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Call Center Interview
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25 Questions and Answers by Clara Canon
| Clara is a career coaching expert and has supported individuals landing positions in education, nonprofit, corporate, and beyond.

Question 1 of 25

When have you quit a job before? What made you quit?

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Call Center Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    When have you quit a job before? What made you quit?

      This question might feel a bit intrusive, but it can come up - especially in positions experiencing turnover. Your interviewer might ask this to understand what might motivate you to leave a position and try to anticipate whether or not you will stay in the role short term or long term. When preparing a response to this question, reflect on your employment history and when you have left a job. Try to share an example that does not paint you or the employer in a negative light. Remember, you want to assure the interviewer that you are the right candidate for the job and that they can count on you.

      Clara's Answer

      "I took a semester off to work between my sophomore and junior years of college, and in that time I worked in a retail position. I informed them in my interview that I would be returning to school the following January, so I was extremely flexible to work any schedule through the holidays. They appreciated my honesty upfront, so when December arrived I was able to work with my supervisor and colleagues on a transition plan for those taking over my tasks upon my departure. I actually really enjoyed the job and was sad to leave, though I greatly appreciated the leadership I was able to learn from and the experience I gained while there."

  2. 2.

    Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to help a customer.

      Providing quality customer service is a key component of working in a call center, so your interviewer will need to picture you fitting in that role. When responding to something like this, you want to make it as easy as possible for the interviewer to picture you thriving in the role. So, prior to your interview, be sure to prepare a few examples of your experience in customer service. Outline the circumstances, what was needed, what you did, and what the outcome was. Try to keep your stories succinct to avoid getting off track.

      Clara's Answer

      "I was a barista in my senior year of college, and I always had the early morning shift. I quickly learned who our 'regulars' were, and one day one of them came looking for decaf. At the time, we didn't make decaf in the mornings since no one ever ordered it, but this customer mentioned that they were making the switch for health reasons. I apologized for not having it available at the moment and offered to make some right away if they were able to wait. The next morning, they slowly approached the counter and asked how long the wait would be for decaf. I anticipated her timely arrival, so I already had a batch ready and poured a cup right there. I noticed a visible sigh of relief, and I knew that this small task on my part had a big impact on her experience and loyalty with our coffee shop. This continued for a couple of days, when finally she brought in a group of friends to try out her 'favorite coffee shop' as she said. They all became loyal customers after that! The whole experience reminded me that paying attention to customers and responding to their needs can really go a long way, even if what you're doing feels small."

  3. 3.

    We have a range of shifts here, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. What is your availability like? Are you flexible with when you are scheduled?

      Call centers can have a range of operating hours depending on the company and who they serve, so your interviewer might ask you about your availability and schedule flexibility. You want to demonstrate that you are a team player and will be adaptable to their needs, yet you also need to be upfront about any conflicts or boundaries you may have. When responding to this question, demonstrate that you are flexible and ideally share minimal schedule conflicts. You may also share your preference for shifts while stating that you are open to what the team needs.

      Clara's Answer

      "My schedule is extremely flexible, and I am able to work on evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed. I only have one Saturday morning each month when I am unavailable, otherwise I am completely open and flexible to whatever you need."

  4. 4.

    What do you think your first impression is like to others?

      This can be a difficult question to answer in an interview, especially when you are in the process of trying to make a good first impression on the interviewer! Preparing your thoughts on this sort of question in advance will help keep you from feeling stumped. You can ask friends, colleagues, or a local barista what they think your first impression is like to give you some external feedback. You may also respond to this question by sharing what you anticipate people's perceptions are as well as what impression you strive to give.

      Clara's Answer

      "I aim to make a positive first impression on others, and I like to think I do a pretty good job of that on a consistent basis. I maintain pretty positive energy and carry myself with confidence, and my tone and mannerisms contribute to my approachability."

  5. 5.

    Would you say you are a better verbal or written communicator?

      Good communication skills are expected in a call center role, so you should be strong in each of these areas. That said, you may feel more confident in one over the other. When responding to this question, start by briefly indicating your skill in each area before sharing which is stronger. Your interviewer might be asking this question to indicate where you would best fit on their team, so answer authentically to ensure the best fit for both you and the employer.

      Clara's Answer

      "I am a strong written and verbal communicator with several years of professional experience using both, though if I had to choose I would say that I am a better verbal communicator. I choose verbal because I really enjoy connecting with others, and I feel that I am able to better meet someone's needs when I can modify my communication in real time. I am confident in my ability to engage audiences and individuals with my captivating, almost storytelling way of speaking and sharing information."

  6. 6.

    Tell me about an example that highlights your determination to complete your tasks.

