Monday, February 21, 2011

HOW TO ACE A CALL CENTER INTERVIEW



There are hundreds of Call Centers here in the Philippines, If not thousands. As well as on the other side of the world. However, before you start sending your resume on-line.Or, heading straight to the front desk of your desired Call Center company. I will give you some tips and tricks on how to ace, or at least, pass the Call Center Interviews. This article is based on my experience, as well as, the things that was shared to me by my colleagues who work as an Agent, Team Leader, and HR Manager. Here's my tip on HOW TO ACE A CALL CENTER INTERVIEW...  This is not just for Call Center Agent wannabe's, so, please read it, you might find it helpful...




HOW TO ACE A CALL CENTER INTERVIEW

Before we go on with the Interview questions, let's go back first to the very basic... We don't want to go underdog, right? Statistics shows that only 5 out of 300 Call Center applicants here in the Philippines get the job. So, we better prepare first and do our home work! You might want to grab a pen and paper, print or save this page, for your future use or before you apply. Let's now find out the secrets on...


1. You must have an excellent Communication skills -Let us define first, What is Communication Skills? -It would be the set of skills that allows an individual to convey information or thoughts for him to be understood. This is a MUST. This is not just about being confident. You have to improve not just your ability to speak or write excellent ENGLISH, but also your LISTENING, HEARING and REASONING skills. Interviewers are usually Communication Coaches, HR Managers, Recruitment Officers and even Team Leaders or Call Center Agents. They are not just ordinary people, they are very skilled and trained to filter applicants for the next phase of the Interview or for the Final Interview. You can't just memorize your answers for the Interview Questions. If you believe that you are not yet ready. Don't waste your time, better do your homework first! This is not to discourage you, but, just to prepare you for the reality. Polish your Communication skills, you could either do self study, or enroll yourself in a Communication Training Center. This will help you express yourself well and gain confidence. 


2. Typing or Keyboard Skills - I would suggest, months or weeks before you apply. You might want to download a Typing Tutorial Software or practice your Typing skills. Please, don't use your old school type-writer to practice. It has a different feel, compared to a regular soft-touch keyboards that we have nowadays. Most Call Center job positions require 30-45 Words per Minute or WPM, with at least, 95-100% Accuracy.




3. Multi-Tasking Skills - This is very important. Because, without multi-tasking, you won't be able to get your job done in a very short period of time. For example, while you are LISTENING to your customer, you are also TYPING on your keyboard, the important things that you need to encode on your database. While, THINKING at the same time, on how you would be able to address the issue or give your customer the answer to their questions. 



4. Basic Computer and Software Skills - You will be using Computers, and different softwares and database. So, you might want to familiarize yourself in different Operating Systems or Platforms such as WINDOWS XP, WINDOWS 7, WINDOWS VISTA, MAC OSX, LINUX and Etc. And of course, you have to know how to surf or use the Internet. Some Accounts also require their Agents to use different spreadsheets like MS EXCEL and etc. No need for you to be an expert in this category, but, make sure that you know how to operate a computer, If your goal is just to get into a Non-Technical Account. If you are applying for a Technical Account, you have to be an Advanced user up to a Computer Expert.


5. Customer Service and Inter-personal Skills - Remember, you would be the front-liner of the Account or Company. We Technical Support or Customer Service agents often call ourselves, the "SHOCK ABSORBERS". Once you get the job, you will be dealing with different kinds of people, race and nationalities. You can't talk to a 90 year old person, just the way you talk with a 3 year old kid. You will be speaking with real Idiots, Racists, Irrational and Abusive customers. Learn how to deal with different kinds of people, and expect the unexpected to prevent culture shock.



6. Set a Target - There are different kinds of Call Center Jobs. You can work as a Technical Support Representative, or get into a Non-Technical Positions: Customer Service Representative, Directory Assistant, Telephone Operator, Fraud Investigator, Sales, Billing or Credit and Collections Agents. If your expertise would be on computers, softwares or networking, then consider getting into a Technical Account. If not, try the other vacant positions. You have to set a target on which Job you really want to work. Usually, HR Managers can easily determine If you are better to be put into a Technical or Non-Technical Account.



