Thibodeau, People Reach Consulting.
To hire top
talent, we must first begin by defining superior
performance. What are the desired results and
deliverables - what is the person expected to accomplish
within their first six months to a year on the job?
These results and accomplishments are known as
performance objectives. Define these as opposed to
simply listing skills and experience requirements and
you will have an effective starting point for conducting
your interviews. For example, instead of “Must have 5
years customer service experience in a call centre
environment” try “Resolve client calls within one half
hour of receiving them; if unable to resolve the problem
within three hours, refer to tier two agent (providing
complete documentation of where the problem has
occurred) and inform client on a daily basis as to the
progress of the call.”
By defining the deliverables and objectives expected
during the first six months to a year on the job, you
will create a performance profile. This profile is used
as the foundation of the recruitment process. When you
are determining objectives for the performance profile,
be sure to obtain input from those people most familiar
with the requirements of the position – the hiring
manager, senior management and top talent currently
performing the same or similar jobs. Prepare interview
questions based upon the performance objectives you have
identified in the performance profile. Review the
candidate’s resume in detail prior to the interview,
making notes of strengths and weaknesses. Focus the
interview questions on the candidate’s past
accomplishments as they relate to the performance
When preparing for the interviews, develop at least
one interview question to address each of the
performance objectives identified in the performance
profile. This will provide you with a formal interview
guide that you can use to assess candidates in a
During the interview, concentrate on the candidate’s
top three or four accomplishments as they relate to the
position objectives. It’s easy to ask candidates what
their accomplishments were, but you want to know how the
results were achieved. Ask why, when, with whom, how
long and how? Ask for details and examples and probe for
Below you will find a list of questions commonly used
when interviewing customer service personnel. Please
note that these questions are only a starting point. The
questions you develop to address the performance
objectives specific to the position you are recruiting
for will be far more effective.
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Tell me what you know about our company?
Briefly describe the job and ask “Why are you
interested in this job?
Tell me how you feel your experience and education
have prepared you for this job?
For recent graduates, ask them to describe their
educational experiences and what they have gained from
them. Ask what they would consider to be their most
significant accomplishment during their education.
For candidates with work experience, go through each
of the candidate’s jobs and ask “What were your job
responsibilities and what would you consider to be your
most significant accomplishment in the job?” Ask about
their reasons for leaving as well.
One of our key performance objectives is providing
premium quality training on the use of our product. Can
you tell me about similar past accomplishments that
would have helped to prepare you to achieve this
How would you define quality customer service? Can
you provide me with an example of where you have
delivered premium quality customer service in the past?
What do you think are the key qualities of a superior
customer service representative? Can you give me
examples of where you personally have demonstrated these
If you were the successful candidate in obtaining
this position, what do you see as the most important
objectives for yourself in the first month on the job?
How would you go about setting up rapport with your
What systems might you put in place to ensure you are
identifying issues of concern with your clients and then
ensuring that these issues are addressed.
Now ask the candidate how they would deal with the
following situation. You have a client calling you who
is very upset. They are calling the company for the
fourth time to address a problem they are having. They
feel like they are getting the run around and no-one
ever gets back to them. They are threatening that if
this problem isn’t resolved today, they will not be
renewing their contract to use your product. Ask the
candidate how they would approach dealing with this
client and what would they say to resolve the situation.
Ask if they would approach the problem any differently
if the client had not threatened to cancel their
Tell the candidate that many of the clients who call,
seem to call with the same problem over and over again.
Ask how they would deal with a client who is constantly
calling with the same problem.
Ask the candidate how they have shown initiative in
their work in the past.
Ask the candidate about the most challenging client
they have ever had to deal with and how they resolved
Ask for an example of a situation where they
demonstrated creative problem solving to resolve a
Ask what motivates them.
Ask the candidate what s/he feels to be the top two
or three accomplishments in his/her career thus far and
why. Ask for details and probe for information.
Ask how their current employer would describe them.
Their colleagues? Their staff? How would they describe
Ask what is important to them in a job.
Ask what their career goals are. Where do they see
themselves two years from now?
Ask what are they feel are the keys to a successful
team. Ask for examples of where they have shown
themselves to be team players.