Call Center Life

How to get that elusive call center job.

Top 10 Interview Question and How To Answer Them

Posted by on 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.

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24 Responses to “Top 10 Interview Question and How To Answer Them”

  1. Anonymous said

    ah’right! I knew it! thanks for this perfect tips! ;)

  2. Anonymous said

    i have some idea for my final interview on
    monday…thanks!

  3. Angelyn mamauag said

    thank you so much for sharing this. i hope to find a job so soon..

  4. Isaac said

    This was so helpful! Now I know what types of question to expect on my interview tomorrow.
    Thank you!

  5. Anonymous said

    this is awesome,, now i know what are the possible questions,, i was trying to apply before but i failed,, hehehe,, because of my negative answer definitely,.

  6. mel said

    it’s a big help for me as a newbie in the world of call center.. actually i am on a process of job-hunting..so anyone who knows a local call center or a not too big international account, please let me know (Q.C., Makati and Ortigas area and accepts with or without experience in such field) because you’ll be able to help someone who is needing..
    thank you very much!

  7. Se7en said

    Hi. I apologize if I’m unable to share the list you need. I don’t have one. I would recommend using http://www.pinoyexchange.com or jobstreet.com.

    Se7en

  8. Anonymous said

    Hi sir. If you dnt mind, I just want to ask if you have any idea about the list of the local account call center companies ?

  9. Anonymous said

    good day,thanks to that,this site giving much more ideas how to answer the interview quetions…this gonna be very helpful to us who wants to become call center agent like me..
    thank you and more blessings to come….

  10. Janelle said

    This is very helpful. Thank you.

  11. Se7en said

    Reblogged this on Call Center Life.

  12. ieyzah said

    Binggo!!!!!!this what I’m looking for!!!!!thank u sir… love it so much…..everything was already here!!!!!

  13. gelo said

    nice post. continue helping people out there who have difficulties when it comes in an interview, not to make them squirm when in front of an inquisitive interviewer. God bless!

  14. Se7en said

    Hi Rhosette.

    I’m glad it’s able to help you. Good luck on your application. Don’t hesitate to come back if you have any questions.

    Seven

  15. rhosette said

    this site really helps me a lot i had an idea on what questions will be given to me ‘coz its my first time to apply in a call center..thanks it helps… :)

  16. Se7en said

    Thank you as well, Adora. Good luck on your interview and don’t hesitate to come back to update us on your job hunting experience.

    Se7en

  17. Wow!this page is a big help to me most especially that i will be taking my first interview tomorrow so far…I’ve learned a lot and thank you so much for this ad…

  18. [...] I just want to personally thank CEBU BPO INDUSTRY for re-posting one of my blog entries they re-titled Top 10 Interview Questions for Call Center Agents. [...]

  19. Se7en said

    Haha. Thank you very much. However, my FB account is private and for family, friends, and colleageus only. :-)

  20. twoface said

    Hi! Sir :) i would like to add you on my friendlist, whats your email add po ba sa fb?Hehe :)) Galing nyo po kasi and almost lahat ng post nyo nabasa ko na… Godbless!

  21. Hi Yzza.

    I hope you don’t mind if we make this interactive. May I ask how you answered the question before I give you my 2 cents?

    Seven

  22. Yzza said

    Hi sir :) Good day! Just wanna ask sir if
    What would be the answer for this question:
    Why you value the things the you value? Thank you so much sir.
    This website is awesome and great! Iloveit.
    GOD Bless :)

  23. Sir,

    I edited the blog to accomodate your suggestion. For fresh graduates, the basic difference really is to look at your positive experiences while you were still in school – subjects you excelled in, orgs and activities you joined, projects and accomplishments – all these will form part of your response when interviewed. Also, bank your communication skills by talking confidently, answering in complete sentences and correct grammar, pronunciation, diction, and right accent and intonation.

    Truth is, especially in call center work, experience is not at all a guarantee. I have failed hundreds of tenured reps plainly because I was not convinced with their work attitude and behavior, or that their English skills had “major” problems. Having excellent communication skills, backed by your research and preparation is still the most effective way to pass the interview and get the job.

    Let me know if you have more questions.

  24. After reading above questions and answers we get an idea about interview.please post the job questions and answers to freshers who don’t have any experience on any job.

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