7. Do a research about the Company -It would be a wise move If you would do a research first about the Company. Aside from going to their websites. You might want to ask your friends or other Call Center agents that you know, If they have an idea about the company and what are their impression or experiences. Join on-line forums or search the net. You would be lucky, If you could find a person or a friend who already worked at the company where you want to work. Ask them about the company's work ethics and environment, the Accounts they have, the Salary range they give to a certain position and the benefits. Don't beat around the bush. Ask them what you want to know and what you will need to know. 


8. Prepare for a Phone Interview and Practice Mock Calls -If you apply on-line, via email or snail mail. You will probably get a phone interview. You can ask your friends, family or relatives to give you a phone interview or practice mock calls. By doing this, you will gain confidence on how you would answer Interview questions or improve your Telephone skills. If you pass the Phone Interview, they will ask you to come for an examination and actual interview. If you fail, they often say that they will just call you back, but, they won't. So, don't whine, just practice again, then apply in a different Call Center.

9. Prepare for an Actual Interview - I would like to encourage you to get a partner, while he or she ask you some Interview Questions. Prepare for Interview Questions like, "How do you pacify an irate caller?" Practice makes perfect! If you don't have anyone to help you, better get a Video camera setup in front of you or just simply face a mirror. Because, this will help you see your mistakes crystal clear, as well as your mannerism and body language. You could prevent yourself from doing unlikely things while being Interviewed. Believe me or not, I've seen some people picking their nose, while they are being Interviewed. They said, they didn't know that they are doing it or perhaps, they are just very nervous at that time. Prepare your business casual attire, groom yourself and look great! Remember, this is your time to exude confidence and shine! 


10. Be Punctual. -If they tell you to come at 8 in the morning. Then, make sure that you sleep early the night before the Interview. Wake up as early as you can and gauge the travel time. I would suggest that It is better to be an hour earlier, than to be late for a minute. Being punctual shows how professional you are. If you come an hour earlier, you would still have time to fix yourself in their restrooms or eat snacks.

NOTE: These are just the 10 Important Things that you have to consider and remember, If you want to land a job in a Call Center. Now that you know, HOW TO ACE A CALL CENTER INTERVIEW. Don't get too excited yet. Because, on my next article, it's about the, "TOP 10 CALL CENTER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS"

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23 comments:

csseyah said...

Naku.. number 1 pa lang bagsak na ako hehehehe pero 2,3,4 kayang kaya naman :p heheh

lulu said...

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaHhhhhh sa excellent Communication skills pa lang ewan ko kung kakayanin ko :p

Lulu said...

nyc Info.. :) that's really a good knowledge to share.. :)

halojin said...

nice one jomi ^_^ malaki matutulong nito sa iba ^_^ Godbless you always hehe ako wala pa rin post!

isp101 said...

Hello Guys, I'm so happy you took time reading my new article! Tnx for dropping by! Hehehehe! =)

@csseyah -I also failed a couple of interviews before, that's why I wrote this article! Number 1 is now easy, since you have your own computer and internet, you already have your instant access to on-line dictionary, Free IELTS tutorials and exams, and to every tools you need to improve your communication skills! =)

@Lulu -You have tons of well written articles, I doubt you would still have problems with Number 1, If you still want to follow it, you can use the net! =)

@Jonjon -I was actually waiting for your new post, I went to your site 5x just this week, to check it out! But, I understand, I was actually almost sleepless last night, since, I had to finish this article. Due to very hectic schedule, my target is to write at least, one article a week! =P

Nonoy said...

Hi Jomi. I agree with all you said here. Applying for a call center agent should have the skills above. Perhaps you and your readers might want to check out my tips for job interviews, this is although focused in Cebu: Cebu Jobs

Jhiegzh said...

