CALL & CONTACT CENTRE APPLICANT’S GUIDEBOOK

, GUIDEBOOK

HOW LAND A JOB WITHIN A CALL OR CONTACT CENTRE

(simply click here if you just want to go to our Call Centre Jobs)

Contents:

CHAPTER ONE – HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT CALL OR CONTACT CENTRE CV THAT WILL BE SNAPPED UP BY EVERY RECRUITER!

CHAPTER TWO – THE INTERVIEW

CHAPTER 1

HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT CALL CENTRE AGENTS CV THAT WILL BE SNAPPED UP BY EVERY RECRUITER!

The web is loaded with advice on how to write a CV and it can be very confusing with so many options. However here we will give you tailored advice which is specific to landing a call or contact centre role. Depending on which role within a contact centre you are applying for. 

Don’t spend hours creating a letter. It would be better to spend your time on ensuring your CV is reader-friendly. HR professionals have little time to study lengthy letters. Some sites request a call centre staff cover letter, so it’s best to write one just in case, it can be super-short and to the point, a paragraph can do. The only time a call centre staff cover letter could really help is if it explains something which is wrong with your CV. For instance – you may have left school or Uni, and have little else on your CV. So a quick professional, friendly, keen, articulate cover letter could assist to paint the picture and fill in the gaps.

TOP TIP #1 NO NOs!!!!

DO NOT write you on your CV that you have brilliant attention to detail and spell ‘detail’ wrong! You will not believe the amount of spelling mistakes CVs have or grammatical errors in their opening paragraph. Remember Spellcheck may sometimes suggest the incorrect word and before you realise you have hit the return key and you now have ‘cave’ instead of ‘CV’ (believe it or not this is a very common error)

TOP TIP #2 WORDS MOST COMMONLY MISSPELT ON CVS

TOP TIP #3 CAPITTALS

The red word above is misspelled, but MS Word will not underline it – why? Because it was written in capitals. Many CVs have spelling mistakes when words are in capitals because MS Word has a default setting not to underline capitals in red. So be careful. Curriculum vitae is usually in capitals and is often spelt incorrectly. ALSO unnecessary to use these words any more.

TOP TIP #4 FONTS AND FORMATTING

Use Calibri or Cambria – size 11, or something similar. Do not use TIMES or something too comic-script, it should be formal and readable.  Don’t use the space bar to set out your CV by pressing it a lot. You need the TAB key or the ruler at the top of the page, because while it may look good on your computer, when your CV is transferred to different formats, it may come out unlined and messy with spacing all over the place.

TOP TIP #5 DATE MANAGEMENT

Format the dates so they are the same. If you say you have an eye for detail, and then have the dates being put in different formats for every job it looks sloppy. December 2010 – 2012 Sept ’04 – Jan ‘09

TOP TIP #6 KEEP ONE EYE ON THE TENSES!

As you will only probably be updating your CV when you change your job, do make sure you have re-read it. So for a job you have already left, make sure it doesn’t still say “I take calls on a daily basis” Instead of ‘I took calls on a daily basis’. This may seem like a minor detail, but if you have three jobs – all saying you’re currently doing tasks in them still – it looks lazy.

TOP TIP #7 CUT AND PASTE MISTAKES!

So many people find the original job spec for their current role copy and paste bits into the middle of their CV. The problem with this is, it reads very badly. See the highlighted chunk below: Duties:

TOP TIP #8 COURSES AND HOBBIES

Think of things that may bring an extra skill to the job you’re applying for, if you’re studying a course that has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for – it could send the wrong message. Contact Centres want stability of staff, they need candidates who look at this as a career – for the long term, not a short stop-gap. Call Centre Recruitment Agencies will be looking to screen out any unstable applicants also. Similarly with hobbies, don’t go into too much depth, i.e. putting half a page on clothes-design on your CV, then letting the interviewer get that enthusiasm out of you. If your eyes light up more when you’re talking about fashion and your online website, than your work in a contact centre, they may feel you’re not passionate about customer service.

TOP TIP #9 SOCIAL MEDIA

Be aware of what settings you have on the public profile on your social networking sites. These days so many job-sites actually scoop a picture off your Facebook page, automatically, so the picture of you holding up your friend while they are sick on the street – may not be the image you want to project.

TOP TIP #10 CHANGING CAREER?

If you are changing your career, check your CV or get someone else to check if for you as it’s often difficult to tell when you’ve been staring at the same piece of writing for so long. Make sure that your CV is relevant to your new career.

IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR A CALL CENTRE AGENT’S VACANCY AND YOU’RE FROM THE CABIN CREW – JUST REMEMBER:

Ex-cabin crew will have great experienced and training directly related to customer service and dealing with difficult customers. Both on your CV and while being interviewed please consider the skills you have which could be related to your new career working in a call centre or contact centre. Don’t write too much about the amazing world of flying. If you were going for another job flying, then that would work, however if you’ve firmly decided to change your career, hang up your wings and begin a new corporate life in a call or contact centre, then change your CV and so it doesn’t mention in HUGE letters at the top, you are looking for a new cabin crew job. Don’t put under your hobbies that you want to spend every spare minute travelling around the world visiting other cultures, and socialising (if you’re cabin crew as people will wonder if you’ve really lost the flying-bug) Also Don’t put in the profile summary (in possibly the most important part of your CV) you work well on your own or within a team, because that’s actually saying nothing. And everyone says it. Make your CV stand out, say something that relates to the job-spec. Be concise with wording and reach the point quickly. HR professionals are usually very busy.

CHAPTER TWO

THE INTERVIEW – WHEN YOU GET TURNED DOWN FOR THE CALL CENTRE OR CONTACT CENTRE ROLES YOU REALLY WANT – AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHY? SOME TIPS ON MAKING THAT INTERVIEW A SUCCESS!

Especially in todays’ market you will be interviewing against a number of other applicants, equally as suitable and also promising their potential – therefore you need to stand out. How? It is very simple. Put yourself in the interviewer’s chair. If you were faced with the difficult choice between two or three candidates equally as good for the role, what would convince you towards one of them? You would go for the one you thought, wanted the job more, and would stay in it longer. Therefore make sure you’ve done your homework, thought of some good answers to the questions that come up when interviewing call or contact centre staff, and have good reasons why this particular vacancy, and these hours, and this company is the perfect fit for you. If the job sounds like it is made for you – they’ll believe it too.

THE TELEPHONE INTERVIEW

PREPARATION

Once you have submitted your CV to an online job-board, agency or company you should be prepared for THE incoming call IF YOU are applying for CALL CENTRE AGENT’S vacancy; think of examples of when you went the ‘Extra Mile’ or dealt with difficult customers, staying calm and focused, how you solved tricky issues, how customers left feeling positive about the company or your service. Have some good examples ready of when you’ve shown great team spirit. DON’T say ‘I do it every time, it’s difficult to think of one in particular’ OR give the standard example of a thing you would do anyway in your job

YOUR VOICEMAIL

Avoid long music, silly jokes, an answer voice saying ‘Hey Girl’ or any other cheeky way of answering the phone. Just sound really happy, friendly and professional or an HR professional could be put off before they have a chance to talk to you. Record your voicemail in a nice quiet place. A simple example would be: “Hi, you have reached my voicemail, however I’m not here at the moment, but please do leave your name, and number with the reason for your call and I’ll be sure to come back to you quickly.

ENVIRONMENT

Only take the call if you are in a quiet place and are ready to be interviewed by the company. If you are returning their call – make sure you have a pen and paper ready beforehand.

GREETINGS

THE WRONG GREETING If someone calls you, after you have forwarded them your CV. Please don’t say “I’ve sent so many CVs I really can’t remember which job this was for or who you are, I’ve been sending out a bundles every week.” This will not make the recruiter feel special. THE RIGHT GREETING Sound happy, professional and keen. If you can’t take the call in a quiet place, ask to call them back for a time when you can do.

CALLING A COMPANY ABOUT YOUR CV

Interviewers often have little time so speak clearly and concisely. Time is precious in Human Resources and unfortunately it’s best not to ask them how they are today, whether they’re feeling well or if their day was going well; you don’t know them, so it’s best to be friendly and to the point.

LINKEDIN & FACEBOOK

WATCH OUT – Clients these days, and especially those looking for good staff for a Call Centre or Contact Centre will be interested in gathering as much information about the applicant beforehand. ALWAYS check Facebook and LinkedIn. A high number of people have no idea, their profile settings are open for anyone to see. CHECK NOW – make sure non-friends are not able to read your whole life, things are very often misconstrued. Placements with clients can be lost after the MD sees something on a LinkedIn account which does not match the candidate’s CV or a Facebook account with each photo involving a pint of lager.

PRESENTATION

Presentation; so make sure your whole image is immaculate from hair (if long – preferably tied back) to polished shoes – this is such simple thing to get right but if the interviewer sees the care you take over your appearance they imagine you take the same care over your ability to get to work on time, or be organised etc.

