Interview questions for customer service reps

Know what to ask
September 8, 2008

It is better to have no employee than to have an employee who continually fails, says Carl Tompkins, western states area sales manager for Sika Corp., Madison Heights, Mich. To conduct a good interview and make a great hire, be prepared with a series of open-ended questions that make the candidate think through his or her answers, share their feelings, prove their knowledge and demonstrate their experience, he advises. (See "Hiring horror," Page 66, July/August 2008 Glass Magazine for more tips.)

When hiring a customer service representative, consider asking the following questions to help identify positive, and potentially negative, behavior patterns. Answers to these questions will reveal the following skills of the candidate:

  • initiative and follow-through
  • problem solving
  • communication
  • the ability to work effectively with others
  • customer service.

If you're the owner of a combo shop looking to hire installers, check out the technician-specific questions on Page 90.

1. Tell me about a situation that you influenced through follow-through.
2. Tell me about a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures.

3. Tell me about a situation where you had to be persuasive and sell your idea to someone else.

4. Tell me about a time when you were able to motivate others to get the desired results.

5. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate customer.

6. Tell me about a time when you made a lasting, positive impression on a customer. 

7. What did you like least about your last job?

8. What did you like best about your last job?

9. Do you speak another language besides English?

Interview questions submitted by Clint Mort, Don's Mobile Glass, Modesto, Calif.