      Interviewers often ask for specific examples from your experience to speak to certain skills and qualifications needed in the position. The best way to prepare for these questions is to review the job description and highlight key skills, qualifications, and experience they desire. Then, make a list of examples where you prove your credentials in each area and practice how you describe those examples. In this case, you are asked to speak to your determination to complete tasks. It will be helpful to briefly set the scene for them, mention any challenges, outline how you persevere to achieve your goals, and share the general outcome.

      Clara's Answer

      "In my current position, I take calls for a mid-sized business. During one of our biggest events of the year, our computer system completely shut down. We were still receiving incoming calls, but we weren't able to access our system to walk through the call process with our customers. Instead of letting my stress and circumstance impact the customer experience, I took a minute to think of how I could pivot my approach. I knew the system like the back of my hand, and I had some resources on my desktop that I could use to help. I started my calls in a calm and positive tone and took notes on my calls by hand to ensure that I captured customer information and could enter it in the system later. Using my visual memory and the resources on my desktop, I was able to seamlessly support customers through each call until the system was back up. At the end of the day, I entered all of the information I had taken down by hand and safely discarded the physical copies."

  7. 7.

    When have you attempted to resolve a customer complaint before?

      Working in a call center, resolving customer complaints is a big part of the job. So, your interviewer will want to understand your experience level with this aspect of customer service. Be prepared for questions like this by reviewing your resume and highlighting relevant skills and examples from your work. To help you narrow down which skills to focus on, you may refer to the job description for any key qualifications they are seeking. When sharing your response, explain the situation, how you supported, and what the outcome was, and try to keep it positive!

      Clara's Answer

      "In a previous retail position, I had a very angry customer approach me and share that he had received the incorrect order. He told me that he had ordered a custom door set for his home with help from one of our associates, and the hardware had arrived for the wrong door direction. I waited patiently for him to fully express his frustration and situation, which allowed him to feel heard and also gave me time to process what he was saying. I apologized for the confusion and offered to looking into it immediately by searching his order. I noticed that the order was completely correct, but instead of combatting him I simply asked to see the hardware. Then, I walked him over to one of our displays and compared it to his product. He quickly realized that he had the right product after all, and he immediately cooled down and even apologized. I told him to come see us anytime with questions, concerns, or anything else. He left a much happier customer!"

  8. 8.

    How would your former coworkers describe you?

      Your interviewer likely has a good grasp on your skills and general experience from your resume and application, so now they want to get to know more about you, your personality, and how well you work with others. Understanding how coworkers perceive you, and how you handle this question, will give them a lot of useful information about how you might integrate into their team. When responding to a question like this, you want to strike a balance between describing your skills as an employee and also your personality. Be authentic in your response, because interviewers will likely ask a similar question to your references.

      Clara's Answer

      "My former coworkers would definitely describe me as someone who brings positive energy into the work environment. I recall times when I would take a day off or a brief vacation and come back to my colleagues telling me that they missed my good vibes in my absence. In addition, I believe that they would describe me as eager to collaborate and seek feedback."

  9. 9.

    Tell me about a time when you have worked under pressure. How did you handle it?

      You will likely be asked about scenarios that are relevant to what you might experience on the job. Your interviewer will use these questions to gain a better understanding of who you are as an employee and how you navigate different circumstances. Prepare for questions like these by studying your resume prior to the interview and reflecting upon your experience. You want to be able to easily reference multiple examples from different points in your work history to share the depth of your experience.

      Clara's Answer

      "Last year, I was working in a retail position at a mall around the holiday season. It was my first retail holiday season, so I wasn't sure what to expect. In early December, we started to get extremely busy, and at first it felt like I was never able to recharge since we were so busy day after day. It seemed like the busier we were, the more rude and impatient our customers would become. I worked hard to maintain my positive, customer-focused attitude throughout. After the first full week, I was cleaning up after closing with my supervisor. I asked for advice on how to maintain my energy and disposition for the duration of the season, and he had great advice. He told me that a lot of my experience will come down to my attitude, so I need to consider how I'm framing my time. The next day, I got myself a gingerbread latte to get in the spirit and reminded myself that I had the power to spread more joy and make a stressful time more enjoyable for our customers. From that point on, it almost felt as though I was dancing through each day - and they started to fly by!"

  10. 10.

    Where do you see yourself in a year from now? 5 years from now?

      This is a fairly common interview question, especially in positions where there might either be a lot of opportunity for growth or conversely a lot of turnover. Prior to your interview, take some time to think about where you want to be in the future. What position, location, skills, traits, or qualifications do you want? Now, think about what steps you will take to achieve your goals as well as how this position and this company will help you get there.

      Clara's Answer

      "I think about this question often, and I feel that the answer is regularly evolving as my aspirations continue to grow. I am most interested in finding stability in my workplace while having an opportunity to grow and develop in new roles with new responsibilities. A year from now, I hope to be here in this position having developed my skills and learned new ones from leadership and colleagues. Five years from now, I hope to have worked my way up to a managerial position within the company, using the experience and professional development earned along the way to get me there."

