Initial Interview (phone)

A phone interview is the second stage of the hiring process. When you receive a call from an interviewer, it implies that your resume has already passed the initial screening (also known as paper screening). You partially meet the requirements for the job posting, and all that remains is for you to demonstrate your language skills.

Suppose you have submitted your résumé online (or left it with the office receptionist). In that case, you should expect to receive a phone call. Prepare yourself.

An initial interview over the phone is short, mostly less than 5 minutes. For this reason, an applicant is under extreme pressure to make a positive impression.

Questions may vary, but the most basic are:

  1. Tell me something about yourself?
  2. Why do you want to work in a call center?
  3. What is customer service to you?
  4. How do you understand the call center industry?
  5. Tell me about your work experience?

The recruiter may also ask that you read from a newspaper or a book, or he may give you a random question designed to evaluate your ability to think quickly.

The key to acing an initial interview is preparation. You must research the organization and have a general idea of the job you are applying for (this information is on the job ad).  Studying about the company is called due diligence. It always helps to impress the recruiter. The last thing you want to do is to say “I don’t know” or “I have no idea” when the recruiter asks, “What do you know about our company?”

Despite the required preparation,  do not sound as if you are reading from a script. When a recruiter detects a rehearsed response, he will challenge you by asking an out-of-this-world question (aka WTF question).

Remember what I mentioned at the beginning of this article: when you send a résumé online, it is best to assume you will receive a call from a recruiter, therefore, answer professionally. “Hi, this is Seven, may I know who’s calling?” sounds better than “Heloh, sino toh? Bakit ka tumatawag?

When the call comes in, STOP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING. If you can’t hear the recruiter because of background noise on his or your end, tell him and call him back. If you don’t, you might not be able to talk to him again. As a general rule, get a commitment that either you or he will return your call at a specific time. If you cannot answer his call (for example, because of a medical emergency), apologize and thank the recruiter.

When you can make the call:

  • find a quiet corner
  • clear your mind
  • LISTEN carefully
  • speak clearly
  • if the recruiter speaks too fast, politely ask him to slow down
  • If you didn’t understand what he was saying, ask a clarifying question and confirm your understanding. Example: “The line was jumbled, you were asking me if… I correct?” – this is called paraphrasing or re-stating the concern and is a typical call center practice. It is an excellent tactic when dealing with a difficult-to-understand customer.
  • Speak in English from beginning to end. Observe proper grammar, pronunciation, diction, and intonation.
  • If a question is difficult and you are not ready, take a moment to think, use the re-state technique. The few seconds of re-stating give you the much-needed time to think about the answer.
  • Always have ready reading material (in English) nearby.
  • Never fake an accent. Gone are the days when call centers are looking for someone with an American accent (there is no such thing, by the way). Most call centers are looking for someone with a “neutral accent” (trainable).

The purpose of a first interview is to SELL YOURSELF; designs your responses so that you can demonstrate your abilities, talents, and experiences.

If you pass the initial interview, the recruiter is going to invite you for further testing. DO NOT GIVE A FALSE COMMITMENT. You might be blacklisted.  If you are not available on his proposed schedule, negotiate for the next viable one. If you cannot make it, call or SMS the recruiter and ask to be rescheduled at least two to three hours before your appointment. Below is a suggested format:

Hi. My name is Seven. I was interviewed by (name of the recruiter) last (date of interview) for the (title of the post), I’m scheduled to take the test on (date and time), sadly, I cannot make it due to (reason). May I ask to be rescheduled?

The details provided above make it easier for the recruiter to find your résumé and reschedule you. If you are no longer interested, tell the recruiter.

If you fail the initial interview, the recruiter will say, “Give us 24 to 48 hours to review your application. If you are qualified, you will hear from us.” – this indicates that you had failed the interview and should proceed to your next interview appointment with another company. (Remember what I said before if you passed the interview, the recruiter tells you.)

Permanently save the number of the recruiter.  If you are en route to the recruitment office and are lost, you can always call or SMS the recruiter for help/direction.

