When you are offered a job you don’t want…

I’ve received a lot of question related to them being evaluated for a post which is different from what they applied for. Case in point, James applied for a back office account but was evaluated and offered a job for an inbound customer service account. Another candidate, Amiel was applying for the email account but was endorsed to an outbound collections account. Why does this happen? What can you do to avoid it?

1. Remember that a recruiter is a match maker. He/she has several accounts he/she is evaluating you for and his/her priority is to put you in an account which he/she thinks best fits you based on the skills and competencies you have.

2. Remember to read about the company’s accounts/business units. You need to make the recruiter understand that you are applying for a VERY SPECIFIC position and that you should be evaluated for it. Make him/her aware that you know they have other accounts and that you are comfortable with the account/queue you are applying for. You need to say this in a friendly and professional way, that is, if you have the courage. Remember that  YOU ARE BEING EVALUATED, say this only if you are willing to waste time, money, effort, and opportunity and that your need for the job is not paramount. If you are the type who REALLY needs a job, then why be choosy?

3. Learn how to holistically evaluate a job offer. It’s not just about the basic salary, it’s about establishing a career so you can have the money you are aiming for. Keep an open mind when the recruiter tells you that you are qualified for a different queue and will be evaluated for such. When you pass and are being offered a job, take a look at the culture of the company, the opportunities for promotion or side-movement (growth is not just up you know), the job itself, the company mission and vision, the basic pay, the health and welfare package, employee engagement, etc. If you need a day to decide, tell the recruiter. Be professional enough to call the recruiter the following day to advise him/her of your decision.

There are several reasons why you are not being offered the job you are gunning for:

1. You are not qualified for it.

2. You are over-qualified.

3. Your asking is too high.

4. No more vacancy.

5. You are fit for another account.

Only accept a job that you think will be beneficial for you IN THE LONG RUN (not just because you need to get paid ASAP). When you take on a job, you goal is not just to get paid but to develop a career, to look at retirement, and if the job isn’t something you know too well you will not like, there is no point in accepting it. If you decide to accept a job because napipilitan ka at kailangan mo talaga, learn to love that job by removing the mindset that the job is temporary. It’s really all about mindset. It’s also about being able to discipline yourself to be loyal to the company you work for.


Hope this helps.


Top 10 Interview Question and How To Answer Them

If there is one thing I have learned about job interviews, it is that they are competency-based. They develop interview questions to assess if an applicant is a good fit for the job by comparing his responses (together with his work experience) to the skills and competencies required for the position.

If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I strongly encourage preparation (read: research), which includes determining what competencies are required for the post, attempting to decide what questions given during the interview, AND preparing responses that the candidate must know and understand (but not memorize) and mixing and matching is based on the questions asked.

What are the standard interview questions, and how best to answer them?

  1. Tell me something about yourself.

This is not an invitation to talk about yourself aimlessly; instead, the question assesses your work attitude and behavior. You MAY talk about some personal matters. However, it would be beneficial if you had some direction; that is, your goal should be to discuss your distinctive qualities as an employee or student, such as honesty, integrity, professionalism, and even your philosophy.

  1. Why do you want to work here?

This is a question that needs thorough research. Before the interview, study the company’s history, business type, mission and vision, accounts (if accessible), and culture on their website. Knowing about the company makes you appear interested, as though you did your homework and are eager to acquire the job.

  1. What do you know about the call center industry/agent’s work?

You are not a professional (yet). As a result, the recruiter/employer does not expect you to know everything, but a basic understanding of the business or the task involved is required. Naturally, failing to achieve that expectation fails.

  1. Why should I hire you?/Why should I not hire you?/What sets you apart from all the other candidates outside?

This question determines a good fit for the job based on the abilities and competencies listed in the job description. The second question is deceptive due to the word “not,” yet the answer remains the same. The question is, how can you ensure that you can provide a satisfactory answer to this question?

  1. Research the required skills and competencies for the position.
  2. Make a list of your skills and competencies. Compare it to the requirements.
  3. Study the interview question. Make a planned answer. The bottom line of your response should be that you possess the necessary competencies and skills.

Because they lack work experience, it is often difficult for recent graduates to provide a straightforward answer to this issue. I propose the following:

  1. Research the necessary abilities and competencies.
  2. Think about your experiences while you were still in school: organizations you joined, meetings you attended, honors you received, advocacies you held, and so on. Prepare a list.
  3. Compare your list to the job’s required abilities and competencies.

