The country’s BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry is continuously growing and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Thousands of Filipinos are working as call center agents since the job usually comes with benefits and offers a high starting rate than most jobs in the Philippines.
Are you one of the Filipinos who aspire to work as a call center agent? Read this guide to prepare better and eventually pass any call center interview.
Note: This article was created in collaboration with Sheina Mendez, the vlogger behind the popular YouTube channel, Kwestyon, which aims “to help call center applicants ace their job interview, improve their call handling skills, and survive their call center life.”
Table of Contents
- How To Prepare for a Call Center Interview: 5 Tips
Sample Call Center Interview Questions and Answers
- 1. Tell me something about yourself
- 2. What do you know about a call center?
- 3. Why do you want to work as a call center agent?
- 4. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses
- 5. Why are you qualified to work in a call center?
- 6. What do you know about our company?
- 7. What achievement/s in your life are you most proud of?
- 8. What are your main goals in life?
- 9. How do you see yourself five years from now?
- 10. How do you describe quality customer service?
- 11. What are the ideal skills of a call center agent?
- 12. Why did you leave your previous workplace?
- 13. Why is teamwork important in the call center industry?
- 14. How do you handle stress?
- 15. How will you handle an upset customer?
- 16. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t hire you.
- 17. How long do you plan to stay in our company?
- 18. Do you have any questions for us?
- Out-of-the-box questions
- Tips and Warnings
How To Prepare for a Call Center Interview: 5 Tips
1. Dress Well
Make sure that you look presentable when you show up for the interview. Follow the required dress code and ensure you pick professional clothes that fit you well and feel comfortable.
Moreover, refrain from wearing strong perfume as some interviewers might be repulsive of it.
2. Mind Your Behavior and Body Language
Always be on your best behavior during interviews. Try not to make it obvious if you’re feeling nervous or uncomfortable. Practice having the correct posture when walking, sitting, or standing because it can definitely help you build confidence.
Train yourself not to be too conscious about your answers. You must not be tense so that your answers will naturally flow. Remember to maintain eye contact during the interview and keep a smile on your face.
You should look confident, composed, and at the same time, approachable during the interview.
3. Polish Your Grammar and Pronunciation
Read articles and books that can help you determine the correct uses of verbs, tenses, and more. You can also learn how to pronounce words correctly through Youtube tutorials and online dictionaries.
Once you’re ready, there are various quizzes and exams that you can take to reinforce everything that you’ve learned.
Furthermore, reduce stuttering when speaking. Try speaking slowly so you can pronounce the words properly. You may record yourself when practicing speaking and look for words or phrases that you have trouble pronouncing.
If you want to improve your pronunciation and avoid some common mistakes (e.g., the word “of” must sound like it has a “v”), watch the video below:
Aside from the pronunciation of words, the intonation or “tone” of how we say them also matters. For this reason, it’s important that you master the proper intonation for expressing different types of sentences. For example, if you’re asking a question, it must be clear that your tone is rising.
For more tips on improving your intonation, please refer to the video below.
4. Learn How To Perform Well Under Stress
Handling angry customers is certainly not a walk in the park. However, if you work on maintaining composure and staying alert even when you’re under stress, then you’re the perfect person for the job.
5. Study About the Company and Job You’re Applying For
Before the interview, research as much as you can about the company you’ve applied to. Learn more about its history, important milestones, what it’s like working for them, and what they’re known for. Take note that the company’s website and job posting will give you a lot of valuable information, so don’t forget to check them out1.
Sample Call Center Interview Questions and Answers
1. Tell me something about yourself
The answer to this question is a good indicator of an applicant’s potential.
When answering it, make sure to be yourself so your personality will shine through. Time’s precious in an interview, so make sure not to waste any by telling the interviewer things that are already included in the resume. Delivering your response to this question within 60 to 90 seconds is advisable.
Sample answer: “I’m a person with varied interests. When I’m not doing anything, I like to paint nature and animals. I also have great cooking skills, which I’ve learned from my mom. I love reading books and watching movies because I feel like I’m transported to a different world with each book and movie.”
If you have prior working experience that you think is related to being a Customer Service Representative, you may include it in your introduction. Briefly mention what you did in your previous work, especially how you interact with the customers.
2. What do you know about a call center?
This question is asked during interviews to check if the applicant has a correct or at least a realistic idea of how a call center works. It must be noted that questions like this one are usually asked if the applicant has no call center experience yet.
Sample answer: “I know that a call center is where people ask for support when facing issues and problems with a product or service. It’s where representatives help customers to the best of their ability to find answers to their questions and fix issues they’ve encountered while using the product or service. It’s also a place where people work on flexible schedules and different job functions.”
