21 Best Call Center Interview Questions to Hire Top Talent

Call Center | 11 minute read

Finding your next great call center agent — someone who will help your contact center succeed— is no easy feat. Asking these call center interview questions will help you find the best agents to help the organization excel.

Hiring the wrong agents can be detrimental and costly. 27% of employers said that just one bad hire costs more than $50,000. Good contact center managers instinctively know this, especially since 95% of a manager’s success resides in selecting the right people.

It’s key to ask the right questions during the interview, ones that help determine whether a candidate possesses certain competencies. But not everyone understands which questions to ask, and more importantly, what answers to look for.

Types of Interview Question for Call Center Candidates:

We’ve split these job interview questions into three sections based on the type of interview question to make it easier for you to find what you need. Click to be taken to that section:

Here are the top call center interview questions you should be asking to hire the best customer service representatives.

Our Best Call Center Interview Questions Are:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. What do you like to do for fun?
  3. How would your previous team/manager describe you?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  5. What enticed you to apply?
  6. Why are you leaving your current role?
  7. What are the key factors that make a call center successful?
  8. Tell me about a time when you had to handle an unreasonable or angry customer.
  9. What procedure do you follow when a customer contacts you?
  10. Tell me about a time when you received constructive criticism
  11. Describe a time that you needed to know or learn something new and how you got that information.
  12. Tell me about the toughest decision or biggest work challenge you had in the last six months?
  13. What have you done to promote great customer service?
  14. What achievement are you most proud of?
  15. How do you handle working in a contact center?
  16. How many people have you managed in the past?
  17. Can you talk about a time when you escalated a call and how you handled it?
  18. How do you go about onboarding a new employee?
  19. Tell me about a time one of your call center agents was underperforming and how you addressed it.
  20. Does this role still line up with your expectations based on the advert?
  21. Do you have any questions for me?

Personal Interview Questions for Call Center Candidates

1. Tell me about yourself

Take a few minutes at the start of the interview to let the candidate talk about themselves. Instead of jumping right into questions, this approach gives the candidate a moment to relax and be at ease.

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Let the candidate tell their story before jumping into all the specific questions. That helps to get the candidate comfortable, and it also gives you an overview of who they are. A good answer will explain why they left one organization to go to the next and what they learned from each venture.

2. What do you like to do for fun?

If they say things like “hanging out with friends and watching movies,” they probably aren’t the go-getter type you’re looking for. Great talents have a passion outside of the office.

Perhaps they like to cycle, play guitar in a band, or have a side gig — what better way to show a hard work ethic?

In any event, while “hanging out with friends” is a good social trait, you should certainly look for the candidate that offers more to this answer.

3. How would your previous team/manager describe you?

The candidate should provide examples and situations that reflect their descriptions. See if they describe a good culture fit for your contact center.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Ideally, the person you hire can grow in your organization. If you’re hiring an agent and their goal is to be involved in management in the next five years, it shows you that they’re motivated to grow and lead. That is a great way to hold on to talent!

5. What enticed you to apply?

Now that you know a bit about them and their background, it is good to understand why they are interested in this particular role. Why are they excited about working for your call center?

Look out for specific keywords in their answer. Assuming this is a role for a contact center agent, responses like “customer-facing” or “problem-solving” might be great keywords for you. It also shows you how well they understand the role.

6. Why are you leaving your current role?

This question is crucial. The answer needs to demonstrate a good reason for the decision. The candidate should also remain positive and show what they learned in their last role.

If the candidate is currently employed, it’s important to understand why they are moving on. Answers like “I’d like to learn more” or “it’s time to spread my wings” are great, but not if they’ve only been at the job for a few months.

Watch how often the candidate jumps from job to job, as this can be a bad sign. If they quickly shame the company, this also shows a lack of loyalty and professionalism.

Practical Call Center Interview Questions

7. What are the key factors that make a call center successful?

This question helps identify candidates with great potential, even if they haven’t spent much time researching the company. Now it’s time to understand what they know about the contact center industry as a whole. It also gives you a chance to see what ideas they will put forward to make your contact center successful.

8. Tell me about a time when you had to handle an unreasonable or angry customer

Every agent has experienced a negative phone call with a customer. How they handled it and what they learned is essential to career growth.

If they have any experience working with customers whatsoever, they will have a story to tell for this one. It’s important to see what kind of story they choose to share and how they handle tough customer questions.

Ideally, they’ll explain how they were the hero in terrible customer interaction. You want to hear that they could remain calm and go out of their way to make the customer happy even if they weren’t pleasant to work with. Ideally,  their manager was thrilled with the outcome too.

