Common Call Center & BPO Job Application Interview Questions
Learn about the call center interview questions that you will most likely encounter.
We recommend that you write down your answers and practice with a friend. You can also go to www.unliversity.com to take a free online course on how to answer the most common interview questions in the BPO industry.
Question 1: Tell me something about yourself
The interview proper usually opens with this question. It seems very simple, but this question is probably one of the least prepared for by interviewees. Do not take this question for granted because your answer to this question will set the course of the interview and will give your interviewer an idea of whether you are a good candidate or not.
Do not answer with information already found on your resume such as your name, address, and educational attainment. Focus on your achievements, strengths, and previous experiences while matching them to the specific qualifications listed on the job description instead. Since call center work involves dealing with people all day, emphasize on your people skills.
A good guideline is to use three parts and talk about your Present – Where you are now, your Past – Where you were before, and the Future – Where you want to be.
Your answer should be something like:
“At the moment I’m working as a service crew in a fast food restaurant and before that I worked as a sales clerk in a mall. I like helping different kinds of people. I am fascinated by the role of the Customer Service Representative so now I am looking for a job in the call center industry to further enhance my customer service skills.”
Make sure to answer this question in a way that gives your interviewer the idea that you are what they are looking for.
Question 2: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
When it comes to weaknesses, you don’t want to say that you don’t have any, as this will make you look conceited. It is best to say something unrelated to the job of a call center agent.
Relate your strengths to the required skills for a call center job to emphasize that you are a strong candidate. These include, but are not limited to: good communication skills, good listening skills, flexibility, excellent multitasking skills, and proficient web navigation skills. You may use simple phrases such as “I’m good at…” followed by a VERB plus I-N-G, “One of my strengths is that I am…” plus an adjective, or “One of my best strengths is that I have…” and a noun to create excellent answers to the question “What are your strengths?”.
Whatever you do, remember to POSITIVIZE EVERYTHING. It is you that you are talking about, so you want to associate yourself with good things.
For example, you might say:
“While I have a fear of heights, one of my strengths is that I am a great listener. I also have good communication skills and I’m good at working as part of the team.”
Be sure to answer this call center interview question with a lot of confidence.
Question 3: What’s your idea of a call center?
This question will most likely be asked if you do not have any call center experience yet. Interviewers use this question to measure your familiarity with the call center environment. Take this opportunity to highlight the main purpose of call centers and the role of call center agents in providing quality customer service. Express your general expectations of a call center job. Describe the specific work, such as selling if it’s a sales account or instructing callers if it’s a technical support account.
For example, your answer might be:
“To me, the role of a call center agent is to patiently listen to customer concerns and provide the best solutions over the phone. The call center industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country that provides great compensation, benefits, and career growth”
Again, POSITIVIZE EVERYTHING! Describe a great call center environment with flexible, helpful, and hardworking people.
Question 4: Why do you want to work in a call center?
This is another question that is usually directed to applicants with no previous call center experience. Do not make the mistake of answering this question by saying that you need money to help your family. Again, your interviewer wouldn’t want to hear that you’re in this just for the money. Also do not answer by saying that you want to improve your English. Since you are applying for a call center job, you should already be pretty confident with your English communication skills.
Explain that you have the skills necessary for call center work. Describe your previous school, work, or life experiences that may be relevant to the job. Experiences in resolving conflicts or working with customers should be mentioned in your response.
For example, you could say:
“I would like to work in a fast-paced environment where I can fulfill my desire to help people solve their problems and improve customer service experience. I love interacting with people and working with a team.”
In answering this call center interview question, relate your experiences to the company’s positive attributes.
Question 5: How do you define quality customer service?
Successful call center companies pride themselves with having kind, knowledgeable, and helpful agents who build their strong reputation. Your answer to this question should illustrate what good customer service looks like. It should demonstrate that quality customer service is treating customers with respect, putting their needs first, and aiming for overall satisfaction.
Your answer could sound something like this:
“Quality customer service is being able to provide customers with friendly yet professional assistance. It is not only about answering questions or providing solutions to problems, but it is also making the customer feel satisfied by the end of the call”
Remember that quality customer service is “Going above and beyond expectations.”
Question 6: How would you handle a call from an angry customer?