When the interview ends, pass or fail, do not forget to thank the recruiter for calling and interviewing you; this is being professional and mature. Also, don’t hesitate to ask questions or clarifications (specifically about directions to the recruitment office); there is nothing wrong with thoroughness.

Good luck with your application.

Comment below if you have any questions.

One Day Recruitment Process – what you need to know?

Consider the following scenario: you have recently lost your work (or are likely to lose it), your expenses are piling up, a family member urgently requires medicine or HMO coverage, and money is tight. You read the newspaper, went to an online job site, and discovered a few organizations that advertise the following:

  1. Salary
  2. Sign in Bonus
  3. Weekend Rest Day
  4. Day shift
  5. One Day recruitment Process

It piques your curiosity, so you prepare your résumé and begin planning around what you’ve read, figuring that if it’s a one-day procedure, you’ll be able to obtain a job in a day or two, at worst, a week. So you apply, and as you wait for your interview, the minutes change to hours, and before you know it, your final interview is planned for a week or two later. ‘Whatever happened to the one-day process?’ Diba nakaka-inis?

What exactly is the One-Day Recruitment Process?

There are two things to consider:

  1. It is a time-saving program that helps the recruitment department to handle as many prospects they can, as quickly as possible.
  2. It’s a marketing ploy to attract more applicants who are keen to secure a job as soon as possible.

In terms of the procedure, recruiters must adhere to the recruitment flow, which is as follows:

  1. Screening on paper or online
  1. The first interview (phone or face to face)
  2. Call Simulation and Testing
  3. Job Offer Following the Final Interview

Some businesses set a time limit for each step. A phone or initial face-to-face interview, for example, should not last more than five minutes (some recruiters are so good they already decided to fail or pass you within 30 seconds). The duration of the test should be between 30 and 50 minutes. Finally, the final interview should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the organization to adhere to the “one-day processing” policy.

Why does the processing time change?

The recruitment process, while planned, is not a flawless process. It is affected by many factors that can lengthen (or shorten) the processing time. What are some of these elements? The recruitment process, while planned, is not a flawless science. It is affected by many factors that can lengthen (or shorten) the processing time. What are some of these elements?

  • You are blacklisted (shortens the time)
  • One or two recruiters called in sick.
  • There is an overflow of applicants (more than what the recruiters can handle, especially during the peak season – After the release of the 13th-month pay, after graduation, or after the release of a major newspaper ad, during a very popular job fair)
  • The recruiter wanted to fail you during the interview but saw that you are trainable and may endorse you for another interview (so you need to wait again).
  • The recruitment department holds an urgent meeting (this happens a lot).
  • You have an interview schedule. Unfortunately, the interviewer from operations is out of the country/in a meeting/has a death in the family/insert reason here, so you need to be re-scheduled.
  • The account you are being evaluated or applying for has a far-off start date, is not hiring, or is just pooling for candidates.
  • The waiting game is a part of the recruitment process.

As an applicant, there are several things we need to remember:

  1. Do not expect to be processed in one day. Remember, expectation leads to frustration. Frustration shows your impatience. Recruiters see impatience.
  2. Bring food (sandwiches, juice, chips, and gum to freshen your breath). If you need to find a restaurant for a full meal, tell your recruiter. Keep your breaks short during the waiting time – you do want to be there when the recruiter finally calls your name.
  3. Do not plan to visit several companies in one day unless you have a succession of failures (in which case you need to ask yourself why).
  4. Be patient every time, all the time. Remember that you are being watched – by the CCTV, the recruiters, other applicants, and the receptionist (she is a spy, you know).
  5. If (and only if) you pass the initial interview, ask the recruiter what the next steps are and how long each step will be. Also, ask if there is a possibility that you will need to stay beyond 5 PM (this way, you can make plans for food, transportation, etc.)
  6. Spend time chatting with other applicants who’ve already been through the process; this way, you can understand how easy (or hard) the rest of the steps are, and you can mentally and psychologically prepare for them.

