How to be Confident During Call Center Job Interviews

That feeling when you walk in to the interviewer’s office, she asks you to take a seat, how are you, and tell her something about yourself. Your heart beats rapidly, your voice trembles, your hands shake, and your answers start to sound gibberish. Eventually, instead of talking to your interviewer, you begin to have these mental conversations:

“This is too hard! There’s no way I’m gonna pass.”

“This whole thing is making my nose bleed.”

It happens to the best of us. Even the most experienced applicants struggle with anxiety during job interviews. That’s a fact. Fortunately, it’s a problem that comes with a solution. Here’s a guide on how to be confident during your call center job interview.

1. Outline your answer.

Sounds boring, isn’t it? But let’s be honest. You don’t speak English as a first language and you’re not used to speaking it either. Outlining helps. Outlining is your map so you don’t wander to unrelated topics when getting your point across.

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But take note that outlining doesn’t mean memorizing your answer word by word. It means creating the turning points of your answers.

Think of a carpenter. Before building a house, he needs an outline. Without it, he doesn’t have a picture of how the finished house is gonna look like. He couldn’t build a house without knowing how it’s gonna look like. Now let’s apply that to you.

Example:

If we’re gonna answer, “Tell me something about yourself.”, here’s how the outline would look like:

  1. educational attainment
  2. job experience/s and how it relates to being a call center agent
  3. hobbies and how it relates to being a call center agent
  4. professional skills and how they’re useful in the call center industry

Now, let’s fill out our outline with answers:

I graduated from CCV Academy with the course of Computer Programming.

After graduation, I worked as a sales associate at ABC Mall in the Ladies Department for one year.

As a sales associate, I helped customers what type of clothes design to buy for their body shape. In return, I received a 10% commission from the store. I had fun working there because I reach the quota most of the time. I’m good at listening to customers and understanding what they truly need so 95% of the time, they always got what they’re looking for. The other 5% was when they leave because the store didn’t have what they want.

During my free time, I love watching English movies. It helps neutralize my accent and understand the culture in North America and other countries outside Philippines. Since my dream job is to be a call center agent, I don’t plan to change my hobby anytime soon.

Before I applied, I made sure to practice the skills necessary to become a call center agent. I know how to use the computer from Computer Programming course, I had a one-year-experience dealing with customers, and at home, I listen to English movies, audios, and read books to improve my accent and fluency. Working in this industry has been my dream job.

Just of outlining as a fill-in-the-blank test.

To read more about call center interview questions and answers, click here.

2. Record your answer and notice your intonation.

Pay attention to your intonation. You can’t take this for granted.

With mp3 recorder installed to almost all cellphones nowadays, (even the cheap ones), can you come up with an excuse not to do this? I know it’s weird to hear your own voice but you’ll get used to it and the reward will be worth it.

To prove just how important your voice is, let’s compare these two recordings during a call center interview. Let’s name them Liz and Anne.

Liz:

Anne:

I have a strong work ethics. This means absences and tardiness are absolutely not something you should worry about. In my previous job of two years, I never incurred any lates and the only time I failed to come to work was when I was sick, which only took two days. Given the chance to work for your company, I know I will be a productive employee.”

Identical words. Big difference. I’m sure we can all agree as to which of the two would get the job. But what exactly made Anne sound warmer, friendlier, and more confident than Liz? Let’s look at the basic aspects of voice.

Tone of voice

Tone is the emotion conveyed in the message.

Anne’s tone of voice was warm and friendly, while Liz’s sounded monotonous. Judging by their tone of voice, you’d rather have a conversation with Anne than Liz because she sounded more friendly and warm. Liz on the other hand, sounded tired and unsure. There definitely was a stark contrast between the two.

To achieve that friendly tone, especially when talking to the interviewer, smile! Have you noticed that when talking over the phone, you can always tell whether the person on the other line is smiling? It’s because smiling really does make difference to the voice. It adds warmth and perkiness to the message. And this will prove very useful in the interview. It will help you build rapport with the interviewer, as well as alleviate your anxiety and makes you feel more confident.

Word emphasis

Notice that Anne’s intonation varied throughout her speech. There were certain words she emphasized by taking a longer time to speak/ enunciate them and with high intonation. Notice the underlined words and hear how they were prolonged.

strongwork ethics”

The interviewer had to know that Anne prides herself on being a responsible employee and there was no better way to say that than emphasize it in her answer. This makes sure the interviewer gets the message loud and clear.

“absences and tardiness are absolutely not something you should worry about”

Emphasizing these words together reinforces her claim that she never absents unless necessary.

“I never incurred any lates…”

“the only time I failed to come to work was when I was sick

“given the chance to work for your company

“I know I will be a productive employee.”

The concept here is to prolong the words that you want your interviewer to catch and remember. This creates a persuasive and confident tone.

When you want to emphasize a certain word, you:

  • pronounce the first syllable of the word louder and longer. Example, with the word “absolutely”, the stress and emphasis falls on the first syllable which was “ab”, tardiness was tar, never was ne, only was on, and so on.
  • pause after the emphasized word is spoken. Notice there was a brief pause after “strong”, “absolutely”, “absences” and “tardiness.”

3. Watch this movie.

Catch Me If You Can by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) worked as a doctor, a lawyer, and as a co-pilot for a major airline — all before his 18th birthday. A master of deception, he was also a brilliant forger, whose skill gave him his first real claim to fame: At the age of 17, Frank Abagnale, Jr. became the most successful bank robber in the history of the U.S. FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) makes it his prime mission to capture Frank and bring him to justice, but Frank is always one step ahead of him.

