August 27, 2013
August 9, 2013
I’m really depressed right now and I’m on the verge of suicide, don’t know what to do, I did AWOL in one of the biggest BPO’s here in the Philippines (really well known in the BPO industry), they sent me 2 letters about termination. First letter was they’re asking me to report back to hr and state the reason I went awol, the 2nd letter is they’re asking me to pay for the 20,000 training bond or else they won’t give me my CLEARANCE and BACKPAY and said I’m already terminated. I really don’t care about the clearance and the back pay, but what happened is I wanted to apply in other call centers because of the account being much easier and VERY close to where I live, but honestly, after I AWOL, I always fail for the Job offer, I always get a glimpse of my score when they’re trying to check it and see that it’s always high! I already applied in other call centers after. 14 times to be exact, but all of them always say ” going to text you” or ” going to call you after 2 weeks ” but of course, I don’t really expect the call from them because I know I already failed, but BEFORE I AWOL in that BIG BPO, I always pass and was able to get a JOB OFFER, but like I’ve said, after I AWOL, all failure, Am I already blacklisted in all call centers? and if YES, I’m really scared to know the answer to this, am I also BLACKLISTED in all NON-BPO industries here in the Philippines? I’m really really, depressed just by thinking about it.
Thank you in advance seven. Really waiting for your reply.
First off, going on AWOL and receiving RTWO and demand letter isn’t a cause for suicide. It’s, forgive me for saying this, too shallow a reason. You need to get a grip and decide to face the situation.
Second, as in any AWOL case, you were wrong for doing so. The reason why you are facing the stress of receiving demand letters is because you started the process. Remember, termination starts and ends with you (except in some cases). In your case, this is true.
Going on AWOL because the account is difficult or because you found a company closer to home IS NEVER ENOUGH A REASON to go on AWOL. Maiintindihan pa ng marami if you absconded because a family member is dying or you were facing an extreme crisis. Admit first that you are wrong so you can move forward.
Third, NEVER ignore summons. The RTWO order is actually beneficial to you since (1)it will give you a chance to have work and GET PAID (the last time I checked, this is important), and (2) it will give you the chance to explain your side. Now, during the hearing of your case, the panel will decide if your reason is valid or not. Of course, if they think your reason for absconding is risible, you get fired. In this case, negotiate with them if you can just resign. There is no harm in trying. The third advantage is, terminated or not, you will get a clear answer if you will be charged the bond or not. Remember: to have an outstanding balance (by way of the bond) means no clearance. The reason why you are problematic is because matigas din po kasi ang ulo mo. Fear is never an option for not facing an employer.
Fourth, just because you went on AWOL it doesn’t mean you’re automatically blacklisted by ALL CALL CENTERS – there is no such thing (unless that company is a CCAP member and the 14 companies you applied to are all subscribed to the [blacklist] database). Your failure has something to do with how you respond to the questions, or it has something to do with your grammar/diction/intonation/etc, or the recruiter is able to tell that you are lying. I also think that you are failing because the (perceived) heavy baggage you are carrying inside is affecting your performance during the interview.
Yours is a classic case of “from the frying pan straight to the fire”. Why? You had a job, you decided on the wrong option, and now you’re unable to find one.
Since you are now terminated, you have no choice but to move on and accept your fate. As for the bond, if the company is serious with the collection, they will hound you. You can choose to ignore it, but if is choosing the wrong thing again? Of course.
As for your job hunting, you need to sit down and think about the lessons you learned from this experience. You need to come up with a different answer to “why did you leave your previous company?” Responding to this question after your termination is difficult, you are torn between lying and telling the truth. Truth is, it’s all about word play. You don’t say “resigned” because you will be lying, and neither should you say “terminated” because that’s setting yourself up for failure. Use phrases like “I left the company”, or “my employment ended”. If they asked why, you can simply tell the truth, that you were looking for a company closer to home.
The major question really is, do you the declare the previous company? It’s a choice you need to make, but I assure you, the AWOL made your situation more stressful. Declaring it means you will have to come up with a story and be consistent with it and hiding it means you need to find a way to explain what you were doing during the “gap”.
Personally, I don’t like putting myself in situations like this because it puts you in a defensive position, a stressful one I might add. The goal of a job interview is to sell your skills and competencies and to prove to the potential employer that you are fit for the post. Going on AWOL just puts too much clutter in an otherwise smooth process resulting to lack of focus on the applicant’s part.
During the interview, your saving grace will be your gift of gab so I am praying you have one.
Let me know if you need more help and I apologize if I sound stern.
July 23, 2013
Unless you are dead or dying, no amount of personal issue will be enough to justify your action for going on AWOL. Talk to your manager if you have personal issues that needs special attention, especially if it will require you to be absent. Remember that when you accept a job offer, you sign a contract. Going on AWOL is violating this contract, so do not be surprised if the company will demand payment (if there is a bond), or file a case against you for breach of contract. In the same token, you are to demand from the company what they promised you, if the company fails to meet what you have agreed upon, then you can file a case against them provided such a case has substance. Mahirap kasi kasuhan ang company dahil lang wala silang coffee vendo, sleeping room, etc.
Whatever you do, do not go on AWOL using “personal reasons”. Lagi kang talo if you use this as a reason.
July 18, 2013
Hi Seven. I recently applied for a Team Manager post and for some reason, I failed. It was my teammate who got accepted for the position. Aside from the frustration, I am resentful plainly because my scorecard is way better than my teammate’s by leaps and bounds. I also think that the management did poorly in choosing her because I strongly feel that I am the best candidate.
Hi Marijo. Thank you for visiting my blog and for sending me an email.
I cannot help but feel your frustration. I am sorry to heard that you did not make it to the Team Manager post. The first thing I would like to discuss is the misconception that simply because you have a way better scorecard than the rest of the population, you will be the first choice. Remember this: the scorecard IS NOT and WILL NEVER BE an assurance that you will be promoted, it is merely a measurement of your efficiency and effectiveness in doing the tasks you are assigned to do (e.i. taking calls, answering emails). A great scorecard opens doors for you, but that’s it.
I understand the feeling of frustration, anyone who fails will go through that. What I don’t understand is the feeling of resentment. Why? The fact that you are resentful means you are not yet ready to be promoted. Despite the failure, a person who is ready to become a leader and a manager will ask him/herself:
- What are the qualities that a leader/manager must have? .
- Do I have these qualities?
- Am I able to show these qualities at work?
- What is my manager’s perception of my professional maturity/readiness?
- How did I do during the interview?
- While I am waiting for another opportunity, what can I do to improve myself and increase my chances of getting promoted?
I understand that you need to mourn this defeat but you need to give it a deadline. You need to start asking the above questions in order for you to move to the next level. You can never achieve success in your work in the call center industry if you limit your perception to your scorecard. You also need to talk to your manager and the people who interviewed you, ask for help – tell them that you are trying to better your skills and competencies and you would like to use the available time to prepare yourself while you wait for the next vacancy. Your Team Leader IS your best guide. He/she will be able to direct you to achieve professional maturity. He/she can also teach you qualities a first line leader must possess.
Marijo, there are two possible reasons why you failed, one is you did poorly in the interview; the second one being you are not qualified for the post yet. Notice that I am using the word “yet” – this will never become a possibility if you do not work on your skills and competencies.
Hope this helps.
July 18, 2013
Why is there a bond in a call center? It’s unfair that they are implementing this since I’m there to work, not to become their prisoner. I’m planning to resign but I’m unable to since the contract I signed says that I need to be with the company for six months.
Hi George. I apologize for the late reply to your email, I’ve been responding to a lot of them lately and I accidentally skipped yours.
A bond is nothing more than a protection for the company. The reason why this is implemented is because of, I’m sorry to say, people like you. Hiring an employee costs three times more than retaining them, therefore, in order to protect their investment and help stop attrition, a bond is implemented. A bond is a contract between you and your employer and the only reason why you feel this is NOT FAIR is because it does not serve your purpose. Remember That YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT when you accepted the job offer and you are bound by that contract to honor it. At least, honorable people will do so.
The call center bond will become unfair IF (1) you did not read or understand the employment contract when they signed it, and (2) they really do not intend to stay that long. People whose goal while working is to establish a career and be with the company for a long haul will never have an issue with the bond, their issues are far better grand and noble, such as how to improve their skills and competencies so they can climb the corporate ladder. My question here is, if you didn’t plan to stay that long and after knowing that there is a bond, why did you sign the job offer?
This is why evaluating the job offer completely is imperative for anyone who wants to have a job. Additionally, it is your responsibility to check on your motivation for working and to make sure that if there is a bond, either you do not accept or sign the employment contract and go elsewhere. Remember that a job isn’t just about the basic salary, anyone who thinks this way is a fool.
Finally, since YOU HAVE WORK, why resign? Don’t tell me about “greener pasture” – there is no such thing. The grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side no matter where you are, therefore, if you keep this cliché as your guide for working, you will end up with nothing. Never move to another company because the salary is higher, move because it best serves your career FOR THE LONG TERM.
I hope this answers your question about the BOND.
June 14, 2013
If there is one thing I know about job interviews, it is this: it is competency based. Interview questions are designed to determine if the candidate fits the posts by comparing his responses (along with his work experience) with the skills and comptencies required for a post.
Interview questions are not meant to be answered mindlessly, doing so would be a waste of opportunity, in fact, if you have read my previous blogs, I heavily encourage preparation (read: research), including finding out what the competencies required for the post are, attempting to determine what possible questions will be asked during the interview, AND preparing responses which the candidate must know and understand (but not memorize) and mix and match it based on the questions and scenarios asked during the interview.
April 12, 2013
I was just in the elevator with an applicant who was cursing our recruitment specialist for handing her a regret letter. She lamented that she’s been to five different call centers since this morning and all gave her the dreaded letter and because it was happening too often, she’s reached a point where she no longer cares and will keep applying until she is offered a job.
This is probably true for many applicants out there, people who are trying to get into the call center industry but has been facing one failure after another, and the worst part? They have no idea why. Recruitment specialists are not and will never be obligated to tell you why you failed, they will just either give you the equally dreaded and mystifying “send home script” (“We will just call you in 48 hours. Don’t call us, we will call you.”) or give you the letter.
I admit, when I was a Recruitment Specialist, I didn’t have time to explain to every Tom, Dick, and Harry why they failed my interview. I was given a goal to meet – a class to fill (and usually ASAP), which means my eyes are tunnel-visioned on meeting that goal, notwithstanding the number of candidates who will fail. I get to deal with people who cry their way into the interview, telling me about the sad stories and life experiences why they needed a job, not to mention the number of people who threatened me for failing them.
The challenge for me was this: the company or the account has a very specific requirement and I need to match every applicant to their template, even if I wanted to help with all sincerity, either the applicant fails the training, or the production department or client blames me for “hiring the wrong people” resulting to a poor pass rate, language and product training-wise. My job was simple: I was a match-maker, and no sob stories will distract me from it, else, I was putting my job at risk.
In the morning, the first thing I check when I come in is the number of applicants waiting in the lobby, an indicator of how busy I will be for that day. Having been trained well to tell lies from facts and to interview well, I go through these applicants like a hot knife through butter, the only moment I pause was to appreciate an attractive applicant sans the flirting (try and you get fired if caught or reported). It’s all about match-making, and the only way I can go through hundreds of applicants is if I have a great exit strategy, this is where the regret letter or send home script come in.
In my case, having been familiar with these “send home scripts” or process, I apply a simple strategy and might I add that it’s foolproof, for me at least. I do not wait for interview results, I’m able to tell if I passed or failed almost immediately. How can I tell if I failed or passed? I ask questions - not to the recruiter but to the other applicants who are done with the process (how long was the interview, what were the questions, was he or she advised of the next level, was he/she given a letter, etc). Also, I read the interviewer’s body language – believe me, after 20 years of working, more than half of which spent in the call center industry, you will develop an ability to recognize the behavior displayed by an interviewer (I especially like the robotic bitchy types and I dislike being interviewed by nice recruiters, you know, the ones who smile a lot – they are harder to evaluate). The second part of my job hunting strategy is the numbers – I apply in a lot of companies (a minimum of 20) in one location. As they say in radio ads for contests, “the more entries you send, the more chances of winning.”
I have read rants from forums written by frustrated applicants, wishing they would have been told of the interview result immediately. While I understand their frustration (as it’s irritating to wait for the unknown), I view it as an effort in futility. As I’ve said, getting told to wait for the call within 48 hours is a part of the process – that’s the only explanation you need and that’s the only thing you will get.
The way to work around this issue is to become creative.
First off, don’t apply for a job that you’re not qualified for, you will know this if you do your research – read the job ad and understand the core competencies required for the post. Assuming you know your own skills and competencies, the purpose of this exercise is for you to make an evaluation if you are fit for the job or not.
Second, prepare for the interview. Don’t just go there thinking you can wing it. Winging it is for tenured job hunters (who, more often than not, would fail if they happen to show too much confidence or says something in a wrong way). Google is your friend, research these interview questions and find response templates – don’t be too lazy by just memorizing what you found. You need to be mindful of a recruiter’s skill – they can tell if you memorized your response or not, if it is sincere or not. Assimilate the format of the response and write your own, understand that the most effective response to an interview question is to tell your own story, your own perspective, coupled by your effort to sell your skill and competencies related to what the company is looking for.
Third, while waiting for your turn for the interview, turn to your seatmates, talk to them, ask questions. The goal is not just to flirt with them or make “chika”, it is to find out what process is being employed by the company for successful or failed candidates, this way, you will have a clue as to what fate you will have post-interview.
Fourth and last, try to judge the interviewers reactions, facial expressions, etc., AND if he/she asks you if you have any questions and you’re not able to tell if you passed or failed, say this: “I’m a newbie in the call center job hunting game. I was wondering if you can tell me what my areas for improvement are, this way, I can better myself as a call center executive.” Watch his/her reaction. If he/she indulges, whip out your pen and paper and start writing. He may or may not tell you if you passed or failed but the items he will discuss are precious, so listen intently and learn.
Remember, an applicant who passes the interview will be immediately told of the next stage, usually, an endorsement (either to take a test, another interview, or the job offer). If you don’t get to hear the recruiter say this, you already know what it means. Now, if you have a strong feeling that you failed, don’t hang around. Go to the next company in your list.
April 12, 2013
I am a fresh graduate and have been working for a call center in Makati for about a year now. Lately, I’ve realized my true calling and have decided that I will resign from my call center agent post to pursue my ultimately dream. I was wondering if you can help me write a resignation letter. I’ve researched resignation letters in Google but I’m not happy with the way they sound. Your input will be much appreciated.
Thank you for your email and for visiting my blog.
Your questions reminds me of James Bond’s resignation letter in Casino Royale:
M – I hereby tender my resignation with immediate effect. Sincerely, James Bond.
Short and direct, isn’t it?
I recently received a two page resignation letter from one of my staff and I didn’t even bother to read it. Why? Because it had nothing but rants. A resignation letter should only have the following:
- Your intention to resign (and whether it’s irrevocable or not).
- The effectivity date.
- You can include the reason if it is positive (career move, going for your passion). If it’s negative, don’t bother.
- An offer to help (especially if the post you are about to vacate requires a turnover).
On your last day of work, don’t forget to write a short farewell letter to all the people you’ve worked with, it helps if you will leave a contact information because, let’s face it, most of our colleagues eventually become our friends.
Finally, based on your style of writing, I don’t think your challenge is what or how to write. You’re probably just looking for a better format, so I hope James Bond and I were able to help.
April 11, 2013
A very close friend and colleague of mine got terminated recently. It was a compendium of bad decisions after another, and eventually, when the HR process was applied, it resulted to the inevitable termination. When this news reached me, he has already incurred unexcused absences, forged a med-cert, and when the notice of hearing was sent out, Murphy’s Law played its part (one of his family members was in the hospital) and he failed to attend the meeting. Right then and there, a panel of Team Leaders and the HR representative decided that it was time to let him go.
In truth, I am very concerned for this friend of mine, plainly because his wife just had a baby (their first), and being a father and a husband myself, I know how it feels when you have your first-born – every single penny counts, not to mention the medical insurance provided by the company. The other part that concerns me greatly is the fact that we have been in this company for two years, as such, we have earned the mastery of what we do for the business – a veritable source of that elusive ability to negotiate a better pay or post in the next company. With the termination on his record, he will be forced to either hide the company from his resume, or if he decides to come forward with it, he will have to find a reason convincing enough for any recruiter to let him into the next step of the process, let alone offer him a job.
When one gets termed, everything becomes complicated.
As what I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I’m not alien to termination. However, the difference between my case and the rest of the world was that I had documentation to justify my action. Therefore, come job hunting phase, I decided to tell the truth that my employment was severed on account of attendance issues. The decision to tell the truth cost me several good companies, and when I finally got the job, it was the sweetest accomplishment.
Why did I tell the truth? A few things:
- My skills and competencies are much too precious for me to hide.
- I needed a better paying job and hiding the skills and competencies would mean I have to start from scratch (again).
- I didn’t want the added stress of lying, and if found, getting terminated again.
- I have the gift of gab, I’m known for talking my way out of difficult situations, not just because I have the skill for it, but because I can deliver.
- My research has taught me how to create a positive spin on negative situations.
The job hunting part wasn’t easy. I got turned down several times and with these incidents piling, my bills were too, plus, I was receiving an immense pressure from my wife to land a job fast. I was so tempted to rethink my strategy (of honesty), and on the very day that I decided to implement the lie, I decided that I will tell the truth one more time, and if I still fail, then I will tell a lie in the next company. Lo and behold, the recruiter and the hiring manager gave me a chance (and this isn’t one of those pipitsugin companies), and I was to start the following week.
A few things that I’ve learned in this experience and I’ve shared them with my colleague who got fired recently:
- Getting a job is harder than you think, therefore, if you already have one, be mindful of your attendance and overall performance. Notice that the company has several policies in place which are designed to “give you a chance” before you reach the termination phase. Depending on the company policy, you will be given coaching, then a verbal warning, a written warning, suspension, then a hearing for the termination case. It takes several incidents for you to reach the last point, which means that it’s you who is at the helm here and your manager and the HR is merely completing the process which you started.