One thing I can add there, is wear business outfit, or formal wear during interview! This is my downfall way back I first applied in a call center! :(..I can remember I just wear tshirt, maong pants and vans shoes!

isp101 said...

@Nonoy -I just went to your site, read your very well said and cool advice on "How to land a Job in Cebu!". Tnx for droppin' by! =)

@Jhiegzh -I've approved your 2 comments, but It did just show the last comment you put in here. Anyways, I really agree that wearing something like business casual or formal outfit could really help! I've just added your .com domain, you can check it out under Blog Rolls, soon to be changed to "FRIENDS"... =)

lakwatsera de primera said...

Nice one, this is a very helpful post Jomi, thank you for sharing :)

lulu said...

hi jomi... I'm back hehehe everyday visiting na ito hahahaha :) thanks sa respond sa una kong comment here hehe sana nga kayanin ko hihihi

isp101 said...

@Claire -No problem, Tnx for dropping by! =)

@Lulu -Talagang EVERYDAY visiting?! Hehehe! Lolz!

Bugsy said...

Nice one JM! Good Job!

isp101 said...

@Bugsy -Hello Bugs! Tnx for dropping by! =)

csseyah said...

yo yoh yohh... gandang umaga bro

lulu said...

Hi jomi.. andito na naman ako at swempre Monday.. pasukan na naman sa school

isp101 said...

@Lulu and Csseyah -Hello, bride and groom! Hehehe! =P

nashee01 said...

hello po.. nagtry nko mag-apply online sa isang call canter, ininterview ako sa phone.. tapos pinapapunta nko for exam and interview..kaya lang i'm afraid eh.. huhu ewan ko kung bakit.. kc cguro first time ko palang... hndi pko aware sa mga ggwin ko dun.. saka baka lack of self confident na din.. pnu ko po ba to maoovercome?

isp101 said...

@nashee01 -Before you apply, do the steps I wrote above, and check out the TOP 10 CALL CENTER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS article, definitely, it will help! Huwag kang kabahan, kasi madali lang naman! =) You must have an excellent english communication skills, kasi babayaran ka nila para dito at ito ang magiging work mo araw-araw! 'Di pwede yung taglish, or mga pa sowsyal na accent. Kahit wala kang American accent, basta tama naman grammar mo and you are confident, madali lang talaga! Kaya nga, before you pass your resume online, make sure na ready kana talaga. You have to do self study, dapat very conversational ka both written and oral. Practice mo pagsagot sa mga interview questions, prepare for the phone and actual interview, mas maganda meron kang partner na magiging interviewer mo. You can ask your relatives or family members, dapat highly conversational din sila, para naman maitutuwid nila kung may mali man sa mga sagot or grammar mo. If you will ask me, kung wala ka ng problem sa communication skills mo, apply lang ng apply! You will gain confidence as you face the real world.. Ako nga, I also failed several times before I got hired, and I also gained self confidence. You have to believe in yourself, because, If you don't, how much more yung mga taong nag i interview sa'yo, di ba?! Cheer up! YOU CAN DO IT! =)

Helios said...

Thanks for the post dude,

Anonymous said...

hi i am enzo before it was hard for me to apply for a call center position but when i found you're website and read about the tip's i'm starting to gain again some confident. all of this tip's are true i've encountered it all and sad to say i fail. i hope with this tip's i will get the job because callcenter is a fast growing industry here. thank you for sharing us this article

isp101 said...

@Helios -You're welcome! Tnx for dropping by! =)

@Anonymous -Hello, Enzo! Don't be easily discouraged, there are now thousands of Call Center here in the Philippines. Try also going to my other post about, TOP 10 CALL CENTER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

http://www.isp101.net/2011/02/top-10-call-center-interview-questions.html

@Contact Center Philippines -No problem, tnx for dropping by! =)

beLLe said...

nice.. it was reaLLy nice.. I'm on the RIGHT PAGE! :)

Anonymous said...

this site really helps me a lot during the time that of my final interview really gives me a guide tnx keep on giving guides to other who needs assistance.... tnx a lot...

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