It has been foreseen that by next year, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry’s revenue will make up the 10% of the Philippine economy. More than a million Filipinos are in this industry. By that number, is it that easy to join the BPO industry?
As a former call center agent, I’ll give you an honest answer. NO.
One of my longest employment as a career woman, and my first and only experience as a Technical Support Representative was at a BPO company. Before being hired there, I have had several interviews on other [BPO] companies. While most people say that the questions are always the same, I beg to disagree again. Though “Tell me something about yourself” won’t be out of the list, better not be over confident. Plus, it is not always about acing the interview questions. There are other factors for you to be hired.
So as a newbie, how do you pass the interview? Typically, for a call center agent position, there are series of interviews like HR interview, operations interview, then client interview (sometimes, there is no client interview). I have listed few points I know (based on experience) that will help you get into the industry.
When you see call center agents, most of them are just in their casual clothes. That is because the client (the account’s manager) allows it. So that doesn’t mean that you’ll go on interviews wearing casual clothes. You still have to look professional. Always be in business attire when attending interviews. Always dress for success.
BE AN EARLY BIRD
If an HR associate scheduled you for an interview. Make sure to arrive atleast 30-minutes before your schedule. HR associates or recruiters schedule a lot of applicants and if you missed your slot, you have no choice but to wait to be called again by them. Being late is always a sign of unprofessionalism and this might make them think that you are not interested with the job.
If ever you will be late, for some reasons, make sure to inform your recruiter.
LEARN ABOUT THE COMPANY
One thing you should know is about the company you are applying. Check the company website, note down the mission and vision. You can also research how well the company was ranked on the list of top BPO companies here in the Philippines, you can site that as a reason why you chose to apply in their company.
You may check the list here – 36 BIGGEST BPO firms in the Philippines
FORESEE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED
Now, let’s go to the initial interview questions. Here are some and how you should answer. I suggest that you create a pitch for every question that might be asked so you have your thoughts gathered already. This is an effective way also for you to avoid fillers (that are no, no in interview especially if you are applying to their International Account openings) like uhm, ahm, ahhhh and etc.
1. Tell me something about yourself.
Again, they say that this is the most common question, so why not start on this and make your unique pitch? For this question, you can start on telling them how you prefer to be called. Then, tell the interviewer about your interests or hobbies, why are you interested to it. If you love reading inspirational books, tell them your favorite author. You may add how the author inspires you. Do not tell them what’s already written on your resume.
2. What is your advantage over the other applicants?
Remember. Do not ever brag that you are a college graduate if you are. I know that having a diploma is a great achievement but answering the question by this sounds a little boastful. Don’t get me wrong, please. Let me explain this. Employers of BPOs [for a long time now] hire non college graduates and even high school graduates. Why? Because employers think they are the people who would stay long in the company. Some of us will be guilty by the fact that some graduates tend to leave the industry after gaining experience. So whether a graduate or not, how will you answer the question? Start with your skills. Make sure the skills you have is related to the job you are applying at. For example, your skill is you are good in communicating, you may tell them that you can converse well with foreign clients and that you are confident that there would be no language barrier.
3. Why do you want to work as a call center agent?
This is one of the most difficult question. You can answer by pointing out that the skills you have fit the job description and that you are confident that you can perform the duties as well. Aside from that, you may also tell them about a friend who has excelled in the industry ( if you happen to have one), and that you wanted to excel also.
Do not ever tell the recruiter that the reason why you want to work as an agent is because you aim to enhance your communication skills. This is one of the reasons of failing the interview.
4. How do you see yourself 5 years from now?
The very best answer here would be imagining yourself being promoted already as a supervisor or a manager. That way, the recruiter will have an idea that you are willing to stay in the company for good. The answer also may make them realize that you have the leadership skills they want for employees.
Always be confident during interviews. Sit with good posture and relax. Remember that as an agent, you will be talking to foreigners whom you have to deal with. Some of the callers go through the hotline out of frustration about their issues with say, internet connections. So being confident is one of the traits that you should possess.
After the initial interview, typically, the interviewer would ask if you have any questions. Respond with a yes. Asking questions means that you really want to be hired. One thing you can ask is how long would they contact you again for your next interview.
If you are already on to the operations interview, be mindful that this is something like the technical interview. For example you are applying for an outbound sales agent post, questions would go around about sales. You might be asked also to create your own script for a call simulation in which you have to sell something.
BRING EXTRA COPIES OF YOUR RESUME
Since hiring an agent usually are for one day process, always bring extra copies of your resume so you if ever you pass the initial assessment, you can already proceed to the next step.
SAY THANK YOU, SMILE AND GIVE A FIRM HAND SHAKE
By just being called for an assessment, you must have really impressed the recruiter, so after the interview, do not forget to give a firm hand shake, smile and say “thank you”.
Yeah, I know, as a newbie it may be hard for you. Just be confident. If you fail, it does not imply that you are not good. You just have to try and try until you get better.
If you have stumbled to this article because you are preparing for your interview, good luck and I hope you make it!
Please like my page for blog updates – Aika Loraine
36 BPO Firms in the Philippines – http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/01/01/14/36-biggest-bpo-firms-philippines
The Philippines has become the call center capital of the world – http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-philippines-economy-20150202-story.html#page=1
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