- Don’t ignore the HR process except when you’re trying to get fired (believe me, some people are stupid enough to aim for this). I’m talking about the Return to Work Order, the hearing, etc. The process is put in place to give you a chance to explain yourself and if the reason is grave enough to warrant a chance of retaining your job, then it’s a chance you don’t want to miss.
- When you foresee a situation which has the potential to affect your employment, immediately consult with your manager and the HR. Seek for opportunities which will allow you to lessen the impact – SL/VL/emergency leave or if there is a chance for you to go on an extended period of absence without losing your job, grab it. The objective is to keep your employment, at the same time addressing your personal issues at home. It is true that you need to separate personal with work issues, but some work-affecting issues (illness, family conflict, etc) must be known, at the least, by your manager. He or she needs to understand what is going on in your personal life so he will not judge you unfairly.
- Don’t fake illnesses, or the documents for it. Companies are now smart and diligent enough to check with hospitals, clinics, and they will verify if you actually used your HMO card.
Remember, getting terminated from your job isn’t something that your manager or your company would wish to happen to you. They trained you, they invested on you, and they are concerned about their attrition, hence, it is imperative that they give you several chances to change your bad behavior. Therefore, getting terminated from your job is actually a decision you are making, little by little, with your actions. Your manager’s function is to keep a record of and manage your behavior at work. As soon as you cross the line, the process starts. It starts and ends with you.
February 26, 2013
I’ve been working for a call center in Makati for about seven months now. About two weeks ago, I had to go to the province to attend to something personal (but non-medical) emergency. I have tried to file a leave of absence for this occurrence since it will take more than 7 days, however, only three days got approved, the rest were all tagged as unauthorized. Truth is, I don’t understand why it’s getting declined. I have received numerous (intentionally) missed calls from my manager and a few others from a landline (I’m assuming our HR), and since all were ignored by me, I recently received a Return to Work Order.
In truth, I still want to come back to work but I am afraid of the consequences. At the same time, I am embarrassed because I do not know what has been discussed with my colleagues. Your inputs will be much appreciated.
First off, I’m glad to know that you’re still interested to return to work – this is exactly what you should be doing.
Second, being a call center Team Leader, let me also touch on why part of your leave applications got declined:
- It has something to do with workforce management – their primary concern is to make sure that abandoned calls are minimized if not totally avoided (since some centers get fined for this, while others are simply trying to avoid impacting their Service Level Agreement (SLA) – the contract between the center and the client it is serving) to make sure that the client is retained, satisfied, and can and will offer a repeat business).
- Filing of VLs is always contingent on a few things: (a) You should have the VL credits, hindi pwede ang utang, (b) It should be planned, (c) Other policies – in some centers, each team is alloted a specific number of headcount allowed to file for a leave on any given day. (d) If you are to ask for an extension for the VL, you need to have a veritable reason to justify the approval.
The email you sent me did not detail the reason as to why you filed the VL and requested for an extension (it must be that personal that you could not talk about it), and since I do not have enough information to go on, I too would have declined your request. Understand this: despite the many policies and procedures, your TL (depending on his or her leadership orientation) can and will make an exception, granting he has the reason(s) to justify his decision.
Now to the first point. In order to resolve this problem, the first thing you need to do is to heed the Return to Work order. NEVER IGNORE IT. A Return to Work Order is a part of the process and it is triggered when an employee is absent from work for several days without authorization (ergo, AWOL). When you report for work, you will be facing a panel and here, you will be required to explain your side; from your explanation, the panel (usually composed of an HR representative and several team leaders or managers) will decide whether you deserve to be given a chance, written up, suspended, or terminated. Again, the decision of the panel is based on the gravity of the offense (and how good your explanation is), or how it impacted the business is/was, or (as an example) if you are showing a pattern in your attendance, etc. The hearing (and speaking) is your avenue to defend yourself, this is exactly why you should not ignore the process.
What are the possible scenarios for heeding the RTWO?
1. You get a coaching log – this is fine, it’s often just a record that you have been advised not to do it again, although it will become part of your 201 File.
2. You are given a written warning - although a little higher in degree compared to a coaching log (just a verbal warning oftentimes), this is still fine. It will still become a part of yoru 201 File.
3. You get suspended – this is bad. Suspension is without pay, it hurts your 201 File, and you will be given a prescription period where you cannot be absent or late. It’s still fine.
4. You are asked to resign – this is bad, of course because you will lose your job, but you can use your experience, skills, and competencies earned from the company to find yourself another job - who knows, you might get a better paying gig after you resigned simply because of your experience.
5. You are fired – this is very bad, naturally because you lose your job, you will have second thoughts in declaring your company in your resume, making you lose your opportunity to find a better paying job, and your skills and experiences are reset to its previous level (sometimes to zero).
When you are faced with scenario number 5, depending on the gravity of the situation and if you have the bargaining chip, you can negotiate with the panel to just let you resign, but I have to admit, this is easier said than done.
Ignoring the RTWO automatically triggers the next phase – the Termination Letter. Here, you will have no choice but to accept your fate. The HR and the panel members will still convene despite your absence and will be forced to make a decision to set you free since you have ignore your avenue to explain yourself. In their mind, you are no longer interested to continue your employment, hence, the termination. What a waste of opportunity!
Now therefore, your company is reaching out to you (several times) despite your unauthorized absence, don’t ignore it (call them, now na!). Mahirap ang walang trabaho sa panahon ngayon. Go there, face them, and explain your side – explain it well. Talk to your Team Leader and ask for help and advice. Perhaps, depending on your relationship with your TL, he will be able to give you a gem or two on how to survive this ordeal.
Finally, I don’t think it matters what your teammates are thinking about, what matters here is you keep your job, not only for continued subsistence but for career development as well.
Let me know if this has helped you, and do visit the blog again for an update.
February 22, 2013
Why do they make it so hard to get into the call center industry? Ang simple lang naman ng trabaho, all one has to do is to talk to a customer. How hard can that be?
I had to suppress my laughter when I read your email, not because I found your question amusing but because it reminded me of my own mindset when I was still a newbie. I found it ridiculous that I could not land a job in an industry whose task is nothing more than to talk – “a glorified operator” sabi nga ng marami.
My opinion about the call center work drastically changed when I got my first real job as an outbound sales agent, it’s not just about talking, it’s about having the skill to relate to a perfect stranger, it’s about establishing rapport, and letting the customer see the product your way so that you can easily close the sale, and what’s even more challenging is how to keep that customer on the phone after he realized that you are a sales agent. When I worked for an inbound account (Dell, Ambergris), I realized that another skill was needed – customer service. It’s a pretty common term used loosely by every Tom, Dick, and Harry, but when you look into its application in the call center setting, it is not just an art or a skill, it is a philosophy.
When you are in the call center industry, it is given that you need to be able to talk, but talking is a basic function. The deeper concept lies in being able to deliver a message with confidence, to be able to listen well without prejudice, and to provide a solution to the problem of the customer and doing it on just one call (FCR or First Call Resolution). It gets more complicated when you are talking to a succession of irate customers, not to mention the number of people who will curse on you even if it wasn’t your fault. After all, being in the front line, you represent the company.
Depending on the account, call center reps has to be analytical and they must have intelligence. Gone are the days when the call center agent’s job is to transfer a call to another or to merely provide a phone number and connect the call. Nowadays, training for, say, financial accounts lasts anywhere between two to three months, inclusive of the language training, the product, process, systems, terminologies, and the OJT period, and as if the training period isn’t arduous enough, you need to pass a series of evaluations for you to be endorsed to the operations department. I recall my teammates crying when our trainer from HSBC joked that they didn’t make the cut.
When you get to the floor, and take your first call, YOU WILL FORGET EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED in training. In fact, the very first inbound call I took, I messed up the customer’s account so bad that my trainer (who was sitting beside me) had to call in an expert to fix it. Also, I recall during training, there was a call scenario that all of us dreaded because to receive that call would mean you have to apply not just one but several processes in order to fix the problem, lo and behold, this was my very first call and since I froze, the SME (Subject Matter Expert) sitting beside me said “Seven, just release the call…just this once”.
Then, there’s the scorecard. For any normal human being who worked for other industries who was never measured in such a fashion, a scorecard can be a daunting reality. The first time they show you the scorecard, you will begin to realize that everything you do in this industry is being measured, just ask any call center agent and they will tell you how difficult it is to maintain a balance scorecard, in the same token, tenured call center rep can also teach you how to play with it.
To say it is easy to be a call center agent is an understatement. Many of my friends who tried to work in this industry found themselves quitting just after a few months, or even days for a few, that is why some of my former colleagues in the media often ask me how I managed to achieve success in this industry. My answer? Simple. I love what I do here. It’s never enough to learn how to talk, you need to acquire several skills in order to become an effective and successful call center agent.
I’d like to encourage you to try working for the call center industry, when you’re in, let us know how it is.
February 21, 2013
I’ve been reading your posts from Pinoyexchange.com and I have to admit, you seem knowledgeable on the aspect of getting into the call center industry. Well, here goes. I just arrived from the province some two weeks ago and in that short period, I have been to 11 different call centers, and so far, I haven’t passed any. Out of 11, 6 “big” call centers failed me in the initial interview, and 5 companies dumped me during the final interview. I can’t seem to understand why I’m failing. The bad part about is I don’t get any feedback from the recruiters – they always seem to be so in a hurry to hand over the regret letter. It’s depressing me because I’m running out of options, money, and time. Any advice? Btw, I read in your blog that you are a Bicolano too. I am from Tabaco, Albay.
Your desire to continue despite 11 rejections is truly admirable, I would have given up on the 5th attempt but you just kept going.
First things first. you need to understand that the initial interview in a call center is nothing more than a measurement of your communication skills. Therefore, your failure is an indication that you need to check your comms.
Before I joined the call center industry, I was a radio jock for 5 and a half years, and because my English-speaking ability is self-taught, I have to admit, I needed formal training. This is why my first three attempts in the call center industry were a complete failure. I had consistent problems with
- pronunciation: Th (soft and hard), p/F, b/V
- wrong accent on the wrong syllable
- Filipinoism (transliteration)
Tip: Call center recruiters are heavily trained in listening for consistent problems in grammar, diction, pronunciation, accent, and intonation.
In the blog entitled Learning English The Hard Way, I shared that it took me six months to fix how I spoke (not so much with how I write, so please bear with the grammar problems here). I really wanted to become a DJ so I took it upon myself to learn how to speak English properly. Therefore, it was not difficult for me to determine what I needed to improve on. I wasn’t ready for the big call centers, but since I needed a job, I took on an outbound sales account in a small, humid, boiler room call center in Mandaluyong, aside from earning, I needed an opportunity hone my speaking skills, this time, with proper direction. My American Team Leader noticed my strong desire to learn so he coached me on the many aspects of American pronunciation, told me repeatedly to “listen to myself”, and fined me for every transliteration I commited. It was fun. Too, he invested time and effort in teaching me about the concepts of “customer service” in the call center setting.
Which leads me to my next point: customer service. Many accounts in the call center industry are tedious, you can ask anyone who has handled a telco, financial, or a tech support account and they will not hesitate to tell you that the only way they survived is they had a complete understanding of customer service (theory or practice). My suspicion is that you may have ventured into the call centers whose accounts require a heavy background in customer service, hence, the failure.
Please understand that recruiters are matchmakers. Their company, client, or account has a very specific demand for what type CSR can best serve them and only those who matches the said profile will get the job offer. This is why my constant advocacy in this blog is to always prepare for an interview, that means you need to read and understand the job requirement, research about the company, find out their business and customer base, and prepare answers to interview questions and let someone knowledgeable evaluate your responses for you.
This preparation is also true for the final interview, you fail mostly because you are unprepared for the questions, therefore, the secret to winning this battle is to jot down possible questions and prepare responses for them. Do not expect for all the questions to come out, but when your list or something similar is asked, you won’t be caught off guard. It’s never really about memorizing the answers, it’s about understanding them and mixing and matching them depending on the question being asked.
Here are a few tips when you are preparing your responses to these interview questions:
- Every open-ended question is an opportunity to sell your skills and competencies, so do not fall short on mentioning them.
- Flaunt accomplishments that are related to the post you are applying for.
- Help the recruiter see that your experiences are matched to the job requirements, if this is not the case, then exhibit the skills and competencies you have learned which can be useful for the said post.
The Final Interview is where everything becomes tricky. Recruiters use what they call “Targeted Selection”, it is an interview method that determines your past behaviors and the basic precept here is what you are in the past is what you will be in the future. Most of the questions are open-ended and would start with something like “Tell me about the time when…” or “Can you tell me about an experience when you…” My suggestion here is to Google these types of questions and prepare an answer for each of them.
Again, remember two things: recruiters are matchmakers, AND they are trying to determine if you have the skills and competencies required by the post. Therefore, if you say “I’m sorry I have no experience in that aspect” in a Behavioral Interview, you are basically telling the recruiter that you are not qualified for the posts and deserves to receive the reg. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
I hope this helps. Btw, I am from Daraga, Albay.
February 20, 2013
I am a newbie in the call center industry. Right now, I am working for an outbound sales account and to be honest, I find it really hard to sell. You can just say that selling is not one of my skills yet. When I applied at this company, I specifically told the recruiter that I wanted a non-voice account, she told me that although they have such an account within, there was no vacancy. Because I needed a job, I decided to accept the offer for the outbound sales job. Now, I feel like I’m stuck. Help!
Thank you for your email. When I began working in the call center industry some ten years ago, I also started in a sales account, AND, I felt the same way as you do now. Back then, I did not know the difference between these so-called ”accounts” so I ended up selling timeshare for a Colorado-based resort to patrons in California. I also have to share the fact that being a forme DJ in the FM band, I have no background in sales, therefore, the job was an absolute nightmare.
First off, you need to recognize the basic fact that YOU HAVE A JOB. Millions out there are struggling to find one even as we speak. That was the first consolation I had then because just like you, I also needed a job. I could not change the situation so I changed my mindset. I spoke to my Team Leader and asked for her guidance.
My dilemma was simple: I found it hard to sell because I did not have the skill to do so, simple as that. My Team Leader took time in analyzing the way I approached the customer, the tone and quality of my voice, how I was pitching the product, and how I was closing the sale. Furthermore, she made me sit beside the top sellers and made me observe their manner of selling. After each listening session, I would log back in, try the approach, customized it a little so it would fit me, then do an evaluation thereafter. It took me about two weeks to learn how to properly sell. I survived that account for six months and raked as much commission as I can during my short stint.
What’s the bottom line here? Find your weakness and find the solution to it.
I’m saying this because I think at the back of your mind, you are planning to resign. You’re probably thinking that because you did not get what you wanted (the back office account), you are unproductive. What you fail to see here is the challenge, the opportunity to improve your skills and competencies. My take on this? It’s not the job that’s stopping you from selling or learning how to sell, it is your mentality towards your job, you are still wanting to get that “other” job and you probably feel betrayed that you are not able to.
I’m not saying you should not get the back office job (if there is a vacancy, why not?), what I am saying is, since you do not have an opportunity to get what you want yet, why not make the most of your stay and BE THE ACCOUNT’S TOP SELLER? Is it hard? Yes! But is it possible? Yes! AND, while you are mastering the art of selling, on the side, be open for possibilities – not just towards the back office work, but for a better career within that same company that you are already working for.
I don’t encourage jumping from one company to another but I would encourage you to keep your focus, be the master of what you are doing now, and when you become one, you earn the bragging rights because despite the insurmountable challenges you’ve had, you emerged as the victor. When the opportunity for what you want presents itself, then, don’t hesitate evaluate your choices.
Never quit because of a discomfort, quit because you are no longer challenged and you are ready for far greater responsibilities.
Hope this helps you, Robin. Let me know how else I can help.
January 18, 2013
This is an opportunity for everyone who went on AWOL to tell their own story. Tell us what happened prior to the AWOL, how it happened, what you did, what experiences (bad or good) did you have after the AWOL, if you landed a job or not, and what challenges did you face as an applicant.
Your feedback will be much appreciated
November 23, 2012
I am first timer in the call center industry. When I was told that I passed the interview and will be given a job offer, I was so happy that I immediately called my call center friends. I signed the job offer and then told my CC friends about the account, there was only one thing they said:
TOXIC NA ACCOUNT YAN! Good luck!
Now I am afraid. I am not sure what to do. Should I still take the job or look elsewhere? Please help me.
Truth is, I don’t see any problem in your situation, in fact, I would say Congratulations! You are about to undergo baptism by fire.
I have been in the industry for the past ten years and if there is one thing I am glad I have been through are the most difficult accounts, nothing beats the experience and the learning.
Also, if there is one thing that you need to do is this: replace your friends. Anything or anyone who will cause discouragement must be disregarded. You need a job, which means you want to have a career, right? Then a toxic account is the way to go. Again, the learning and experience you will gain here is priceless. Huwag ka magpapadala sa mga tamad at takot humarap sa realidad ng trabaho, after all, walang madaling trabaho kahit saan.
A job is only toxic if (1) you are naturally lazy, (2) you have zero goal or motivation in life, and (3) you have no desire to achieve success in life. If your belief in life is the complete opposite of the three things I mentioned, then go for the toxic account. One clear benefit? Once you have graduated from the toxic account, you will be more tenured than any of your friends combined.
Get the job, work on your scorecard, show the leaders you have the desire to learn, show them you have initiative, and when you have succeed either by getting promoted or earning better pay, tell your pessimistic disposed-off friends that they were all wrong.
One day, you will get tired and you will think that your friends are right, but I tell you, nothing is difficult to anyone who has a clear direction in life. Do not succumb to invitations of a better pay in the first three years, stay and age in that company because the longer you stay, the more you attain mastery of what you do, the more viable you are for a better post and bigger pay.
One tip: in order to counter burn-out, learn – about the process, about the account, about the business unit, about leadership and management, or choose a department within the company and learn it through and through - learning increases your viability for a better career. If there is no learning opportunity within, disturb the leaders and tell them what’s needed, if this fails, then perhaps you are in the wrong company, but we can never tell until after we have all tried.
The basic salary or the toxicity of the account is not the sole basis for making a decision about a job, you need to consider a lot of factors but the most important part is you are comfortable with the setup and you are happy with the people and work you do, couple that with deep interest and the desire to succeed and you are golden.
