Call Center Interview Questions and Answers for Newbies

Call Center Interview Questions & Answers for Newbies

Summary:

This article contains sample answers to the most common call center job interview questions.

Whether you’re a call center newbie who has zero knowledge about call centers or a veteran who needs a refresher, this article will help you ace your upcoming job interview. Here are the most common call center interview questions with their sample answers.

After each explanation is a link to a separate article discussing each job interview question in detail with more sample answers.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Tell Me About Yourself Call Center Interview Sample Answers

Tell me about yourself is the very first question that gets asked in the interview and probably the most impactful as it sets the initial tone for your interview.

If you’re an experienced agent, most of the time, you can get away with answering in the traditional way: talking about your relevant job experience. Like this:

I’m a graduate of Computer Programming. For 4 years, I worked as a Customer Service Representative for an e-commerce store.

My tasks mainly involved answering customers’ questions via call, email, and chat. When there were order issues, I would also interact with suppliers and couriers on behalf of the customers. This allowed me to encounter various types of customer personalities which in turn helped me hone my customer service skills.

Here, the applicant talks about her job experience, tasks, and what she learned from them. Say something like this and you’re good to go. You can never go wrong with this. After all, that’s really what most job interviews are for: to find out the skills you possess that are relevant to the job.

But what if you have zero job experience, have nothing to flaunt, and are just starting out your career? In this case, try storytelling.

If you ask people who know me best, they’d say that I’m sort of a “people person”. Put me in a room full of strangers and 30 minutes later, I’d be able to recall each of their names with little to no difficulty. In short, I’m genuinely interested in people. This is why I’m sitting here with you.

For the past two years, I’ve been searching for suitable careers that I could get into as soon as I graduate. There were a handful of choices but the BPO, particularly the call center industry, is one of the few that piqued my interest.

Here’s why: I believe that if I combine what I learned from my degree in Mass Communication and incorporate them with my personality, I can truly thrive in this industry.

In the first paragraph, the applicant paints a picture of his personality. In the second, he explains how he ended up applying to the call center industry. In the third, he highlighted the relevance of his personality and prior education to a call center job.

These information should give the interviewer decent information about the stranger in front of them.

But what if you have job experience but not call center-related or what if you didn’t finish college? Read this article with sample answers to the question Tell me about yourself.

2. Why do you want to work in a call center?

How to Answer Why Do You Want to Work in a Call Center

If you’re a call center newbie, expect to get asked this question 99% of the time, especially if you’ve earned a college degree. After all, why decide to work in a call center when you could apply for a job related to your field?

This is your chance to tell your story. For the majority of us, the reason is money. So tell your story and be honest.

I want to work in a call center because first, I want to help my parents get back on their feet financially post-Covid. Second, I want to gain real-world experience. Because it’s still unclear as to whether or not I could go back to school again, I want to use that time to develop my skills by working in an industry that I know will teach me a lot of important and practical skills.

If possible, mention other non-monetary benefits so your interviewer won’t think that you’re just there for the money. Highlight things that the call center industry has that your industry doesn’t.

When I graduated last year, I was looking forward to finally becoming a teacher. So I applied to several schools and did some volunteer work. But along the application process, I discovered that fresh Education graduates, on average, could take 5 years before being granted a permanent position. When I learned that, I decided to explore other options.

So I did a lot of research, interviewed some people, and asked for advice. The idea was to look for industries that align with my personality and skills. And after some careful consideration, it led me to the BPO industry. So here I am.

In the above example, the applicant highlights the problem she faces in her current field (a long waiting period for a permanent position). This is a valid reason and one that interviewers are aware of.

For more examples of how to answer Why do you want to work in a call center, visit this article.

3. Why should we hire you?

Why Should We Hire You Call Center Interview

The first step: Pick one good trait you possess and then support that answer with a true story or a hypothetical scenario.

Pick a positive trait that solves the common problems of the job. For example, one of the most common problems Customer Service Representatives face is irate customers. A lot of agents quit because of this. Some people are simply affected by negative emotions more than others.