Then, write a response to the interview question to demonstrate that you are qualified for the position because, even as a student, you showed the necessary abilities and skills.

The preparation described above will enable you to respond to the question with total confidence and ease.

  1. Why do you want to work in a call center/as a call center agent?

DO NOT answer this question with “because of the compensation,” no matter how honest you are. Remember, your goal is to “sell yourself” and pass the interview. Discuss how well this position matches your skills, competencies, and experiences. If you lack experience (as a recent graduate or newcomer), discuss how close it is to your professional and personal goals and beliefs and how you envision yourself succeeding in this field. The goal is to convince the interviewer that YOU ARE PERFECT FOR THIS JOB.

  1. Why did you resign from your previous company?

This question has multiple answers, and the only tricky part is if your reason for leaving is negative (disagreement with the boss, predicting termination, going on AWOL, etc.), regardless of the reason, BE POSITIVE. The truth is that it doesn’t matter if your stint was short or lengthy (as long as it wasn’t a series of short-term employment that gave the appearance that you were a job hopper). Tell the recruiter what you realized while working at that position, what you (positively) acquired by quitting, and that you are ready to move on. One example of good response is the employee’s previous firm achievements. He is now prepared to take on a more substantial, more challenging assignment and achieve more accomplishments.

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Responding to these questions is a bit difficult. We Filipinos try to avoid boasting; on the other hand, we don’t want our flaws exposed for fear of being judged unfairly.

Remember what position you are applying for; if it is a call center position, emphasize communication, customer service/focus, friendliness, attention to detail, and so on. As for the weakness, choose one of your strengths and make it appear as a problem – for example, “I am so devoted to my work that I become frustrated when I don’t meet my objectives.”

  1. What is your expected salary?

Remember, this isn’t the bargaining stage yet. The key here is to understand the industry standard. You don’t want to give too much, which will make the interviewer think the company can’t afford you, but you also don’t want to give too little, which will leave you with no space for bargaining. Find out what the going rate is for the position, then say it. When you say the amount, be confident; don’t be shy, and don’t be too proud. Being enthusiastic about your predicted wage indicates that you are aware of yourself, your experience, as well as your self-worth, talents, and competencies.

  1. 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. Remember, 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?)

  1. How do you see yourself five or ten years from now?

It is tempting to respond, “I envision myself getting married, having kids, two cars, and a house on a hill,” but this is not the appropriate response for this question. You’re in an interview; concentrate on the job you want. The answer must be work-related; for example, developing an exceptional performance basis for promotion, being promoted, and so on. The more explicit the plan/vision, the better; this indicates that you have the right direction in your life, plans for your profession, and aim to stay for the long haul.

While being interviewed can be nerve-racking, if you are well-prepared, you will react to questions with confidence and ease. Again, read and comprehend the competencies required for the position for which you are seeking. Google interview questions and write down your sample replies; if you’re still hesitant, have someone look at it; know and comprehend the responses you prepared but don’t memorize them. Prepare to mix and match your prepared answers depending on the recruiter’s questions.

Would you mind leaving a comment if you have any other questions that you found challenging or have any suggestions for responses to the interview questions listed above?

What’s the best answer to “Enumerate three of your weaknesses.”

I’ve read online forums started by people looking for work in a call center. I’ve noticed one common reason for failure: applicants responding to questions blindly, owing to either being too nervous or failing to prepare for the interview.

Many people fail to correctly answer the question “enumerate three of your weaknesses.” This reminds me of a funny TV commercial in which the applicant said, “Chocolates, tattoos, and boys.” I laughed at it, thinking about how such an inept response could jeopardize your slim chances of getting the job. Funny as that TV commercial may sound, you’d be surprised to know that it actually happens in real life.

Think before you respond is always the best route. Better yet, do your homework; follow these simple steps:

  1. Research possible questions.
  2. Research ideal answers.
  3. Using the ideal answers, you found as a model, write your answers.
  4. Don’t memorize. Understand.
  5. Rehearse with someone who can help.
  6. Ask for feedback on how to improve your responses.

Trivia: In my years of responding to questions, “Enumerate three of your weaknesses” is the most challenging question to answer. People who have visited my blog always tend to look for this question first (the second one is AWOL). So, how do we respond to this question then?

Here is a sample:

“Last year, my manager gave me the assignment to become a cluster leader for our team. She observed three things: I was obsessive-compulsive; two, I tend to become a perfectionist; and three, I was autocratic as a leader.