One final tip: during the training, don’t hesitate to court the most difficult cases available in the account. Believe me, these cases do happen on the floor and if you are unprepared, you will falter. I learned this while working for HSBC-HDPP in Alabang, our trainer exposed us to the most gruesome cases and when we graduated from training and hit production, I was absolutely confident. I left HSBC with the experience and the ability to negotiate a better post, pay, and ultimately, a career.
Hope this helps.
November 3, 2012
Call Center, decision making, Job Hopping, job offer better benefits in a call center, call center blue collar job, call center compensation and benefits, call center dead end job, call center first timer, call center newbie, job hopping, job offer 3 Comments
I got curious so I started reading the thread on www.pinoyexchange.com called Call Center Hopper Milestone. The terms “hopper” and “milestone” being used in one sentence threw my mind into a loop and just thinking about it gave me a migraine.
One part of my brain was trying to convince me to leave the thread-starter be, the other part (the more conscienctious one) was coaxing me to write what I truly felt. Perhaps it’s my perception of things, I associate ‘milestones’ with accomplishments and ‘hopping’ is linked to having a bad case of a misguided career, hence, the internal debate.
Truth is, I’m not alien to job hopping. Yes, I’ve had my share of misguided hops when I was a newbie because apart from the act being a trend, my naivete, foolishness, and insatiability were all looking for a stable career, bigger pay, and better benefits – the goal was desirable but the methodology sucked big time.
First, there was the wrong impression about the call center industry - that it’s blue collar, it has no career, and it’s all about the money. This justified that fact that I needed to hop from one company to another.
Second, was the experience that supported the above fallacy. I was working with highly demotivated and misguided people whose perception of the job was too close to my own belief. It was like ambling on a “No Loitering” zone and because we didn’t have much to do, doing it looked like fun.
Third, the first few companies I worked for were mostly unreliable and seemed unconcerned about their employees, this is all to common in watering hole call centers. I resented the fact that I was nothing more than an employee ID who came and went and made no impact on the company’s present or future. If all my contributions made an impact, the inept leaders in that company made sure I never felt it, which made coming and going significantly easy.
Finally, there was the lack of direction, low pay, dismissable benefits, dismal working conditions, unhealthy environment, stress, boredom, foolish, self-center, egotistical but inept supervisors ….and I figured, if I had to go through all these, might as well make it worth my while, that is, find a company that pays a little better the previous, until I’m able to find happiness and satisfaction. Several years later, I was unhappy, unsatisfied, and still searching.
My wake up call happened when I became a Team Leader/recruitment manager/Trainer (this was my official title and don’t ask why). I realized a few things about job hopping and overall, my work in the call center industry.
- That it was not a dead-end job - there is a career, but I needed a different perspective to see that it was a game of numbers and failing to play it like it is meant that I will lose the opportunity for a better paying gig.
- That if I wanted to matter, I needed to play where the game was played, and that is by improving my scorecard because it is what levels the playing field and gives me that fighting chance to vie for higher posts, thus, better pay, etc.
- That job hopping was forcing me to hide my other companies (because of the short tenure), in effect, it robs me of the opportunity to negotiate for a better pay, because like it or not, the skill sets I have developed with the previous companies – on paper – goes back to zero. Even if I pride myself of the years of experience in customer service, job hopping made it all irrelevant.
Can anyone be blamed for job hopping? Definitely not. My years of experience tells me that the phenomena help me mature as a call center professional, albeit, I have to admit that the years I wasted could have been better if I knew what I know now. One thing that I am glad though is I have found myself working in a company who cares, who has focus on its people, and who sincerely helps develop careers – I wouldn’t have found this company had it not been for hopping. Then again, this is where cognitive dissonance happens - I’m trying to objectify my years of being misguided.
Therefore, a message to the new graduates and first timers in the call center industry: DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Call center hopping is no fun (see above reason). Getting a job anywhere isn’t just about the salary, it’s about developing a career, expanding your horizon within that company, and maximizing the skills and competencies development so that when the time comes for your to feel the need for progress, you are armed to the teeth. Avoid the “barya-barya” mentality for salary increases. When you evaluate a job, don’t just look at the salary alone – it’s true that money counts, but job satisfaction and career development within the right company is what should matter. Learn how to evaluate a job offer by studying all of it’s angles (See http://sevenh8reds.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/472/) – bottom line, DON’T SELL YOURSELF CHEAP.
Question is, newbie or not, can you be a game changer?
November 2, 2012
Just call me Ace. I’m so happy to read all the tips here in your blog. Gusto ko din mag work sa call center but I have some questions to ask. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I always fail in my previous application. It’s a shame coz I almost got a perfect score of 10 failures!
My first application was in this company in Magallanes, the reason why I chose the company is coz I have a friend who’s currently working there. Well, I passed the initial interview, online assessment, and the final interview with the OM, but I failed the Versant exam! Kakainis.. I’m had it. I don’t know if it’s because I got tired of the whole day process or just my poor grammar. Can you give me tips on how to improve my grammar and comm. skills? Actually, Im kinda confident that I have the skills but it’s just that whenever I converse in English I always end beign redundant, and I stammer. Please help me.
Then I tried to apply at a company in Shaw. I passed the initial interview which only lasted for about 10minutes. After hours of waiting, at almost 5pm, the interviewer asked me to come back by 9pm for the final interview. I told her that I needed to travel to Laguna, so I asked her to resched me for the next day, I was allowed, fortunately. To make to story short, I also failed to online exam, however, the HR told me that they will consider me for another account. On the 3rd day, I came back for the final interview again with the Account Manager. After that, he told me that someone from recruitment will contact me if about the result. It’s been a 2 days and I have yet to hear from them. I don’t know where I stand so please give me some advice. Sorry if my grammar is not so good. Your reply to this letter will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Thank you for visiting my blog, I’m happy to know that it’s helping you. Ahead of time, I must apologize for the delay in the response, aside from the technical problems I’ve had (thanks to Globe), it took me a while to decide if I will serve you a smorgasbord of information or just answer your question, you will see what I decided on below.
I’m also glad that you have found interest in working in the call center industry, and had it not been for the handsome compensation and benefits offered by this industry, I would have asked you “are you sure?” This industry is one of the most stressful and challenging job you can find and if you don’t have what it takes, you’ll be up for one rollercoaster ride. I’ve seen and heard of people who tried and left simply because they realized they do not have the patience to deal with the repetitiveness of the job.
Still interested despite the negative review? Read on.
Getting into the call center industry is not that difficult, that is, if you know what they are looking for. In the beginning, call centers in the Philippines were only looking for graduates from good schools (to the chagrin of its professors) since these students were classified as “near-native” English speakers. As the number of these candidates dwindled, the call center industry’s stiff requirements began to relax, undergraduate candidates with “neutral accent” were welcomed. When this population began to thin ( largely because of the influx of more call centers competing for this market), recruiters shifted their attention to candidates with a “trainable” English, these are candidates who are able to correct themselves despite inconsistent errors in grammar or pronunciation. Call Centers addressed this issue by simply creating a structured communications skills training specifically geared at repairing these issues.
I am sharing this bit of history because nowadays, when you have “trainable” English skills, you get hired. Call centers provide English skills improvement with refresher in grammar, emphasis on pronunciation and accent neutralization, and a special focus on stellar customer service, US culture and geography, etc. Having said this, to fail in a call center interview means either you have a consistent grammar and pronunciation problem that a weeklong training cannot fix, or you did poorly in answering the questions.
Suffice it to say that your foot in the door is your good command of English, have a flawless one and you easily gain access to this coveted job, have a weak one and you will face failure after failure. Therefore, allow me to share the following:
- Get yourself evaluated by someone qualified (a person who speaks fluent English and is familiar with grammar, has a neutral accent and is a natural with pronunciation), this way you will be made aware of your areas for improvement/focus. Once evaluated, ask for help in creating a learning program, stick to it.
- If you don’t have anyone who can help, enroll in an English skills enhancement program (TESDA has excellent training programs tailor-made for call center agent applicants, best of all, IT’S FREE!!!).
- Read this Blog. It can help you pick up a few tips related to the first bullet (learning program)
- Speak and Think in English 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Listen to American movie. Play it, pause it, imitate. Don’t stop until you know you’re pronouncing it right.
- Listen to yourself while you are speaking in English, this way, you can correct yourself when you make mistakes.
- It’s ok to make a mistake so long as you correct yourself.
- Stop watching telenovelas and quit listening to bakya radio stations, they are pure garbage and carries no learning value towards your goal to learn to speak in English.
- You have a recorder on your smart phone? Use it to record your voice and evaluate your progress. It’s ok if you make mistakes, try again (and again).
- Read, read, and read.
- Expand your vocabulary by memorizing 5 words daily and use it in a sentence – they will be yours forever. If you encounter an unknown word, don’t sleep unless you know what it means.
The last two bullets addresses your question about stammering. In my experience, there are about five instances why a person would stammers (a) you are born with it, (b) you are talking too fast and your mouth can’t catch up with your thoughts, and (c) you are translating Filipino to English and, in the process, are grasping for words, (d) you are unsure about your translations, and (e) you are too nervous.
Most of the above mentioned reasons are fixable. To start with, having a wide vocabulary is the best weapon against grasping for words, this is why back in high school (and elementary) our teachers and parents bugged us to memorize five words from the dictionary, and to use it in a sentence (not necessarily when talking to anyone). Also, having a good foundation for grammar means you don’t have to wonder if what you’re saying is right, ergo, a more fluid, conversational English. A caveat though, thinking in English is not a guarantee that you will be speaking it correctly, sans the grammar issue, or if you’re not familiar with Filipinoisms you will not be understood by the American customers you serve.
Besides your English communication skills, the key to passing a call center interview is preparation. Many applicants I’ve interviewed in the past “hoped” to get the job, only very few admitted they “prepared” for it. Truth is, getting a job in this industry does not need luck for it is hungry for more and more qualified candidates. What do I mean by “preparation”?
- Read and understand the skills and competencies required the post.
- Make a comparison – do you possess the skills and competencies required? If yes, proceed with the application, if none move to the next available post. Bottom-line, you are looking for a job which would have a positively satisfying career path for you. Notice that I didn’t say “compensation”, I said “career”.
- Create a resume tailor-fitted to the position you are applying for. Generic resumes are a no-no.
Once you have read the skills and competencies required for the post, the next step is going to be tricky, it will require patience and a lot of research and writing. Here’s why: recruiters are using TARGETED SELECTION to evaluate candidate competencies based on their past behavior in order to hire the right people for a given job (definition lifted from www.job-interview-site.com).
This is where bullet number two matters, you need to make a comparison of your skills and competencies and write down specific situations in the past work experiences which exhibits the required behavior. Below are sample Targeted Selection questions:
- Tell me about a time when you used your initiative.
- Describe a time when you communicated with a customer successfully.
- Give me an example of your ability to solve problems.
- Describe a difficult decision you made recently.
As part of your research, I would strongly recommend using Google/Bing/Yahoo to find these questions AND most importantly, preparing answers for them. This is a part of the exercise that most applicants tend to neglect, in effect, they come to the interview unprepared. After all, to prepare is to win half the battle.
Your challenge now is to prepare sound answers to these questions, and the only advice that I can give is don’t hesitate to search for sample answers online and customize them to your skills and competencies. Just remember: you are job hunting. You are preparing for an interview and the obvious objective is TO GET THE JOB, therefore, your answers to the questions should be geared towards showcasing your skills and competencies - to help the recruiter see that you are fit for the post.
Finally, don’t hesitate to make a follow-up especially that it’s been a few days since your interview, no harm in doing so. You can pay their office a visit, but it is best to just give the recruiter a phone call.
Hope this helps.
September 12, 2012
Your blog is exceptional! I appreciate it because it’s especially dedicated to us call center agents. I do have a question though. I have been absent for 4days in the cc that am working for and I have already exceeded my occurrence points since my first day of being absent. I have already told my supervisor that I want to resign, however she didn’t let me, that’s kind of the reason I was absent til now since I really cannot go to work anymore because of personal reasons. I don’t know if it’s already considered AWOL, since I don’t know the grounds. My question is, if that will be declared as AWOL, will I be able to get my back pay and will I be cleared from the company? Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks!
Thank you for the positive review. Nakaka-taba ng puso ang appreciation mo.
Your situation happened to me (and I’m sure with a few others) a few years ago, also because of an urgent personal reason. In fact, I also asked the very same question you posed here.
I’m not familiar with your company’s attendance policy and procedure so I cannot assume anything at this point, however, it is clear to me that you need a clean exit, and that you need you get your back pay.
Your manager is obligated to decline your resignation to lessen, if not totally avoid attrition, and since you can no longer report for work and that your manager refuses to accept your application, my suggestion at this point is to communicate with your HR in an attempt to negotiate a clean exit. In a way, your resignation becomes an “appeal” on account of your personal reason. After all, it behooves you to process your clearance in case you decide to seek employment elsewhere in the near future. If this approach fails, then HR will tag you as AWOL and terminate you. You will still be able to get your back pay, albeit without the exit clearance.
Not processing your clearance complicates your situation. You now have to decide whether you want to declare your previous company or not, and if you do, how will you twist your story (during the interview) to make the idea of getting terminated (for whatever reason) acceptable. If you do not declare your previous company, you now have to justify why you have such an expansive gap between now and your last employment – recruiters are watchful about these gaps, and will focus on the issue until they are able to determine the facts, and if found that you absconded, you lose the chance of getting the job.
The thing about not declaring a previous company is this: it resets your skill set to zero, and your experience, a few notches down, which means you lose the opportunity to negotiate a better salary. Magkakaroon ka nga ng salary increase, pa barya-barya lang.
Let’s assume for a second that you get a new job, you now worry that the current company will unravel your secret when you finally submit your BIR and SSS record. Here, they will be able to check your actual work history (not your contributions though), cross-check it with your resume, and if inconsistencies are found, the new company will terminate you too, that is, if they are big on integrity; smaller companies who have massive attrition and are therefore manpower-hungry don’t give too much weight on this.
I realize that have expanded my response to your comment, that I covered the consequences of not declaring a company. I did it because your situation is not new to me and to a lot of people. In fact, I get emails about this issue almost daily.
The bottom line is that, in more ways done one, it is more complicated if you do not declare your company. I surely hope you will be able to negotiate a clean exit with your HR department. Do let me know if you have more questions. Thanks.
September 11, 2012
Hi. this is Jason, and I’m new in this kind of industry.
I was actually searching on how to improve my listening skills, when I was re-directed to this site – and this blog is really amazing! Sana nabasa ko ito bago pa ako mag-apply sa call center. Great tipS.
Well, I’m not really good in communications; I even had “tremors” during the interview haha (: that’s why I’m really overwhelmed that i passed the recruitment process of that company.
I’m now on the training period. and there was a time when we were asked to listen to some calls. I think the “technical stuff” are not really much of my problem – we will know them if we study the account well. however, I am not able to understand the “concerns” of some of the customers, because there is something in the way they speak that I cannot comprehend. That really made me down. one of my colleagues told me that they are the “black americans”, and that I will just get used to it.
I am still under probationary period – I will get fired if i didn’t pass the requirements. so I really have to exert an extra effort on this thing. I wrote to ask you a favor – to share some “what to do” stuff, regarding this issue so I would be able to understand them easily. I googled some videos but, I still find their words difficult to understand.
They said that most of the customers in that account speak in that manner. so, I am really worried about that. and I don’t know what to do.
Thank you. and I’m hoping for your response..
Thank you for leaving a comment and for visiting my blog. I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that my blog serves you well.
I decided to create a post out of your comment because, truth is, I was also in the same situation as a newbie. In fact, I have yet to encounter a first timer who did not have a problem comprehending what clients are/were trying to say.
First, an observation: newbies are often overly critical of their weaknesses, overall, their performance. I think this happens because, as what you have said, being a probationary employee one is doing his best to survive the learning curve, pass his scorecard and keep the job. On top of this, there is the pressure to learn the product, the systems, tools, processes, procedures, call handling, the art of customer service, etc. Too, a few days or weeks on the floor feels like forever, and since you are surrounded by tenured reps who doesn’t seem to have any problems understanding what customers are saying (or dealing with all the other issues related to being a call center employee), you can’t help but compare yourself to them and feel wanting.
In the middle of all this haze, one thing a newbie forgets is to give himself proper credit, that is, he is a newbie, as such he is given a learning curve. Most centers encourage making (calculable) mistakes during this period (except for HSBC who taught me to do it right the first time), hence, the newbie must learn to re-focus his energy to learn the ropes instead of worrying about the little things.
While it is true that some customers are hard to understand, it is also true that there are steps provided during your training to solve this problem, one such technique is RE-STATING THE ISSUE.
An effective re-state allows you to be in sync with the customer’s mind, it also provide you the opportunity to think of an effective way to zero-in on the problem, consequently, allowing you to provide an accurate solution to the customer’s dilemma. A word of caution though, a re-state is not parroting the customer statement, it is rephrasing what he said, in a way, using your own words to ensure that you understand the bottom line of what he or she is calling about.
In quality assurance, most call centers include re-stating the issue as a measured item within the call, after all, misunderstanding the issue will lead to a wrong recommendation, probably resulting in a repeat call, or worst, an escalation.
The problem, however, is when a customer is calling about an issue that is so simple that it no longer requires a re-state. Below is an example:
Customer: Hello. I’m calling because I can’t access the portal, I need a password reset.
Rep: (following the required re-state) Let me see if I understand this correctly, you are calling because you are unable to access the portal and you need help in resetting password, am I correct?
Customer: Duh, that’s just what I said.
As a call center agent, I feel embarrassed that I have to re-state an issue so simple that it makes me sound absolutely stupid, however, because QA requires it, I have no choice but to follow, else, I lose points. Personally, I am obsessed with seeing 100s in my QA report, therefore, I thought of a way to work around the issue.
Note: Normally, after a re-state, you are also required to say “I’ll be happy to help you with (insert reason for the customer’s call here)“. Please try to avoid saying “I’ll be more than happy”, it’s so canned, so fake, so wrong, and it makes you sound mental.
Our approach to the asinine scenario above is hybrid, a combination of the re-state and the “I will be happy to” statement. For example: “Not problem Mr. Smith, I will be happy to reset the password for you so you can gain access to the portal.” The approach hits two birds with one stone – you re-stated the issue AND you gave the “happy to help” phrase, assuring the customer that you understood the issue, and that you will help him, at the same time passing the said step in your QA score sheet.