It’s true that the line “one-day processing” can often be misleading. However, knowing how the process works and what factors to consider will arm us with more than enough patience as we go through the recruitment process. Finally, I have always believed that we need to keep our expectations in check. My experience has taught me that just because someone is not meeting my expectation doesn’t mean they are doing a poor job.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to message me.


The Call Center Bond

Hi Seven.  Ano ba talaga ang bond? Bakit may ganon? Pano maiiwasan yon? Anong gagawin kung sinisingil ka? Makukulong ba ako? 

James R.

Hi James.

I got your email yesterday, and since your questions are fascinating, I thought I would just turn my response into a post. This way, we can share the info with everyone.

What is a bond? 

A training bond is nothing more than a contract that says you will be paying a specific amount if you leave the company (whether by resignation or by absconding) within a particular period. For example, I worked for a company in Northgate, and we had a training bond for six months. If I left before that, I would be liable to pay Php 20,000.

Why is there a bond?

…because a lot of people abscond. Attrition is a severe threat to a company’s investment. When a person gets hired, the company will spend for their onboarding, training, etc. Therefore, to recover this cost, the company has to make sure the person stays so that his “working hours” can be converted into income.

Similarly, when the company sends an employee abroad for training or education, they need to sign a contract binding him to the company for several years (usually two).

How does a bond work?

As mentioned above, it is a contract. It is binding as soon as you sign it. If you leave before the end of your “bond,” you will be held liable for either the full or a pro-rated amount. In the example I used above, the Php 20,000 is divided into six months, so if I decided to resign on the 4th month, I would be paying Php 6666.00 (Php 20,000/6 months = Php 3333.33).

If you didn’t attend the training at all, are you still liable? 

Technically, if you already signed the contract, you are.  However, the counter-argument is  I didn’t even attend the first day of training. What company investment am I wasting? (except perhaps for the recruiter’s time and the piece of paper I signed). By the way, when you do not attend the first day of training, that correct term is NO SHOW, not AWOL.

In the above case, what should I do?

Call your recruiter before the first day of training and tell them you are backing out. That is responsible and professional. This way, the recruiter can give your slot to another candidate.

I already went on AWOL, and now I am receiving letters.

Naturally, you are fully aware there is a bond; you went on AWOL, the collection letters will follow. It really depends on the company if they take your absconding seriously and take you to court for breach of contract. Most companies will just let it go –  the cost of litigation is more expensive than just hiring another one. In my 15 years in the industry, I have never heard of an employee going AWOL and being dragged to court or having their wages garnished. I’ve heard of former employees who needed clearance and COE from the company and had to settle just to clear their name (or to get it over with).

Am I still liable if I get terminated?

Technically, you are not liable, especially if the cause of the termination fails to meet the metrics. To avoid the bond, you will be held responsible if you fail on purpose. Of course, the company has the burden of proof.

What if I need to get my clearance from my former company where I went AWOL? 

You need to visit the company and settle the balance. Sometimes, you can even negotiate it. Bottom line, you signed the contract, which gives you the obligation, and if you want/need the clearance for your next employer, you need to settle the balance.

I don’t have any money, how can I pay for it?

Why did you go on AWOL in the first place? As mentioned above, if you need the clearance, then you can make a payment arrangement. After all, how can you settle a loan if you don’t have a job right?

How can I avoid the bond?

Simple. Do NOT go to a company that’s known to have a bond. If you have no idea if there is a bond or not, use the internet to research information. After all, as an applicant, you must conduct research. This is a part of your due diligence a responsible human being whose goal in life is to have a career instead of floating around. Also, please DO NOT ask a recruiter if there will be a bond or not – this is a wrong question, and whether you are qualified or not, you will fail. Why? It is a clear sign for a recruiter that you have no plans of staying or developing a career.

Ultimately, the decision to go on AWOL from a company where you signed a bond will haunt you and cause you inconvenience but will you get incarcerated? I very much doubt it. Most of these companies would rather focus on running the business and ignore you (eventually). Then again, why court the disaster of being seriously hounded for a contract you agreed to in the first place? Be professional. For whatever reason, stay for your arrangement, use the time to learn new skills and competencies, and leave when the time is right.

