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Congratulations on your interview invitation.

Call centers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, so you’ve already beaten a sizable portion of the competition.

However, making the shortlist is only half the battle. Proper preparation can make the difference between success and failure at the interview stage.

To help get you ready, here are four call center interview questions you’re most likely to encounter:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work at this call center?
  • How do you deal with disappointment?
  • Why did you not achieve more in your last job?

We’ll go over these questions in the following sections, looking at why interviewers ask them and the best possible answers for each.

Question 1: Tell Me About Yourself

It’s an often over-asked question and it usually comes at the beginning of the interview. But don’t take it as an opportunity to retell your entire life story.

The interviewer is interested in your educational background, professional experience, and the skills that make you a strong applicant. Therefore, your answer needs to be brief and to the point.

A minute-long response summarizing your relevant competencies should be enough to make your case and instill confidence in the interviewer.

Most job listings have key phrases detailing the required skills and experiences necessary for the job, so use them to frame your answer. Here are a few of those key requirements and how to address them.

Experience With Customer Service Needed

  • My previous job was in a call center where I worked for two years. As such, I’m well-versed in listening carefully to customers’ needs before working to solve their problems or guiding them through the solution.
  • Customer service has been the focus of my career since my first job. As my resume shows, I’ve worked as a commissioned sales associate and a call center representative during the last three years.

Excellent Communication Skills Required

  • My work experience and education have helped me develop excellent communication skills. I’m able to listen and understand a customer’s situation before clearly conveying an appropriate response.
  • I’m an outgoing person who enjoys conversing and listening to others. My previous job, which I held for two years, allowed me to channel my social nature into customer relations, where I honed my communication skills.

Expert Tip: Your answer must demonstrate that you indeed have the sought-after qualities to better your chances of getting hired.

excellent communication skills

Question 2: Why Do You Want to Work at This Call Center?

Call centers are looking for candidates with more than skill and experience. They also want candidates who are eager to work for their specific organization.

You can demonstrate this interest through your research of and insight into the company. Focus on building up your knowledge of the founders and their values, the company’s clients, or the issues facing the organization and the industry in general.

Such in-depth information convinces an interviewer of your long-term commitment and increases your chances of getting hired.

No organization wants to spend money training you, only to lose you to a competitor shortly after.

Possible Best Answers

  • I was recently excited to learn about your company’s outreach program in my community. Charity is an important part of my values, and I would love to be part of an organization that gives back.
  • Your organization has consistently made the list of best companies to work for. Your employees talk about the company’s commitment to career advancement through training and education sponsorships. I would love the chance to be part of such a progressive company.
  • I recently read an article on your latest CEO hire and his vision for a modern call center. His reputation as an innovator drew me to your company because I want to be a part of the next big thing.

Question 3: How Do You Deal With Disappointment?

For a call center job, your ability to deal with setbacks is essential. It doesn’t always go your way with potential clients, and you won’t always get to resolve a customer’s problem.

With this question, the interviewer needs to establish that you have the resilience to stay motivated and engaged in your role.

Today, demotivated employees represent a global problem for productivity. In the United States alone, disengaged workers cost the economy $500 billion per year.

In your response, provide an example of a time when an initial rejection motivated you to put in more effort and take additional steps that eventually led to success.

Here are a few suggestions.

Possible Best Answers

  • At the start of my career, I’d sent my CV to dozens of call centers without a single response. I knew I wanted to work in this industry, so I physically visited dozens more before one company offered me an unpaid internship. I took the opportunity to hone my skills, leading me to more permanent roles.
  • I honestly don’t like disappointments and will always strive to better the situation to the best of my ability. However, if the chance is gone, I won’t dwell on the failure but rather look for what I can learn and focus on future opportunities.

Question 4: Why Did You Not Achieve More in Your Last Job?

This is a strongly-worded question designed to gauge your ability to take criticism and stay calm.

Most candidates will get defensive and dive into excuses for what held them back in their previous roles.

Instead, prepare an answer that shows you’re happy with your career achievements so far and have taken more lessons than regrets from your last company.

Possible Best Answers

  • I don’t define success solely in terms of promotions. For me, it’s always been more important to enjoy my work and acquire new skills. During my previous employment, I’ve honed my communication and customer service skills, but I’m now ready to learn more with a new organization.
  • I’m happy with my professional development so far. When I started in my previous role two years ago, I had no experience working at a call center. Today, I’m well-versed in customer service and enjoy finding solutions for my clients.

Enhancing Your Application

If you’re looking to stand out in your upcoming interview, then a course on global language and culture by Small Revolution is the way to go.

This course equips you with the most effective techniques for dealing with disputes across cultures. It will introduce you to the various tones and voices of global communication and their different meanings across cultures. 

While doing these courses, I have really learned a lot.The lessons are inspiring, easy to read, full of useful information.

Ruzica, Small Revolution graduate

Frequently Asked Questions

What interview topics are illegal?

Inquiring about these topics may result in charges of discrimination and an investigation by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

  • Number of children
  • Pregnancy
  • Race and religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity

How do you handle illegal or inappropriate interview questions?

Ask the interviewer why the question is relevant, and then steer the conversation away from it.

Can you report an illegal interview question?

Yes. You can report the incident to your local EEOC office.

Which industries have the highest number of call center workers?

Industry Percentage
Business support services 36.94%
Electronic shopping and mail-order services 14.00%
Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance-related activities 13.85%
Insurance carriers 12.63%
Cable and subscription programming 9.27%

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Can interviewers ask about my family?

It’s illegal for employers to hire based on your family status; therefore, questions about your family should not arise during a job interview.

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Small Revolution

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of CopySmiths and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.