Candidate Toolkit

We know that seeking out and getting the right advisor role, in the right contact centre for you, can be a job in its own right.

You need the right tools to ensure that you are successful in completing that job and so we have put together a tool kit to help you secure your dream job.

Your CV

Your CV is your personal marketing document – it might not get you the job, but it needs to get you an interview.

We can't stress enough how important it is to have a great CV in getting the best contact centre job. Our Top Ten Tips will steer you towards writing a compelling CV that will present you and your call centre experience in the most interesting and relevant way.

Top 10 tips to a successful CV:

  1. Keep your CV simple and concise, with an uncluttered layout.
  2. Tailor your CV to address what the contact centre recruiter is looking for. But keep it real.
  3. Cover your most recent call centre role first – it is likely to be the most relevant to the role you have applied for and employers want to know what you are doing now.
  4. Provide up-to-date contact details – with an appropriate email – idontwantajob@hotmail.com might not show you in the best possible light.
  5. Grammar, punctuation and spelling – use spell-check and get some else to proof read your CV.
  6. Be selective in your choice of personal interests and consider the call centre role you are applying for. Socialising is not good cover all.
  7. Print your CV on quality, plain white A4 paper. The font should be clear and remain consistent throughout, with bold/larger font sizes for headings.
  8. References - Only include them if you're asked.
  9. Do not include a photo unless required.
  10. Don't forget to do a covering letter. Personalise and tailor this to respond to the criteria within the advert or job spec.

The Interview

Another 10 Tips:

  1. Do your Homework – Research about the contact centre, the role and the kind of issues that are likely to be discussed - prepare a short response to the question "what do you know about us?"
  2. Anticipate some likely interview questions – For example: Why do you want to work here? What relevant experience do you have? What positions have you enjoyed most? What's your greatest strength/weakness? What interests you most about this position?
  3. Dress to impress - It’s an old adage, but it’s true – first impressions really do count.
  4. Make sure you arrive early for the interview -  arriving 15 minutes early, gives you a chance to relax, gather your thoughts.
  5. Don’t forget a smile and a firm handshake when you meet the interviewer.
  6. Be aware of your body language.
  7. Concentrate and listen very carefully to the questions.
  8. Show a real interest in the contact centre job. Speak clearly and confidently and make sure that everything you say is factual and sincere.
  9. Do not speak negatively of other people or call centres you have worked for. It makes you look unprofessional.
  10. Have specific, worthwhile question about the contact centre and role prepared.

And one for luck – 11. Be Yourself.

If you are, for any reason, unable to make an interview, you MUST contact the company you are seeing or recruitment agency (if one is involved) to let them know, as soon as possible. Just not turning up is not an option – companies have long memories and sophisticated systems, and they will remember you let them down.

SOARA Interview Techniques 

SOARA is a Job interview technique used by interviewers to gather all the relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires. Once you develop an understanding of this scoring mechanism you can deliver structured responses to questions and score maximum marks. Structure isn’t everything and content is king but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all you need!

Situation:

The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation you found yourself in. This part is absolutely key! Set the scene and make sure the interviewer is clear on the situation. Background information is really important when providing an interview response. If the recruiter is not clear from the start then you become increasingly difficult to understand as your answer develops.

A good example of a situation would be: I was working as an administrator for Business Ltd and our workload increased significantly during an increased volume of absence within the team, this caused low morale and drove down efficiencies….

Short and sweet but immediately gives the employer an understanding of the scenario surrounding your answer.

Objective:

What did you have to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation. Was the objective assigned to you by a line manager or was it from your own initiative?

Following on from our previous example: I was concerned that we would see more absence due to the high stress levels and workload, whilst overtime had been offered by my line manager, it didn’t seem to be resolving the problem. I decided to find a solution, my aim was to increase morale, drive efficiency and clear the backlog of work.

Action:

What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what were the alternatives. This area can often get missed out or misunderstood. The employer is not interested in how the business resolved a problem, they want to know specifically what you did to help.

A poor example: My manager offered double time overtime which seemed to address the problem, we all worked really hard to clear the work and this in turn increased morale.

Why is it a poor example? Because you did nothing to stimulate change yourself. If you did you’ve not made it clear. Some people find it difficult to take credit for their work and really sell themselves. Graduate recruitment is tough, it’s a huge playing field and most people will do whatever it takes to get that job that you want. Be proud of your accomplishments and speak with confidence when delivering your answers.

A good example of an action: Having engaged my line manager I arranged to set up a brainstorming session with my colleagues, we needed to devise a recovery plan and understand why the offer of overtime wasn’t addressing the issue. It became apparent quite quickly that some colleagues felt the volume of work per individual varied significantly and overtime was unfair considering the vast difference in completed work per individual. Taking this feedback into consideration I suggested a target driven financial incentive to drive performance within standard work hours and a minimum target requirement to qualify for overtime.

Results:

What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives?

Quite often candidates will finish the answer after delivering their action. It’s important to summarise and reflect.

Our example: Following the successful introduction of a target driven incentive our backlog was cleared within 2 weeks. Staff morale increased immediately and efficiency increased by 50%.

Aftermath:

What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

This can be a tricky one! You don’t want to paint a negative picture, wherever possible your aftermath should add value to an already great example.

Good example: Upon reflection we should have set smarter objectives around our recovery plan. Fortunately the plan worked well and we cleared the backlog within 2 weeks. We didn’t however set a target of 2 weeks, agree a financial target for reward or set a review date to analyse our progress. Following the success of the incentive based scheme we implemented the targets permanently considering financial objectives and set up clear review dates. To my knowledge that incentive is still successfully running today, 2 years on from its introduction.

One final word around delivery, try not to get lost in the structure, play around with it but make sure you cover all points. Try not to sound robotic and practice, practice, practice!