Overall, the objective of the re-state is to make you, as a CSR handling the case, understand what the real issue is. This is why you need to seek validation by getting the agreement from the customer (“Let me see if I understand this correctly, you are calling because you are unable to access the portal and you need help in resetting password, AM I CORRECT?“). Customers will not hesitate to correct you if they think they were misunderstood, after all, they are calling to get an issue resolved. In case there is a correction from the customer, re-state the issue one more time, or several times if needed, especially if the customer has tons of “pasakalye.”
Finally, it is normal for you to feel anxious about not understanding the customer, but do not put too much weight on it, even tenured reps find some customers difficult to comprehend, and this is where we effectively use the re-state technique to get to the bottom line. One day, as your keep taking in calls, you will attain a level of mastery where you will be able to deduce what the customer needs just by listening to specific keywords or by looking at the customer’s account. You will get so good at this that you will have to worry about something else…boredom.
Hope is helps.
August 21, 2012
When I was a newbie in the call center industry, part of the problem I had with my application was the line “We will just call you within 24 to 48 hours. Don’t call us, we will call you.” I wait, and wait, and wait…but nothing.
If there is one thing that I truly hate in life (as much as in relationships or even job hunting) is not knowing where I stand. I’ve lamented about the fact that recruiters are screwing with my mind just by telling me that annoying ”send home script.” Being under pressure (no job, no money), I loathed the fact that my life is totally at the mercy of the recruiter who asked me to wait – for nothing.
When I worked as a recruitment specialist, I got to unravel the truth behind the “send home script”, and I’m sharing this information with everyone in the hope that they will be able to understand why recruiters use such a horrendous line (pun intended).
- The “send home script” is a part of the process. In fact, if you look at the process flow for recruitment, it is (either verbally or via a letter) listed as the end point of an interview, especially when the applicant is not qualified.
- Conducting interviews from morning till late afternoon makes recruiters very busy individuals. Therefore, if they can cut an interview short and proceed to the next one, they will. This is why a template of the regret letter was created to send unqualified applicants home.
- The regret letter and send home script, coupled with a poker face and and professional demeanor is actually an effective way to ward off chit-chat, dramatics, histrionics, and an applicant’s proclivity to violence.
What are the different versions and what do they mean?
- We will call you within the next 24 to 48 hours. – This one is the mother of all send home scripts, it’s too generic that it leaves you’re wondering even after 48 hours of not receiving a call, it just begs the question “what have I done in that interview that deserved failure?”
- We will call you within 24 to 48 hours. We will call you, don’t call us. - is a definite sign of failure. Move on.
- We will call you within 24 to 48 hours, if you do not receive a call from us, then you know what it means. - It’s a indirect way of telling you that you failed.
- We will call you within the next 24 to 48 hours, please keep your lines open. – Is normally delivered, sans the poker face, with a light mood, and even with a smile, somehow telling you to hope/expect. A recruiter will not tell you to keep your lines open unless you failed.
Being a job hunter, part of your mission is to find out if you passed or failed – immediately. Therefore, a 24 to 48 hour waiting time is oftentimes crucial to your decision-making, especially if you are under pressure to decide on a job offer, or if your folks are telling you to find a job, or you simply need a job to start the income flow. If a recruiter tells you a very generic “We will can you within 24 to 48 hours”, what can you do to know if you failed (so you can move on)?
- Observe your environment. Applicants who passed are either asked to wait or to come back for the next stage.
- Chat with other applicants. Find out what stage of the recruitment process they are in. Were they given a letter? Were they asked to wait? Is the recruiter friendly? Are applicants sent home via a regret letter, or is it the verbal send home script used? Bottom-line: to determine the process is to know where you stand.
- Study your recruiter. Is he the professional type with a poker face? Friendly? Chatty? If he is overly professional and you feel that you failed, say this “I’m new to the industry and I’m trying to improve my chances of landing a job. May I ask why I failed? It would truly appreciate it if you can give me my areas for improvement.” If the recruiter declines, don’t insist. It’s ok. Move on.
Note: DO NOT question the decision of the recruiter as to why you failed, especially, do not show an attitude – that will not get you the job. Remember, YOU ARE THE APPLICANT, plus, he is not obligated to tell you. Failure is simply an indication that (1) you do not match the qualifications required for the post, and (2) you have an area or areas for improvement that you should focus on.
In the event that you end up not getting a clue and it has been 48 hours, how do you follow up your application? Do you even need to?
There are cases when you really want a job because of the compensation, the company culture, the people, or plainly, you just want that job so badly you don’t want to give it a rest. Do you need to make a follow up? By all means, go ahead. However, follow the below suggestions.
- Call or SMS the same person who processed your interview. Don’t ask the receptionist.
- Call or SMS in the morning, just towards the start of the shift, not lunch time, not in the afternoon.
- Avoid walking in to follow up, it’s a waste of time, unless you have time and money to spare. Question here is, will the recruiter have time for you? (Remember, he is busy with interviews).
- If the recruiter admits that you failed, you have the option to ask why, also, don’t hesitate to ask if you can be referred to another account for processing.
- Don’t linger if you already know the result.
- Don’t question the decision. Just move on.
Understanding the “send home script” will make you an informed and prepared applicant, it gives you that ability to provide an outright evaluation of your application just by studying the environment, the recruiter, and how the “send home script” is said. In cases where there are no obvious indications that one failed or passed, it would be best to wait for the call within the prescribed time and move on if none is received.
Note: If you have any questions, concerns, comments, suggestions, or a specific scenario you wish to consult, don’t hesitate to leave a comment, I’m always happy to help.
August 14, 2012
You are a fresh graduate and currently job hunting, or your friends are working in a call center and they’ve been bugging you to work with them, and right now, you’re wondering if the job is really for you. More importantly, you are asking yourself ”will I survive in the call center industry?”
I’ve had a few colleagues in the past who tried working in the call center but ended up resigning, I’ve also known a few people, talented and skilled, but ended up leaving simply because:
- They didn’t know what they’re getting into.
- They could not handle the pressure.
- They were just forced to take the job.
- They thought it would be easy.
- They failed to see the whole picture, and the possibility of a career in the industry.
- Their bodies could not handle the graveyard shift.
- A host of other reasons.
So, what do you need to know? First, ask yourself this question: “what do I know about the call center industry?”
A lot of people, including myself before I started working in this industry, had the basic impression that the job in the call center is “chicken feed”, that all you need to do is to pick up the phone, talk, and logout after 8 hours. The first impression is true, however, there are so many things in between that most people don’t know about, so let’s dispel some call center myths:
- You are nothing more than a glorified telephone operator. – It is true, but only if your account is Directory Assistance. In fact, this is the very same job that gave the call center industry the impression that it is a “no-brainer”. The call center industry has evolved in such a way that CSRs are no longer called generic “call center agents”, some of us are called “analysts”, and the job has become overly complicated that it now requires someone with high IQ and EQ.
- It is easy to get into the call center industry, all you need to do is to speak well. – This is fallacy, and I speak as a recruiter. Although language is your “foot in the door”, nowadays, it is no longer a guarantee. It will largely depend on how simple or complicated the account is, if you have the analytical skill to determine the problem, recommend a viable solution, and to deliver the said recommendation effectively and with confidence – to an unhappy customer. Recruiters are becomming more and more selective when choosing call center employees, making sure that they are a match, no only in terms of language skills but in skills and competencies required for the job. Those who pass the recruitment process but are not qualified are weeded out through training, nesting period, and the probationary period.
- There are no Philippines holidays observed. – This is true, especially when you are in operations (common called “the floor.”), however, if you are still in training, they (well, some) still follow Philippine holidays.
- It’s just like college. – If they were referring to numbers (e.i. grades), it’s true. It’s all a game of numbers, and because it is a game, you need to learn how to play it right, and because it is a game of numbers, you need to meet your mark if you want to continue being employed. You know what happens when you don’t pass, right? So it’s just like college.
- You have no social life. – This isn’t true at all, you will have social life, a double life, even. We call center employees party from 5am to around 2pm, albeit we party we our colleagues. Bottomline, we still get to party.
- There’s too much sex involved. It really depends on the center (which ones are hyperactive, I won’t tell), but you’re not here for that right? We work for 8 hours, what happens before, in between, and after isn’t just true in the call center industry, it’s true anywhere.
- You can hop from one call center to another and still land a job. This is true for most. Even I am not alien to job hopping, this was before I realized that age has caught up with me and I saw myself aging without direction. Hopping is a sad truth in the call center industry simply because of the perks offered by different companies. Companies (the big players) are now seriously considering hopping as a basis for not hiring employees.
- Compared to other industries, compensation and benefits are both awesome! – This is true, that is if you know how to effectively evaluate comp and ben (woe to the employees who things it’s all about the basic salary).
- The attendance is absolutely strict. – This is true, come to think of it, shouldn’t attendance policies be strict anywhere on the planet? You are getting paid to work, and not being present means you are not reliable, and developing the habit of being absent means you get a prize – the walking papers.
- BURN OUT! – This is true. Depending on the account, the average burn-out period of a call center agent is anywhere between 4 to 6 months. This is why companies are so into “employee engagement”, recognition, giveaways, etc. The most effective way to counter burn out is to have a deep motivation, to know this motivation, and in times when you tend to lose to drive, to remind yoruself of why you are working in the first place.
- Health and Welfare – companies, especially the conscientious ones, take health and welfare seriously. In fact, where I work, gym membership is subsidized by half, meds are reimbursed, pregnancy is covered (including labor), and other benefits ensures you are able to stay healthy and productive.
- Work-life balance. If this means there is no work-life balance in the call center industry, then this is false. It really depends on the employee and the company, and this isn’t at all absent. The call center industry is just like any other industry, the only difference is, we do no bring work home. We login, we logout, then we spending time with our family and friends, party, etc, with some amount of compromise for scheduling the activity.
- There is no career in the call center industry. – This is not true, there is, if you know how to play the game well. It’s all about performance – that is your key to success, plus initiative, presence, presentation, interest, passion, skill, competence – I think you already know what I’m getting at here – it’s a lot of hard work – just like in any other industry. People who claim there is no career in the call center industry has no idea what they are talking about.
There are many other stories, beliefs, rumors, myths and facts about the call center industry that only we call center employees know and understand. Anyone who wants to work in this industry needs to understand it too, else, just like a few friends and colleagues I’ve known, they will just leave not knowing they actually have full control of their career if only they worked hard and studied the culture, practices, and environment deeper.
August 10, 2012
Here is a question from tsrgame (lifted from www.pinoyexchange.com)
Paano kapag sinabi sa akin ano yung "edge" ko sa mga ibang applicants? Kapag sinasagot ko na flexible ako and I can do multi task ang sabi sa akin what if kung ganon din daw *** ibang applicant. Pag sinabi ko naman na fast learner ako ganun din ang sasabihin nila.
July 25, 2012
I was surprised when the recruiter failed me after asking me the question “What have you been doing since your resignation from work a year ago?” I was just being honest when I said “nothing“. What could I have done differently? Thanks for your input.
Your email reminded me of the saying “The truth shall set you free.” You were too honest so the recruiter had to let you go. Suffice it to say that you did not give him what he needed to hear – being productive during your time of unemployment. I’m not saying you should lie, but you need to put a different spin to your response.
As a recruiter, I was trained to become wary of the gaps between employments, how frequent the gaps are (indication of job hopping) and how long the gap is and why there is a gap - having no work for more than a year certainly begs the question “what have you been doing for the past year?”
“Nothing” is certainly not the best answer. Remember that you are in an interview and the goal of the activity is to land a job, therefore, to tell the recruiter that you have not been using your idle time to improve and/or expand your skills and competencies gives him the impression that you may have lost your edge, or that you are simply lazy and unproductive, therefore, may exhibit the same behavior at work if hired.
Recruiters think this way because of TARGETED SELECTION, it is a method of evaluating candidate competencies based on past behaviors in order to hire the right people for the job. Therefore, anyone who is unemployed, job hunting, waiting for a job offer, or is just being plain idle needs to think of ways to improve his skills and competencies. After all, having a broader set of skills gives the person a wider opportunity for a better career and an assured way towards promotion.
Recruiters have a way of uncovering your weaknesses based on the responses you provide, and if he sees that despite the presence of this weakness you have done nothing during your idle time, he will fail you right there. I’m talking about well-trained recruiters whose goal is to hire highly qualified, competitive, and skilled employees.
When asked this question, I strongly recommend relating the response to the question “What do you think are your weaknesses and strengths?” In a way, giving the recruiter the impression that you know your areas for improvement and that you actually did something about it while you were unemployed. Your response doesn’t have to be complicated, it could be anything from enrolling in a language course, teaching part-time to keep or expand your knowledge and expertise, or that you have embarked on a person training to improve your customer service skills. The important thing is you have been productive.
Hope this helps.
July 24, 2012
Hi. How are you? I’m not new here anymore, I visited your blog a few days after inception or, when you announced it at pex (am a random lurker). I thank you for creating and maintaining your blog, it’s a big help to us!
I hope you can give me advice regarding my plan of action. I have been working in the same company for 15 years now. When the call center industry was just new (around 2004), I was interested to change careers and be a CC agent, mainly ‘coz of the pay and the new/exciting experience. But it didn’t push through, and now I am into this pit of boredom/burn out for the nth time, and I’m boss has noticed my rather sloppy jobs lately.
Now, I would like to resign and maybe take some months off (6, max 12) to do and finish all the tasks/ to do list I have been listing all these years before getting back to work wherever that may be. Being a breadwinner, I know fully well that this is risky if not totally foolish as where I will get the regular money to pay for the bills, purchases for food, etc. But I have included in my to do list to try/start a small business and/or engage in a non-formal employment. Btw, I’m already 38.
Thanks for your input.
First off, the label “random lurker” made me laugh, it’s both funny and freaky at the same time - like a stalker watching from behind a tree outside my window. Lol.
I thank you for sending me the comment, I’ve decided to make it a blog/post since your question is rather common but absolutely important. I’ve been asked this questions several times in the past and I’ve offered the same advice (via email and through conversations); this is the first time that I’m posting the response via my blog.
Burn out isn’t funny. I’ve been in your shoes before when I was working in sales and marketing and it took me several years to quit the job because although burnout was eating me alive, I could not find a stable work good enough to replace the job. It took me about two more years before I decided to work in the call center and the career shift is not something I regret. The difference between the two of us is that I was single when I switched over.
However, when you do decide to switch to the call center, you need to decide not only on the basis of the basic salary but you need to look at the overall package. I feel sad when someone makes the basic salary the bottom-line since it isn’t enough, there are so many factors to consider and looking at the basic salary alone is nothing more than a cause for regret. (Click here if you want to find out how I decide on a job offer.) One tip: Do not resign unless you have at least 6 to 10 job offers, that way it’s easier to make an informed decision.
Being a family man myself, I know too well that the basic salary offered in a call center is not enough, especially if you work in a “watering hole” where the basic salary offered is 16k to 20k. Your best choice is to gun for financial accounts from companies like HSBC, Genpact (both in Alabang), Chevron Shared Services (Makati), Thompson, and a health and welfare/payroll company named ADP (Makati). I’m sure you noticed that the companies I mentioned are all high-caliber. There are others, you can use Jobstreet and www.pinoyexchange.com to look for these companies.
Before you decide, make sure that you discuss the option with your wife and family members. I’m saying this because I have seen wives and children who could not understand or accept the fact that their father is asleep and missing out on their lives, on the other hand, I’ve also heard of families who are doing OK despite one or both parents being call center employees.
As you already know, working in the call center industry changes your life drastically. It will affect your body’s sleep cycle, cause you to feel ill, change your social life (to almost nothing, unless you go out with your teammates) and because of the routine, you will (still) face burnout (average burnout time, depending on the account, is anywhere between four to six months), it all depends now on how strong your motivation for working is.
Ultimately, you cannot get rid of burnout, in fact, before I even advise you to jump ship, I suggest you look within. My perception of burnout is this, routine makes you efficient and effective at your job, burnout happens when you start to lose your sense of purpose/direction, and if there is too much to dislike/hate in your work environment. However, 15 years in the same company breeds familiarity, and a sense of “second home”, for this reason, whenyou finally work in the call center (or elsewhere), the new environment becomes a shock to you that you can’t help but compare, your subconscious will be looking for the friendly and familiar, and you might end up resigning from the call center and end up with nothing if you don’t keep your motivation in check constantly.
The uband legend about working in the call center is easy is no longer true. Gone are the days when call center works simply needed you to pick the phone and be like an operator or an office secretary. Nowadays, accounts require the associate/CSR to be highly analytical, has the knack for explaining things, has excellent customer service, de-escalation, and problem solving skills. Anyone who says a call center job is easy does not know what he is talking about. Also, despite what others say, the interview process in the call center is getting more and more difficult and background investigation a lot more stringent.
The benefits offered in prime call centers are becoming better too! The BPO I work for actually included pregnancy in the HMO (others only have pre-natal check-up), not to mention two additional dependents (free), and if you have a domestic partner (gay or lesbian), he or she will be covered so long as you are living under one roof. Recently, we received the news that a retirement benefit is in the works.
Other things you need to consider about the call center industry:
- No Philippine holidays.
- Graveyard/shifting schedule.
- Training lasts anywhere between three weeks to three months, depending on the account.
- You can take as much as 80 to 150 calls per day for a customer service account (300 to 600 for a directory assitance account).
- You need to manage and pass your scorecard if you want to have a better career.
- The attendance policy is followed strictly.
- The Quality Assurance department becomes your best friend, and your Team Leader too (lol).
Hope this helps.
July 20, 2012
If there is one thing I know about job interviews, it is this: it is competency based. Interview questions are designed to determine if the candidate fits the posts by comparing his responses (along with his work experience) with the skills and comptencies required for a post.
Interview questions are not meant to be answered mindlessly, doing so would be a waste of opportunity, in fact, if you have read my previous blogs, I heavily encourage preparation (read: research), including finding out what the competencies required for the post are, attempting to determine what possible questions will be asked during the interview, AND preparing responses which the candidate must know and understand (but not memorize) and mix and match it based on the questions and scenarios asked during the interview.
