. When under pressure, will you lose your control or will you manage to uphold decorum gracefully? 

Finally, just a few last minute reminders before you on to that job interview. Please maintain eye contact no matter what. Maintaining eye contact will tell the interviewer that you are a confident person. When thinking about your answer, you can momentarily glance sideways, up or down, but make sure to make eye contact with the interviewer again when you begin speaking. Averting the eyes of the interviewer will give that person an impression that you are lying or that you are uncomfortable. Assume a good posture the moment you see the interviewer. This will make you look confident and sure of yourself. Make sure that you sit up straight. No slouching. The next thing that you need to remember is to smile. Give your interviewer a warm and confident smile. You don’t know the wonders a smile could work on a job interview. Why is smiling important? Aside from the fact that it will make you look charming and confident; it will disarm your interviewer. In a job interview, you will want the interviewer to feel at ease and relaxed. Smiling will also calm your nerves down and will make yourself feel comfortable. Be sure to talk slowly and clearly. Enunciate. Do not mumble.

Watch how you pronounce the following: b, v, f, p, and th and please pronounce the letter h as ‘eych’ and not ‘ech’. Minimize hand gestures. Excessive hand gestures could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable especially if you look like you’re debating. Excessive hand gestures will also make you look like you are having a hard time expressing yourself. The same goes for mannerisms like cracking knuckles. Keep these in check during the job interview. Now when you meet the interviewer for the first time and that person introduces him or herself, don’t forget to shake that person’s hand. This friendly gesture works just like wearing a smile. It will disarm your interviewer and will make you look at ease and confident with yourself. My last reminder for you is to speak absolutely zero Tagalog. Do not let a single Tagalog word slip out of your mouth. You are most likely to utter Tagalog words or fillers whenever you are having a problem expressing your thoughts. Normally, job applicants would utter words like ano and parang when thinking about how to articulate their thoughts into words. When this happens and the interviewer heard it, you are a goner. Nevertheless, when this happens, carry on as if nothing happened. The interviewer might just let it go. Oh and by the way, please do not overdress. Dress casually.

Now I know that you’re nervous and you are probably losing hope already. But pray to God and remember that there are numerous call centers out there. If you don’t get into the first five call centers that you applied for, know that there are hundreds more out there. So relax, have fun, laugh. It is the company that needs you and not the other way around.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for the tip, now I'm really really get nervous heheh but I don't mind. Now, I know how to control my feelings. Hope my up coming interview went well :D Thanks again

Anonymous said...

thank you very much.. you are a great help.

Anonymous said...

These tips are very useful for me.. I've read it for many times so that I can remember it all.. Thanks for this very nice and helpful tips it helps me a lot now I think that I am ready again to apply for a CSR.. once again thanks a lot for the impotant tips..

silent said...

this blog really help especially to all call center applicants.this blog help me to keep going after all the two call center interviews which i have failed..and maybe if you want that something i should work for it:)

Anonymous said...

w0w great its really help , rock n roll - mohawkrunner

Anonymous said...

thanks alot....may God do the miracle and help me..

Anonymous said...

nice..this will help me a lot! i think im almost ready to start a new career again. more power!

Anonymous said...

This blog will be a great help for everyone. I am having a hard time in the interview, now that I have read these tips I have an idea of what really the interviewer wants to hear.Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am actually applying as a QA but I really really find this very helpful.. thanks a lot for taking time to create this.

Anonymous said...

awesome!! men, this really helps thanks for all the tips, i also have a problem during my interviews, but when i read your tips, it seems so easy, thank for sharing your experience, it really helps...

Jhapz Jhen said...

Very nice! :) it really helps me . Goodluck to me. Thank you for the tips :))

Gian Santos of Sta.Rosa said...

Very helpful.. thanks a ton :)

Anonymous said...

This is really helpful especially for people like me who are applying for a job at a call center for the first time!Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is so good.. there are so many tips I've learn.. now iam ready to apply a csr.. thank you..


<3 neyat
Thankgod alwYs and don't forget to pray watever happen in your interview..

Anonymous said...

Excellent! very helpful, thank you that i read this tips it can help a lot.

Anonymous said...

it really helps a lot. now that i have an idea it seems like im gaining more confidence.

Jerome Cadungog Herrera said...

