30 Important Call Center Job Interview Questions and Answers

    30 Important Call Center Job Interview Questions and Answers
    17:07

    Call center agent turnover can be an expensive, persistent problem for any business, with research showing that the average attrition rate in the industry hovers around a staggering 42%.

    This level of turnover eats into revenue, damages the customer experience, and contributes to a negative working environment which, in turn, feeds into a vicious cycle of more and more attrition.

    Fighting back against agent churn begins at the start—with the recruitment process. To be more specific, you need to get off on the right foot by asking potential hires the best interview questions. If you can nail this part of the process, you’ll find the most suitable people for the job and save significantly on training and onboarding in the long run.

    In this article, we'll cover 30 important call center job interview questions and answers to help you identify top talent and improve your call center's performance so you can avoid all that dreaded churn.

    The 30 most important call center job interview questions

    Let’s get right to it. If you just want a list of the best questions to ask during a call center interview, here it is. However, I do encourage you to read on, as we’ll be going in-depth on every one of these questions throughout the article.

    1. Tell me about yourself.
    2. Why are you interested in this job?
    3. Tell me about your previous work experience.
    4. What’s your proudest achievement?
    5. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced at work in the past year?
    6. What motivates you on a daily basis?
    7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    8. Do you enjoy working with people?
    9. Tell me about a high-pressure situation you’ve been in. How did you handle it?
    10. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.
    11. How do you handle change?
    12. How do you respond to criticism?
    13. How do you think your previous manager would describe you?
    14. What about your past teammates?
    15. If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be and why?
    16. What’s a book/movie/TV show/podcast you’ve enjoyed recently?
    17. Tell me about something that’s on your bucket list.
    18. Tell us about your experience working in a call center/customer service role.
    19. What’s your process for dealing with an angry customer? Take me through the steps.
    20. What does “good customer service” mean to you?
    21. A customer asks you something, but you don’t know the answer. How do you respond?
    22. Do you speak [required language]? (For multilingual contact centers)
    23. Are you familiar with [relevant software]?
    24. In your opinion, what makes a call center successful?
    25. In previous roles, how many people have you managed?
    26. What’s your approach to motivating your team?
    27. How do you go about onboarding a new employee?
    28. Tell me about a time one of your call center agents was underperforming and how you addressed it.
    29. Have you ever had to make a quick decision under pressure? What was the outcome?
    30. What are your thoughts on the future of the contact center industry?

    The 30 most important call center job interview questions

    Why you should start with general call center job interview questions (with 17 examples)

    There’s a good reason why the standard intro questions have become the norm—they’re great at breaking the ice with a potential candidate while still getting some basic information.

    While some of them are more straightforward (and are pretty universal across any interview), they can help paint a picture of the interviewee’s personality and outlook on work and life without getting too deep.

    And once you’ve covered some of the more surface-level questions, you can dive deeper into more industry-specific questions, or ones more relevant to the role you’re hiring for.

    7 general interview questions for any industry

    1. Tell me about yourself.
    2. Why are you interested in this job?
    3. Tell me about your previous work experience.
    4. What’s your proudest achievement?
    5. What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced at work in the past year?
    6. What motivates you on a daily basis?
    7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    7 questions about soft skills, work ethic, and attitude

    After you’ve broken the ice, you’ll want to ease into some more pointed questions about their outlook on work and how they carry themselves in a professional environment. Things like punctuality, how they work under pressure, and how they fit into a team dynamic.

    This is also a great time to learn about their soft skills and determine whether they fit the needs of the role you’re trying to fill. Ideally, you’ll want to focus on things like:

    • Communication style
    • Empathy towards others
    • Problem-solving skills

    These are all essential skills for any call center agent, and knowing how interviewees will treat other employees is crucial to building a strong team.

    Some of the most important soft skills that you should try to discern are active listening, emotional intelligence, and how they adapt to new situations.

    These are all essential when working in a complex and fast-moving business like a call center, where they need to think quickly, keep themselves (and callers) calm and collected, and work under pressure.

    If you want to make these questions more pointed, or if you want some practical examples of how your interviewee handles situations, you can try to frame these questions in the context of their past experiences. Ask them to recall specific events or situations that fit your call center or their work history, and observe how they respond. That way, you can get a more genuine—and informed—response.

