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.

Se7en

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Top 10 Interview Question and How To Answer Them


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.

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


I’ve read forums started by people wanting to get a job in the call center and I have noticed one common reason for failure – applicants responding to questions blindly, mostly because they are either too nervous and have failed to prepare for the interview.  Case in point: Enumerate three of your weaknesses?” I recall a TVC where the applicant answered “Chocolates, tattoos, and boys.” I laughed at it but also contemplated on the fact that such a clueless response can break your slim chance of bagging the job.

Think before you respond is always the best route. Better yet, do your homework, just 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. Simply 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 apparently the most difficult question to respond to. People who have visited my blog in the past always tend to look for this question first (the second one is going on AWOL). So, how do we respond to this question then?

Here is a sample:

“Last year, my manager gave me an 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 in perfecting the report to make sure that it served its purpose by coordinating with my managers and my 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 to their scorecard. We would track and trend a specific metric with the goal of passing it and I would not give up on my teammate until he or she is able to succeed. Many of my teammates were immensely helped by this short program and my managers commended me for it”

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

I’ve always 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 this 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 completely bull. Instead, turn a strength into weakness. 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 to go to 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 a 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?

 

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 member of www.pinoyexchange.com’s The Call Center Forum. One of the topics I am subscribed to is “Hardest questions/Tricky questions during Interview”, a thread started by Dhawnah (IRL, Donna Elarmo). Here is a question posted by JuilJuil.

“You graduated with a degree in a nursing. Why did you not pursue that course?”

When I was the recruitment manager for a call center in Libis, my boss asked me to hire 150 reps in a span of four weeks. In recruitment terms, this is close to impossible; however, because the requirement of the account was not stringent, my team and I successfully completed the headcount, with a spare 30 candidates as buffer in case of attrition.

When the training started, my boss knocked on my office door and casually asked “Why do we have 30% nursing graduates in our trainee population?” Because when the requirement was given, there were no specific orders NOT to hire nursing graduates or students, was my reply. His question hails from the bias that nurses/nursing students are unreliable when it comes to tenure. Knowing my boss, I had the idea that his premise was a hearsay, albeit in some major centers, hiring nurses and nursing students are an automatic NO, their data proved that the bias is true. I advised him that when the request was approved (by him), there was no specific request not to hire nursing graduates or student. He turned around defeated. We both learned from that conversation.

Truth is, this bias is universal and does not only apply to nursing graduates. However, the bias is fed by experience, and the experience is backed by data. Moreover, anyone who is having an industry shift deserves to be asked the question “Why did you not pursue that course/profession?”

Here is a sample response that really impressed me:

“It was my parent’s decision for me to take the said course, but if you were to ask me then, I would have taken either psychology or management. I knew at the back of my mind that by the time I graduated, the field will be saturated with nurses and finding a job will be a real challenge. I was right. I am happy that I finished a course but I am also afraid that reality has caught up with me and pursuing my course is not only a far-fetched option, it is no longer practical. My career shift is a result of two things: that the call center industry is the most viable, and two, that my belief in life is akin to customer service. I believe that this is the industry where I will best thrive, that is why I am applying as a call center agent and no longer as a nurse.”

When an interviewer asks this kind of question, he is not poised to automatically fail you simply because you graduated with a degree in nursing (or any course for that matter); he is probing your motivation for finding work. He is looking for any indication that you plan to leave when you see the next opportunity. Therefore, the focus of your response should be to surmount this bias.

Also, remember that a recruiter has a quota, if he sees that you are qualified for the job and that you won’t jump ship at the next port, he may be able to defend your case and offer you a job. Finally, an applicant MUST always do research, especially about the company’s background and the requirement for the job vacancies. Some accounts are very specific about their requirements, one obvious example is an IT company looking for a Level II or Level III TSR will, of course, not hire a nursing graduate.

Hope this helps.