Therefore, you can highlight your ability to handle irate customers with a cool head as the reason for hiring you. This means you won’t quit just because a customer has hurled insults at you. This is a win for the company.

The second step: Tell a story or paint a hypothetical scenario that supports your answer. This way, your claim is more credible and convincing.

You should hire me because I never shy away from irate customers.

In my 3 years of experience as a waitress, I’ve dealt with all sorts of customers face-to-face and not all of them were friendly. And while I understand that interacting with customers over the phone has challenges of its own, I’m confident that my experience in face-to-face customer service is a good foundation for this position.

This answer addresses the company’s pain point (employees quitting due to irate customers) and then tells a convincing story as to why you’re the solution to that problem. Short but powerful.

For more sample answers on how to answer Why Should We Hire You? refer to this article.

4. Describe a color to a blind person since birth.

Describe a Color to a Blind Person

Describe a color to a blind person is one of the most common out-of-the-box interview questions. Out-of-the-box interview questions sound weird but they help interviewers assess applicants’ ability to think of immediate, acceptable answers to unexpected questions.

To describe a color to a blind person, do not use adjectives related to the sense of sight. A blind person doesn’t understand those. Instead, associate the color with the senses he understands like touch, hearing, smell, taste, and emotion.

Think of red as something warm and nourishing. It’s what you feel when you’re warming yourself up by a fireplace or when you’re sipping a hot tinola on a rainy day. It’s the security you felt when, as a little child, you were startled by the thunder and your mother rushed to hug you. It could also be a lover’s passionate kiss. Red is love.

Senses used: touch, emotion

For sample answers on other colors, refer to this article.

5. Sell me this pen.

Sell Me this Pen Call Center Job Interview Sample Answers

If your account involves selling, then prepare for questions like Sell Me This Pen. Other variations could be:

  • Sell me a second-hand toothbrush.
  • How would you sell ice to an Eskimo?
  • How would you sell a condom to a priest?

The trick to answering Sell me this pen is to first find out your potential customer’s requirements for a pen. You do this by engaging him in a conversation through strategic questions.

  • How often do you use a pen?
  • How many pens do you own?
  • What do you usually use it for?
  • What are the things that annoy you when using a pen?

After he’s provided enough information, you can then present the pen that would best solve his need.

Interviewer: Sell me this pen.

You: Tell me, what’s the number one thing that annoys you the most when using a pen?

Interviewer: I hate the fact that I can’t erase anything when I write with a pen. I’d have preferred to use a pencil but of course, that’s out of the question. So I don’t really have a choice.

You: Does the appearance of the pen matter to you? Does it have to have a certain design, color, or look?

Interviewer: I honestly don’t care how it looks like as long as I can rely on it 24/7. That, and the ability to erase typos.

You: You know, Jen, I have the perfect pen for you. Based on what you said, this pen matches everything you need from a pen.

This pen is equipped with an eraser. That’s right! An eraser. But note, this is not a pencil. Think of this as a breed between a pen and a pencil. It has the high-definition ink of a pen but with the capacity to erase typos like a pencil.

When it comes to reliability, well, our company has been in the business selling pens for two centuries now. We would never survive this long without prioritizing the quality of our pens.

For more examples of how to answer Sell me this pen, head over to this article.

6. How do you handle stress?

How Do You Handle Stress Call Center Job Interview Sample Answers

Without efficient stress handling, you simply cannot survive call center no matter how good of a communicator you are. Therefore, your best bet is to point out that you do have an efficient and healthy stress handling method. Plus points if you have a story to tell proving your ability to handle stress.

The way I deal with stress is by first identifying its root cause. Back when I was in school, the usual causes of my stress are deadlines and oncoming tests. So I mitigate that stress by preparing way ahead of time.

But if the stress is physical (like body pains due to prolonged sitting) or psychological (like overthinking), I just get out of the house with my bike and cycle for at least 30 minutes around the neighborhood.

Other times, I would also do yoga. These activities help me recalibrate and come back to the challenge with renewed vigor.

If you need more sample answers to this question, head over to this article.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

where do you see yourself in 5 years call center job interview sample answers

To answer this question, simply paint your next 5 years working in the call center industry. Call center companies need applicants who intend to stay long-term. Less attrition rate, more profit.