Thank you all for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

You are such a blessing. I passed because of your guide. Thank you so much. God bless you.

tara said...

thank you thank you thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. for guiding me to read your guiding tips...i hope my next apply im passed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you to guide me after reading your guding tips i hope my next apply im passed...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your tips. i hope my next apply. im passed

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! Im smiling before I end reading coz I was thinking that my smile will be also helpful. :) don't sugar coated your answers, be direct and honest! Godbless to my first call center interview tom.. Thank you again :)

almira resurreccion said...

thank you, for the valuable info. :)

Anonymous said...

thank you very much! i hope that by tomorrow i'll pass the interview! God Bless!!!

Anonymous said...

wow!..this info pleased me....and i got a lot of relaxation power to face an interview......i want to really thnks this website for publishing such helpful speeches.....which will help anyone to prepare himself/herself for for an interview........so thats all..........

Anonymous said...

Kudos! This is just perfect! Much thanks mate. :) Now I'm geared up and totally ready. \m/

Anonymous said...

Hi

Tks very much for post:

I like it and hope that you continue posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: interview questions and answers for call center

Best rgs
David

Anonymous said...

WOWW thats really nice work..encouraging..and that was rightly said..leave everything to god...and just chilll...
thank you so much

Jerome Cadungog Herrera said...

You're all very welcome!

Anonymous said...

uh my gas , i fil so nervous ryt now , i have job interview tumurow and it rili bugs me a lat .. tenk u so mats por dis artikol , i fil quite relif , i no wat to do now .. nxt tym i post a kument her , im ulredi a kul sentir eygint ..jejeje

Anonymous said...

I had a sudden interview tom and a zero self esteem to pass it. Thank you for giving hints and tips! This is very much appreciated! ;)

Zyvenex said...

this info helped me a lot thank you

paul said...

Thank uso much for posting this! :-)

Cococute Manaloto said...

This is just so perfect, tomorrow I will be on an interview for a call center company and I have all i need to know with your guide, thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this superb info!

Cilyn Montecillo said...

I don't know

Anonymous said...

thank you so much. this blog post is very helpful. God bless you more and more! :)

Nani Eng said...

Good collection of questions. Hopes it helps the new one entering into this field.Call Center Services

Rayyan Hadji Rashid said...

Good job, thank you it helped me a lot, ill be having my first call center job interview this coming week so wish me luck

Jerome Cadungog Herrera said...

Good luck Rayyan! Tell me how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Hi :) Jerome, could you tell me or give some idea about what is quality customer service? pls I cant relate my self to you're answers above. this coming Friday will be my final interview I already passed my first one because of this it helps me so much thanks. hoping for you're reply :) I knew it because you already experiences this.

Jerome Cadungog Herrera said...

Hi Anonymous. Im not really sure how I could help if I dont have any background info on you. You may email me if you wish.

Anonymous said...

ill be having my very first call center interview tomorrow... this post helps me a lot thank you so much brother...jah bless...

Anonymous said...

Bookmarked! I find this article really helpful! Thank you! I feel like gaining some confidence over here!

Anonymous said...

Thank u for sharing ur knowledge to us espicually for us beginners in this industry,this is a big help for us,,,godbless,:)

Jerome Cadungog Herrera said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot..after 4 hrs i'll be on my interview na..HAHA GOODLUCK TO ME! #GODSPEED

JobsOnClick said...

Very informative blog.

For more info : Common Interview Questions and Answers

Jennifer Deas said...

Thanks, this post provides great insight

Anonymous said...

hi :) can u give me examples or tips in answering this question: " why did u have failed/back subjects during 2nd sem of 1st yr ? " pls help :(

Anonymous said...

helpful talaga to, now I am working in convergys, big thanks to the author! Kudos!!!

Jerome C Herrera said...

Hi Anonymous. Thanks for your question. When answering the question of why you failed in certain subjects in college, you can say that you underestimated the effort required to pass that subject (meaning you did not study as hard etc) but that you have learned from your mistake.

The interviewer would want to be assured that you have learned from the mistake and that you have already changed.

You mentioned that the subjects that you failed was in first year, if you did not fail in any subjects in your second, third, and fourth year, then this is proof that you have learned your lesson already. :D

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

i experienced all these questions before..and it so funny that i answered all wrong based on this post..the do's and don'ts, more of my answers are don'ts..thanks for this..i just got an idea in an interview