DURING THE INTERVIEW

LISTEN
Especially if you’re interviewing for a front line position as a customer service agent for a call centre.

Make sure you listen carefully when being told about the company or the vacancy. It is good to make an occasional quiet noise (not a growl) or nod of the head, to show you’re understanding what they’re saying, however do not make the identical noise 20 times in a row! Please do try to alternate things. PONYTAILS If you have a ponytail, it may feel nice flicking it from side to side but don’t get in the habit of doing before every sentence.

REPLY CLEARLY!!

Communication. Why are some candidates offered higher salaries doing the same roles? The reason is likely bad communication. Try not to miss the ends off words you say. Example 1:  “I don’ understan why I don’ ge…it” Example 2:  “I don’t understand why I don’t get it” (Pronounce the start and end of every word) Why? Because miscommunication in a call centre can mean an unhappy customer. A disgruntled client or customer who could have been satisfied easily, has begun to be more problematic, why? Because they can’t understand parts of what you’re saying. Everyone is different with their friends, however when it’s a business meeting, it’s different and time to pronounce words clearly. THIS SERIOUSLY DOES MATTER – A LOT. I can’t tell you how much this will change the success rate you have with your interviews. Try it. Please.

ASK MORE QUESTIONS

Prepare questions to put to the interviewers, as they will want you to show initiative. Examples of suitable questions are:

QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD AVOID ASKING

Interview Problems: 10 Interview mistakes you don’t know you’re doing wrong

Here is a list of the biggest interview mistakes most candidates don’t know they’re doing when they register with a call centre recruitment agency, they probably cost them their dream job:

1: Soft Handshake A limp handshake is often one of the most simple but regular interview issues, with interviewers thinking the candidates are then unreliable, unconfident, and untrustworthy… all based on their handshake.

2: Fresh & Garlic Breath It is so important to look and smell clean. DO NOT eat garlic please, not even the day before your interview. It will slowly come out in your pores, for a day or two after eating it, and you wont notice it yourself, but others will do. The same goes with onions. Worth keeping a fresh-breath spray in your pocket and giving it a hit just before you go into the interview. PLEASE Do not chew gum, so many people forget to take it out and you’ll suddenly be met by your interviewer and you’ll forget to remove it.

3: Chewing Gum See above,

4: Obviously Obviously, Basically, Essentially… and many more. Words that are over-used when we become nervous; “So obviously I was going to leave that job and obviously get one closer to home, because obviously I’d save on the travel…” We all say these things, however, the trick is just knowing which word you have… and when you’re doing it, and then stopping yourself. Get a friend to see if you have one, most people do, but only when they’re nervous. Also – when you answer a question with ‘Obviously’ you may come across as quite rude…

5: Other Bad Habits Good poker players are well adapted at hiding their emotions. You have to be just as clever. When people are hit with a curve ball question in an interview, they will often try and cover-up the nerves by casually stretching, or flicking their hair, rubbing or scratching an arm/leg etc. These habits don’t work and you’re probably repeating them more than you realise. Practice scrunching up your toes instead, they are usually hidden – so you don’t give the game away!

6: CV Spelling Mistakes Nothing ruins a CV like a spelling mistake. Spelling and grammar errors are often all it takes to get your CV put to the bottom of the pile, even if the rest of it shows that you’re well suited to the job.

7: Answering the Phone It might seem like an obvious thing to do to switch your phone off before an interview, but many people still forget to. Letting your phone ring in an interview – and especially if you answer it – is one of the most serious interview mistakes. 

8: Poor Body Language Posture and body language have a huge impact on the way interviewers view your confidence and competence. Slumped shoulders, too laid back or keeping your handbag on your lap during the interview is a big no-no.

9: Unusual Comments Unusual, unnecessary comments – such as a reception area being very busy or quiet – can change an interviewer’s view of you. A surprisingly large number of jobseekers fail the interview this way before it even begins. 10: Be nice to everyone Including the receptionist or security personnel – remember it’s likely they’ll be asked for their opinion of you!

FINALLY REMEMBER

Be calm and dignified, the interviewer at a Call Centre Recruitment Agency or Contact Centre is not trying to trip you up with any questions. You may not be able to answer the questions pitch perfectly, but don’t worry – no one does; try to get in some great replies, show you have done your homework on the company, show how keen you are for the job and keep in mind if you’re unsuccessful, then there will be another fabulous position with your name on it somewhere else. Call Centre Jobs