By Isaac Jason Usi on June 6, 2015
Call centers are generally more lenient than other industries when hiring employees. There is a place for you whether you are a student, an undergraduate, a fresh grad, an experienced worker, young and old. The main thing call centers are strict about is your English proficiency. Without it, you’re going to have a difficult time getting in.
To help aspirants enter this industry, Kalibrr talked to April Ibay, a Training Specialist from a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) admissions training company, to help identify the most common problems of call center applicants. She says these are the learning attitude, speech, and grammar. We asked her for self-help tips to overcome these issues and hopefully increase your chances of getting hired.
Check your attitude
When it comes to the English language, call center applicants usually struggle with their speech (pronunciation, diction) and grammar (subject-verb agreement and verb tenses, whether spoken or written). But just as important, Ibay has also noticed common problems with the applicants and trainees’ learning attitude and behavior. Below are her observations, as well as some tips you can do on your own time to improve yourself:
Lack of confidence
Sometimes, applicants and trainees have a defeatist attitude assuming they'll fail the interview anyway.
Over dependency on your trainers
Applicants and trainees tend to be too dependent on their trainers; they don’t have enough self-initiative to know more or search for the answers themselves. As Ibay explains, “Most of the trainees I've encountered so far are grateful for what we're teaching, although, for some reason when you put adults inside a classroom setting, they tend to revert back into a high school class."
“There are some diligent trainees who are earnest about wanting to land the position, while there are some who get lazy and eventually drop out of the class,” Ibay says.
Younger people are usually more receptive than older ones. That's probably because it's harder to undo something that's already been ingrained in you for a big part of your life. Ibay calls these “fossilized errors.”
Self-help tips from the Training Specialist
“Knowledge is power” is not a cliché for nothing. The more knowledge you gain, the more that your confidence will build. The two weeks of training that call center applicants go through in most BPOs is not always enough to fix your weaknesses. But, you can overcome laziness and improve your receptiveness to new knowledge by devoting time doing the following:
Practice speaking English.
Read more here: Call Center Applicants How-to's: Improving your Speech
Think that you can make it.
If you are still studying, didn't finish college, or have just graduated, that doesn't mean you're not qualified. Remember, most call centers do not discriminate against age, sex, or educational attainment. Employers are just looking for people who have the skills to get the job done - namely: good communication skills, someone who's computer-literate (and can preferably type at least 40wpm), and an ability to resolve problems and complaints logically.
This can be you. This is you. For more tips, read Six Ways to Boost Your Confidence.
Study your resume.
Interviewers/recruiters will use your resume as a means to evaluate if you're suitable for the position. Look at which things might make you look weak and anticipate questions related to these items. For more tips, check out this article: How to prepare for a job interview.
Do your research. Decide if you really want to be there.
Know about the industry and the company you're entering. As Ibay explains, “It'll help you decide if you would really like to work in that setting. The call center does offer wages that are significantly higher than the minimum wage, and there's a reason for that. It is a fast-paced, and usually high-stress work environment that can be physically, mentally, and even emotionally taxing for the average person. You will have to deal with shifting schedules, irate customers who yell and cuss at you over the phone, policies and procedures that may constantly change, and some of the usual workplace politics that you can encounter in any office.”
If you’re still feeling nervous before the actual interview, follow this quick and easy tip to increase your confidence and lower your stress level. Power Poses to Boost Your Confidence.
During the interview itself, treat the interviewer as if he/she were your friend.
The interviewer is not there to intimidate you (although you may encounter some who do so on purpose), and he/she will mostly ask you questions about yourself, since it's going to be based on your CV. You know what the answers are, the trick lies in your delivery of the answers.
By changing your learning style and being pro-active and persistent at overcoming these weaknesses, you can make it to the BPO industry – or just about any field you want to get into. The improvements won’t happen overnight, but once you’ve achieved them, it’s for life. And that in itself is already a success.