Are you prepared to conduct a call center interview? Try out some of these questions to find the right candidates for your business.
A call center interview can be a stressful thing. Interviewees are often quite nervous, which can affect how they answer questions. Likewise, interviewers may also have their nerves on edge, leading to missed questions or an interview that isn’t quite informative enough. And while interviewers may feel some pressure, it is nevertheless their responsibility to lead the candidate to informative answers by asking good questions.
But which questions are the best to ask during a call center interview? The truth is that it may vary from candidate to candidate. An interview should be conversational, so sticking to a hard script of questions may not be as effective as letting the conversation steer itself. Still, it’s handy to have a list of questions at the ready, so if you do get sidetracked or find yourself lost for words, you have a safety net at your disposal.
All that said, here are some of the best questions to ask candidates at a call center interview. Keep in mind that any question you ask must not be discriminatory in any way, so make sure you don’t ask about things like ethnicity, gender, family structure, pregnancy status, age, or anything else that could be construed as discriminatory.
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Try these questions at your next call center interview so you can hire the best person for the job
1. Why are you leaving/did you leave your former employer?
It can be tempting to start an interview by asking a candidate to tell a bit about themselves, but that can often lead to generic answers that don’t shed much light on their qualifications or way of thinking. Instead, try asking why someone is on the market for something new. It may be as simple as having recently been laid off. Still, sometimes the answer can give you a lot of insight into what’s important to them in an employment experience, and other things that likely won’t be offered up in a simple summary about themselves.
2. What do you enjoy about working in a call center?
Another specific thing that’s worth understanding is why a person does the work they do in the first place. For many, work is a paycheck, so they may not have much passion for what they do. Typically, these aren’t the best hires to make. Find out instead what makes someone want to work in a call center. Interview them on past experiences and maybe even ask them if there’s anything they’d change about working in a call center. Again, you’re getting a sense here of how the candidate thinks and what motivates them. This question won’t tell you a thing about hard skills, but it will let you know what drives the person sitting in front of you.
3. Tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge at work.
Learning how people handle difficult situations is important, especially at a call center where life can be so fast-paced, and challenges may abound. Remember to ask specifically about a work situation, since we tend to handle personal and professional situations differently. If a candidate says they’ve never had to overcome a challenge, they’re either not being honest, or they’re probably not the right mindset for a call center.
4. What’s the best thing you’ve done in your career?
People should be proud of their accomplishments, so it’s worth knowing what someone is proud of in their professional life. Not only does it give you a glimpse into their character, but it also gives you a sense of the skills they bring to the table and where they tend to focus their attention. As with any call center interview question, nothing will give you all the information you’d like to have, but questions like these offer snippets that can add up to help you make an informed decision.
5. What’s your professional superpower?
This question tends to throw people off-guard, but that’s not a bad thing. The question is less about the answer and more about the candidate’s thought process and how they see themselves. If someone’s professional superpower is empathy, that demonstrates a well-placed answer and also tells you that this person is likely the type of person you’d want working in a call center. Pro-tip: Keep this question light-hearted. A candidate may well ask you to repeat yourself since it’s an odd question. Let them know it’s not a make-or-break question, but one that you find helpful when conducting a call center interview.
6. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
If someone has gotten to an interview stage, it’s likely that you’ve already been impressed with their skill set on paper. And while interviews are a time to dig deeper into that, what’s more important is getting to know the overall candidate as a person, not just as a professional. Find out some of their interests. Perhaps you’ll even have some in common, which you can then use to bring levity to the conversation. If a person doesn’t enjoy doing much outside of work or if they’re reluctant to say, that could be a red flag in regards to engagement and honesty.
7. If hired, how do you plan to get quickly acclimated to the position?
Understanding how a person views a job is critical to determining whether they’ll be a good hire. Unless they have no previous experience, a candidate should have at least a loose system for how they begin a new job. If the job consists almost exclusively of answering phones, hopefully, a candidate will respond by talking about how they’ll build relationships at work and get to know everyone in addition to getting to a certain number of calls per day. If all they have to say in response to this question is, “answer phones,” that suggests they may lack enthusiasm or experience, which could be a roadblock to hiring them.
Remember, too, that even the best candidates and employees can sometimes have a terrible interview. Use these questions to get a general sense of the person you’re considering, but also, look beyond experience or drive to hire someone that wants to learn and is eager to get started.
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