If you have any questions or clarifications on this article, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. If you have a story to tell, please don’t hold back.

Hope this helps.


I applied for this job a few weeks ago but haven’t heard back. Should I follow up?

Kailangan ko ng trabaho…hindi ako mapalagay kasi hindi pa nila ako tinatawagan.”

How can you avoid this situation?

Before the interview:

Prepare. Preparation gives you the confidence to respond to questions and assures that your comments will make or break your chances of getting the job.

Chat with other applicants. Were they told if they passed or failed? Were they given a regret letter, will they have to wait for a call? How long was the interview?

What are the skill and competency requirements of the job? Were they told if they passed or failed? Will they have to wait for a phone call if they get a regret letter? How long was the interview?

During the interview

Observe the interviewer’s facial expressions and mannerisms. It’s not an absolute fact, but there is always that off chance when an interviewer will show an adverse reaction which indicates that your response to the answer was unsatisfactory. If he does, don’t get distracted, the point here is to get a clue if you have a fighting chance. Good luck, though, if the interviewer is poker-faced.

Use your instinct. If you are well-prepared, you will be able to tell whether your response to the question is sufficient or not. If you are unsure how to respond to a question, make a mental note of it and come back to it later. After all, you won’t fail an interview merely because you couldn’t answer one or two questions satisfactorily (the caveat here is if the question you were unable to answer right is vital to the job you are applying for).

Length of the interview. Despite deciding to fail an applicant after only 2 minutes of performance, recruiters will finish the discussion; this is why asking a fellow applicant how long his interview lasted is vital.

After the Interview.

Ask for feedback. Of course, don’t ask the recruiter if you passed or failed – that’s rude and unprofessional. The interviewer will undoubtedly avoid it or decline to answer, primarily if he has not yet evaluated your application. Inform the interviewer that his candid feedback is critical to your development, especially since you are new to the field.

Have a sense of internal “Quality Assurance.” It certainly helps to evaluate your performance after the interview. If you are trying to improve your chances of landing a job, developing internal quality assurance is a crucial habit.

What did the interviewer tell you, and how did he say it. Some interviewers would notify you if you passed (and proceed to give you a job offer), but not if you failed. If not, look out for clues, like if the recruiter starts giving you additional details about the job, the company, and the culture.

Here are a few examples of a “send home” script:

“Thank you for interviewing with us. We will contact you after 24 to 48 hours.”

“We will contact you after 24 to 48 hours. Don’t call us; we will call you.”
“Keep your lines open; we will contact you after 24 hours to schedule the….”

A “send home” script is a part of the process so the recruiter can move on to the next applicant; it’s a strong hint that you failed.

Should I follow up? If you’re confident that you passed the interview, you should. There is always the fat chance that you qualified, but the recruiter misplaced your file, or the recruiter thought he has already called you, or that your resume was accidentally included in the “not qualified” bin by accident.

What’s the best way to make a follow-up?

  1. Call the number the recruiter used (landline or mobile). The best time to call was in the morning when work started and before he goes out to face the applicants for the day. Introduce yourself. Never sound irate because “they did not call you back” as promised, he is not your boy/girlfriend, and they have a job to do. Be polite. If the recruiter is busy, offer a call back at a time convenient to him. If it is a mobile number, go the extra mile by sending an SMS advising you to call regarding the follow-up.
  2. Unless advised that you can, never send an SMS. It’s easier to pick up the phone than to text, especially for a busy recruiter. If you must send an SMS, always introduce yourself and your application details (see FINAL NOTE below) and make a follow-up on your application. Offer to call the recruiter. He will either contact you or respond to your text. Why send the details? It helps the recruiter find your file; he doesn’t have time to play the guessing game, and he might reply with “Hu u?”.
  3. If you are within the area, you can visit the recruiter, but you may have to wait because he might be busy conducting interviews or job offers. I usually do not recommend this route.

