If there is one thing I have learned about job interviews, it is that they are competency-based. They develop interview questions to assess if an applicant is a good fit for the job by comparing his responses (together with his work experience) to the skills and competencies required for the position.
If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I strongly encourage preparation (read: research), which includes determining what competencies are required for the post, attempting to decide what questions given during the interview, AND preparing responses that the candidate must know and understand (but not memorize) and mixing and matching is based on the questions asked.
What are the standard interview questions, and how best to answer them?
- Tell me something about yourself.
This is not an invitation to talk about yourself aimlessly; instead, the question assesses your work attitude and behavior. You MAY talk about some personal matters. However, it would be beneficial if you had some direction; that is, your goal should be to discuss your distinctive qualities as an employee or student, such as honesty, integrity, professionalism, and even your philosophy.
- Why do you want to work here?
This is a question that needs thorough research. Before the interview, study the company’s history, business type, mission and vision, accounts (if accessible), and culture on their website. Knowing about the company makes you appear interested, as though you did your homework and are eager to acquire the job.
- What do you know about the call center industry/agent’s work?
You are not a professional (yet). As a result, the recruiter/employer does not expect you to know everything, but a basic understanding of the business or the task involved is required. Naturally, failing to achieve that expectation fails.
- Why should I hire you?/Why should I not hire you?/What sets you apart from all the other candidates outside?
This question determines a good fit for the job based on the abilities and competencies listed in the job description. The second question is deceptive due to the word “not,” yet the answer remains the same. The question is, how can you ensure that you can provide a satisfactory answer to this question?
- Research the required skills and competencies for the position.
- Make a list of your skills and competencies. Compare it to the requirements.
- Study the interview question. Make a planned answer. The bottom line of your response should be that you possess the necessary competencies and skills.
Because they lack work experience, it is often difficult for recent graduates to provide a straightforward answer to this issue. I propose the following:
- Research the necessary abilities and competencies.
- Think about your experiences while you were still in school: organizations you joined, meetings you attended, honors you received, advocacies you held, and so on. Prepare a list.
- Compare your list to the job’s required abilities and competencies.
Then, write a response to the interview question to demonstrate that you are qualified for the position because, even as a student, you showed the necessary abilities and skills.
The preparation described above will enable you to respond to the question with total confidence and ease.
- Why do you want to work in a call center/as a call center agent?
DO NOT answer this question with “because of the compensation,” no matter how honest you are. Remember, your goal is to “sell yourself” and pass the interview. Discuss how well this position matches your skills, competencies, and experiences. If you lack experience (as a recent graduate or newcomer), discuss how close it is to your professional and personal goals and beliefs and how you envision yourself succeeding in this field. The goal is to convince the interviewer that YOU ARE PERFECT FOR THIS JOB.
- Why did you resign from your previous company?
This question has multiple answers, and the only tricky part is if your reason for leaving is negative (disagreement with the boss, predicting termination, going on AWOL, etc.), regardless of the reason, BE POSITIVE. The truth is that it doesn’t matter if your stint was short or lengthy (as long as it wasn’t a series of short-term employment that gave the appearance that you were a job hopper). Tell the recruiter what you realized while working at that position, what you (positively) acquired by quitting, and that you are ready to move on. One example of good response is the employee’s previous firm achievements. He is now prepared to take on a more substantial, more challenging assignment and achieve more accomplishments.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Responding to these questions is a bit difficult. We Filipinos try to avoid boasting; on the other hand, we don’t want our flaws exposed for fear of being judged unfairly.
Remember what position you are applying for; if it is a call center position, emphasize communication, customer service/focus, friendliness, attention to detail, and so on. As for the weakness, choose one of your strengths and make it appear as a problem – for example, “I am so devoted to my work that I become frustrated when I don’t meet my objectives.”
- What is your expected salary?
Remember, this isn’t the bargaining stage yet. The key here is to understand the industry standard. You don’t want to give too much, which will make the interviewer think the company can’t afford you, but you also don’t want to give too little, which will leave you with no space for bargaining. Find out what the going rate is for the position, then say it. When you say the amount, be confident; don’t be shy, and don’t be too proud. Being enthusiastic about your predicted wage indicates that you are aware of yourself, your experience, as well as your self-worth, talents, and competencies.
- Can you work on weekends? Shifting schedules? Do overtime work? Graveyard shifts?
The recruiter expects that you know the industry you are applying for; therefore, the BEST answer here is a VERY CONFIDENT YES. Do not sound doubtful. Remember, you are the one job hunting. (If the work schedule is not acceptable to you, why did you submit your resume in the first place?)
- How do you see yourself five or ten years from now?
It is tempting to respond, “I envision myself getting married, having kids, two cars, and a house on a hill,” but this is not the appropriate response for this question. You’re in an interview; concentrate on the job you want. The answer must be work-related; for example, developing an exceptional performance basis for promotion, being promoted, and so on. The more explicit the plan/vision, the better; this indicates that you have the right direction in your life, plans for your profession, and aim to stay for the long haul.
While being interviewed can be nerve-racking, if you are well-prepared, you will react to questions with confidence and ease. Again, read and comprehend the competencies required for the position for which you are seeking. Google interview questions and write down your sample replies; if you’re still hesitant, have someone look at it; know and comprehend the responses you prepared but don’t memorize them. Prepare to mix and match your prepared answers depending on the recruiter’s questions.
Would you mind leaving a comment if you have any other questions that you found challenging or have any suggestions for responses to the interview questions listed above?