Being the cluster leader, it was my duty to send my cluster-mates our daily stats for tracking purposes. I spent time perfecting the report to make sure that it served its purpose by coordinating with my managers and colleagues to make the dashboard more effective.  This is why my manager observed that I was both OC and a perfectionist. Regarding autocracy, being the man at the helm, it was also my duty to help my teammates recover from any negative impact on their scorecard. We would track and trend a specific metric to pass it, and I would not give up on my teammate until they can succeed. This program immensely helped my teammates, and I received a commendation for it. “

If you noticed, the applicant’s response here is comprehensive; not only did he answer the question, he also took advantage of the chance to “sell himself” by way of a personal experience.

I’ve constantly reminded applicants who ask for help to remember where they are and what they are doing – they are in a job interview, and the goal is to get the job. Therefore, each question is an opportunity to sell yourself by way of “making kwento.”

Here are a few rules I follow when responding to these questions:

  1. Don’t avoid it by saying you have no weaknesses. That’s impossible and ridiculous.
  2. Do not turn a weakness into a strength; the recruiter knows that’s complete bull. Instead, turn power into a liability; this is usually very effective.
  3. Relate how you are working on improving yourself.
  4. Give that weakness a deadline.

Finally, please prepare a response to this question. Seriously. Remember that almost all call centers will ask you this, so there is no point going there hoping to “wing it.” As I’ve mentioned in the past, getting a job in the call center isn’t about hoping and praying that you can bag the job; it’s as simple as you having the skill or not. If you don’t have the skill, why? What are you doing to improve yourself? If you do have the skill, how can you flaunt it as you respond to interview questions?

I hope this helps. Leave a comment if you have questions.

Interview Question: Why did you not pursue your course?

I am a frequent visitor and forum participant at http://www.pinoyexchange.com’s The Call Center Forum. I am a member of the thread “Hardest questions/Tricky questions during interview,” which was established by Dhawnah (IRL, Donna Elarmo). Here’s a question from JuilJuil.

“You graduated with a nursing degree. Why didn’t you pursue that path?”

My supervisor instructed me to hire 150 reps in four weeks when I was the recruitment manager for a call center in Libis. In terms of recruitment, this is nearly impossible. However, because the account requirement was not rigorous, my team and I completed the headcount with a buffer of 30 candidates in case of attrition.

When the training began, my manager casually knocked on my office door and remarked, “Why do we have 30% nursing grads in our trainee population?” When the request came in, there were no specific directions NOT to hire nursing grads or students, was my response. His question stems from the prejudice that nurses/nursing students are untrustworthy when it comes to tenure. Knowing my employer, I assumed his assumption was hearsay, despite the fact that in some call centers, recruiting nurses and nursing students is a no-no; their data demonstrated that the bias is validated. When the proposal was authorized (by him), I informed him that there was no particular request not to hire nursing graduates or students. He bowed his head, defeated. That conversation taught us both a lot.

The truth is that this bias is widespread and does not simply affect nursing grads. This perception, however, is supported by evidence. Furthermore, everyone who changes industries will have to answer the question, “Why did you not continue that course/profession?”

Here’s an example of a reaction that wowed me:

My parents chose the course for me, but if you had asked me at the time, I would have chosen either psychology or management. I knew in the back of my mind that there would be a lot of nurses by the time I graduated, and finding a job would be a tremendous issue. I was correct. I’m glad I finished a course, but I’m also scared that reality has caught up with me, and continuing my studies is not only a pipe dream, but it’s also no longer a viable alternative. My professional change stems from two factors: first, that the call center industry is the most sustainable, and second, since my life philosophy is similar to customer service. I believe that this is the industry in which I would succeed, which is why I am applying as a call center agent rather than a nurse.”

When an interviewer asks this type of question, he is not looking to instantly dismiss you because you have a degree in nursing (or any other school); he is examining your motive for obtaining work. He is looking for any hint that you intend to resign when the next opportunity presents itself. As a result, the focus of your response should be on overcoming this bias.

Also, keep in mind that a recruiter has a quota to fill; if he sees that you are qualified for the work and that you will not abandon ship at the next port, he may fight your case and provide you a job. Finally, an applicant MUST always conduct research, particularly regarding the company’s history and the requirements for the job openings. Some customers are very specific about their requirements; for example, an IT business seeking for a Level II or Level III TSR will not recruit a nursing graduate.

I hope this was helpful.