Whether you’re a fresh graduate or you’re shifting careers to become a call center agent, know that applying for this industry is no easy task. This post will share discuss call center interview tips for beginner applicants.
Make no mistake. Just because a call center company accepts high school graduate doesn’t mean it’s going to accept anyone who submits a resume. On the other hand, you could be a graduate a 4-year course but that doesn’t mean you have a better chance of landing the job than a high school graduate.
In most call center hiring process, as long as you’ve met the qualification, then you’re just as good as everyone else.
So what gives?
Here’s what: Pay no attention to the fact that you’re the only high school graduate or the one with the lowest educational attainment among your co-applicants. It doesn’t matter!
Here’s a complete list of call center job hunting tips every beginner applicants should know before heading to their job interview.
Call Center Interview Tips for Beginner Applicants: A Complete Guide
1. English fluency
What about call scripts?
Some accounts use call scripts, some don’t. But never assume that the use of call scripts has something to do with the agents’ poor fluency of the English language, because it doesn’t. Call centers use scripts for accounts that require accurate use of words and statements, (example: call center companies which clients are banks).
The fact is simple: call center agents land their job because they can speak English fluently.
How to improve your English:
Listen to native English speakers speak or to someone with a neutral accent.
How effective exactly is listening?
Tremendously effective. In fact, of all methods (reading, writing, and listening) used to learn a new language, listening proves to be the most effective.
Think about it, listening was how we learned our native language. As toddlers, dictionary and books were irrelevant to us and yet, it’s the stage when we all first learned how to speak. And with the correct accent too!
Free resources to listen to:
Movies (with subtitles), podcasts, YouTube, and other English listening materials will be of great help to you. Through listening, you can hear the distinction of enunciation and accent that you’d never noticed when reading or writing.
While listening will help you greatly with the accent and pronunciation, reading will help you with vocabulary. Being a non-native English speaker, you might not be able to understand idioms, slang, and words that a native English speaker use on a daily basis.
While movies are great on showing daily conversation, the words disappears before you can look them up the meaning in the dictionary. Reading gives you time to research and commit expressions and words into memory.
If you’re still a little bit unsure of your English, here’s an article I wrote for you: So You Wanna Work in a Call Center but Your English is Bad?
2. Call center interview questions
Some say that preparing for interview questions is unnecessary, that you should just answer from the heart, and just let the words flow.
But if you’re a beginner, with no experience whatsoever in a job interview, you’d do better if you make an effort to prepare for the questions. It’s not rocket science, it’s logic. Unless you’re really confident with your communication skills and you know exactly the meaning behind each interview question, then by all means, don’t worry about it.
But if it’s the opposite, then prepare for it.
The key is to not memorize your answer word for word. The key is to know the interviewer’s intent in each interview question. For example, Tell me something about yourself, isn’t really asking about your address and civil status. It’s asking something about you that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, about what makes you a qualified candidate for the position.
Once you know this, you’ll never answer, “I’m Anna, 21 years old, I live in Quezon City and I’m single.”
Instead, you’ll say, “I’m Anna. I was a former service crew in SM. As a service crew, my tasks includes dealing with customers 75% of the time, making sure they’re satisfied with my service…”
Now if you’re applying as a Customer Service Representative, then this answer will signal your interviewer that you’re right for the job, since you’ve indicated your experience in customer service.
If you want the list of the common call center interview questions and answers, read this: Call Center Interview Questions & Answers You Need to Know to Pass
3. Your body language
It’s not all about what you say, it’s also about what you don’t say. Let’s say the interviewer asks, “How confident are you that you can do this job?”
And you say, “I’m absolutely confident that I can perform the job and even exceed your expectations,” however, while saying this, you stare at the ceiling, you slouch in your seat and fidget. Do you think your answer is convincing the interviewer?
It doesn’t matter how good your words are if your non-verbal language is saying the opposite. Sure, fidgeting could be attributed to nervousness, but eye contact is a must. It has a lot of impact on how the interviewer is going to view you as a candidate. I know a recruiter who makes it as a number one rule to not hire an applicant who doesn’t meet his eyes during the whole interview.
To him, it’s a sure sign that he’ll surely have trust issues with that applicant in the future. Of course, that may not be the case. But it’s safe to say that most recruiters, if not all, do put a lot of weight on eye contact.
Smile is another important factor. Think about it, everytime you pass someone, say, a neighbor or an acquaintance, and you happen to make eye contacts, what’s the first thing you do? You smile. Even if it’s not a genuine one. It’s like an unwritten rule of being polite.
By smiling, you let the other person know that you acknowledge her presence without having to say a word. Whether it’s a fake or a genuine one, we smile all the time.
And when it comes to your job interviews, all the more reason to smile. The interviewer might terrify you, annoy you, or intimidate you, but at some points in the interview, you gotta smile because doing otherwise would raise too many red flags.
4. Tone of voice
The interviewer will put a lot of weight on your tone of voice. Customers won’t see you over the phone. But they’ll hear you. And through your tone of voice, that’s where customers will form their impression on you. And work you must, when it comes to improving your tone of voice.
I’m not saying you should practice to speak the perkiest of voice as if you’re high on caffeine. But some life on inflicted in your voice should do the trick. In short, talk like a real human and not like a lifeless talking device. The last thing you want your customers to ask you during the call is, “Are you a robot?”
Again, listening to native English speakers will help you a lot with your tone of voice.
5. Your dress code
A good rule of thumb is to inquire on the company’s recommended dress code. I’ve applied in some companies where I’ve worn jeans and I landed the job just fine. But there are companies (accounts like JP Morgan and some other banks) that require a specific dress code and that you must know beforehand. You don’t want to wear jeans in a company that strictly requires a corporate attire.
How long should you prepare before submitting a resume?
After you submit your resume, the interview will follow in just a matter of days. So I recommend that you do not submit your resume until you’re ready for an interview. Most applicants make the mistake of preparing right after they get the interview invitation. That’s a sure way to fail, especially if you’re a beginner. Don’t go to a war unarmed. That’s just suicide.
Sheina M. used to work in the call center industry for four years answering calls, emails, chats, and dealing with grumpy customers on a daily nightly basis. One day, she decided to retire from the BPO grind to just blog about job interview tips for call center applicants. You have a coming job interview? Check out her blog at pisopinoy.com.