Final note, always take time to note the following; it will make it easier for the recruiter to find your file:

  1. Time, date, and location of the interview;
    b. name of the interviewer;
    c. Type or Name of the account you were evaluated for;
    d. The last process you went through (initial, final, job offer, etc.).

I hope this helps.

Job Offers

You passed the examinations and interviews with flying colors. Congratulations! It’s finally time for the employment offer.

The majority of contact centers and businesses offer work via a job offer letter. A job offer letter will include the following in its most basic form:

  • Job title or position offered.
  • Salary, benefits, and perks offered.
  • Instructions to accept or decline the job offer.

A job offer is essential. At this moment, a recruiter switches from evaluator to salesperson. A job offer is essential. At this moment, a recruiter switches from evaluator to salesperson. While it is true that you need the job, it is also true that as a candidate, you must examine many factors such as the basic pay, benefits, the job itself, the schedule, the corporate culture, and a variety of other factors that may turn you off and cause you to decline the offer.

To give you the offer, the recruiter will lead you to a quiet room, ask you to read the job offer letter, then leave you for a few minutes. When he returns, he will allow you to ask questions; what he does not tell you is that, depending on your experience, the offer may be negotiable.

In my years of recruitment, I have never offered to negotiate an offer (we were never allowed to mention it), and I can rarely count the incidents when an applicant would attempt to negotiate, either they accept or decline it. If the applicant is highly qualified, we can raise the basic salary value to a plus three to four thousand pesos – now that is a big difference!

So why am I sharing this? Here at work, I have two colleagues who keep on complaining about how low their basic pay is, and admittedly, it’s because they did not attempt to negotiate out of modesty. A few months down the road, they are unhappy because their colleagues with shorter call center tenure than they are, are better paid. Always attempt to negotiate unless you are a first-timer and are not sure of your actual value yet.

Tip: only attempt a negotiation if you are a tenured and highly skilled call center employee.

If you want to think about the offer, you will have to note the salient points (you will not be allowed to bring the offer letter home). Also, this is the perfect time to ask HR, payroll, benefits, perks, schedule, required documentation, and other pre-employment questions.

Job offers and the salary specified in the letter are ALWAYS CONFIDENTIAL; do not discuss it with other candidates as much as possible – this is where they test your integrity. Allow the recruiter to discuss the compensation offer with qualified candidates when their time comes around.

Because a job offer is not a contract, it is never legally binding. Just because you accepted a job offer does not imply you must stop looking for work. And, because it is not a contract, you cannot hold the company liable if the items offered in the letter are not delivered. A classic example would be a company that offers a free post-paid mobile phone line but then changes its policy because the company’s income no longer allows for the benefit.

If a candidate who has already signed the job offer letter changes his mind, he should contact the recruiter and inform him of the change in choice; this will allow the recruiter to offer the job to other competent individuals.

Finally, although some offers may be negotiable, do not use the higher offer you received from a company as your bargaining chip – you are not in Divisoria, and the “bakit sa kabila mas mataas ang offer?” will not work here. The best bargaining chip is your tenure, experience, skills, and competencies.

If you have questions related to the post above, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

The Final/Behavioral Interview

I once read a thread in which one applicant complained about how difficult and exhausting the final interview was for him. I became intrigued since “tough” is not the ideal term to characterize this process; it will be lengthy, certainly, but it will not be difficult.

Interview questions used to be relatively straightforward: “Why do you want to work here?” and “Tell me about your skills and weaknesses.” and “How can you help this company?” are just a few instances.

Employers nowadays are more interested in how you handled an issue or scenario in the past rather than what you would do in the future. An interviewer will want you to be more precise here, which means that ambiguous replies, running about, or talking your way out of a scenario will not suffice. The interviewer will ask follow-up questions to uncover how your actions that led to the outcome you claimed.

A behavioral interview would typically start with something like “tell me about the time when…”, “Give me an example of when…”, or “give me an example of how you have….”

Here are a few examples:

Tell me about when your manager asked you to do something that conflicted with how you felt.

Give me an example of what you did when you found out that two of your colleagues are not on good terms.