9. What procedure do you follow when a customer contacts you?

The appropriate answer to this will vary depending on your contact center and industry. Still, any confident agent will be able to give you a rough outline of how to resolve common questions and problems. It should sound something like this:

  1. Greet the customer and introduce yourself.
  2. Ask the customer how you can help them.
  3. LISTEN to the customer. EMPATHIZE. LISTEN.
  4. Help the customer to find the best solution.
  5. Check the customer is satisfied and if they need anything else.

10. Tell me about a time when you received constructive criticism

It’s always interesting to hear how people handle constructive criticism. This question is tough, but you can usually tell by how the candidate tells the story if the criticism was well received. If the candidate says something like, “I appreciated the feedback,” then it’s likely they don’t get defensive when given advice.

11. Describe a time that you needed to know or learn something new and how you got that information.

Any call center job requires agents to undergo intensive training in either the product or industry they’re working with. Your candidates must be not only comfortable learning but actively looking to learn more about the products they provide service for.

The best candidates will be happy to talk about the various times they’ve had to learn something new and will often go about this voluntarily. They should also be able to demonstrate an ability to take the initiative to find out answers for themselves.

12. Tell me about the toughest decision or biggest work challenge you had in the last six months?

This is a very challenging question, so make sure to give the candidate time to think it over.

There’s no right answer here. Just let the candidate tell their story, and hopefully, the challenge had some merit. It’s a good opportunity to gauge what the candidate considers a tough decision.

13. What have you done to promote great customer service?

Their answer about what makes a successful call center should have covered the importance of q

uality customer service, so let’s dig a bit deeper.

Get an understanding of specific actions that promote great customer service. Do they have a sense of what this means in practice? How have they incorporated that into their behavior and phone manner?

14. What achievement are you most proud of?

What a candidate is most proud of can tell you a lot about them as a person. Perhaps it was solving a difficult customer complaint – this shows they are passionate about helping people or say it was achieving an award – this shows they are motivated by recognition.

15. How do you handle working in a call center?

Working in a call center is a high-pressure, high-stress, fast-paced environment that can be monotonous at best and abusive at worst. You need to make sure your agents can handle the day-to-day stresses of life in the contact center.

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Use this question to determine how your candidates deal with the relentless, often negative, emotional load they take on during customer calls.

Interview Questions for Call Center Supervisors

16. How many people have you managed in the past?

Whether they’ve managed a couple of employees or a large team of reps, they should be able to talk a little about that experience.

If necessary, prompt them to expand on the management techniques they’ve tried out in the past and how they have tried to hone their communication skills and management style through experience.

17. Can you talk about a time when you escalated a call and how you handled it?

The purpose of this question is to get the candidate to demonstrate that they were able to solve the problem and improve the customer experience at the same time.

Look for top candidates who talk about how they use these experiences to create teachable members for the rest of their team.

18. How do you go about onboarding a new employee?

Getting onboarding right is crucial for success. You want to make sure your call center’s new manager understands the importance of a good onboarding process and how to deliver one.

Look for candidates that highlight the importance of setting expectations, practical training, and creating ongoing opportunities for improvement.

19. Tell me about a time one of your call center agents was underperforming and how you addressed it.

Feedback and performance assessments are crucial for managing any business, particularly the call center. You want to know how this person delivers feedback and how they respond to a disengaged or struggling employee.

3 Examples of Call Center Manager Performance Goals

The best candidates to be your contact center manager will talk about how they spoke to the agent to get to the bottom of the issue and work with them to form a plan to resolve it.

Closing Call Center Interview Questions

20. Does this role align with your expectations based on the advert?

Writing a concise and accurate job description is hard. This question is your opportunity to ensure that your advert aligns with your expectations for the candidates. Are you putting out the right ad to entice the right people?

21. Do you have any questions for me?

This question is a good opportunity to see how much they know about your business. Maybe they’re asking about your client base or what the work environment is like – these are all great questions!

Bad questions would be jumping right into compensation or, worse, not having any questions prepared at all. The first shows you that they’re mainly interested in money and not the opportunity; the latter shows you they aren’t serious about the role.

Great Call Center Interview Questions Make Great Call Centers

Out of more than 6,000 hiring professionals worldwide, more than half said they had felt the effects of hiring someone who turned out to be a poor fit for the job or did not perform well.

A successful call center manager needs to understand that the first step to training the right agents is hiring. Remember the words of Steve Jobs,

“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.”

The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world. - Steve Jobs #managemet #hiring Click To Tweet

As candidates prepare and practise their responses, interviewers too should be compiling critical questions and thinking about the best answers.

It is also important to have a mix of canned questions that are significant to the success of the role while leaving room for some conversational questions. If you can develop a dialogue in the interview, you’re more likely to build rapport, leading to faster decisions and better outcomes.

It’s also important to remember that employees need continuous nurturing. After hiring the candidate, make sure you devote time to ongoing relationship building. Have regular meetings to make sure they’re happy and are meeting their goals.

 

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Contact Center Trends: Industry Predictions for 2022

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