What are the common interview questions and how best to answer them?
1. Tell me something about yourself.
This is not an invitation to talk about yourself mindlessly. The question is geared towards measuring your work attitude and behavior, therefore, you MAY discus some personal items, however, you must have direction, that is, your goal should be to talk about your personal qualities reflecting honesty, integrity, professionalism, and even your philosophy as an employee or as a student.
2. Why do you want to work here?
This question requires research. Prior to the interview, visit the company’s website, find out their history, type of business, their mission and vision, their accounts (if available), and their culture. Knowing about the company makes you sound impressive, that you did your homework, and that you are really interested to get the job.
3. What do you know about the call center industry/agent’s work?
You are not an expert (yet), therefore, the recruiter/employer does not expect you to know everything, but having a basic knowledge of the industry or the work involved is an expectation, and naturally, failing to meet that expectation results to failure.
4. Why should I hire you?/Why should I not hire you?/What sets you apart from all the other candidates outside?
The objective of this question is to determine if you fit the job based on the skills and competencies required by the post. The second question is a trick because of the word “not” but the answer is still the same. Question is, how can you make sure that you answer this question satisfactorily?
1. Study the skills and competencies required for the post.
2. List down your own skills and competencies. Compare it with the requirements.
3. Think about the interview question. Prepare a response. The bottomline of your response should be that you have the competencies and skills required.
For fresh graduates, it is often challenging to answer this question, plainly because they have no work experience. I suggest the following:
1. Study the skills and competencies required.
2. Consider your experiences while you were still in school: organizations you joined, meetings you attended, awards you won, your advocacies, etc. List them down.
3. Compare your personal list with the skills and competencies required for the post. Then, create a response to the interview question with the goal of proving that you are fit for the job because even as a student, you already exhibited the required comptencies and skills.
The above preparation will allow you to respond to the question with full confidence and ease.
5. Why do you want to work in a call center/as a call center agent?
No matter how honest you are, DO NOT answer this question with “because of the compensation”. Remember that you are being evaluated, therefore, the objective is to “sell yourself” and to pass the interview. Talk about how close this job is to your skills, competencies, and experiences. If you don’t have the experience (being a fresh graduate or a newbie), talk about how close it is your work and personal goals, beliefs, and that you see yourself being successful in this field. The objective is to let the interviewer know that YOU ARE PERFECT FOR THIS JOB.
6. Why did you resign from your previous company?
This question has a lot of answers, the only tricky part is if your reason for leaving is negative (disagreement with the boss, your forsaw termination, you went on AWOL, etc), no matter what the reason is, BE POSITIVE. Truth is, it does not matter if your stint was short or long (so long as it is not a string of short stints, giving the impression that you are a job hopper). Tell the recruiter about what you realized while employed with that job, and what you (positively) gained by leaving, and that you are ready to move on. One example of a good response is the employee has had a lot of achievements from the previous company that he is now ready to move on to a bigger, more dificult challenge and achieve more success.
7. What are you strenghts and weaknesses?
Responding to this questions poses a bit of a challenge. We Filipinos tend to shy away from boasting, on the other hand, we do not want our weaknesses to be exposed for fear that we will be judged unfairly.
Remember what you are applying for, if it is a call center post, focus on communication, customer service/focus, friendliness, eye for details, etc. As for the weakness, think of one of your strengths and let it come across as a weakness – my personal example here is “I tend to be too attached to my work that I am annoyed when I am not able to achieve my goals.”
8. What is your expected salary?
Remember that this is not the negotiation part yet. The secret here is to know the industry standard. You do not want to give too high an amount that will make the interviewer think that the company cannot afford you, you also do not want to give too low an amount which will give you no room for negotiation. Know the going rate for the post then blurt it out. Be confident when you say the amount, don’t be coy, don’t be too proud. Being confident about your expected salary means that you know yourself, your experience, and your self-worth, your skills and competencies.
9. Can you work on weekends? Shifting schedules? Do overtime work? Graveyard shifts?
The recruiter expects that you know the industry you are applying for, therefore, the BEST answer here is a VERY CONFIDENT YES. Do not sound doubtful. Rememeber, you are the one job hunting. (If the work schedule is not acceptable to you, why did you submit your resume in the first place?)
10. How do you see yourself five or ten years from now?
It is tempting to answer this with “I see myself getting married, having kids, 2 cars, a house on a hill”, but this is not the response fit for this questions. Again, remember that you are being interviewed, therefore, the best response is to focus on the job you are applying for. The answer must be work-related, examples would be establishing an impressive performance as foundation for promotion, getting promoted, etc. The more specific the future plan/vision is, the better. This means that you have proper direction in your life and you have plans for your career and that you intend to be there for the long haul.
While it is true that being interviewed is nerve-wracking, it is also true that if you are well-prepared, you will be able to respond to questions with confidence and ease. Again, read and understand the competencies required for the post you are applying for, Google interview questions and write down your sample answers, let someone look at it if you’re still not sure , know and understand the responses you prepared but don’t memorize them. Be prepared to mix and match your prepared responses based on the questions given by the recruiter.
If you have other questions that you found to be hard, or if you have suggested answers to interview questions above, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
July 19, 2012
I was on SL for two days last week and when I came back Monday, I found out that two of my colleagues got promoted to the team lead post – a well deserved promotion for these tough performers who never lost sight of their goal.
Getting promoted in a call center is not easy, neither is it difficult, that is, if you know what you need to consider.
The first item on the list is performance. Whenever there is a vacancy and the company opens it up internally, one of the very first things they check is if your scorecard is passing (better if you exceed expectation), which means having a good scorecard gives you that fighting chance to vie for a post. The other part is how clean your 201 File is.
The second item to consider is your eligibility for the post. Now, this does not mean that because you have no previous experience (albeit preferred), you will not qualify. There’s always the training, the nesting period, or a learning curve to give you that amount of experience before they let you out into the world as the newly promoted (insert post here).
In my experience, the lack of exposure in a particular field can be overshadowed by passion, the desire to learn, having a vision, and that ability to study the post you are applying for. All these come out during the interview stage, that is, if you are prepared, you will be able to confidently answer all questions and wow the interviewers in the process. Case in point are my two colleagues who got promoted who had no prior experience in managing a team, although in their tenure here in the company, they were tasked to become cluster leaders within their respective teams and this gave them the experience and the idea as to the responsibilities of a team leader. In turn, they leveraged on their tasks and achievement as a cluster leader which was so effective it earned them the promotion.
Aiming for promotion while working in a call center is open to all, but in most cases, especially if one is employed in a “watering hole” (such as Convergys, Stream, etc.), the chances of getting promoted is almost slim to none. This is the reason why most tenured reps look for companies or accounts that are newly opened or is expanding, more importantly, they prefer to be in the first or secon batch/wave of the said account simply because of that stronger chance of getting a higher post.
Opportunities for promotion come and go, and as an employee who has that sheer desire to be promoted, he/she must keep a sharp eye on his/her scorecard, and to make sure that he or she does not have any corrective actions (verbal, written, especially final) which will mar his/her “fighting chance”.
The desire to get promoted should not be “ningas-cogon”, and that the mentality and attitude is not to get promoted but to get that “fighting chance” to vie for a post. I am suggesting this because realistically, you do not know if you will get promoted (considering your competitors and a host of other factors), there is a difference between psyching yourself up for the promotion and expecting to be promoted – the first one gives you that extra power and desire to better your performance in preparation for the application, while the other is nothing more than just “being too confident” about your qualification.
What if you fail? What then?
I have witnessed employees who lost their drive to work and the motivation to get promoted simply because they had the wrong mentality – the expectation to get promoted was not met because of factors which they could have controlled (eg scorecard, etc), or in most cases, factors they cannot control – such as the competition being way better in terms of performance or is more qualified.
So is there a secret to getting promoted? Well, it’s really not a secret, if you have presence, initiative, preparation, performance, passion, vision, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck YOU HAVE A STRONGER FIGHTING CHANCE to get promoted.
Note: Politics was intentionally left out when this blog was conceptualized.
July 16, 2012
So you got the job as a call center agent? You’re done with your training, you just passed the nesting period and perhaps one of the things they introduced you to is your scorecard?
I remember being so nervous when the scorecard was introduced to us during the nesting period. Why?
- It’s all about numbers and I’m never good with numbers.
- If I don’t pass, I won’t get regularized.
- Below par performance means they will place me in a Performance Improvement Plan, which to me is added stress, and if I still don’t make the cut, they terminate me.
- An unsatisfactory scorecard means unsatisfactory career, which is a possible source of demotivation for me.
- I’ve never worked in a company whose performance measurement tool was all too structured.
- Finally, having a low scorecard means you are the team’s weakest link
First, why is there a scorecard?
As I’ve said, call center work is nothing more than a game of numbers. For each metric (e.g. attendance), you have a threshold, if you go above it, you pass, but anything below it is detrimental to your career. Initially, the balanced scorecard was conceptualized to keep track of an employee’s performance, control it, and make the employee contribute positively to the growth of the team, the business unit, and overall, the company.
A lot of call center agents I know have a very limited view of their scorecard, in fact, they only desire to pass it to serve their personal goals – to get regularized, to get the incentive, to get promoted – there is nothing wrong with that. However, a professional would have a deeper, and wider perception, that is – pass the scorecard to help the team and the business unit, which will eventually help the business grow, and help build more opportunities for advancement.
So what is inside a scorecard?
Different call centers have differenct accounts and each of them has a different demand, for this reason, there is no such thing as “one official scorecard.” However, for the sake of giving you an idea, here is sample scorecard for a customer service account:
- AHT (Average Handling Time)
- ACW (After Call Work)
- Adherence and Compliance
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Click here for CALL CENTER JARGONS
Like your subjects in school, you need to pass each item on the scorecard, not being able to will lead to stressful consequences such as being placed in a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), or worse, risk getting fired, not to mention the fact that a passing scorecard is your key to getting promoted, being laterally transfered (to another business unit or department within the company), or getting a higher pay.
Remember a few important things:
- Attendance is the top priority. As they say, just be present and be on time all the time and everything in your scorcard follows. This is especially challenging during the burnout period.
- Quality. Be mindful of the quality of your calls, read, review, and know the ins and outs of getting a perfect score AND making it a “WOW Call” is even better. Aside from being mindful of the pitfalls, the secret here is to treat each call as if you are being monitored. If you work in more advanced call centers, they will probably use the NICE software (or something similar), it is a tool that records both your audio and the screenshot of your actions during the call, therefore, it pays to visit your account’s Procedures Page constantly to show them you are doing your best to be accurate.
- CSAT – more often han not, perfecting your QA will lead to a high CSAT score (but this is not always the case). According to my colleague Jed Sangco, QA is objective, CSAT is subjective. CSAT is Customer Satisfaction, a customer-based survey done after a call to guage his or her satisfaction, and because it is subjective, you as a rep may have done an excellent job, however, if the customer is dissasfied with the product, service, the company, or he or she is prejudiced by a previous encounter with another (bad) rep, your CSAT score may be pulled down. There is no other secret here except to hone your customer service skill and to know three lovely letters – F.C.R.
- FCR is First Call Resolution. It’s nothing more than doing everything in your power to resolve the problem and not to leave anything unanswered to avoid a repeat call. So what if it’s not within your power? Escalate!!!! Seriously, most accounts are provided an escalation queue (e.i. Your TL, Tier II, etc), the goal is to resolve the case in just call.
So, how do you manage your scorecard?
- Be present and be on time all the time. No excuses.
- Don’t hesitate to take more calls. It’s an opportunity to have better QA and better CSAT. It carries an equal risk towards the negative, but if you (Step 3)
- Follow your QA and customer service guidelines, you will be fine.
- Know the difference between adherence and compliance. Follow both.
- Avoid petiks, long ring-times, unnswered calls, dropping calls, extended ACW (it affects your AHT) and “hadouken.” Remember, you are there to work, to earn money and call avoidance is definitely not the way to it.
- Set a higher goal for yourself. If your passing grade for attendance is 90, go for 95, etc.
- Talk to your Team Leader abour your areas for improvement, ask for help in monitoring them. If you feel that one of the items in your scorecard is sliding, volunteer yourself to be in a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) program.
- Use the first three weeks of the months to invest in your scorecard by taking more calls, being mindful of the quality, following your work schedule religiously. The objective here is to pass your scorecard by the third week so you can have a relaxed week lasting until the end of the month.
A well-maintained scorecard results in the following:
- Salary increase
- Respect of your peerps and the leaders of the company.
Finally, do remember that although you are responsible for your own scorecard, how you manage it affects your team, your account, and your company, therefore, take that extra effort to study it, dispute what you can (especially QA), and always be vigilant about the contents of your scorecard (especially if your team leader is lazy) for it is the key to your success.
June 26, 2012
I had a chat with a colleague just an hour ago, he was relating the story of a cousin, currently jobless for more than a hear, strapped with cash, and have been job hunting for the longest time. The job hunting effort has been frustrating and because he has been unemployed for so long, he is beginning to lose hope.
I couldn’t help by express sympathy towards his cousin. A year of not being employed can really take a toll on your motivation and self-value. It reminded me of my personal experience a few years back when I made the mistake of resigning from my job thinking being highly bankable and qualified, I can find a job in a snap of a finger, to my horror, two and a half months down the road, I was job less, I could not pay the rent, my “best friend” and roommate kicked me out of the apartment and had to live with my (then) girlfriend. Apart from the financial impact, that mistake was a real blow to my self-esteem and it made me question my real skill, my qualification, and my ability to find a job “efficiently”.
As they say, experience is the best teacher, and because I was cash-strapped, living off my (then) girlfriend’s support, and job hunting, I had to think hard how I can find a job in the fastest possible time, and under a very small, inflexible budget.
Online Application was my first fall back. In this day and age, going from one building or company to the next then dropping off your resume in the hope of finding a job is a no-no. Thanks to Jobstreet and JobsDB, I had the convenience of finding a job from the comfort of home. The effect, however, was since I was waiting for the calls to pour in, my (then) girlfriend thought I was being lazy.
When the calls finally came in, scheduling an interview or testing came with double-checking the area for other companies I can have interviews with. I had to make sure that each area have a minimum of four companies I can be interviewed at in case I would have time.
Too, I used my network effectively by asking for referrals. In fact, it was in this manner that I got several job offers because my friends already knew my work experience, not to mention the referral bonus that we had to split after it was released.
This goes to show that while it is true that a misfortune can cause misery, it is also true that the lesson you will learn will be life-changing and truly valuable. I only wish that people will learn to strategize, to use to time, money, and effort more effectively and take advantage of each and every opportunity before them, and most importantly, not to resign unless they have a job waiting in the wings and NOT a pending application or a job offer that’s uncertain.
Finally, my colleague Jed Sangco said the word mistake one can make is to work, then resign without any savings. It’s like digging your own grave and burying yourself alive in the process, not to mention it’s just plain stupid. I can’t help but agree with him.
I’m sharing this story as a wake-up call to others whose job hunting, or is planning to resign because of “impatience” (or for whatever reason), and not having a confirmed job offer waiting on the side.
Hope this helps.
June 21, 2012
Here is a question from http://www.pinoyexchange.com, from a forum member named “soft_kisses”:
Hi sa lahat,
Matanong ko lang po kung papano kayo mag-deal ng salary.
If in-offer sa inyo is below sa expected mong salary, what will you do? Pwede mo bang sabihin sa employer na I want this salary (my expected salary) or no choice, reject yung offer?
Thanks for upcoming reply.
Here is my reply to her post:
Before attempting to negotiate, please consider the following questions as they are very important:
1. Are you a fresh graduate?
2. If employed, how long? Is your current job same as the one you are applying for? Are you a specialist in this field?
3. Is the salary negotiation done “during the interview” when they asked you “what your expected salary is”, or are you talking about the JOB OFFER phase?
You see, negotiation is both a right and a privilege. Normally, tenured call center agents or specialists in a field have the right to negotiate the salary “if they are being pirated”, it’s a different story when you are:
(1) a fresh graduate,
(2) not tenured or have little or no experience in the position you are applying for, and
(3) if you are the one applying.
If you fall under the three categories mentioned above, your right to negotiate is minimal to none, and will come off as a demand for a higher salary when you are not in the position to do so and will most likely fail the interview (if you are still in the interview process).
Also, you do not use the phrase “I WANT” when you are negotiating, you can say “I understand you must have a bracket for the position I am gunning for, however, based on my research, the market value for the said post is Php00,000, which, incidentally, is my expected salary.”
It is also matured, practical and intelligent not to reject an offer outrightly, just say “I will consider your offer and will give you feedback after 24 hours.”
Matured = professional.
Practical and Intelligent = because a good job is hard to find these days.
The 24 hour window will give you the time to think and consider other offers, and if you are not able to find a job, at least you have a fall back plan.
Also, you NEED to do research about a particular company – if they are able to negotiate or not. Like what I mentioned above, companies use a salary bracket or tier system which means their room for negotiation may be minimal if not totally nil. To be honest, it is both pointless and embarassing to try and negotiate only to be told they do not negotiate.
Personally, I play safe when being asked what my expected salary is; without sounding unsure, I tell the recruiter (only during the interview portion and NOT during the job offer):
“Based on my research, the maximimum amount you can offer is Php 00,000.00, I’d like to go for that and if I pass the recruitment process, I’d like to see if it is negotiable.” This scenario is applicable if YOU ARE THE ONE applying.
If you are being pirated for the post, don’t be coy with your expected salary. Employee piracy reverses the role and if the desired salary is too high, it is the company who will be forced to negotiate and since they want you, they will most likely give in.
Hope this helps.
June 21, 2012
“I work in a call center because I like to just log in, work, then log out.”
“I work in a call center because I don’t have to worry about others, I only worry about my stats.”
That’s where you’re wrong as a call center employee. While it is true that being a call center agent is nothing more than a game of numbers, that is passing your own scorecard, it is also true that you are contributing, and therefore responsible for the scorecard of the team, the business unit/department, the account, and ultimately, the whole center itself.
This is why you have a responsibility to pass and maintain a balanced scorecard – because you do not want to be the weakest link, the reason why the team or the business center is losing business.