Describe a situation in which you could use persuasion to convince someone to see things your way successfully.

Give me an example of when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete

How do you prepare for a behavioral interview?

The first thing you should look at is the job description; it will include a list of specific abilities or competences that the employer is looking for; the behavioral questions will most likely be derived from the job description.

Examine your previous work experience in relation to the job description, and then jot down concrete scenarios that correspond to the company’s desired competency/skill. You will be expected to explain how you solved a problem and what happened as a result.

Remember PAR. State the PROBLEM you faced. Outline the ACTION you took to resolve the problem. And then explain the RESULTS you have achieved.

An unprepared applicant for a behavioral interview will almost always fail. I must admit that I did. I could talk my way into a job since I was confident and well-known for doing so. The recruiter was aware that I was looking for scenarios. My attempt to be consistent with what I was “trying” to offer resulted in me shooting myself in the foot; my lack of preparation made me sound inconsistent, unrealistic, and generally foolish. I can only guess what the recruiter wrote on that evaluation form.

Do you remember how you felt after the interview? When you’re wondering if you done a good job or not? One piece of advice if you want to get rid of that feeling: plan ahead of time.

Preparing for an interview is like to going to battle completely prepared. It removes the sensation of doubt; barring unanticipated events (such as the interviewer’s attitude and behavior), it gives you a sense of control and confidence that you will be able to answer questions without fumbling for words or thoughts.

Good luck with your final interview.

Would you mind sharing your stories, comments, suggestions on the comment section?

How to behave during a face-to-face interview

You’re looking for a job in a call center. You’ve gotten through the preliminary phone interview. You now have a schedule for your final interview. The trouble is that this is your first face-to-face interview, and you’re not sure how to act. Allow me to assist you. Here’s a quick guide on how to do a face-to-face interviews.

If the interviewer calls your name, greet them and acknowledge their presence. Make eye contact. Smile. Provide a solid handshake.

Allow the interviewer to take the first seat once inside the interview room. Wait until you are asked to sit. Sit comfortably but erectly. Avoid using the backrest as much as possible; it causes you to slump. Always have your hand exposed to the interviewer, either folded on your lap or resting on the table; this shows that you are confident and have nothing to hide.

Quit fidgeting. Put your hands away from your face. If you feel comfortable using hand gestures in your speech, go ahead and do so, but don’t overdo it. Finally, mute or turn off your phone, not on vibrate. Never answer a phone call during an interview. There must be no outside distractions.

Trained recruiters will introduce themselves and possibly give you instructions if there are exercises you need to do during the interview. Pay attention, nod, but not eagerly. If you didn’t understand a question or an instruction, ask for clarification. Thank the recruiter for repeating the questions before you give your response.

Always direct your answers to the interview. To do this, make eye contact but never stare; this is considered impolite. Avoid glancing towards the wall, the table, your hand, or anything else that suggests you are uneasy in the recruiter’s presence. Trained recruiters can detect deception, especially when the question is factual; avoid looking to your left (upper left corner); this has something to do with your left brain-right brain function. A liar looks left in an attempt to access the creative side of his brain, implying he is making up a story, and so lying.

Most call centers may ask you to read sentences or word pairs to test your pronunciation; this is the most difficult aspect of the initial interview. Your accent and intonation will also be scrutinized. Most essential, failing to recognize your grammatical flaws instantly results in failure. Your best option is to be classified “trainable,” which means that you have pronunciation or grammar faults, but they are either very inconsistent or you are aware of them and self-correct.

When the interview is almost done, the recruiter will let you ask questions, ask away but be relevant. Be concise. Never ask about the salary; in fact, never bring up money, salary, income, or anything else connected to the subject during the interview; this often puts off an interviewer. There will be plenty of time to do that later when are offered the job. Most importantly,  “Because of the salary” is a WRONG answer to the question, “Why do you want to work in a call center?”

