Category: Call Center Agent Hiring

8 Interview Questions to Help You Hire for Emotional Intelligence In Customer Service Roles

iStock-521548648.jpg

Too many hiring managers focus on candidates’ work history when filling customer service roles. They get excited when they read that the candidate has six-plus years working in customer service.

But past work in customer service is not a reliable indicator of future success in serving your customers.

To consistency deliver the best possible customer interactions, you need to hire for emotional intelligence —hiring people with empathy, friendliness, and connection, and then train those people on your systems and policies. These are the people who will do the best job for you.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to hire for emotional intelligence using eight strategic interviewing questions.

The Goal In Interviewing for Customer Service Jobs

We’ll get to the interview questions in a moment. But, for the questions to work, you have to set up the interview properly. When you interview candidates for customer service jobs, you want to get them relaxed and confident, so they can authentically communicate with you. Here are four things, precisely, for you to focus on in your interviews.

Make the Candidate Feel As Comfortable As Possible

Small talk is a fantastic way to get candidates relaxed. Talk about anything – traffic, the cup of coffee you spilled in your last meeting, or a unique piece of jewelry the person is wearing. You want candidates to relax because when people are relaxed, they are more communicative and genuine.

Get Candidates to Tell You Stories

When you ask interview questions, and I’ll give you several questions to use, encourage the person to provide you with detailed examples of how they recently handled specific situations. When candidates talk to you through stories and examples, you’ll get honest and comprehensive insight into how the person is likely to perform in a similar situation at your company.

Laying the Interview Foundation

After making a little small talk and getting your candidate relaxed, set the interview up by saying something like, “I’m going to ask you some questions and what I’m looking for is specific examples that illustrate how you have responded to specific situations in the past. I’ll be taking notes as you talk, but you keep going. Feel free to take your time and think about responses before answering the questions.”

Taking Notes

While your candidate is telling you stories of how they’ve handled specific situations in the past, you need to be taking lots of notes. I want you to jot things down so you can go back and take a close look at how all of the people you interviewed measure up to your expectations. It will be easy to forget the many examples you’ve heard during interviews, so you need to take meeting notes.

Sample Interview Questions

Trying to Hire Millennial Employees for Customer Service Roles? Make Sure You’ve Mastered These 3 Things First.

Manager in business attire

One of the most significant challenges facing companies today is attracting and retaining right-fit front line customer service professionals. For sure, this is challenging, but you can find and keep good-fit employees if you know what’s important to Millennials as it relates to the job search and company culture.

Millennials now make up about 50% of the workforce. And Millennials approach jobs and careers differently from Generation X (my generation) and Baby Boomers.

When I work with companies on finding, hiring, and retaining the best customer service employees, I focus on three things.

1. Developing an attractive social presence (This is tremendously important merely to get Millennials to consider a company.)

2. Hiring for motivational fit. You want people who are motivated to deliver exceptional customer interactions, people who are the best cultural fit for your brand and your customers.

3. A solid coaching and motivation strategy. You’re going to have to coach to develop your people because this is extremely important to Millennials.

Let’s look at each of the three elements of attracting, hiring, and retaining Millennials.

These Are the Interview Questions You Need to be Asking Customer Service Representatives

black business woman

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information contained on this site is meant as general information only. It should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice.  

There was a time when customer service departments/jobs were solely reactive. The job was to answer questions and resolve problems. But increased competition and higher expectations from customers have led companies to require customer service professionals to take on a more proactive role.

Customer service representatives are spokespeople and even sales people in addition to problem solvers. Customer service professionals have significant influence on customer loyalty and purchasing habits. Therefore, the hiring, selection and performance of customer service professionals are of extreme importance to the overall success of organizations. We have prepared a selection of interview questions to equip you to hire capable, right-fit employees for the critical customer service role.

The following questions are designed to elicit specific examples of the core competencies of successful consumer affairs professionals. All questions are open-ended and call for the candidate to offer an illustration of their performance in each of the core areas. You should take detailed notes on the responses during the interview so you can go back and review in greater detail.

I’m going to share with you 7 categories of great interview questions. Consider setting the meeting up like this: “I’m going to ask you some questions and what I’m looking for is specific examples that illustrate how you have responded to specific situations in the past. I’ll be taking notes as you talk, but you keep going. Feel free to take your time and think about responses before answering the questions.”

1. Customer Service 

Clearly, any candidate for a consumer affairs position must have a customer service mindset. This includes anticipating customers’ needs, thoroughly answering questions, having a positive attitude and understanding that the client is the reason you are in business.

  • What does giving “excellent service” mean to you?
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty to serve a customer.
  • What do you like most about being in customer service?
  • What do you think is likely to be the difference between success and mediocrity in this position?