Hiring: How Do I Know If The Applicant is Qualified?

Sections of this topic

    I have just been promoted to a supervisor in a call center and I’m responsible for hiring. What are the best questions to ask when interviewing call center workers?

    A great deal depends upon whether these people will be taking orders (incoming and therefore the emphasis is on the applicant’s customer service skills) or truly attempting to sell a product (out-calling/cold calls that require a high level of selling skills). Each requires not only a different skill set but also a different mindset.

    An order-taker needs to “be nice” to the customer, have good listening skills and be able to react quickly and accurately to a complaint or request. For these people, here are some potential questions.

    • Tell me about your most difficult call and how you handled it.
    • How have you dealt with a customer who was very nasty? What was the result?
    • Tell me about a time when you went far beyond what normally would be expected in order to satisfy the needs of a customer.
    • After a difficult call, what do you do to prevent that call from influencing the way you handle the next caller?

    The salesperson needs not only to develop rapport with the caller but also influence his or her behavior… to say yes…to buy. Here are some questions to get at their sales ability:

    • Tell me about your most difficult sale and/or most challenging customer and how you handled it.
    • What steps do you take to prepare for a sales call?
    • What strategies have you used to get an understanding of the customer’s needs?
    • Tell me about a time you dealt with a “thinking-about-it” customer.

    Then listen carefully and assess their qualifications:

    1. The skills fit. Can this person do the job that they are interviewing for?
    2. The motivation fit. Does the person have the traits and desire to effectively do the job?
    3. The company culture fit. Does the person have the same values or work style or that would fit into the way we do things around here?

    Management Success Tip:

    A good interview follows an outline or guide. That means each applicant is asked the same set of questions. Then you’ll be able to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges. A structured approach keeps the interview on track, gives all applicants a fair chance, and provides more accurate information to select the most qualified.

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?