By the way, the recruiter will make notes about his comments and observations about you – this is his way of remembering you later when he sits down to analyze the applications he processed that day. The majority of what he scribbles is a mix of what you said and how you said it, especially if it was hilarious. Don’t allow it take your attention away from the task at hand. Also, please don’t distract the interviewer by peeking at what he’s writing; he’s hiding it from you on purpose.

Also, if you see that the interviewer is cheerful, upbeat, or conversational, don’t be afraid to ask for criticism or suggestions on your performance throughout the interview. Inform the interviewer that you are new to the call center industry and want to improve your chances of getting a job. If they are not busy, some recruiters are eager to provide constructive input. Take note of what he says. Later, make a list of your areas for improvement and think about them when you return home. If the recruiter chooses not to provide feedback, don’t take it personally; he has a quota to meet, and there are likely hundreds of applicants waiting outside.

Be professional and do not display any bad attitude when he gives you the regret letter, as upsetting as it is. Simply say thank you, shake hands, and walk away.

If you don’t get the job, don’t sulk in a corner, feeling sorry for yourself. The most important step at this time is to evaluate your performance by asking yourself, “What went wrong?” What questions were asked? How did you react? What was the gist of your reply? Because you already know how to reply to the questions, the ability to self-evaluate increases your chances of securing a job the next time you apply.

A recruiter’s goal is to analyze your job fit, so don’t be irritated if he decides otherwise; don’t ask questions such, “why are you failing me? I’m qualified for this position.” He most likely saw through you and determined that your work attitude, demeanor, ethics, honesty, and so on are questionable, hence, the regret letter. Nothing is personal to him; it’s all in a day’s work. If you succeed in the interview, a simple thank you will enough. Don’t promise him a venti latte just because he gave you a passing grade; doing so diminishes your performance, talent, and ability. You were successful because the interviewer realized that your qualifications were a match for the criteria. Finally, businesses have strict policies against accepting gifts, so don’t bother. Your offer will almost certainly be declined by the recruiter.

The regret letter or the statement “we will call you within 48 hours” is part of the recruitment process; the goal is to move on to the next applicant and reduce the drama caused by failure. As a recruiter, I’ve received threats from applicants who couldn’t take rejection, which confirms my decision to turn them down.

Finally, applying for call center work requires more than having exceptional communication skills. I’ve failed hundreds of tenured reps who talked well simply because they displayed a negative part of their personality, were unprofessional, lacked integrity, and so on. A recruiter’s job is to judge the person he is examining; hence, displaying the negative side of your personality can harm your application.

I’m here if you have any questions or comments. Thanks.


Call Center Initial Interview, what do they measure?

This was initially posted on by etogostocu; he needed help with initial interviews with the following questions:

Tell something about yourself that is not in your resume
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why choose us among others (“company name”)
Why do you want to leave your company?

He added, “honestly, bagsak ako lagi sa call center pag initial interview (although naga-apply ako para sa non-voice) sinasabi sakin ng interviewer, di daw ako pumasa sa assessment nila ng English chuchu, di daw modulated boses ko…bagito ako sa interview.”

This was my initial reply to him (posted on the same site):

You reminded me of myself 9 years ago.

From a recruiter’s POV:

The purpose of the initial interview is to assess your communication skills, including diction, intonation, pronunciation, grammar, comprehension, and confidence level. Good command of the English language is your “foot in the door.”

Even though you are applying in a non-voice environment, your grammar is being assessed. It gives the interviewer an idea of how you will write, especially if the account requires it.

Other factors come into play here, such as how you responded to the questions you posted above. Your failure will be determined by the content of your response, not by grammar, pronunciation, or other issues (or success).

With your permission, I’d like you to tell us how you answered the questions above; this will give us an idea and allow us to make a better suggestion for you. Don’t be afraid to make grammatical or spelling errors; this is ideal because it will enable us to provide constructive feedback.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t replied since.

Here is a more detailed reply:

Contrary to popular belief, an initial interview is not the first step in the application process. In most cases, it is the second (resume screening being the first). There are two types of interviews: face-to-face interviews, which are mainly done for walk-in applicants, and phone interviews, which are done by recruiters after receiving and screening resumes sent via email or a job-searching portal (Jobstreet, JobsDB, etc.).

