Life is not easy in a call center. Employee fluctuation is alarming, people leave on a daily basis, customers complain, and the place can resemble a bee hive on a busy day.
Needless to say, team leaders and managers are necessary to keep any call center operational and effective. The job requires leadership and organizational skills, but also sales and customer service skills, and good amount of patience and courage.
Can you train a new operator? Can you handle customer complaining on the phone? Do you know how to effectively implement new sales strategies? Will people obey your orders in work?
Employers try to find out all these things in an interview. They will also inquire about your attitude to all kinds of tricky situations that happen in a call center. Let’s have a look at the questions, one by one.
Why do you want to be a call center manager?
Managing a call center is one of the toughest low to mid-management jobs. You should focus on your expertise in the field, your experience as a call center operator or supervisor.
Tell them that you believe to understand a routine of a call center, and know what it takes to keep it operational and productive. You can also say that you read the job description carefully, thought about the duties, and believe to be capable of handling them all.
Last but not least, say that you enjoy a busy and ever-changing environment of a call center, and look forward to work in this kind of environment.
How do you imagine a typical day in work?
The most important thing is to show proactive approach to work. Say that you will actively walk in the hall, talk to agents or team leaders, manage them on the go to ensure the highest possible efficiency of work.
Making reports and working on new sales strategies (and later introducing them to the operators) is also a part of the job.
You can also say that you understand employees change quickly in the call centers, and will do your best to manage people on the shift, to take care of replacements, and also to help new hires with training and orientation (or at least you’ll manage the process).
How would you evaluate the work of sales teams, or individual agents/operators?
Monitoring and reporting is crucial in each good call center. Say that you plan to monitor everything–how many calls each agent made, how many hours they spent on the call, how many deals they closed, etc.
Say that you will set goals for each agent and also each team, and monitor them on daily, weekly and monthly basis. The key is to show the interviewers that you love to be organized in work, understand the importance of goals and performance monitoring, and have an idea of how you would do all of that in a call center.
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Job hopping is a big problem in almost all call centers. What would you do to retain the best employees, or any employees?
Nobody really dreams of working in a call center for two years, let alone for a decade. People come and go, that’s just how it goes in this business. Unless you pay them extremely well (which isn’t possible), most of them will simple leave.
You shouldn’t wear pink glasses in your interview–you should see the job realistically. Manager is not a magician…. Nevertheless, you should at least outline some strategies that can help you keep the operators onboard for a little longer.
From my experience to such strategies belong:
- Building good relationships with individual agents, recognizing them for their work, praising them often.
- Creating a friendly atmosphere on the workplace, a sense of belonging somewhere.
- Having regular one on one meetings with the operators, hearing them out and identifying problems before they escalate to something bigger (and the employee leaves the place).
- Having a clear structure of compensation and rewards, so people know what they can gain if working hard.
* Special Tip: You can also download the full list of questions in a simple, one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
Try to sell me this pen (pencil, notebook, mobile phone).
A classic role play, common in many interviews. Unless you understand the sales, unless you know how to sell any product to any customer, you will struggle with devising new sales strategies, or with training new employees.
Therefore this question makes perfect sense in this managerial interview.
They do not expect to hear a perfect sales pitch from you. But they want to see that you have courage, do not mind doing the hard work, and understand the basics of effective selling (asking questions, trying to understand the needs of the customer, talking more about benefits than features, etc).
What would you do to attract and recruit new agents?
Recruiting people may belong to the job of a call center manager. In times of economic expansion, this is actually the toughest part of the job.
However, try to outline at least some strategies that will help you to get new faces onboard. To such belong:
- Introducing a referral program, and motivating existing operators to recommend people for interviews.
- Crafting compelling job offers, and leading interviews in a most professional way.
- Cooperating with student employment agencies or even doing recruitment directly on site, in schools and Universities.
- Creating part time offers and other forms of working schedule that may attract certain groups of people (students, women on maternity leave, etc).
Imagine that two operators from the same team didn’t come to work and you can not reach them on the phone. But the team has to make hundreds of calls on that day. What would you do?
This situation happens often in a call center. Now, you should show two things in your answer. First one are excellent management and organizational skills. Say that you would try to reorganize people in the teams, and after a short training allocate someone from another team to the affected one.
Another thing to show is your willingness to take on the job, to get your hands dirty. You can say that if you did not find any better solution, and it was crucial to make the calls on a given day, you would simply take a seat and start making the calls yourself. This answer will sound very impressive especially in small call centers.
Other questions you may face in your call center manager interview
- Describe a conflict you had with your colleague.
- Tell me about a time when you were overwhelmed with work.
- Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, your subordinate, anyone).
- What would you do if you spotted one of the agents just hanging around, not really doing any work?
- What is the most difficult situation you’ve ever faced at work?
- How would you resolve an argument between two colleagues?
- Imagine that the team is struggling, sales are not coming in, and the mood in the office is deteriorating quickly. What would you do?
- Tell us about a time when you had to deal with ambiguity.
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
Conclusion, answers to all questions
Interview for a call center manager position belongs to difficult job interviews. You have to demonstrate your management and leadership skills, but also your sales and recruitment skills.
What is more, since all management jobs attract a lot of attention, you will likely compete with other people in the interviews–sometimes dozens of them.
Can you do better? Can you be the one who gets the job? That’s hard to tell… If you want to gain a competitive edge before the start of the interviews, consider having a look at our Interview Success Package. Multiple great answers to all tricky questions will make your life much easier in this competitive interview. It’s always about having an edge, knowing something your competitors won’t know. You can get it with our package…
Thank you for checking it out, and I wish you good luck!
Matthew Chulaw, Your personal job interview coach
May also interest you:
- Leadership interview questions – An essential skill for every good manager, your leadership skills will be tested in an interview for virtually any managerial job. Are you ready to demonstrate them in an interview
- Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication?
- Call Center Operator interview questions – Behavioral questions and a role play awaits you in this interview. Learn how to satisfy the hiring managers with your answers.