    1. Do you enjoy working with people?
    2. Tell me about a high-pressure situation you’ve been in. How did you handle it?
    3. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.
    4. How do you handle change?
    5. How do you respond to criticism?
    6. How do you think your previous manager would describe you?
    7. What about your past teammates?

    Bonus: 3 wildcard questions to learn about the candidate’s personality

    Another fun way to keep an interview lighthearted while still gaining a little insight is by asking some more out-of-pocket questions. It helps break the tension that can come from an interview and encourage the candidate to show off their personality.

    1. If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be and why?
    2. What’s a book/movie/TV show/podcast you’ve enjoyed recently?
    3. Tell me about something that’s on your bucket list.

    The 7 best interview questions to ask call center agents and customer service reps

    Once you’ve both gotten settled into the interview and gotten the more casual questions out of the way, it’s time to get down to the “meat” of the interview. Here, you’ll want to start to ask more pointed questions that are relevant to the position and your contact center.

    You may want to start with more gentle questions about their previous work experience in similar customer-facing roles (or prior call center experience). For example, you’ll want to explore:

    • How they navigate the day-to-day tasks of a call center
    • Their outlook on delivering good customer service
    • How they’ve handled situations like irate customers
    • The steps they take to de-escalate a situation
    • And more

    Additionally, this is a great time to see if they’re familiar with some of the software or tools that your call center uses and verify if they speak any additional languages (if that’s required for the position).

    You can also dive a bit deeper into their perspective on the position or call centers as a whole to see if they align with your business goals and ideals.

    Here are some great examples of questions to ask at this point in the interview:

    1. Tell us about your experience working in a call center/customer service role.
    2. What’s your process for dealing with an angry customer? Take me through the steps.
    3. What does “good customer service” mean to you?
    4. A customer asks you something, but you don’t know the answer. How do you respond?
    5. Do you speak [required language]? (For multilingual contact centers)
    6. Are you familiar with [relevant software]?
    7. In your opinion, what makes a call center successful?

    6 important questions when hiring for call center leadership roles

    If you’re interviewing for leadership roles (such as team leaders, supervisors, or evaluators), you’ll want to ask more specific questions related to the role. As these roles are more involved than your typical call center agent, it’s important to ask more direct questions than what you’d ask in a normal interview to get a better idea of their skills.

    6 important questions when hiring for call center leadership rolesYou should start by exploring their leadership and management skills, including their experience managing teams and their approach to handling training and development. Depending on the role, you may want to explore the more operational side of things, too.

    See how familiar they are with key performance indicators (KPIs) and how they use them to measure performance or the strategies they’ve employed in the past to improve metrics in other roles.

    1. In previous roles, how many people have you managed?
    2. What’s your approach to motivating your team?
    3. How do you go about onboarding a new employee?
    4. Tell me about a time one of your call center agents was underperforming and how you addressed it.
    5. Have you ever had to make a quick decision under pressure? What was the outcome?
    6. What are your thoughts on the future of the contact center industry?

    And don’t forget to ask for feedback

    Interviews are a two-way conversation, and seeking feedback from your candidates can significantly enhance your hiring process.

    By asking interviewees for their insights, you can identify strengths and areas for improvement, ultimately creating a more effective and efficient process (and better contact center job interview questions and answers).

    To gather that valuable feedback, ensure you ask specific and open-ended questions. Here are three example questions to consider:

    • "What aspects of the interview process did you find most helpful?" This question helps you identify what is working well and should be maintained.
    • "Were there any parts of the interview that you found confusing or challenging?" Understanding where candidates struggle can help you refine your approach and provide clearer instructions or support.
    • "Do you have any suggestions for improving our interview process?" This invites candidates to share their unique perspectives and ideas, potentially revealing innovative improvements.

    By incorporating candidate feedback, you can refine your interview process, improve the candidate experience, and attract better talent. It allows you to not just improve the outcome of your entire hiring process, it helps send a message to potential applicants that your company is dedicated to improving and innovating your hiring process instead of just going through the motions.

    Call center job interview questions you are not allowed to ask (and how to avoid them)

    When conducting interviews, it’s incredibly important to adhere to legal and ethical standards by avoiding questions that may be discriminatory or invasive.