Dealing with angry callers is part of the everyday life of a call center agent. To be a successful customer service representative, you should know how to handle challenging customer calls. Being empathetic during the call is the key to coming up with a solution that will make the conversation end with a happy note.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is the act of putting yourself in others’ shoes and seeing a problem from their point of view. In customer service, empathy is the ability to have a human interaction with a customer. Most customer service failures involve a lack of empathy.
Therefore, you might answer:
“I think the first step is to stay calm and express to the customer that you understand them. I think it’s also important to remember that it is not personal and to do your best to put yourself in their shoes to be able to work towards the best solution”
Answer this question with empathy and respect in mind.
Question 7: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is not asking EXACTLY where you will be in 5 years. This common question is a way for the interviewer to know about your career goals and your level of commitment. They want to find out if you plan to stick around, or you are treating the call center job as a temporary stepping stone.
If you plan to move on quickly, the company is most likely not going to want to hire you. Tell the interviewer that in five years, you see yourself working for this very company but already in a higher, more challenging position.
For example, you might say:
“In 5 years, I see myself holding a senior position, training others in customer service, and handling a team of my own”
Let the interviewer know that your goals in life are in line with the company’s objectives.
Question 8: Why did you leave your last job?
Employers will ALWAYS want to know why people change jobs. Maybe you left under unusual circumstances and don’t want to share the whole truth, or perhaps you have a firm reason why you left your last job. Either way, you want to make sure that you have a good answer to this common call center interview question.
Honesty is the best policy. However, as mentioned in the dos and don’ts, avoid speaking negatively about your former employer.
Your response could be:
“I have been at my current job for 3 years now and have learned a lot from interacting with different kinds of people. However, I am starting to feel like I need some new challenges and I am interested in this call center position because the fast-paced environment will give me new challenges and opportunities to develop my people skills”
You usually change jobs because your opportunities are limited, and you want to grow. It’s the best answer to this question. Again, POSITIVIZE EVERYTHING!
Question 9: What is your expected salary?
Employers eventually bring up the topic of pay at some point in the interview process. Sometimes they ask this question during the initial interview, or they may hold off on discussing compensation until the final interview. Although it is one of the most straightforward questions that are asked during a call center interview, it can be stressful to talk about money. Manage this stress by preparing ahead of time—research on the average compensation for call center agents with your level of experience.
As much as possible, do not answer this call center interview question with a figure. Instead, say that you are okay with whatever the company sees fit to give you. The only time that you should provide a figure is if the interviewer asks you to give one. Keep it within a flexible and reasonable range. Do not aim too low, or you may end up making less than you deserve and giving the impression that you have low self-esteem. A good practice is to come up with a figure that is a few thousand higher than the industry average while.
For example, you might answer:
“I am flexible and open to hearing about the company’s compensation and benefits for this position.”
If asked for a figure:
“While I am certainly flexible, I am looking to receive between fifteen to twenty thousand pesos given my skill set and experience level. I feel that this is a comfortable and appropriate range for my work.”
In the Philippines, fifteen to twenty thousand pesos is a good range for an entry-level applicant. If you already have extensive experience in the call center industry, feel free to give a figure right away when answering the question.
Question 10: Do you have any questions?
Unfortunately, the most common answer to this question is “No,” and it is not the right answer. This question not only allows you to learn more about the position and the company. It also shows that you are interested in becoming a part of their team.
Gather a few questions while doing your homework on the company and the position. Here are some questions you might want to ask as well as some follow up responses to promote yourself even more:
“Could you describe a typical day in this job?”. This is so you can have an idea and see if you really want it or not. A potential follow up response could be: “I’ve been exposed to both structured and unstructured work environments, so I feel like I can easily adapt to this kind of work day.”
“What are you looking for in a candidate?”. This is a good question because it gets you clear answers and give you more opportunity to show that you are what they are looking for. A good follow up response might be: “I think that I have those qualities and I’m excited to show it more to the company.”
“What is your timeline for hiring for this position?”. There is always a volume of job openings in call centers so they are looking for someone who is available at once. Therefore, a follow up should be something like: “That sounds great. I’m available to start as soon as possible.”
So go ahead and prepare your answers to the question, “Do you have any questions?"