By the way, this is based on a true story. Who becomes a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer before their 18th birthday? Truly someone with a great deal of confidence to pretend and act the professions he didn’t earn.

You can learn from Frank. Watch the full movie online and notice how Frank acts his false identities like a pro. Notice his body language, his eye contacts, his facial expressions that fooled everybody to fall into his trap.
I’m not asking you to fool your interviewer or pretend to be a former CEO when you’re not. I mean you could really learn some good lessons from Frank. BTW, what happens to Frank in the end was really remarkable.

I’m not asking you to fool your interviewer or pretend to be a former CEO when you’re not. I mean you could really learn some good lessons from Frank. BTW, what happens to Frank in the end was really remarkable.

After the movie, face a mirror and practice the following tips.

4. Practice eye contact.

Why do we instantly know that someone is nervous or uncomfortable even without hearing his/ her voice? Eye contacts. Make it unsteady, short and abrupt and you come off as anxious and insincere. Make it long and unblinking and you look creepy.

During your call center interview, make eye contacts with your interviewer, especially when emphasizing an important point that you want your interviewer to remember about you.

Don’t overdo it though. She might find it creepy. A good rule of thumb is everytime you emphasize a good quality about you, look the interviewer in the eyes throughout the whole sentence. If possible, try not to blink within that short period of time.

Example:

Working for your company has been my lifelong dream.”

“I’ve been practicing my English for a year now just to get into this interview.”

This subconsciously signals the interviewer that what you’re about to say is very important to take note of and that you’re sincere about it. My previous boss doesn’t hire applicants who doesn’t make eye contacts. Doesn’t matter if the applicant qualifies for the job.

5. Smile.

Have you ever had a teacher who doesn’t seem capable of smile? How does that teacher made you feel? Awkward? Uncomfortable? You probably just attend her class because you can’t bear the thought retaking her class another year and seeing her again with that unsmiling face. Don’t let your interviewer feel that way during your interview—like she’s talking to a stone. Add a human touch to the conversation and smile!

It makes you feel good too and it helps with anxiety. Everytime you smile, (even a fake one) you release a feel-good hormone called endorphin. This hormone associates with feeling safe and a natural pain and stress fighters. Really, it doesn’t hurt so go ahead and flash that million dollar smile.

6. Use hand gestures.

All influential people, especially politicians, move their hands when speaking. Why do you think is that? You probably think it’s nothing but hand gestures actually creates a huge impact on the listener’s impression of the speaker’s message. According to author Vanessa Van Edwards, “The more you can integrate your hands to what you say, the more memorable you become.” How would you like to be memorable to the person whose job is to decide whether you’ll be in the payroll or not?

Watch this video and click the “CC” at the bottom right corner to watch with subtitles. It’ll be your best seven minutes.

7. Maintain proper posture

Compare these two following photos from the same model with different postures. If you’re the interviewer, which one would you hire?

how to be confident during call center job interviews

This?

how to be confident during call center job interviews

Or this?

Huge difference. The first one appears unsure, bored, tired and worried. The second looks confident, trustworthy and capable. The message? Sit straight and don’t slouch.

It’s not surprising that animals apply the same principle. When they fight, they make themselves appear bigger to intimidate and look strong in their enemies’ eyes. The opposite is true when they’re scared. They appear smaller, they hunch and it seems like they want to go incognito. Compare these two animals in their highest and lowest times.

how to be confident during call center job interviews
A bunch of iguanas warming up for a glorious fight.
how to be confident during call center job interviews
A scared dog

Which one would you be? The fighting iguana or the scared dog?

8. English only please.

If you think you’re dumb because you can’t speak fluent English after those times you spend in school, think again. The reason why you don’t speak it as good as native speakers is because you’re just not speaking it as much. The solution? Why don’t you implement an English Only Policy at home? Your parents and siblings (or wife or husband, if you’re married) wouldn’t mind. It’s better to humiliate yourself in front of your family than in front of your interviewer.

9. Listen to native English speakers.

For the meantime, while you try to make a living, ban Justin Bieber from your playlist. Justin will have to wait. Once you receive your first salary, then you can binge-listen to Justin. For now, I need you to lend your ears where it should be. You have work to do.

Which ones to listen to? I’ve written a complete guide on where to find the best resources for English listening. Click here: How to Improve Your English Accent and Land a Call Center Job.

10. Prank a friend

Prank a friend and pretend you’re a native English speaker who called the wrong number.

Wanna make someone’s nose bleed? Call someone or a friend and pretend you’re an English-speaking foreigner. Can you imagine how hilarious this would be? I’ve tried this with a friend who loved to prank me that I decided it’s payback time.

Using a different number, I called him and pretended to be an American who dialed the wrong number. I almost couldn’t contain my laughs during the whole conversation which I recorded. And then, in his most vulnerable moments—in front of other friends— I played the recording. Since then, his pranks on me stopped. But we’re still friends. 🙂

I don’t suggest you bully someone because of his/her English. That kind of thing doesn’t work out for all friendships. My point is, if you can convince your friend that you are indeed a native English speaker, then you have a good shot at landing the job. If not, you’ll have to ban Justin Bieber a little longer.

I hope this article will help you with your call center interview.

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