  11. 11.

    How do you strive to improve your interactions with customers?

      There are many things you can do to continuously improve your customer service, and your interviewer wants to see that you take that initiative on your own. If you don't currently work directly with customers, then think of relatable examples you can share or what you anticipate doing in the role. This might include requesting feedback regularly from your supervisor or colleagues, taking time to ask how your customers are doing, being intentional about calling them by name and ensuring you pronounce it correctly, and so on. Use this question to demonstrate to the interviewer that you take initiative and strive to provide excellent customer service.

      Clara's Answer

      "This is something I am working to improve on a daily basis. I believe there is always room to provide better interactions with customers, so I start by meeting regularly with my supervisor and close colleagues to seek feedback and advice on my interactions. Additionally, I try to be as present as possible in our conversations, so I eliminate distractions from my workspace. Finally, I aim to make my interactions personal for each customer, so I will make a point to ask how they're doing and repeat their name throughout the conversation. I am always looking for new ways to improve, so if you also have suggestions then I'd love to hear them!"

  12. 12.

    Why do you believe you will make a great call center employee?

      Interviewers often ask for a brief 'elevator pitch' about yourself and why you'd make a good fit, especially in customer service-oriented positions. Avoid getting caught-up by a simple question like this by preparing your response in advance. Consider your skills, experience, personality, and any other key qualifications that will make you a great employee. Review the job description to integrate what they are looking for into your response.

      Clara's Answer

      "In addition to my extensive customer service experience, I have a genuinely positive and charismatic personality. I am truly passionate about helping others, and I believe that my ability to navigate the technical elements of the job with grace, good energy, and passion make me a great candidate."

  13. 13.

    Call centers require excellent customer service and communication with no face-to-face contact. What is most important for you to convey over the phone to customers?

      With this question, the interviewer is seeking to understand how you maintain quality customer service and 'approachability' over the phone specifically. Consider what you do differently or pay more attention to over the phone than you do in person. When preparing for the interview, it can help to record yourself practicing conversations with 'customers' to play back and take notes on what you do and how you sound.

      Clara's Answer

      "The most important thing for me to convey is authenticity and respect. By the time many customers connect with us, they are stressed, frustrated, or burdened by an issue. In order to help them as thoroughly as possible and leave them feeling good about our company and service, it is important that my voice carries less of a fake, robotic tone and more of an authentic and respectful tone. I think this makes a big difference in how customers respond, so I do my best to maintain that tone in every call."

  14. 14.

    How many words per minute are you capable of typing?

      Often, you will be tasked with taking notes or exploring inquiries in real time, so you will need to have strong typing skills. That involves quickly resolving challenges and closing out cases in order to support as many people as efficiently as possible. You should have an idea of how many words per minute you are able to type prior to your interview. You can easily find a typing test online to give yourself a ballpark range. Compare this with whatever you find they require in the job description. Your answer to this question should be fairly concise and to-the-point, though you may also add that you are interested in continuing to improve your typing skills since it is such an asset to your career.

      Clara's Answer

      "I last tested my typing speed about a month ago, and I found that I was able to successfully reach 82 words per minute. That said, I generally type around 76 words per minute when I am simultaneously on a phone call."

  15. 15.

    What type of manager gets the best performance from you?

      Generally, we have to learn how to work with whatever manager we have, but there are many different management styles out there that might motivate us better than others. With a question like this, your interviewer wants to gauge how well you might work with your anticipated supervisor. Answering questions like this truthfully will ultimately be best for both you and the employer, so be sure to answer honestly. If you aren't sure what management style you best resonate with, then reflect back on your favorite managers or even teachers and think of what qualities and characteristics they had that you valued.

      Clara's Answer

      "I have worked well with a wide range of leadership styles, and I believe that I have something to learn from all of my supervisors. That said, I believe I respond best to managers that maintain open, honest communication, are firm with deliverables and deadlines, and listen to and trust their employees. I appreciate being able to approach my supervisor when needed while also being consistently held accountable."

  16. 16.

    How would you rate your previous supervisor? What things did they do well and what things did they do poorly?

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  17. 17.

    Describe something you are very passionate or knowledgeable about in less than a minute, and offer as much detail as possible.

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  18. 18.

    How would you handle the tasks you need to complete when you have multiple responsibilities to take care of?

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  19. 19.

    Tell me about a time when you took on a new course to study in order to improve your own work performance.

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  20. 20.

    How would your coworkers describe your attention to detail?

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  21. 21.

    How are you at navigating a wide range of personalities at work?

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  22. 22.

    What do you dislike the most about working in a call center?

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  23. 23.

    Why do you want to work for our company?

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  24. 24.

    Tell me about a time when you demonstrated a great deal of patience on the job.

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  25. 25.

    How do you handle an angry customer?

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