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The 4 Best Interview Practices to Hire Call Center Representatives

Posted by Scott Resnick on Wed, Apr 24, 2013

Call center representatives are the voice of the company to the customers. Typically, a call center representative will be the first form of contact a customer may have with a business regarding a specific product or service. As a result, have to make good impressions on customers. It is important to identify an applicant’s ability and experience in computer and phone systems, customer service, and problem solving skills to ensure service levels are not compromised.


The Importance of Developing Effective Interview Questions

The customer service field continues to grow each year. With approximately 10 percent growth expected by the year 2024, employers are evaluating their recruitment strategies to ensure the most qualified candidate is hired. With the advancements in customer service techniques, technology, and phone systems, businesses are pursuing applicants that will be an asset to the organization. Through well-established interview questions and assessments, hiring managers will be able to assess how successful an applicant will be in a call center environment. Additionally, identifying the key responsibilities of a position will aid in establishing experience, skill, background, and education requirements that will be considered in screening potential candidates. Additionally, it’s imperative to make sure new representatives will fit in well with the company culture before hiring them. By implementing several best interview practices, hiring managers will be able to assess how successful an applicant will be in a call center environment.  Here, we’ll give you four ways to make sure your new hires have both the skills and the attitudes they need to succeed at your call center. 

Send your potential hire through a job shadow and call simulation before hiring

Before hiring a potentially qualified candidate, it’s always a good idea to send them through a job shadow with another team member to show them what a day at your company would be like. This way, the candidate can understand the ins-and-outs of a day on the job, and see whether she is ready to commit to the opportunity. As part of this hiring process, make sure to have the client answer a simulated call. This way, you will be able to see if the candidate fits the job requirements effectively and has the kind of poise, knowledge, and experience necessary for the position.

Use assessments to see if the candidate is the right fit for the job

Personality tests and competency-based assessments can ensure that your candidate has the skills and experience to be a strong fit for the position. Personality tests that focus on the candidate’s answers to real-world customer service scenarios can give you more information about whether the candidate has the personality traits to diffuse tense situations. As part of this two-fold assessment scenario, a competency-based tool should be used to see if the candidate is skilled enough to learn the technological systems and procedures at your company efficiently.

Ensure the candidate fits your company culture

Even if your candidate has the skills and personality to work at your company, your new hire still won’t be a good choice if he or she doesn’t fit into the company culture. Company culture, or the company’s attitude, is important – the potential hire and the hiring manager should be satisfied in knowing the potential hire would fit into the company. There are many ways to make sure a candidate would fit into the company culture. For example, New York Life insurance company asks questions during the interview process regarding company culture. Throughout the creation of job posting materials, too, you want to emphasize company culture, letting applicants know what your company is like. To be hired, a candidate should demonstrate that she both knows your company culture and is excited to work in that atmosphere.

Develop Effective Interview Questions

There are many factors that can be determined during the interview process. As a result of the key role call center representatives play in business operations, it is important to develop interview questions that will appropriately identify and assess an applicant’s abilities and performance.

For example, assessing an applicant’s attitude will aid in understanding how the applicant will respond to customers. The tone of their voice, listening skills, attentiveness, patience, and ability to empathize with customers will be identifiable through a scenario of interview questions. It is even more important to evaluate an applicant’s problem solving abilities which will aid in identifying how an applicant navigates through computer and phone systems and utilize resources to develop possible solutions.

Here are some of the top interview questions that can be used in your company’s hiring process to assess skills, performance, knowledge, customer service experience, and learning abilities. These interview questions can assist in critiquing an individual’s research abilities, communication skills, problem solving abilities, and other key insights that could be beneficial in determining if an applicant is a good fit for a position.

  1. What was the average length of each call at your previous position?
  2. Describe a specific situation that involved dealing with a difficult customer. Describe the situation, the steps you took, and the outcome.
  3. How many calls on average did you take each day?
  4. What computer and phone systems have you used in your prior call center experience?
  5. Tell me about a time when you were able to assist a team member.
  6. Describe a time when you had to learn a product, service, or something complex in a short period of time.
  7. Describe what it means to be a team player and why it is important in a call center environment.

Being able to provide quality customer service is an essential responsibility of a call center representative. Needless to say, there are many factors to consider when interviewing applicants for call center positions. The right interview questions will assist hiring managers in evaluating an applicant’s skills, temperament, and their ability to work in a fast paced and stressful environment. Due to the critical nature of this type of position, it is important businesses properly screen applicants to ensure the best candidate is selected for the job.


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