How to Conduct the Interview

Obviously, one of the very most important steps in hiring a customer service representative is the interview. Although it is normal for the candidate of any interview to feel a bit nervous, a potential customer service rep should not appear nervous or shaken. They should be dressed nicely, and this is particularly important if they are going to be in front of customers on a regular basis.

Pay attention to their demeanor ? do they appear friendly, outgoing, and personable? Or, do they appear to be soft-spoken and withdrawn? A candidate who does not exhibit signs of an outgoing personality probably isn?t your best choice for a customer service rep. You will want to hire someone who looks confident, because chances are they ARE confident. When dealing with customers, this should be of key importance. Again, it all goes back to the company?s reputation, as customer service reps are the first-line representation.

It is also a wise idea to consider holding second or even third interviews to narrow down your candidate choices. Those who return for repeat interviews are genuinely interested in pursuing a career in customer service.

Although it isn?t required of an employer to disclose the salary at the initial interview, it may be a topic you want to strongly consider discussing. Most potential candidates will not bring up this issue, but it?s weighing on their mind and should be discussed before further interviews or consideration. What?s the purpose of calling a candidate back for interviews if they are only going to walk away later? That?s why the issue of salary is so important.

Approach the topic with caution but speak in a manner that will grab the candidate?s attention. For example, you could start off by saying, ?our company offers top compensation for our customer service representatives? and offer comparisons of your company verses your competitor. Remind them that their role in the company is very important, and essentially your company could not function without trained customer service reps.

Building up the candidate?s confidence is a factor in successfully negotiating a salary, but you have to remain within your company?s budget. If the candidate?s salary expectations are higher than what your company can reasonably offer, you may have to move on to the next candidate. Keep in mind that you can?t always compensate your employees with a paycheck alone. Explain what incentives your company offers, such as free insurance for employees, 401k plans, bonuses, and any special rewards for those who excel.

Remember that quality candidates will exhibit interest during the interview. Often they will ask YOU questions, such as potential for advancement, inquiries about the company?s history and future, or they will come to the interview armed with knowledge about the company. This proves they have done their research and are well-informed of the job requirements.

You can learn a great deal from the first impression of a candidate for a customer service position. After all, if you are impressed with the candidate, there?s a really good chance that your customers will be as well.