3. Why do you want to work as a call center agent?
It’s another question asked only if an applicant has zero call center work experience.
Being honest and sincere is important when answering this question. So, if your reason is to earn higher for yourself or your family, it’s totally fine to say it2. However, don’t focus too much on the money matter; instead, you can steer the conversation by stating that you also aspire to build a career in the BPO industry.
You shouldn’t also say that you just want to work there to improve your English language skills. Call center agents should already be skilled and well-spoken in the first place.
Instead, discuss your skills, experiences, and what you can offer.
Sample answer: “I believe that working as a Customer Service Representative allows me to earn enough to sustain my family’s daily needs and my brother’s education. Furthermore, this job can also give me opportunities to build my career and have a better future.“
4. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses
Companies want to hear what you can bring to the team and what might negatively affect your work. Enumerate all your strengths that will be useful in a call center company. You can be honest about your weaknesses but avoid oversharing lest you leave a negative first impression. Meanwhile, do not say that you have no weaknesses, as it sounds lame and insincere.
Sample answer: “I’m very skilled in using Microsoft Office. I can handle upset customers well since I have a calm and soothing voice. One weakness that I can think of is being a perfectionist.”
5. Why are you qualified to work in a call center?
Your answer to this question should be inspired by the previous questions. As much as possible, enumerate all the things that you can offer to the company.
Sample answer: “I have all the necessary English language skills of a call center agent like pronunciation, grammar, and creativity. I’ve also done many volunteer work through the years, which greatly honed my communication skills.“
6. What do you know about our company?
Have the edge over other applicants by knowing more about the company you’ll be applying for. Do your research and ask around about all the important things you should know about the company. This way, you can show the recruiter that you’re eager to work and render your services to the company.
Sample answer: “From what I’ve read, this company is concerned about its employees’ welfare. The benefits plus the huge career growth opportunities drew me to this company. A great workplace knows how to take care of its people.”
7. What achievement/s in your life are you most proud of?
When answering this question, think about the day when you felt the happiest and most fulfilled.
It doesn’t have to be about status, grades, or recognition. Share to the employer/recruiter a memorable feat that you achieved through sheer hard work and a great work ethic. Be honest because you’ll sound more enthusiastic and inspiring if you’re being sincere.
Sample answer: “My most cherished achievement is when I emerged as one of the passers with the highest scores in the civil service exam. I didn’t have much time to prepare, so achieving that impossible feat will always be memorable for me.”
8. What are your main goals in life?
Do a quick rundown of your short-term goals and briefly discuss your long-term plans. Show that you’re someone with ambition and how that drive to succeed will translate to great performance on the work floor. Provide as many details as possible without making your answer way longer than necessary.
Sample answer: “My short-term goal is to be a part of this wonderful company for as long as possible. A couple of years after achieving financial stability, I’m thinking of opening my own bar. Some of my long-term plans include getting promoted several times and eventually becoming a supervisor.”
9. How do you see yourself five years from now?
Answering this question is quite tricky and might even make or break your destiny as a potential company employee. However, you can answer honestly so you and the company will be on the same page regarding objectives and goals.
It’s highly recommended that you stay in the company for the next five years as most BPO firms prefer applicants who are willing to devote more years with them rather than those who’ll be quitting soon.
Learn more about how to answer this question through the video below.
Sample answer: “I see myself still working in this company but at a higher position.”
10. How do you describe quality customer service?
The reason behind this question is very simple: employers just want to know if your idea of customer service aligns with theirs. Even if you didn’t work in a call center before, it’s not an excuse since the principles of quality customer service are universal and span different industries.
Sample answer: “A quality customer service involves an agent who goes out of his way just to provide what the customer needs or wants. He ensures that customers who need help will be taken care of as soon as possible and to the best of his ability.”
11. What are the ideal skills of a call center agent?
You’re being tested if you know what it takes to be a call center agent. Be honest and include everything you can think of.
Sample answer: “A good call center agent is a quick thinker, adept at technical knowledge, internet-savvy, and a great problem solver.”
12. Why did you leave your previous workplace?
As much as possible, be honest and state only the facts without bad-mouthing your former company. Tell them that you’re looking for other opportunities for growth and success when you left your previous workplace.
Sample answer: “I want to start something new that can help me develop my skills and grow as a professional. I want to always challenge myself and never stop improving my skills and developing new ones.”
13. Why is teamwork important in the call center industry?
Teamwork plays a pivotal role in succeeding in the call center, and the interviewer wants to know if you’re aware of it. Answer honestly since there are no right or wrong answers.