An initial interview in a call center is used to assess your communication skills in grammar, pronunciation, accent, diction, spontaneity, and any other information requested by the client. It also gives the recruiter a sense of your overall attitude and behavior at work. If the recruiter notices timeline consistency or short tenures in your resume, they may dig deeper. This is why, as I mentioned in previous posts, good communication skills are your “foot in the door.”

A recruiter’s decision to pass or reject an applicant is heavily influenced by the client’s requirements. However, the majority of recruiters will base their decision on the following:

  1. Your all-around presence. If you come across as too strong or too weak, the recruiter will make a mental note of it, which will be validated during the interview. The best option is to be mindful of your demeanor when entering the interview room, being interviewed, and exiting. One piece of advice: be professional.
  2. Your accent and pronunciation. Recruiters are trained to pick up on even the smallest mispronunciation. Personally, I don’t look for someone who speaks like an American or has a twang (which turns me off, especially if it’s fake). I look for someone with a neutral accent and neutral/trainable pronunciation – in other words, someone without a strong provincial accent. I also keep an eye out for notable pronunciation blunders in TH, long e, short I, p/f, b/v, vowels, and so on (these are just examples, there are more).

What is the definition of “trainable”? He is an applicant who makes the occasional (but not frequent or consistent) error but is aware of it and self-corrects. If the applicant has a provincial accent, can we neutralize it by using language and accent training? If the answer is yes, then we deem the applicant “trainable”.

Most BPO and call center clients prefer a neutral accent so that their customers can understand them.

  1. Your grammar and diction. Some applicants believe that simply being able to speak is acceptable. It should suffice as long as you can express yourself, despite the grammar issues. They can, after all, express themselves. Here’s the truth. Whether you like it or not, proper grammar usage is an essential part of call center work.

I’ve seen and heard of cases where a call escalated or resulted in a negative satisfaction because of incorrect grammar, diction, or even intonation.

  1. Your level of comprehension. Comprehension is a significant problem in the call center industry, where most of the work is talking to customers. Suppose you don’t understand the true message behind the rant. In that case, you’ll never be able to provide an effective solution to a problem. Many customers beat around the bush. It is your responsibility to figure out what they are saying, re-state the issue, and obtain confirmation of understanding.

Here is an example of an applicant with poor comprehension issues:

Interviewer: You mentioned that you are still in school? What year are you in right now?
Applicant: Oh, I’m just here in the house.
Interviewer: No, I asked what year you’re in.
Applicant: Oh year? I’m 25 years old.
Interviewer: (writes down) not qualified.

  1. Content of your response. Many applicants tend to take the question at face value and provide an “as Is” response during an initial interview, perhaps due to nervousness or a lack of knowledge about what is being measured. As a result, the answers to the questions are incomplete, shallow, and thus unconvincing.

In a separate blog, I suggested that an applicant analyze the question, determine the bottom line, and conclude his response with a “value statement.”

Here’s an illustration:

“What makes you different from the other applicants outside?”

As a recent graduate, I believe my above-average GPA gives me an advantage over the other applicants. I studied every day so that the lessons would stick with me, and I actively participated in classroom discussions. I started several student programs, worked with school officials to improve the health and welfare of my classmates, and was the editor-in-chief of the college paper, among other things.

Here is a (very) bad example:

Interviewer: What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?
Applicant: “Tequila and Chinita girls????
Interviewer: (writes down) not qualified.

Remember this: While it is true that the purpose of the initial interview is to assess the applicant’s communication skills. It is also true that most of the questions provide them with an excellent opportunity to sell themselves. As a result, the “value statement” comes in handy here. Looking at the above (good) response, you can see that the interviewee did not provide a vague or general description of his advantage over the other applicants. He gave examples and clearly stated that he is “selling” himself as the perfect candidate for the job. As a recruiter, I do not want to forget this applicant so I will write down “The applicant is an achiever, with a sense of commitment, initiative, and involvement.”

Next: Is there a secret to passing an initial interview?