Competition for jobs in today’s market is steep and your interviewing style can make or break your ability to land your ideal position. You’ve probably heard tips on how to sell yourself in an interview and the ability to sell yourself is important, but you can also set yourself apart by taking some interview advice from the customer service field.
Smile, Smile, Smile
When customer service reps are smiling, you can tell. One of the oldest strategies in the customer service playbook is to force yourself to smile whenever you talk, because the smile will eventually become natural and smiling is also quite contagious. Use this same tip in your next job interview. Even if your nerves are running high, smile. It will show that you are happy, welcoming and eager to be there.
Customer service reps engage in rapport-building small talk when they are waiting for their systems to load, which helps pass the time and helps establishes a connection with the customer. Engaging in a bit of small talk before the interview officially kicks off can relax you and ease your nerves by establishing a personal connection with the interviewer. If you see a poster on the wall of your favorite sports team, if you notice a diploma from your alma mater, etc., point it out and strike up a conversation about it. I
Great customer service reps are excellent listeners. They hear out customers’ entire issue or problem before they lay out an answer. Listening is critical in a job interview, as well. If you don’t hear the entire question before you start to formulate an answer, you could end up shooting yourself in the proverbial foot. Listen closely, and if you need clarification before you answer, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Ask Great Questions
When a customer service rep needs to dig for more information from a customer, they ask probing questions. Come to every interview prepared with a list of thoughtful questions outside of the standard “tell me about a typical day here,” question that nearly every candidate will ask. Ask things like:
- What are the accomplishments you’d like to see from me over the next three months, six months, and year if you hire me?
- What is your (or my future boss’s) leadership style?
- What type of people succeeds on this team?
- What types of people do not succeed in this team?
- How did you get your start in this field? What makes you stay with the organization?
Finally, nearly every customer service rep wraps up a call by asking if there is anything else they can do. A great way to end your interview (before asking about next steps, or course), is to ask, “After our discussion today, is there anything about my background or experience that would prevent you from offering me the job?” This is a bold statement, and it takes guts, but it will make you stand out and it gives you the opportunity to directly address any of the interviewer’s lingering concerns.