Sample answer: “Teamwork is highly important in the call center industry since each team usually has to meet a performance level or quota daily. Working together will help all the team members reach their goals as a team.”
14. How do you handle stress?
The call center industry is not for the faint of heart. You’ll be receiving complicated issues and angry callers from time to time. Of course, the company wants to know if you can handle that and still provide your services.
Sample answer: “I try to stay as calm as possible and do breathing exercises if the stress is getting too much. I always do my best to always remain calm in any situation and never let stress get the best of me.”
15. How will you handle an upset customer?
Inform the interviewer about things you would and wouldn’t do to improve the situation while still providing a wonderful service to the customer.
Sample answer: “First, I’d stay calm despite the situation and empathize with the customer, letting her know that I’m here to help with whatever’s causing the problems. We’ll come up with a solution together.”
16. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t hire you.
The interviewer is testing your creativity skills and how fast you can think. There are no right or wrong answers so just say what comes first to your mind, as long as it’s appropriate and does not make you appear haughty and proud.
Sample answer: “If you’re not looking for a trainable person who can easily adapt to a new working environment, then you should definitely not hire me.”
17. How long do you plan to stay in our company?
Most BPO companies prefer their employees to stay in them for a long time. So make sure that your answer will assure them that you’ll not leave them soon. Never mention anything about transferring to another company or switching careers after several years.
Sample answer: “As long as your company needs my service and I can provide them to you, I will stay in your company.“
18. Do you have any questions for us?
Interviews often end with this question, so make sure to provide an impressive response to it. Provide an answer to this question otherwise, the interviewer might think that you’re not that interested in the job.
Refrain from asking anything about the interviewer’s personal information or the company’s salary and benefits. Make your question short and simple so the interviewer can easily respond to it.
The video below gives you an idea of how to answer this question.
Sample answer: “How does your company assess employees’ performance?”
Looking for more tips on how to ace common call center interview questions? Watch the insightful video below from Kwestyon.
1. How would you describe the color red to a blind person?
Questions like this are usually asked during the interview to test the English-speaking skills of the applicant. The key is to be creative when describing a particular color and use expressive words. It’s okay to keep your answer short but meaningful.
Sample answer: “Red is an intense color which can signify a wide range of feelings including love, passion, and hatred.”
The video below offers an interesting take on this question. Note how the interviewee uses other functioning senses to describe the color red to a blind person.
2. Why is the pizza round?
It’s another unusual question to test how skilled you are in speaking English. There’s no right or wrong answer. Try to think of the most creative way to answer the question while demonstrating that you have great grammar.
Sample answer: “Pizzas are round, so it’ll be easier for the customers to carry and also easier to divide into separate pieces.”
3. Why are pizza boxes square?
The key is to answer this question in the wittiest way while ensuring that your grammar and pronunciation are correct. Again, there are no right or wrong answers, so you just have to show that you have a good command of the English language.
Sample answer: “Pizza boxes are square, so pizzas can fit better in the boxes. It will get too cramped if pizza boxes are square.”
4. What’s your greatest fantasy?
This question might be a little difficult since you must think long and hard for the answer. However, it’s a great way to prove that you have a wide vocabulary. The answer should be as creative and descriptive as possible.
Sample answer: “My greatest fantasy is to have superpowers that can take me to places I’ve never been to before. I’m talking about teleportation, and I think I’ll have the time of my life if I can just have that superpower for a day. I can go from chilling at a stunning beach in Indonesia to marveling at the beautiful glaciers in Iceland in just a matter of seconds. The possibilities are endless, and I’d definitely make the most out of my teleportation ability if I ever get one.”
Tips and Warnings
- Always be honest but not to the point of oversharing, which can spread negativity during the interview.
- Be confident when talking so you’ll sound more convincing and persuasive.
- Don’t badmouth anyone, including your former boss, colleagues, or even yourself.
- Stick to what the interviewer asks you. If he/she is only asking about specific information (e.g., full name, birthday, education, working experience, etc.), make sure to provide a straightforward response. Note that some interviewers challenge the applicant’s listening comprehension, so refrain from digressing.
- If you have zero call center experience, make sure to give the interviewer an impression that you’re willing to learn. Do this by emphasizing that you’re a fast learner and have a good work ethic.
- Be honest if you cannot understand what the interviewer is saying (e.g., technical words, jargon, etc.). Don’t hesitate to clarify the question so that you can provide a good response to it.
- Limit your hand gestures and keep your hands in one place. Excessive hand movements give the impression that you’re having difficulty explaining yourself and sometimes distract the interviewer.
- Your answers don’t necessarily have to be lengthy. It’s okay to provide short answers as long as you can perfectly convey your point. Remember KISS (keep it short, stupid!).