How to Interview Candidates for Customer Service Positions

With so much competition for highly sought after jobs, how do you know what to ask in an interview to determine the best hire for your customer service position? An interview should give you an insight to each candidate and ultimately prove that they possess the customer service skills that you need. Consider these tips for drilling down in the interview to answer the question “Do they have excellent customer service skills?”

  1. Open ended questions. Focus on questions that will allow the candidate to answer with more than a simple yes or no. You want to gauge their ability to think on their feet, respond quickly but thoughtfully to answers, and be engaging and personable with you. If they aren’t able to communicate effectively with you they won’t be successful with your customers.
  2. Assess the phone interview. When you are on the phone with the candidate, whether it is for an initial screening or to schedule the interview, pay attention to their phone etiquette. Are they friendly and professional at all times? Do they follow directions? When you provide information for the interview are you confident that they are writing it down? These are all good indicators of future performance.
  3. Don’t put the answer in your question. It is easy to fall into this trap but avoid it when you’re talking with candidates. Rather than saying “We like to hire people who are team players, are you a team player?” phrase the question in a way to get them to volunteer the information. Ask behavioral questions about specific situation they may have encountered in the past and they may encounter at your company.
  4. Listen. The most important thing you can do in the interview is be quiet and really hear what the candidate is saying. All too often hiring managers will dominate the interview by explaining the job and company culture, but the real key is to hear and understand what the potential employee has to say about their experience. If you don’t fill conversational pauses the candidate will continue to talk and reveal more about themselves.

Are you looking for more professional interview advice for your next customer service hire? Contact the recruiters at NRI to help!

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