Having said this, especially if you are a conscienctious, always present, and a performing call center employee, you need to watch out for teammates who are:
- doing “hadouken”
- abusing personal (bio) breaks
- habitual attendance issues (lates and absences)
- abusing the ACW
- dropping calls
- too long a ring time (not answering calls)
Again, whatever you do when you’re logged in reflects your team’s performance, which means your actions directly affects your team – which disproves the point that being a call center employee is an individual effort – it never is and it never will be.
There is a difference between a call center employee who has the passion to pass his scorecard despite the struggles he or she has with it versus “slackers” who tries to one up everyone, circumvent rules, professionally acceptable practices, and policies, and are just plain lazy.
Report these individuals to your manager for monitoring and investigation.
May 29, 2012
Yo seven, been following your posts at pex and I have found them very informative. Kudos to you. You’ve been helpful to a lot of people, keep it up.
I need your 2 cents about my dilemma though
I awoled from a cc in cebu. This cc is considered the best by most cc agents in the phil. So it really lent weight to my resume. Got in 2 of the companies you mentioned in the cc blacklist thread even though I declared my previous cc, so Im assuming that the 2(TP and TR) companies don’t bother with the BI or are willing to give awoled agents a try. I left TP after 2.5 months though (stayed in TR for only 1.5 mos – collections killed me), the salary was a huge downgrade, and I was not aware at the time that it would be ridiculously hard for me to look for another job.
I’ve now applied at 8 different CCs and I’m still unemployed! – 1 month and counting – Its embarassing! I don’t even have problems with my comm skills… does this mean I’ve been blacklisted by ccap? if that’s the case… how do i remove myself from that list? I know I have to look for a cc that I can stay in for about at least 6 mos to redeem myself, but is there a particular cc that I can apply at? I’ve tried aap and I failed my final interview – a part of me died of shame that day ;p – probably because I couldn’t get my bs straight ( didn’t declare my first cc and had to invent a not so interesting, untraceable but believable back story ).
I’m only targeting centers with tech accounts, cause I find tech accounts a whole lot easier – and makes the 6 mos a whole lot bearable – so my options are kinda limited. Do you have other recommendations? I’ve tried v(:D) by the way, the cc that takes in termed agents… and they told me that they would call me tomorrow after they do a bg check. Is that normal!?? I only declared TP though, so maybe…but if I don’t get in, I’m at my wit’s end. I need a cc that does’nt do BI, that pays well (by this I mean they don’t pay their agents an ave of 6.5k like tp ), and has tech accounts. A tall order, I know, but if you know any – and i apply and get in, I will make a statue of your likeness and place it smack right in the middle of edsa.
Cheers and may your blog have even greater traffic.
Thank you for following my posts on http://www.pinoyexchange.com, and for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
You situation happened to me after I resigned from HSBC-Alabang a few years back, it took me a month and a half to find a job, which meant that I lost my apartment, the respect of my spouse, and earned a few loans. After that hard knock, I learned never to resign without at least 10 job offers waiting in the wings.
Re: the blacklist. I’ve checked with a few recruiter friends and so far, none has confirmed that such a list exists now. I think it still does but only in limited circles – those who have a serious need for it, such as companies with a financial account. In my time as a recruitment manager, I was a priviledged to receive a copy of the said excel file, but that was a few years ago.
Although the case is not rare, I am surprised to find out that you are still jobless after applying at 8 call centers – especially with your caliber and tenure. It could be one of many things – your resume, the way you respond, your attitude and behavior during the interview…I’m unable to tell from my vantage point unless I’m the one processing your application. May i suggest you introspect? Look at all the possible angles? Personally, I don’t think it’s the CCAP blacklist.
Re: doing a background check prior to the job offer, it’s all a matter of procedure, and yes, it’s normal. A job offer is contingent on three things: 1) the submission of your complete requirements, 2) Your pre-employment medical check-up, and 3) the result of your background check. Some companies are smart enough (and strict enough) to demand BI prior to the job offer to make sure that your on-boarding is problem-free and they will not be wasting time, money, and effort.
I apologize if I will not be able to recommend any such companies since there are tons of them out there. I would recommend jobstreet for this purpose or scour pinoyexchange.com as I’m sure forum members have discussed or mentioned these companies since the problem is pretty common.
I consider this an unfinished blog entry. I will do some research and see if I can recommend a company or two.
I hope this bit helps. Thanks Fitz.
May 25, 2012
I have to admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Quality Assurance Analyst – there are times when my loathing for them are similar to the loathing I feel for the (1) the doctor who circumcized me, and (2) EDSA bus drivers.
I’ve been on a 100% streak the past few two weeks. I’m happy about that since it takes real effort to achieve a 100% score on our QA scoresheet (but it’s changing soon). I was on a vacation leave for two days and when I came in today, I saw that I had two QA scores of 96% – both calls got a 4-point deduction because I was talking too fast.
I listened to the call out of curiosity and found out that despite the fast rate of speech, it did not impact the call and neither did it affect the customer’s understanding of the issue, or of what I said. This is my dilemma with the current QA scoresheet, it’s too rigid and has no room for analysis, especially that at the end of the call, I was able to achieve the customer service value which the new QA sheet so requires.
Truth is, I’m aching to dispute the said QA score, but I’m undecided because of the hassle I need to go through. Right now, I’m wishing they’ve already rolled out the new QA guidelines and scoresheet, this way I’d be in my comfort zone.
May 22, 2012
Hi, I would like to ask how long does it usually take for the HR people to send an employee a RTWO? Also, if the employee replied to the RTWO, what will be indicated on the COE? Will he still be cleared? Honestly, I am still waiting for my RTWO since I’ve gone AWOL for about a month now from a CC in Sucat.
Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. The RTWO will normally come in any day within the first week of your being AWOL. The letter will provide an instruction as to when you are needed to come to work. However, by procedure, it’s really not about coming to work – you will be given a chance to explain your side as to why you went AWOL. If the reason is satisfying, you will be allowed to return to work, if not, either they suspend or terminate you for absconding.
It will not be indicated in the COE. The COE is nothing more than a certification that you were employed by the company from start to end date, as (name of position), and amount of your basic pay. However, the negative record will remain in your 201 file.
Why wait for the RTWO when you can resign properly?
Alright, thanks for your response. At first, there had been an issue at home so I had to miss a day then the next incident was a death in the family. Yes, it’s odd but it’s true. Anyway, for my case, a week after that death, I decided to go to the company and tried submitting a resignation letter to my supervisor as I was told by the HR. However, my sup didn’t sign it and advised me instead to wait for my RTWO which until now I don’t have. One more thing, I decided to quit the job, which is why I have a resignation letter at hand. Do you think, I should still wait for my RTWO before applying in another company? Should I also indicate it on my resume knowing that I only stayed with that company for only 3 months?
Sorry if I flooded you with lots of question, it’s just that I have nobody to ask since this is my first job. Thanks!
I’m sorry to hear about the death in your family.
Your short message is peppered with very important points – each of them deserves focus.
Your team leader has already endorsed the case to the HR, hence, the decline to receive your resignation letter – which, in my opinion, is a sign of incompetence considering you can always arrest situations like this by making an executive decision to at least offer to retain you, in an effort to prove that people do count and to solve his attrition problem. The other part is, your leader may have perceived you as a weak perfomer, which made him decide not to vouch for you and just fall back to the HR procedure to deal with you and your situation, an obvious case of de-management, if you will, masked by your absence which made it easier for him to kick you out.
In the final analysis, what’s happening to you is nothing more than documentation and procedure. The question now is, what happens after the RTWO? If you return to work, you will undergo a hearing where they will allow you to explain your side. If you are convincing, they retain you, if not, they give you the walking papers. If you choose to ignore the RTWO, in a few days, you will receive a letter indicating you’re fired.
Your intent to resign has become moot, and has been overshadowed by the HR procedure and only a negotiation with you HR and leaders will enable you to resign, however, if they decline, this will become a mark on your 201 File.
So what does this mean to your career?
It’s a permanent stain on your work history. Which now means you need to make a decision whether to print it or not on your resume.
1. Your tenure was too short to matter.
2. Your exit “isn’t” clean.
Notice that I used “isn’t” instead of “wasn’t” because by HR procedure, you are not done yet. I’m getting the impression that your HR sent you the RTWO, unfortunately, you never got it (wrong address on file?), so deal with the current company in order for you to move on by talking to your Employee Relations representative; provide him/’her the details of what happened and seek closure by pushing (negotiate) for resignation. If it doesn’t pan out, at least you tried.
Since you have been employed for three months, this company will be in your SSS and tax records. This will have an impact on your next job hunt, especially if the company is big on integrity, honesty, and abhores hiring employees previously termed. In order to land a job, your best chance is to find a manpower-hungry company who will turn a blind eye at the sight of your negative record – especially if you are highly qualified. Believe me, there are companies like that EVERYWHERE.
I’m sure you will be able to land a job, it’s all a matter of strategy.
By the way, death in the family, illness travel in the province is the most common excuse given by an applicant. I’m not saying you’re lying (no point in doing so), but you need to put a different spin to your statement if you want a recruiter to buy the story – they are more likely to think you are lying even if you’re telling the truth.
I hope this bit helps.
May 21, 2012
This is a sad Monday. I just learned that two of my colleagues were terminated: one released a call via the soft phone which meant it was recorded, the other for not answer calls. Another one, is serving the last 30 days of her tenure which means she has already filed her resignation and has been accepted.
The lady colleageue who resigned is a good friend of mine. She is the top performer of the site and became bitter after her leave of absence (and some other egregious situations) were not considered/approved by the management.
All three are veterans of the call center industry, in fact the two who were terminated were colleagues of mine from a recent center. I feel bad for all three of them considering the choice they made.
Yes, getting terminated is a choice, not an act of fate. Releasing a call or ignoring it (call avoidance) is a choice and it carries a heavy consequence, and like a boomerang, it hits you right at the back of your head when you are least aware.
I feel terrible because these are employees with kids to raise, bills to pay, and who knows what kind of complicated situation they have in life requiring a job.
I feel sad for them. Today is a bad Monday.
May 18, 2012
Back when I was a recruitment manager for a call center,we implemented an additional form of character checking as part of our background investigation by visiting the applicant’s active social networking page. The premise to this added step was the principle “You are what you post.”
It was largely experimental, and the purpose of it was not to pry on the privacy of the individual but to determine a specific character and behavioral pattern based on the status updates, comments, and other posts which might give rise to potential problems when the applicant is finally hired (e.g. bad mouthing a boss, the company, etc). The company, however, folded so that project was naturally shelved.
I had a recent discussion with a few recruiters from different call centers and apparently, a similar program is now in effect, at least in a few centers (who asked not to be named so as not to compromise the progres and result of the said program) who are very concerned that they were forced to hire what turned out to be unprofessional individuals.
They have expanded the idea to the current employees to monitor posts, which now means that you can be terminated for what you write on these social networking sites, especially if the said status update is discriminatory, and/or harzardous to the company, its business, its leaders or its employees.
Others are sure to react negatively to this newly added character check, especially the ones who uses SNS as an avenue for self-expression. Then again, anyone who has nothing to hide will not mind.
Manpower is considered to be the most important aspect of a business, therefore, it is right that companies and recruiters would steer to this direction as an added tool for determining the character of a person to ensure that they are hiring professionals whose character, attidue, behavior, integrity, and work ethics is beyond question.
May 17, 2012
The company I work for is about to switch it’s QA scoresheet – from the CSR-centric type to a customer-centric one.
I like this more because being the call center industry for nine years, majority of the QA score sheets I’ve experienced (or fought with) have been CSR and procedure-centric, that is, if you did this, you pass, if not you failed.
It’s easy to get 100 on QA with our current one, however, this morning, during the coaching, we tested the new customer-centric score sheet by grading a call (already a 100% with the current) and post-evaluation, it only scored a max of 96% – there is room for improvement customer service-wise. The CSR we score was flawless, except that when the customer said “my husband lost his job”, the CSR failed to catch it, hence, a deduction of 4 points on “expressed empathy when necessary.”
Transitioning to this type of scorecard is a real challenge for most, but as soon as the burn-in period is over and a refresher training is provided, a complete paradigm shift should help the CSR get a 100%.
I’m just glad right now that we do not have CSAT, else, that’s going to be a real headache for all of us.
April 30, 2012
I am already 41 years old,used to work in a bank,can i still apply at call centers,i am not really good in english ,hope you can help me find a job
Age is insignificant in the industry, what is essential is your customer service and language skills, that is what you need to develop since without it, you will face interview failures after another.
My blog is not meant to be read once, in fact, some people call it “a call center applicant’s bible”, so when you read a tip, a step, a process, you really need to sit down, think about it, conceptualize a self-training program, put it in action, and after sometime, evaluate. Your area of concern is your language skills – you are not alone. I, too, had that concern when I started in the call center industry, in fact, when I started working, so I had to conceptualize and implement a self-training program to aid my personal development. Please visit the page LEARNING ENGLISH THE HARD WAY, I’m sure it will help you create your own self-training program.
If your budget will allow you, I need you to try applying, so you will have a first hand experience how it is to be evaluated and what is being evaluated for each stage. This way, you have a better understanding of call center recruitment, and you can relate your experience to the contents of this blog.
Write a journal of your experience, this way, you can preserve the lessons learned and learn from it with the goal of correcting yourself for the mistakes made. Don’t hesitate to mesasge me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I am online 24/7 and will be able to reply as soon as I have read your email.
Hope this helps.
April 30, 2012
I lifted this from www.pinoyexchange.com’s Call Center Forum, from Code_Red16.
Had an interview a week ago. But the interviewer’s question still bugging me. Here: (we’re like talking for half an hour already then she skipped to the final interview, so the behavioral questions started and since I’m a fresh grad, she couldn’t ask me something about my work experience. so for the 1st question she asked me *something like this* instead)
“Tell me a time in your college days when you had a mistake that resulted to a failure for the whole group.”
-I told her several things, like when we didn’t meet the deadline for a project because of me. When we were scolded because of me…pretty usual for her i guess, coz she rejected it all.
-I said that’s all i could think of and the question’s vague and tell her to give me an example. *in the politest way i can*
- Then she said she can’t ask further questions because I couldn’t answer. That means i failed and i can re-apply after a month.
I was like, WTH! What mistake should I have been fabricated for her to be satisfied?! Oh well, the hell i care! I’m still upset tho, knowing that i might encounter the same question again. Help!
I’m not sure what preparations you made before the interview but your experience is a classic example of “an unprepared applicant.” Unfortunately, your response, even to me, was unacceptable and will result to an automatic failure.
Behavioral interviews are essential, meaning, recruiters use your past experience in determining what you have done, how you reacted, what were the steps taken, what was the effect, what were your thoughts, the thoughts of others about what happened, and if it was a negative turnout, what have you done to help the situation – saying you have no experience related to the situation means:
1. I have nothing to evaluate you against.
This is why I keep repeating (in my blog) that an applicant needs to prepare prior to the interview, especially for the behavioral part where the core competencies are effectively measured.
I have had trouble answering behavioral questions when it was first used for call center recruitment, so I hunkered down and took the questions seriously, studied the items measured and wrote answers for them. (Please visit my blog, I wrote an entry there and it can help you.)
Please search the internet for these behavioral questions and prepare responses for them – think of situations, tell the story….And remember the PAR format (someone already made a comment about it here). Remember, too, that you cannot skip a behavioral interview question, you have to answer it even if you have no such experience, again, use the PAR format if you don’t want your response to sound pointless.
Hope this helps.
April 26, 2012
I’m a fresh graduate and a first time applicant in the call center industry and Im trying to decide between the four job offers given to me. I was not allowed to bring the document home, but I was able to take note of the details. Thing is, I am very confused right now. I am unable to decide which offer is best. It would help me a lot if you can give me a personal insight on what you consider whenever given a job offer. Thanks in advance.
Thank you for sending me an email and for visiting my blog.
Ahead of time, I will tell you that I am very detailed when it comes to making a decision about accepting a job offer. What takes time is the fact that I conduct research, compare the result with a specific set of parameters/expectations, and if the result is satisfactory, I sign the offer.
For a newbie, you are very lucky having received four different offers, others barely get any. When I first applied in the call center industry nine years ago, I had to deal with successive failed attempts which prompted me to constantly hone my customer service, language skills, and professional maturity. More than a year ago, when the last company I was working for folded, I went into a relentless job hunting spree and the end result was 10 different job offers laid before me, and just like you, I was very confused considering how close and juicy the offers were. Being a research oriented individual, the need to make the best choice drove me to discover the Ben Franklin decision-making technique (nosebleed). It’s not rocket science. In fact, it’s so simple that anyone can use it in his or her daily life, at work, or even in love. I encourage you to click on the link and read the entire article about this wonderful decision-making strategy, especially beneficial when you are confronted with multiple choices whose benefit closely match each other.
Now to your question.
I mentioned that when I am given a choice, I set my own parameters and these become the basis of my expectations. What are these parameters, work-wise:
- Salary – is it competitive? Is it better than my previous salary? What about appraisals? When and how Often?
- Health and Welfare - Who is the HMO provider? What is the feedback on this HMO? What is the Maximum Benefit Limit? Pre Existing Condition Limit/coverage? How many dependents are covered? When is it given (Start of employement? Six months later?)
- Allowances and Night differential - Is the ND competitive allowance and ND?
- Vacation/Sick/Emergency Leaves available - How many VLs/SLs? When are they available? How are they filed? What is the notice period prior to claiming a leave?
- Work schedule – What time is the shift? When are the rest days? Is it on a weekend? Is it a split RD?
- Work load – What type of account? Concerns within the account? Account attrition? Number of calls taken per day? Will there be selling/up-selling? Is it a pioneer account? If not, what batch do I belong to?
- Training – How long is the training? Schedule? Does it have a certification? What is the pass/fail rate for the certification?
- Scorecard – what is the content of the scorecard?
- Career Development – What kind? How is it implemented? How many has been promoted? To which positions?
- Management and Leadership – What is the culture and style of the leaders?
- Tenureship and attrition rate of the account (if info is available) – Will I belong to a new batch/team, or will it be to re-fill the empty posts? (an indication of high attrition?) Why did they resign?
- Retention program? – is there any? (details are normally withheld by recruiters)
- The image, stability, and culture of the company - Is it environment friendly? Always business-like? Pro-employee? Pro-management? Is the company viable? Stable? Did it change its name in the past? Declared insolvency? Is it a call center? A BPO? A captive site? A Fortune 500? A nobody?