If you have a degree, explain that you no longer plan to pursue it and then state a good reason why.

If you’re a high school graduate, have no job experience, have and no better job prospects, then you won’t have a hard time convincing your interviewer.

Simply put, convince your interviewer that you believe that the best place you could be working in the next 5 years is the call center industry.

There are two possibilities. If I’m lucky enough to be accepted in this industry, then I’ll be devoting my next 5 years to learning the art of customer service. If not, then I’ll pursue my degree as a nurse.

The reason why I’m prioritizing call center over my degree is for me, career-wise, I feel that there’s a better opportunity for me to be a call center agent than to be a nurse.

If I end up becoming a nurse, I would need to work abroad if I ever want to get a decent salary. The thing is, I don’t want to go abroad if I can help it. I want to be with my family. And your industry is the only industry that can make that happen.

So in the next 5 years, I see myself being a highly skilled agent and if I’m qualified enough, I’ll probably aim for a promotion.

If you need more sample answers, refer to this article.

8. What are your strengths?

What are your strengths? Call center job answers

To answer this question, highlight the positive things about you that directly contribute to the job. This is your chance to highlight the hard and soft skills you possess.

One of my strengths is my ability to get along with possibly all types of personalities. I have a knack for making a shy person feel at ease as well as matching the energy of a very outgoing person or even dealing with a difficult person.

As a result, I work well in a team and have no problem submitting to a superior. I believe this is useful in customer service where I’ll be dealing with different types of people.

This type of question is similar to “Why should we hire you?“. It’s basically asking what makes you a good fit for the job. So the best thing to do is to list down all the positive things about you and then highlight them when questions like this come up.

For more sample answers, read: How to Answer: What are Your Strengths?

9. What is your weakness?

What is Your Greatest Weakness? Call Center Job Interview Sample Answers

Some applicants answer this by saying they’re workaholics and perfectionists and that as a result, they end up neglecting their personal lives. To some interviewers, this could work. Although, to others, this could sound like a cheap trick.

Some interviewers might consider this as your declaration of having no real weakness, one that deems you truly inadequate in certain situations. As a result, it would be hard to relate to you

My point is we all have weaknesses. To be more relatable to your interviewer, talk about a real weakness that you have and detail the steps you’re taking to deal with it. If you can, hint at some progress.

Sometimes, I talk too much. Too much that it could get overwhelming for the people around me. Sometimes it’s an advantage because I could be the icebreaker at an awkward party. But sometimes, it could also be a weakness because it diminishes my ability to listen to people. I think it has something to do with my very high extroversion.

To deal with that, I practice more self-awareness to find a balance. When I’m at a party, I allow myself to be loud and talkative, to let loose. But when I’m in a professional setting, I have this imaginary filter to help me to think before I speak.

Talk about a weakness that doesn’t negatively impact the job you’re applying for or if it does, it should only do so slightly, not entirely. For example, if you’re applying as a CSR, don’t say that your weakness is your short temper. That just wouldn’t do in customer service.

If you need more sample answers, head over to this article: What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

10. Why did you leave your last job?

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job Call Center Job Interview Sample Answers

If you left your last job for a reason not under your control, then simply tell the truth and you’re good. Examples are temporary health issues where you need to take a break for a period of time, you were laid off, or the company closed.

I quit my last job because I had to recover from a stomach ulcer. My doctor recommended that I take a 6-month break. That break helped with my recovery and now I’m ready to go back to work. I can provide the necessary documentation from my doctor if necessary.

But if your reason for leaving is the low compensation, I don’t recommend telling your interviewer that. It’s too honest and some interviewers might not appreciate it.

Instead, look for the things the company has that the previous one doesn’t and then cite that as a reason for leaving.

For the record, I love my previous job as an e-commerce chat support but I really feel the need to diversify my skills and work for a financial account this time. That opportunity just doesn’t exist in ABC Company since they only have e-commerce and Telco accounts.

For more sample answers depending on your reason for quitting, click here.

If you need more sample answers in video format, below is a video I made for you for this same topic.

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