Not knowing how to answer Tell me about yourself is a recipe for failure in a call center job interview. Get this wrong and the interview is doomed. Get this right and you’ll create a great first impression right when it matters the most- at the start of your interview.
Whether you’re a call center newbie or veteran, here’s how to answer the call center interview question Tell me something about yourself.
So what to say?
Some applicants think that interviewers only want to hear job-related stuff. Well, this is true but this doesn’t paint the whole picture.
The thing is, while some candidates have something work-related to talk about, others simply don’t.
Fresh graduates who have no notable scholarly accomplishments and no job experience, for instance. That’s why I’ve categorized the sample answers based on various situations that each applicant could be in.
For experienced call center agents
If you’re an experienced agent, most of the time, you can get away with answering the traditional way: talk 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’s learned from it. This is effective because it highlights how your skills are relevant to the position you’re applying for. You can never go wrong with this technique.
After all, that’s really what most job interviews are for: to find out how good of a fit you are for the job.
Applicants with zero job experience
But what if you have zero job experience, have nothing to flaunt, and are just starting out your career? In this case, try storytelling.
Let the interviewer know you as a person and then build a story from that. What are the positive qualities that people say you have? Do you have stories to tell that support your claim?
This effectively answers the question Tell me something about yourself by exploring a different area of your life (since you are yet to gain experience). Here’s an example:
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.
Here, the applicant painted a hypothetical scenario portraying how he’s genuinely interested in people. Doing this makes his answer sound credible and convincing. It not only tells. It shows, it paints a picture, it tells a story.
And then he followed it up with why he’s genuinely interested in the industry and again, did so with a story (by revealing that he’s been searching for careers even before his graduation).
So even if you’re just a fresh graduate, with nothing to flaunt, and totally new, you’re not entirely helpless. Like the example above, you can highlight how interested you are in the industry and how you can be a great asset.
In this applicant’s case, he showed it by highlighting the relevance of his degree and personality to the tasks of a call center agent.
Talk about your goals/scholarly accomplishments
Another technique, if applicable, is to highlight your accomplishments back when you were in school.
Perhaps you held positions that allowed you an opportunity to lead a team and show your skills.
Or perhaps you regularly participated in school events. That suggests proactivity and that you’re inclined to achieve more than the bare minimum. You can even throw in your goals and aspirations if you like.
Last 2020, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I am yet to gain job experience but early on in college, I’ve held several positions which gave me a taste of responsibility.
I served as editor-in-chief of our school paper for 2 years. With the help of two other editors, I oversaw and reviewed articles before they were officially published. When schedule allowed, I also participated in sports events.
My goal in life is to always be ambitious yet practical. If there’s one thing I learned from my education and from the responsibilities I’ve taken, it’s my ability to handle stress and still look calm despite it.
Talk about a hobby
Another way to introduce yourself is to talk about your hobby/hobbies. If you find it hard to describe yourself, then explaining your hobby might give your interviewer an insight into who you are as a person and as a potential employee.
Talk about a hobby that you’re genuinely interested in. That’s the most important part!
You might think that your hobby has to be unique but it doesn’t have to be. You just have to make it sound interesting. Make it sound like art and that you’re the connoisseur. How do you do that?
The trick is to reveal deeper details about that hobby. Ask yourself, “What is it about this hobby that compels me? What benefits do I get by engaging with this? And how can I connect this to the call center industry?”
For example, watching movies. There’s nothing as common a hobby as watching movies. The problem is it’s all too common and unremarkable. And in a job interview, it’s always better to be remarkable and stand out from hundreds of daily applicants.
So how do you make it sound less bland and more interesting?
I’m a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts. When people hear that, they immediately assume that I love cooking. Well, I do. (Smiles.)
But what I love even more is watching movies. I consider myself a movie connoisseur. When a movie interests me, I simply cannot move on and I spend my time on online forums analyzing and reviewing every scene.
Anyway, I’d say that movies play a huge role in my life because it allows me to see things from other people’s perspectives and help me empathize better.
This also led me to apply to the call center industry. I believe that customer service is all about putting oneself in other people’s shoes and understanding their perspectives. I am yet to acquire job experience but I believe that this is a job I can be naturally good at. That’s why I’m here.
But if you have a hobby that is a little uncommon, all the better. Your goal is to stand out among hundreds of applicants that come in every day. So if you have a hobby unique or rare enough to pique your interviewer’s interest, capitalize on that.
Plus points if you can connect that hobby to the call center industry.
Note: Tell stories about a hobby that you really are into. Don’t lie! Your interviewer might ask follow-up questions.
With experience but not related to call center
If you have previous job experience but is not related to call center, your best bet is to find a connection between your job experience and the tasks of the position you’re applying for.
For example, you’re applying as a CSR and you were a previous construction worker. You might think that there’s no way to connect the two. But note that both are still jobs.
And if anything, jobs around the world are bound to share a thing or two no matter how different their tasks are. Here’s a sample answer:
For the past 7 years, I worked as a construction worker. Recently though, I decided to explore other opportunities and after countless searches online, it led me here.
If there’s one thing I learned from construction, it’s effective communication. In construction, we’re surrounded by heavy machinery so before even lifting a finger to maneuver equipment, everyone must be on the same page to prevent accidents.
Second, in construction, there is no substitute for hard work and patience. I understand that the same applies to customer service. That’s why I’m here.
In a call center job interview, it doesn’t really matter much which field you were previously in. What matters most is your ability to support your answer, highlight the positive things about you, and make the negative things sound as less negative as possible. Some people call it “positive scripting”. Others call it “selling”.
What not to say
Avoid mentioning information that aren’t relevant to the job just for the sake of saying something. This is basic advice but it’s important to bear in mind. For example:
“I’m Lisa. I’m 22 years old. I live in Makati. I’m single and I’m the eldest of 3 siblings. I came here to apply for a CSR position.“
Job interviewers don’t care about your age, place of residence, civil status, or how many siblings you have as long as these won’t hinder you from showing up to work. What they want to hear from you are information that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
In summary, interviewers want to know your strengths and qualities, accomplishments, goals, and why you ended up applying to the call center industry instead of pursuing your education or field.
If you need additional examples, watch this video where I share tips on how to answer Tell me something about yourself.
For more interview tips, here’s a list of the most common call center job interview questions with their sample answers.