    Asking inappropriate questions can easily lead to severe legal repercussions and tarnishing your company’s reputation. Instead, you should focus on questions that are directly relevant to the candidate’s ability to perform the job.

    Common questions to avoid include details related to age, marital status, race, religion, and personal health. For instance, avoid asking things like:

    • "How old are you?"
    • "Are you married?"
    • "Do you have any disabilities?"

    These questions are irrelevant to the candidate's job performance and can be seen as discriminatory.

    Instead, frame your questions to focus on the candidate's skills, experience, and ability to handle the job's responsibilities. For example, "Can you describe your experience with handling high call volumes?", or "How do you manage stress in a fast-paced environment?"

    How can I answer these questions as a call center agent? 5 top tips

    Preparing for an interview can be stressful, even if you’re already experienced in the role. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips for you from the other end of the table that you can use to nail your next opportunity.

    Understand the role

    Before your interview, you should make sure you fully understand the role of a call center agent—especially if you’re already in a similar position but moving to a different industry.

    Knowing that your job will involve handling customer inquiries, resolving issues, providing information, and maintaining detailed records will help you tailor your answers to show you’re well-prepared and enthusiastic about the position.

    Use the STAR method for behavioral questions

    When answering behavioral questions, use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses.

    For example, if asked about a time you dealt with a difficult customer, clearly describe the situation, explain what task you needed to accomplish, detail the actions you took, and conclude with the outcome.

    This approach helps you present your problem-solving and customer service skills in a clear and organized manner.

    Highlight stress management techniques

    Handling stress is a crucial part of being a call center agent. Be ready to discuss practical stress management techniques you use, such as:

    • Taking short breaks
    • Practicing deep breathing exercises
    • Prioritizing tasks

    Sharing specific examples of past experiences where you successfully managed high-pressure situations will demonstrate your ability to stay calm and effective under stress.

    Emphasize problem-solving skills

    Problem-solving is key in a call center environment. You should be prepared to discuss how you handle situations when you don’t immediately know the solution. Highlight your willingness to seek help from colleagues or supervisors, use available resources, and follow up with customers to ensure their issues are resolved. This shows your resourcefulness and commitment to providing excellent customer service.

    Showcase communication and empathy

    Strong communication skills and empathy are vital for call center agents.

    Share examples of how you’ve successfully communicated with customers, particularly in challenging situations. Demonstrate your ability to empathize with customers' concerns and find mutually beneficial solutions.

    Highlighting these soft skills can set you apart from other candidates and show your potential to contribute positively to the team.

    How to use QA software to improve interviewing and recruitment

    Quality assurance (QA) software can be leveraged for more than just maintaining quality—it can help boost your interview and recruitment processes, too.

    By using advanced features that come with your chosen software, you can identify the traits of your top performers, pinpoint areas in need of new agents, and enhance your training and onboarding processes.

    QA software enables you to analyze call recordings and performance metrics to identify the key traits and behaviors of your best agents. By understanding what makes them successful—such as their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and empathy—you can tailor your interview questions to find candidates who exhibit similar qualities. This targeted approach ensures you are consistently hiring top talent.

    Using reporting and analytics features, QA software helps you monitor call volumes, customer satisfaction scores, and agent performance. These insights allow you to pinpoint specific areas or times where additional staffing is needed. By addressing these needs proactively, you can maintain high service levels and prevent burnout among your existing team.

    QA software can also play a critical role in training and onboarding new agents. By using real call examples and performance data, you can create customized training programs that address common challenges and skill gaps. This ensures new hires are well-prepared and confident from day one, leading to smoother integration and faster productivity.

    Conclusion: The importance of asking the right questions

    Interviews aren’t easy, regardless of which side of the table you’re on. Asking the right questions in interviews can save a lot of time and money in the long run. It helps filter out candidates who aren’t fit for the position, leaving you with the best people for the job and reducing future churn, onboarding costs, and extensive training costs.

    Integrating your QA software into your recruitment and interview process can help you elevate it to new heights.

    With Scorebuddy’s custom scorecards, in-depth reporting, and robust analytics, you can spot the areas that need improvement and find out what kind of candidates you’re looking for.


    Sign up for a demo today and see just how impactful the right QA software can be in the interview process.

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