- The facilities and amenities – Do they have vending machines? Concessionaire? Smoking area? Gaming and internet kiosks? Sleeping quarters?
- Security – Is my travel to and from the office safe?
- Proximity to my residence – Will I be spending more than what I will earn? Is there free and safe parking? Do they provide parking and transit allowance?
- Friends – Do I have any friends or relatives working there?
It may sound a lot, but all these items are equally important to me because they make or break my tenure and my career development in that company. More importantly, I have graduated from just looking at the basic salary as the basis for my decision, after all, there is more to work than just money. In my experience, I have made poor decisions simply by basing it on the salary offered and I end up resigning because I am not happy with the work, the company, etc.
With the four choices that you have, I strongly recommend you look beyond the peripheral benefits – look at your medium and long-term goals; if you offer the maximum effort for this work, will you be happy six months from now? A year? 20 years? Can you see yourself being promoted from within? Bottom-line, what will make you happy in the long run? What is or are your priorities in life? The answers to these questions will help you decide, again by using the Ben Franklin decision making technique.
I wish you luck on this new chapter of your life, I’m sure you will find it fulfulling. Just remember, the choice you will make for the job offer is only the start of the journey, what you make of yourself in between will determine your success or failure.
Hope this helps.
April 24, 2012
Hello sir! I find your posts answering questions regarding job interviews very helpful. Right now I am employed but still I have a few questions lingering in my mind. Would you advise a job seeker to inform an interviewer that the reason why he is seeking another job is that his salary is already at the top of / exceeds the salary tier or bracket.This was my situation before in my previous job as when I accepted the JO then I did not know that the salary given to me already exceeds the salary / job tier I was placed at. They offered a bit bigger salary compared to what I was getting before. BTW the position is rank and file and probable reason why the salary is big because it’s an IT position and I have the experience, skills, and certifications to back it up.I only got to know this after my annual performance review in which HR said that even if I deserved an increase in regards to my performance, they cannot give it as my current salary is beyond my salary tier. I’d be qualified if I get promoted to the next tier, which is equal to supervisor level, but I don’t think that will happen in a year’s time. And besides my work requires us to report 24/7 on a rotational shift basis, so if I get promoted that will exempt me from getting night diff and overtime pay during holidays.Along with other reasons, the above made me decide to try looking for another job and during interviews I did not dare mention this to an interviewer fearing that it would result to a bad impression.Sorry for the long story. Hoping to get your insights on this. Oh and if you do publish this on your blog, please withhold my name.
1. Research - Study the company, be familiar with their business model, mission and vision, their office locations, whether they are a Fortune 500, blue-chip, industry leader, if they have any significant social contribution, and you can even comment on their company tagline/one liner/ unique selling proposition.2. Prepare - study the competencies indicated on the job ad, compare and relate your experiences to them, the more closely matched your experiences and skills are, the better chance of getting that job. More often than not, the recruiter will form the interview questions around the job competencies, so write down possible scenarios and situations which would prove that you have the experience and competency they are looking for.3. Write your resume with this specific company in mind - using their job competencies and requirements as your basis for the skills, talents, and experiences you will exhibit; in fact, it is recommended that you should not use a “generic resume.” Personally, I have a resume for customer service, for technical support, for management posts, for recruitment, for training, for quality assurance and a generic one posted on Jobstreet.Com.Ph which I do not use for submission (it’s only there for display).4. Take advantage of the interview questions by making sure that your skills and experiences are highlighted – this supports your resume and establishes your ”value” to the recruiter, making him see that you are fit for the job.This last step is the most crucial. Here, instead of the recruiter uncovering your value through the interview, you are steering him into the direction of making him see it.
After having accomplished all that at (name of the company), I am now ready to face a bigger, better challenge, and I am looking forward to a progressive career and reap the rewards of using my skills and expertise where it will be genuinely recognized for its value…this is why I am applying for (name of post) here at (name of the company you are applying at).
April 23, 2012
I’ve had friends and colleagues who got fired (for different reasons), and in the middle of the depression, they asked:
How am I going to get another job since I have a stain on my record?
Do I hide it? Do I include it in my resume? If so, how would I present it?
Do I tell the recruiter about it during the interview? What do I say?
Will they find out about it during the background check?
Even if I lie about it, won’t they find out when I submit my SSS and tax record?
Getting fired is never pleasant, apart from the stress of finding a job, there’s also the depression of losing the income that feeds the family, pays the bill, and gives little comfort to this life. It’s not easy to deal with these issues especially if you have a complicated situation, i.e. a sibling or a parent is sick. This blog does not offer to console you, rather, it aims to share what you can do in case you get fired.
Companies are afraid of labor cases, they are expensive and messy. Except for a brazen few, they follow the labor code and the HR rule book to the letter, that is, in order for one to reach the termination phase, he has already undergone several processes from coaching, verbal and written warning, performance improvement plan, suspension and ultimately, the walking papers.
In each of these stages, an employee is asked to explain himself. Sadly many employees take it for granted by coming up with a poorly written defense. One tip: the objective of this exercise is not only to explain your side, but to attempt to persude the managers to either lessen the punishment levied against you, or not to punish you at all, of course it all depends on the seriousness of the offense and the policy and culture of your company.
In the termination phase, an employee is afforded a trial. In this process, the employee on trial must talk without being emotional or angry – to succumb to your emotion is to give in to fear, depression, or anger, robbing of you the chance to think logically and provide a proper and effective defense, in short, don’t give up without a proper fight by being your own lawyer.
Also, this is the time to negotiate. If termination cannot be avoided, negotiate to resign so that you can find a job without worrying if you have to belie your previous company and the negative record – this is the second solution to the problem. The first one? Be a good employee and do not violate the Code of conduct, this way, you don’t have to worry about writing explanation letters and being stressed about it – other employees can, why can’t you?
Alright, so you actually got terminated and assuming that you are done grieving over the loss of your previous employment, it’s time to hunker down and find a job.
A lot of companies make a huge deal about honesty and integrity, however, most job hunters face the predicament of not getting hired if they declare the negative record, for this reason, they are forced to hide it. Hiding is lying, and lying results to stress and worry, and in most cases, an unprepared job hunter fails the interview due to his inability to be consistent to the lie he created.
Tenured recruiters are wary about the gaps in the work history, in fact, most of them would dwell on it and if reasonable doubt is established, the applicant fails. Too, trained recruiters are able to determine dishonesty by observing the eye movement and body language of the applicant during the interview, again, if doubt is present, the applicant fails.
So what do you do? Prepare. Nothing more. Whether you decide to hide or declare the negative work record, you need to prepare your story, find a positive spin, and as usual, create a value statement.
When a colleague of mine got terminated from his previous job, he had the hardest time trying to find a replacement. He tried declaring the company out of the desire to be honest, however, most recruiters would end up failing him during the initial interview. He was able to get a job at a call center in Alabang, however, the company had a strict background checking process and when his negative history was discovered, he was pulled out from training and given the walking papers.
Out of desperation and perhaps a little bit of luck, he found a company in Ortigas who did not care about his work history. He stayed there for almost a year, resigned properly, got a valid certificate of employment and clearance, and used it to apply in a big BPO company. He is now an operations manager after getting promoted several times. We call that this the “sandwich technique”.
Between declaring the negative history, lying, and the sandwich technique, the latter has proven to be the most effective. However, other employees who found a job after hiding their negative work history would disagree to this statement, after all, they are a walking example of someone who found a job even after being terminated. How did they do it? They deleted the company from their resume, assimilated a lie, and remaind consistent to it.
The credit, however, does not go to them, the fault (?) here is with the company, who either (a) did not care about the employee’s work history, or (b) found out about the lie but is forced to accept the employee out of a headcount requirment, or (c) did not or does not have a strict background process, and finally (d) the employee dazzled the recruiter and the HR with his overwhelming qualification and his gift of gab, he was accepted without question or conditions. The bottom-line here is that the company will decide whether you have valuable or not. The operative word here is “value.”
In any interview, whether you have a negative history or not, if you fail to flaunt your value during the interview, you do not get the job. If you have value, as shown in your work background but you are not able to sell it effectively during the interview, you still don’t get the job. If you have no communication skill despite your excellent resume, you will never get a job in the call center industry.
In the final analysis, negative history or not, selling yourself during the interview is the first order of business – this is what every job hunter should prepare for. An applicant who wants to get a job must observe three basic preparations:
Prepare his/her resume in such a way that it flaunts his/her skills.
He/she must do his/her homework about the company they are applying at and the post they are applying for.
He/she must prepare for possible interview questions and responses specific to the competencies required by the company.
Hope this helps.
April 21, 2012
I received an email from a call center applicant asking for help on how to conquer nervousness before an interview. He added that his problem is not with his language skills, but being a newbie, he is over-powered by nervousness, which eventually affects his ability to effectively respond to interview questions.
Here was my reply:
Truth is, you’re not the only one with that dilemma.
I am currently in operations, and recently, I was inspired to go back to the recruitment field, not necessarily to get the job but to test if I am still marketable and to check for changes in the call center recruitment field (for my blog).
As they say, practice what you preach so before I applied for the said post, I diligently did my homework, that is:
- Read the job ad carefully, mindful of the requirements, the work location, the office hours, the rest day, and especially the core competencies the company is looking for.
- Read about the company profile, the history, their business and target market, and other pertinent information available online. I even checked the forums for any helpful feedback about the said companies (it helps me decide if I will accept the offer or not).
- Out of the core competencies I gathered, I created possible interview questions (at least 10 questions for each competency) and for each question, I wrote a detailed response – what happened, how it happened, who was involved, what was the desired outcome, the actual outcome, how it impacted me and the organization, and what was the feedback of and from my contribution. Preparing the responses to the core competency possible questions also helped me evaluate if I am qualified for the job.
- I did not memorize my responses, I just understood them and I was prepared to mix and match them based on the questions or scenarios the interviewer might give me. I already projected that these prepared responses will be useful during the behavioral (final) interview.
- I checked and re-checked my resume, I had to make the were no questionable gaps in the work history, the employment dates and years were correct, the compensation and reason for resignation was indicated (briefly), the contact details were accurate, the expected salary was at par with the current going rate for the position I was gunning for, and my character references were ready at the recruiter’s behest.
- I also prepared the phone interview responses, expecting for the said companies to contact me anytime, and I made sure that my list of companies and the positions I applied for were always available at the start of the call – it’s embarrassing to ask the recruiter for the position I applied for, in short, I refused go be caught off guard.
I remember eons ago, as an applicant I printed hundreds of resumes and going from one building to the next in the Makati and Ortigas area, befriending guards and receptionists and dropping off resumes in the hope of a vacancy for ANY position which I might qualify for, tsambahan kumbaga. Job hunting nowadays is best done online, so I have an account with jobstreet.com and jobsdb.com, and whenever I have the need (mind that I did not say “want”) to job hunt, I simply update my resume, search for the job that best fits me, and I go nuts with the “Apply Now” button. Then comes my favorite part, I sit and wait for the calls to come in.
True enough, the calls would come in days later. In two days, I got six invitations to visit recruitment offices for further processing, that is, exams and if lucky, final inteviews and possible job offers. Being prepared, I go through the initial interviews with such ease, I especially like the question “what do you know about our company” because it offers me the perfect opportunity to subliminally flaunt that I am well-prepared.
When setting up appointments, I make sure that I will truly be able to appear on the said schedule. For one, I have already prepared for the said company via my research and I do not want the effort to go to waste; and job opportunities, especially good ones, are rare – I don’t want to miss my chance. Secondly, I know for a fact that recruiters abhor no call no show applicants, it’s very unprofessional. For these reasons, I make sure that I have a calendar beside me during the phone conversation, this is my way of making sure I do not have conflicting or overlapping interview schedules (that is so stressful!). Finally, to make sure that I am always at my prime, I only target one company per day – this way I do not look stressed.
On the day of the visit to the office for the face to face interview, this is what I do:
- make sure that I am well rested the night before. Say no to eye bags!
- Dress professionally.
- Check my perfume, it must not be too strong as it might offend the interviewer.
- I smoke, so my basic rule is, no smoking before the interview, I do not want to reek.
- Check my resume, clearances (NBI, police, previous company), government IDs (Driver’s, SSS, TIN), TOR
- Leave the house early, giving leeway to Murphy’s law, and I come in 15 minutes before the interview.
Here is another truth, tenured and experienced as I am, I feel nervous before any interview, I am, after all, human. However, I have a different attitude towards nervousness, it’s not my enemy, rather, I make it my ally. I developed this philosophy when I was a trainee radio disc jockey, and it was born out of necessity.
Every day, fifteen minutes before going on-board, I would feel the pang of nervousness – cold sweat, trembling hands, pacing endlessly, the inability to think straight, and worst, the feeling of being nauseated would grip me so tight I almost refuse to go live. The source of the nervousness is the fear of making a mistake, of being laughed at, the conscious feeling that I am being judged, not to mention the fact that I am being monitored and evaluated by my manager daily, and in the event of a mistake, he would not hesitate to either phone me or barge in to scowl at me for making such an error, for me, this was the real killer.
My manager required me to deal with the problem or risk losing my primetime slot, after all, being a new comer, I was losing listenership every time I make a mistake. One day, while listening to my recorded radio show for self-evaluation, I realized that every time I am nervous, I would listen closely to myself, which in effect, is a form of quality assurance, making sure that I have less mistakes when talking on the air, playing music, or even maintaining the quality and the contents of my ad libs. This was when I realized that being nervous is not bad at all, it helps me go through my nerve-wracking job with ease. This did not not escape the sensitive ears of my manager, who observed that my ad libs were better, segue ways were cleaner, and overall, the show was smooth and pleasant. From then on, I welcomed nervousness as an important part of the process in making sure that I am doing things correctly. In fact, I do not like it when I am not nervous because it means the task has already lost it’s meaning or it’s excitement, and I am no longer challenged.
Nervousness is not my enemy, it is my ally – this mantra and it has helped me to prepare for inteviews or any activities requiring me to talk. Admittedly though, this philosophy is not enough, especially if one is not prepared, this is the reason why I started this blog by detailing the preparations I make prior to a job interview.
Finally, it helps when a person has a positive outlook in life, if he is able to rationalize through difficulty, and if he is prepared for anything. Preparation takes discipline, the hunger to learn, and the desire to overcome challenges by keeping his goal in mind and by not giving in to procrastination. After all, chance favors the prepared mind.
How to combat nervousness? You don’t have to because you will fight a losing battle. Accept nervousness as a part of life and be positive towards it. Prepare, and you’ve already won half the battle.
April 17, 2012
Here is a question from Bukkakeboy lifted from http://www.Pinoyexchange.com
What happens after a return to work order?
No more bpo?
A return to work order is nothing more than a procedure in the HR book, if you go on AWOL, the company will send you about two. If no reply is received, what follows is a termination letter. These letters are the HR’s way of covering their behind, in case you lawyer up.
How does this impact you?
Absconding from a job is generally unprofessional, this is what we, recruiters, watch out for during interviews, what HR looks for when doing a background investigation.
It depends on the company, really. Some companies would let the lie slide, but some, especially if they hold a financial account, would terminate you for not declaring a company. It’s all about integrity and professionalism and the basic precept that if you were able to abandon your previous company for whatever reason, you can also do the same to them.
Hiring an employee is an expensive investment, this is why companies spend a fortune conducting background checks. As much as possible, they prefer employees who will spend a long time with them and develop a career, and drop the ones who are potentially problematic right from the get go.
In the conservative corporate world, anyone who has a negative record goes into the “do not hire” folder – this is still true. However, because of the difficulty of finding the right employee match to the job vacancy, some HR practitioners are forced to turn a blind eye but will still keep an eye on the said employee for a possible repeat of his negative history.
In reality, there are hundreds of applicants who are on the same boat as you are, uncertain about their future after having abandoned their previous work, and are forced to edit their resume to hide their shame. The thing is, this is a stab in the dark, and is costly (for the employee and the employer) once found, then again, the question is, what can you do to get a job, after all, you need a job, right?
Conservatively, you have given up your chance of getting a job in big, stable company, however, I know a lot of employees who went on AWOL yet found themselves working in a huge company and even achieved a career. How did they do it? Either they thought about the situation through and found the most perfect excuse for absconding, they were able to talk their way out of it during the interview, they were lucky enough not to be noticed by the HR people, or the company just didn’t care all together.
It’s really a hit or miss thing, but one thing for sure, stay away from companies or call centers with a financial account, otherwise, you might just be wasting your time. You might have the chance to con the interviewer, but after you have started your training and have submitted your SSS and tax record, that company will be able to reconcile and cross-check it with your resume and terminate you, this is what I meant by “it’s costly for both.”
Absconding is unprofessional and unethical, but it isn’t criminal or illegal, so don’t expect any subpoena or a knock on your door from the local police. The story changes, however, when you have signed a bond and how serious the company is with it. A bond is legally binding, as such, the company might run after you, enlist the services of a collections agency, and even file a case.
I have a few colleagues who were forced to pay the bond, and in the same company, a few who were lucky enough to escape that painful reality after they went on AWOL. I can’t really tell you why some are chased and some aren’t, but let’s just say it’s a case to case basis – the logic escapes me. One thing is certain though, for the colleagues I was talking about, life was way more stressful because of the unnecessary worry they had to endure until the found a job and decided to stay.
Hope this helps.
April 16, 2012
Here is a question from Enimouz, lifted from Pinoyexchange.com
Para po sa baguhan, walang pang experience at sablay sa grammar at pronunciation, tounge twisted kapag nag-eenglish, e mas okay po ba mag apply muna sa kanila para at least mapractice mo un sarili mo before ka mag apply sa napili mo?
Your question is very short, however, it requires a detailed answer.
For one, recruitment firms are not miracle workers, therefore, they cannot help you improve your chances of getting hired, much less, help you better your English-speaking skills.
So what then is the advantage of applying via a recruitment firm: one only, if you are highly qualified, multiple endorsements to various companies. Also, if you are semi-qualified, they will give you a coaching on what you need to improve on and ask you to come back days later to check if you have improved, otherwise, they turn you down as well.
