Much more than simple centers to manage interactions with your customers and partners, call centers provide a service that is crucial to the customer experience. Selecting the candidates who will reflect the image of your company is an important decision. Find in this Capterra article 5 interview questions to help you.

This article was first published in August 2019 and updated in January 2021.

Each of the contacts established between your customers and your company represents an opportunity to improve your reputation and promote your services and/or products. This is why the mission of call center agents requires special attention. Named call centers in English, however, call centers face a major challenge: a high replacement rate, or turnover, of employees compared to other sectors.

Faced with an environment with heavy call flows and including the management of sometimes difficult customers, candidates who are not prepared for this type of challenge can quickly see their initial motivation decrease. This can not only lead you to make considerable efforts in terms of recruitment, but also make it difficult for your teams to ensure a rotation to cover the positions to be filled. Successful recruitment helps ensure an optimal customer experience, just as it can help you avoid the stress and costs associated with repeated recruitments. Capterra invites you to discover 5 targeted questions to help recruit profiles adapted to your needs. 

What are the top 5 questions to ask in a call center interview?

How do you make sure you have chosen the right person? First, by asking the right questions during the job interview.

A CV and a cover letter allow you to understand the background of a candidate, that’s for sure; but nothing like a face-to-face interview to determine if he has the right personality to join your team. Thanks to this step, you will be able to assess the expectations of your candidates as well as their proactivity, a valuable asset in the world of call centers. Here are 5 questions to ask candidates looking to join your call center. These can help you determine the profile that meets your expectations and those of your teams.

1. What part of the job description prompted you to apply?

If a candidate has read your job description and knows how to reuse elements of it to support their answer, this is a very good sign: it indicates that they are particularly interested and are not just applying for anything he finds online. In addition to this element, the answer to this question can also direct you to what the candidate is looking for in a call center position, and if he could correspond to the profile you expect to complete your team. 

Plus, finding out what appeals to candidates can help you tailor and improve your ads. For example, if a candidate tells you they applied because your company has a fixed schedule, be sure to include that information in future ads.

2. What attracts you to our company?

If the candidate answers in a specific way, it means that he has already heard of your company or carried out research before applying: an additional clue that can direct you to his motivation and his preparation. Answering this question also lets you know more about what candidates are looking for in a company, such as their preferred work environment. It’s also a good way to see your company from an outside perspective and find out what its reputation is with candidates.

If the candidate is enthusiastic and compliments your company, you don’t have to worry. But if they’re having trouble responding to you, you may need to work on your company’s reputation to attract better candidates.

3. Let’s say I’m a customer. I call you and I’m furious. How are you handling the situation?

Dealing with an angry customer is one of the situations encountered by an agent in a call center. Knowing how to manage this scenario is therefore crucial for your candidates. But if you just ask them how they would handle it, most candidates will tell you that they know how to handle these kinds of calls. Standard responses can be phrased like this: “First, I will listen to what the customer has to say, take notes, and find a solution that meets company standards.”

While the pressure of a job interview isn’t quite the same as the pressure of a call from an irate customer, faking a call can give you clues as to the candidate’s level of composure. Prepare a script by incorporating real-life lines gleaned over time from your agents. During this simulation, attention should be paid to these 5 criteria:

  • Your
  • Listening skills
  • Attention
  • Patience
  • Empathy

Soft skills are much more difficult to acquire, and training someone to actively listen and maintain a pleasant tone can be difficult and time-consuming. Ideally, your recruitment should help you retain a candidate who already knows how to react diplomatically to this kind of situation.

4. How do you provide excellent customer service?

Several answers to this question exist, but only one wrong answer remains. If the candidate cannot provide any examples or explanations, this may be cause for concern. Because indeed, it is generally at this time that the candidate can highlight his skills in terms of customer relationship management . Perhaps he will talk about his ability to listen or his excellent time management to solve problems quickly. Or maybe he will address his in-depth knowledge of the product or service. 

But if he looks caught off guard, it could mean a lack of experience in the field or that he doesn’t prioritize personal development.

5. Can you tell me about a tense situation that you handled particularly well or badly?

In a call center, working under pressure is part of everyday life. Sudden flow of calls, customers more annoyed than each other: keeping your cool is essential.

Let the candidate describe a difficult situation, the steps they took and the results they achieved.

If the candidate has call center experience, he will have many anecdotes to share. You can therefore obtain information on his ability to manage the stress of the job.

If the candidate tells you about a case resolved positively, you will be able to judge for yourself what he considers to be a good strategy and have the first leads on the adequacy of his profile to your expectations.

In the case of sharing a badly managed callus, your candidate undoubtedly has an essential quality: that of self-assessment. However, if he has no anecdote to share, questions may remain about his knowledge or his ability to use his skills. Finally, if they present you with a balanced learning case, that means they can be trained in your customer service techniques .

Make the good choice

These 5 questions will help you determine a candidate’s level of interest, ability to maintain composure, and your company’s reputation in the job market.

This information will allow you to identify candidates capable of self-assessment, learning, but also receiving constructive criticism, three crucial qualities for any new employee. Choosing a person who can represent your image, adapt to your teams and your workflow can be synonymous with saving time and resources over time.

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