One of the joys of people management is recruiting. I find the process of scouring resumes, selecting interview candidates and holding interviews fascinating. Sometimes it’s a joy because I have great candidates to choose from. Sometimes the candidates just provide comic relief. This is particularly true when interviewing for call centre phone representatives.
For anyone out there applying for frontline jobs, there are some things you definitely should not do in an interview.
Don’t struggle to answer questions from your own resume. We will ask you about your job and education history. I don’t suggest lying, but if you do, you need to be good at it. We had one candidate who gave a different school and years attended in his interview compared to his resume. His job history also didn’t match up. He struggled to give us reasons for leaving his previous jobs.
Exasperated, the HR Manager conducting the interview with me pointed out to him that his answers did not match his resume. So he confessed that his mother wrote his resume and forced him to apply for the job. He hadn’t even looked at his resume before coming in to see us. He didn’t want a job, his mother just wanted the mooch out of her house.
Big surprise, he didn’t get the position. We don’t have many standards in a call centre, but he managed to squeeze under our very low bar.
Another thing you don’t want to do in an interview is show up late. If you must show up late, apologize profusely and come up with a good excuse. Do not drag your boyfriend into the interview room (with his scary piercings and black makeup) to take the blame for your lateness. Yes, this actually happened to me.
Don’t sleep right through the interview, particularly if the interview was scheduled for 2PM. Yep, had that one too.
Finally, dress appropriately. I know, it’s a call centre. We do not expect suits and ties. We expect you to not wear t-shirts with cussing on them, dirty, holey clothing or anything that screams “hooker”. One of the worst fashion offenders I saw wore a black mini skirt that skimmed her crotch, 10 pounds of black eye makeup and a see-through top so low “the girls” almost made an appearance. This was the same girl who dragged her boyfriend in to say he made her late. We actually went through with the interview just for our own amusement.
If you are a recruiter out there, I suggest you appreciate the bad ones for what they really are: your day’s entertainment. If you have any painful candidates and just need to get them out the door, start skipping questions and make it a five-minute interview. If there are two of you conducting the interview, work out a signal beforehand to skip questions. This will keep you from becoming trapped in the interview from hell. We established a smooth system in the call centre for getting the worst offenders in and out fast, because sometimes the comic relief was just too painful.