The other advantage is that, depending on the deal the recruitment firm made with the client call center, the recruitment process is supposed to be cut short. The call center calibrates with the recruitment firm for them to know what exactly they are looking for, meaning, after being endorsed to the call center, your next stop should be the examination process, and if you pass, the final interview. Also, some recruitment firms offer free training to aspiring candidates, in fact, when I was managing a recruitment firm, this is one of the programs I spearheaded as an added service to our clients and applicants, and the goal was to provide better, more qualified candidates. Without these deals, applying through a recruitment firm is redundant for any applicant, nothing more than a waste of time, money, and effort (might as well job hunt via jobstreet.com.ph or jobsdb.com.ph).
Recruitment firms work on commission or what is popularly known as “referral fee”, which means once you are endorsed to a company, the recruitment firm tracks your application progress and once job offer is made and training is started, they bill the call center for the referral fee. Endorsements come with a warranty, which means that if you abscond or resign before your regularization, the clause states that you need to be replaced, else, the recruitment firm returns the premium to the call center.
The bottom-line here is that recruitment firms are there to help you if they know they can make money off you, else, just like any call center recruitment, they drop you like a hot potato and focus on candidates with bigger potential.
What you need is a call center training program – I know TESDA has one, I also known some call centers like ePerformax offers such a program. However, you still need to pass the recruitment process as they are not going to invest on you if they do not see any potential in you, bottom-line here is it’s business.
Your dilemma is not new to me. I encourage you to read through my blog, especially the one entitled Learning English the Hard Way, it has a lot of pointers that can help you improve your chances, but it will take a lot of discipline and that unwavering desire to learn to better your English-speaking skill. Truth is, no one can help you except yourself.
Hope this helps.
April 15, 2012
Here are a few questions posted via http://www.pinoyexchange.com by Nagtataka:
1.Ano ba usually ang tinatanong sa phone interview?
A phone interview is an initial interview, therefore, majority of the questions asked during this process will be geared towards evaluating your communication skills, the recruiter will also give focus on your work history, if any. The most common questions are:
How did you learn about the company/the vacancy?
Tell me something about yourself.
Why do you want to work in a call center?
What do you know about the call center industry?
What do you know about customer service?
If given a chance, when can you start?
Do you have any pending applictions elsewhere?
Other tricky questions.
Remember: grammar, pronunciation, enunciation, pacing, accent, intonation, the content/sense of your response, etc is what is being measured here. The initial interview is your “foot in the door”‘ therefore, to get that fighting chance, you need to be almost faultless here.
2. sa face to face interview ano usually ang mga tinatanong at gaano ito katagal?
I’m assuming you mean the initial interview. It would normally last anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes, and the questions will be the same as above, with the addition of a few reading and pronunciation exercises. Please see my blog re Final Interview.
3. ilang interview ba ang dadaanan ng isang newbie?
Anywhere between two to four interviews, depending on the company’s recruitment process. Sometimes, the client or the managers of the client will conduct the interview, there are also times when it’s going to be a panel session which, admittedly, is more challenging.
4. pag may mali kang sagot, denied ka na ba kaagad nun?
Not necessarily. It will depend on the question being asked. For example, the question “why do you want to work in a call center” tests your motivation for work, and a wrong motivation for work, in a way, is a wrong answers. You need to analyze the question before you respond, hence, preparing before the interview is necessary, that is, you need to do your homework.
Having been asked the questions above, how would you answer them? Write your answer down and familiarize yourself with it but never memorize your response, you need to be prepared to mix and match your response based on the question asked by the recruiter.
5. ano ang pinakamahirap na parte sa buong proseso ng pag aapply(interview, exam, ect.)?
Personally, the difficulty is not in any part of the process, it is in NOT BEING PREPARED. If you are to come to war without weapons or munitions, you might as well commit suicide, same is true if you are applying anywhere for the first time, you need to prepare or stare at failure right in the face.
Statistically, the most difficult part will be the initial and final interview. In my experience, out of 100 applicants, around 80% will fail during the initial interview, the remaining 20%, provided they pass the test, will be endorsed for the final interview, but only 2 to 3 will be successful enough to sign the job offer.
The culprit for the low pass rate is poor communication skill, that is, poor grammar, diction, pronunction, lack of confidence, inability to deliver the message effectively, etc. and this is magnified by the lack of preparation on the applicant’s part, resulting in repeated failures.
6. saan ba malimit pumapalpak ang mga nagaaply? like sa anong questions, exam? at bakit?
7. ano ba ang gustong makita ng interviewer sa applicants para tanggapin sila?
Largely, it depends on the account, client, or position you are applying for. The first source of this information is the job advertisement, which unfortunately, majority of the applicants will neglect. So long as they read the heading (eg call center agent wanted), they disregard reading the blurb, that is, if the post is for inbound, outbound, customer service, technical support, graduate or undergraduate, experienced or un, etc. Knowing is winning half the battle, this way you will be able to craft your responses based on the scenarios given during the interview.
Secondly, the job of the recruiter is to determine your job fit, therefore, if you are applying for a technical support position and your background in this field is zero, you don’t get the job. Same is true with sales accounts, if you cannot sell anything because of your inability to deliver the message, you still don’t get the job.
You need to determine your strengths, focus of them, and match the job requirement with your specialization, this way, your chances of landing a job in that field is bigger.
8. gaano kahirap ang grammar exam?
It’s hard if you do not have appreciation for the subject. At this point, I’m unable to evalute your grammar because your questions are written in Filipino.
9. gaano kahirap ang typing exam?
Not that hard, if you know how to type. This one is easy to determine, all you need to do is Google free typing tests and you will be able to determine your min-max, number of errors, etc.
10. anong klaseng exam pa ba yung hindi ko nasabi? at gaano ito kahirap?
These are a few exercises you might encounter:
Word pair exercises
Complete the sentence or describe the picture exercise
Mock calls or call simulation
Versant (see thread about this on pinoyexchange.com’s Call Center forum)
Different call centers use different tests so not all of the tests I mentioned here are employed in one center. It would be prudent to research on these so you will have a clear picture about what you will go through.
11. ano pa ba yung dapat kong malaman bilang isang aplikante?
As an applicant, it would be best to read the job advertisment in detail so you would know what they need and if you really are qualified for it. Also, if you are a fresh graduate, it is advisable that you bring your transcript of records; if you are tenured, it is best to bring a copy of your payslip from your previous company. For both, I strongly advise bringing all your documents (NBI, police clearance, etc) when applying since some centers employ a one-day hiring process.
12. anong maipapayo nyong mga may trabaho na saaming mga newbies na gusto din magcall center?
First, the work in the call center is not easy and it’s never mindless, it takes a lot of sacrifice, learning, and adjusment – you need to be prepared, especially if you are scheduled to work the day after tomorrow, which means that your sleep adjustment may not be enough. Shifting to the graveyard schedule impacts your body in more ways you can imagine, therefore, you need to combat this by eating and drinking healthy. One tip: apple is better than coffee; a study showed that drinking artificial energy boosters make your bones brittle and it makes you acidic (citation needed) – stick to water and fruits.
Second, you will hear a lot of negative stories in the call center industry, and you might experience some of them, one tip here: filter the positive, dispose of the negative ones. Remember how you toiled during the recruitment process and never forget the reason why you are working, keeping your eyes to your goal will make you focus on the learning/training, passing your scorecard, being regularized, and getting promoted or laterally transfered. There is a career in the call center industry – for those you are qualified for it. Never be an agent forever.
Lastly, when you have achieved mastery of the job, you will feel bored or burned-out – this is normal and to be expected. This is why stable call centers and BPOs have what is called “employee engagement”, a department solely focused on infusing fun in your work by coming up with activities (eg townhalls, outings, movie premiers, contests, etc). This, however, is not enough, so you need to motivate yourself to work, to find meaning to what you do, and to find positive life activities to distract and de-stress you (eg gym, blogging, etc).
kung pwede po yung mga sagot nyo based on your own experience at pakisabi po kung anong call center yun.
maraming salamat po sa mga sasagot. makakatulong po talaga kayo ng madami. i wish you all the best in your carreer and may God bless you
One more thing, if you find work, stay. You have a better chance of developing a career if you have the tenure and the scorecard to back it up. This industry has been marred by job hoppers, those with more than two call center companies in one or two years, and this is not beneficial to your career development. Working, after all, isn’t just about money – I pity those who have reduced their work value to what money can offer, they end up scratching the bottom years after they started, probably with higher income, but little or no satisfaction, zero career/achievement, and contemplating on jumping to another center again. Remember this, a tenured rep has a higher market value, this translates to you having a better position when negoting a job offer. If you are a call center hopper, your chances of being able to negotiate an offer will not reach its maximum potential – yes you will have a salary increase, pero barya-barya lang. Never discount yourself and the sacrifices you have made.
Hope this helps.
April 4, 2012
Here is a question from tsrgame (lifted from www.pinoyexchange.com)
Paano kapag sinabi sa akin ano yung “edge” ko sa mga ibang applicants? Kapag sinasagot ko na flexible ako and I can do multi task ang sabi sa akin what if kung ganon din daw *** ibang applicant. Pag sinabi ko naman na fast learner ako ganun din ang sasabihin nila. Pag sinabi ko naman na dedicated ako, ganun din ang sasabihin nila. Hanggang sa wala na ako maisagot. Paano po yun?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer and truth is, I personally do not like this question, especially if it’s a group interview and you are asked for your edge over your friend – it totally screws up your mind and heart because you are forced to one-up your friend.
One tip I can share with you is never to answer this question in a generic way: I’m flexible, generous, committed, etc. are all generic responses. BE SPECIFIC. CITE EXAMPLES, SCENARIOS, and go as far as story-tell (short one).
Here is an example:
“Being a fresh graduate, I would say that my edge over the other applicants outside is my above average GPA. I study everyday so the lessons would remain fresh in my mind, actively participated in classroom discussion, pioneered several student programs, engaged in dialogues with school officials to improve the health and well-being of my fellow students, and I was the editor-in-chief of the college paper. These are just examples of what I have done as a student, and I did it because it was my choice, the same choice I will make when I am employed here in your compan.”
The formula for the response is the same if you already have work experience, that is, flaunt your positive contributions while you were still with your other company, focusing on how you were able to improve yourself, helped the team, the business unit, or the whole company itself. Here is an example:
“Being well-trained call center agent, I believe in stellar customer service. For this reason, I am able to achieve high scores in QA, receive compliments from my customers, and one of the positive contributions I have from my previous company is that they used my recorded calls for training purposes. I am able to achieve this because of my eye for details and my desire to achieve excellence in performance.”
The response to the question gives the applicant the opportunity to flaunt his previous contributions, therefore, he MUST deliver it with confidence, failing to do so might give the impression that he is lying, especially when the recruiter is trained to tell such.
Finally, the details your provide in your response gives support to your “edge”, that is, if you are to say that you are flexible, give an example or two of how, when, where, and even who was involved, and what was the outcome of your being flexible. If you are a fresh graduate, think of your school, your organization, or your church; if you have work experience, think about the contributions you have made in you previous company – this will be your edge.
Hope this helps.
April 1, 2012
The company I work for has a serious attendance policy, that is, with valid reason or not, you accumulate a point whenever you are late or absent (sick or otherwise) when you reach the maximum amount of allotted points, you get fired. A friend of mine got fired recently and it resulted to an uproar on two fronts: (1) the close friends of the terminated colleague, (2) and those whom we fondly call “in the pre-departure area.”
The affected parties clamored for change in the attendance policy, citing that it is demoralizing, a ritual cleansing/de-management, disrespectful of the regular employee’s tenure, increased the attrition, and that it created a sense of lack of job security, and that it is inhuman. Ultimately, a group of employees wanted to skip middle managers all together and bring the matter straight to the attention of the general manager through a focused group discussion.
One of the proponents approached me, asking if I had any qualms about the attendance policy. I admitted that I have and I agreed with them that it had to be addressed. However, I told them that I have a few reservations cum conditions, to wit:
- that a person with no attendance record should bring the matter to the executives of the company, otherwise, it will be self-serving and will be rendered ineffective,
- that they should be careful when requesting for an FGD because it is a tool that should not be abused for mere complaints, rather, a dialogue if not a negotiation between the employees and the company leadership with the objective of reaching a compromise,
- that the general manager is the wrong person to the call to address the issue, rather, proper channels should be used to escalate the issue out of professionalism and respect to the bureaucracy,
- that a letter in MS Word format should be used instead of a PowerPoint presentation; the letter should be succinct but complete enough to cover the statement of the problem, the general feelings towards the said problem, a proposed resolution, and a statement of commitment,
- that in order for the said proposal to work, the whole business unit must give a personal commitment that the attendance has to improve, better yet, hold off on the proposal to repeal the current strict attendance policy until the attendance statistics is up, stable, and then arrange for a negotiation,
Majority of the people in the pre-departure area were aghast by the conditions I mentioned, stating that they needed the job and that they can no longer wait for the attendance statistics to become stable; they argued that more and more people will get fired if the attendance policy persists. They were demanding for the repeal of the said policy, for the incurred infractions to be reset, and for a review on the case of the colleagues who, they claim, was illegally terminated. Finally, they felt that the middle managers mishandled the issue and that the decision to terminate their friend was tainted with bias, and the final hearing was not attended by the terminated colleague’s manager.
There was only one word I could think of: myopia.
First, the company being new had an absolutely lenient attendance policy. I knew this because even I found the loopholes that can be used and abused and still have a spotless 201 file. The leaders saw the Pareto pattern in the attendance, that is, 20 percent of the population was creating 80 of the problem; this forced the leadership into a corner by implementing a stricter attendance policy to ward off the “usual suspects” from abusing the policy, to put a stop to the bad habit, to pass the business unit’s attendance scorecard, and to keep and maintain an excellent service level agreement. In short, the punitive attendance policy was a band-aid solution to an escalating problem.
Second, between my discourse with the proponents of the “appeal for repeal” and my research on the attendance policy and the current stats, one of the team manager revealed that despite the presence of the punitive rule, the business unit was still suffering; if there was an improvement, it was risible.
As a band-aid solution, it failed to address the root of the problem – the employee’s attitude, behavior and mentality towards being present at work. This was evident in one of the conversations I had with a colleague considered to be in the pre-departure area, he said “It’s impossible not to be late; not with the traffic here in Manila and the unpredictable weather.” It was my turn to be aghast with what I heard and my reaction was Don’t you have any plans of making any effort? More importantly, there are others who are able to achieve a perfect attendance no matter how far they are from work or how complicated their life is (being parent, a working student, etc), and if you ask them, all it takes is discipline and that sheer desire to pass their own scorecard because it gives them a sense of purpose.
Third, the clamor for a repeal on the attendance policy has a weak constitution and will therefore wither if not see itself in the garbage bin. Why? Because the proponents are not ready. Their goal is to seek an avenue to express their grievance, this, the FGD can address, however, it doesn’t end there. The problem lies in the proponent’s objective and expectation: to force the company into a negotiation to change the policy – by crying foul.
As a proponent, without an effective bargaining chip, they are not in a position to negotiate. Not yet. The solution: commitment and action. Each and everyone must offer a personal commitment to improve the numbers, this will give them right to sit on the other end of the negotiation table.
My premise for this is between the battle of ideals and numbers, the latter always wins because it can be measured, such is true in business. One cannot come to a negotiation empty handed. The best thing the proponents can do at the FGD is to express grievance, nothing more. After all, business has no room for argumentum ad misericordiam.
The fourth point of my argument addresses the accusation of the proponents that the middle managers mishandled the case by leaving it to the hands of the Human Resources department, resulting in termination. They added that the absence of the colleague’s team manager or senior leader rendered the employee defenseless and fired, hence, the charge of being incompetent.
Having managed a company and people in the past, I argued that managers (seasoned ones) are taught to be conscious about labor cases, therefore, all offenses and its censures must be properly documented, following the policies and procedures to the letter. Moreover, conscientious employers consult with lawyers to ensure they do not violate the labor law.
A person with a habitual absence and tardiness goes through a process, that is: coaching logs, verbal and written warning, final written warning, and termination. Each level gives the employee a chance to show proof and to explain as to why he should not be penalized. Now, why was the manager of the employee not present during the final hearing prior to termination? The answer is PROCESS and PROCEDURE. The presence of the employee’s team manager is no longer required as it would create a bias towards the judgment of the case, plus, at this point, the manager has already exhausted all documentary and process requirement, only that despite this different levels of processes, the attendance issue persisted, hence, the final hearing and passing of terminal judgment and this responsibility is exclusively assigned to the HR department.
What the employees do not realize is that the policy is only reactive towards their attitudes and behaviors. It may start lenient, however, if the employees pushes it to its limits, it will shackle them. My take on the issue? There is no problem with the policy, only that people are trying to make excuses not to follow it, trying to see how far the rules can be bent, and how far they can do to negotiate the terms of their punishment once they have violated the rule. This is the culture that must be changed.
The FGD they request will become an exercise in futility, that is, in order to persuade the management to repeal the punitive attendance rule, they must improve this part of the scorecard, after all, the freshly implemented rule was meant to resolve an issue which the reps somehow collectively created. On the other end, since the management is serious with the premise that the company “is not a call center”, they should create a multi-level employee engagement program aimed at shaking-off the call center mentality and behavior among it’s employees (majority of whom are veteran call center reps).
Finally, the solution to the problem lies in one word: ACCOUNTABILITY. At this point, the proponents are still raw about the termination of their close friend, also, their sense of security is threatened because their job is hanging by a thread. This general uneasy feeling will persist unless the employee is able to do a self-review and internalize the importance of his role to the overall business unit, and his/her motivation for coming to work. Seeking justice for the terminated friend is also futile, instead, they should focus on how they can improve the attendance and help themselves, and overall, the business and the company. As I said, the punitive policy is reactionary, and will be lifted once the reps exhibits professional maturity towards attendance, and this can only be achieved if they start coming to work on time, all the time.
On a more personal note, I agree that the policy has to be reviewed and rehashed, that the punitive policy with a cleansing period of six months must be changed; finally, I agree that a way to express this is via a dialogue with the leadership and a submission of a proposal, but this must be done in the proper time, now is not that time. I stand by my opinion that the policy, albeit punitive, must remain until discipline is restored and accountability is evident. I will start by coming to work on time, all the time.