Telephone Operator Interviews should not be taken lightly as they decide the future of our careers. If we can impress the interviewer, we have half the employment battle won!
However, this is easier said than done. No one wants to do poorly in an interview, but everyone does not bother preparing for it.
People appearing for Telephone Operator interviews must make sure that they focus on their related strengths rather than giving a chronological work history.
Remember that an interviewer already has your resume in front of him and do not need you to reiterate information in it. In fact, an interviewer is looking for information about how you can use your skills to perform the job duties that you claim you can do in your resume.
The standard questions “where do you see yourself in five years” and “why did you leave your last job” are almost always asked during an interview.
These are questions aimed at finding out what bothered you enough for you to leave a previous job and how ambitious you are.
These questions need to be taken into account and prepared for before you appear for an interview.
See also: Telephone Operator Job Description
If you are thinking to appear in a telephone operator interview, read the following set of interview questions and answers:
Telephone Operator Interview Questions and Answers
1. Tell me about yourself?
Answer 1: I am an energetic and extrovert person who enjoy human interaction. After graduating High school, I started my first job as a telephone operator at the JD Hospital, New Jersey. I have received on the job training as a telephone operator, and my total work experience sums up to almost five years.
Answer 2: I graduated from high school 5 years ago. Since then, I have been working as a telephone operator at multinational companies. I am an enthusiastic individual, with a great ability to multitask. I am also exceptionally talented in providing high-end customer services. My interest is in working for an organization that provides me with challenges on a regular basis.
2. How did you learn about the opening?
I had been following your company’s website for some time, since I wanted to work with you. Having recently scanned the careers section, I came across this opening and decided to apply for it immediately.
You should hire me because I am a good listener and an excellent communicator. Well-versed in handling multiline telephone exchange systems, I also offer ample data entry and client database management skills. Moreover, I possess perfect auditory, iconic and mnemonic memory and am usually able to remember and reproduce long lists of words for a considerable period.
4. Out of all the other candidates, what qualities make you unique?
I am confident that I am the right person to hire because of many reasons. The main is my ability to handle a wide variety of tasks simultaneously. While performing administrative task, I can easily handle telephone calls, without compromising the service quality of either.
5. Why do you want this job?
I believe that I can truly make a difference. With my qualifications and skills, I am sure that I will contribute immediately. Also, I see that this job offers much in terms of challenges, and I thrive on them.
6. What is your biggest weakness?
I believe that my biggest weakness is my focus on perfection. I want everything to be done with great precision, which is not always possible. However, I am working on it to set realistic goals for myself.
7. What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is my ability to get along with people from all walks of life. This enables me to communicate with everyone I meet on a daily basis. It also makes life easier for me.
8. What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?
I have many achievements to my name, the biggest one being the time that I suggested installing a recording and tracking system in the PABX. Since my present place of work sees many online orders, we often need to record sales information and transactions. This helped the company immensely, as it was able to deal with bogus orders, and customers backing out on their orders.
9. Tell me about the last time a co-worker or customer got angry with you. What happened?
It was actually a misunderstanding. A co-worker and I were assigned to schedule a meeting with an executive – only one of us was given the right date and time. The supervisor was a bit confused about dynamics and erroneously told us both to do the same thing. We both did. The executive in question reported to the supervisor that he received 2 calls saying different things entirely. My co-worker got a bit upset with me since he thought that I had tried to tread on his domain. I explained otherwise. And things were sorted.
10. Describe your dream job.
I believe that one makes a dream job oneself. As in, I prefer to work towards making my job a dream one by working well, and meeting deadlines. A job well-done is a dream job in my opinion.
11. Why do you want to leave your current job?
I mentioned earlier that I thrive on challenges. The only reason for me to leave my job is saturation.
12. What kind of work environment do you like best?
Apart from challenges, I love working in team environments.
13. Tell me about the toughest decision you had to make in the last six months.
I was managing the telephone exchange in my resent place of work when an irate customer called and started verbal abuse. There was no way for me to calm him down, as he wouldn’t stop with the string of abuses. I could either hang up on him, call a supervisor, or handle it myself. I decided to manage the problem on my own, as I did not want to escalate it too much. The decision to not escalate the problem was quite a tough one to take though.
14. What is your leadership style?
I work with people rather than asking them to follow me. I believe that this leadership style works best.
15. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?
Recently, all front desk staff members were asked to sign in every hour in order to ensure that no employee takes off from work without letting the authorities know. I felt this was a bit harsh and inconvenient. However, I kept my silence when the decision was being voiced to us, as I did not want a confrontation. Instead, I met the supervisor later and voiced my concerns in private.
16. Tell me how you think other people would describe you.
I am sure that the first adjective people would use for me is “friendly.” I am positive that they will also say that I am easy to work with and quite helpful.
17. What can we expect from you in your first three months?
Since I know this work quite well, I am sure that you can expect a great contribution. This would be in terms of ensuring that all calls are serviced, and logged and that no issues arise in the PABX system. I also hope to streamline the front desk system within the first three months of my joining.
18. What really drives results in this job?
I believe that one has to be on his or her toes at all the time. In order to drive results, one must be dedicated to the work.
19. How do you feel about working on the telephone all day long?
I do not mind the work one bit. Since I am trained in this area, I know exactly what needs to be done, and I do it. Working on the phone all day does not bother me at all.
20. What is the most difficult thing about working as a telephone operator?
I believe that the work can be challenging when there are too many calls coming in, and not enough people to handle them.
21. Has that ever happened?
As a matter of fact, yes. Not too long ago, the telephone exchange was abuzz with calls coming in because of a recent sale that the company had put on. It was quite a challenging time for us.
22. What is your best skill as a telephone operator?
I believe that my ability to communicate well is my best skill, as it helps me ask questions, and understand those put to me.
23. On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you rate yourself as a telephone operator? Explain your rating.
I would give myself an 8. This is because I know a lot about work, but I feel that learning is a constant process.
24. How do you handle problems associated with jealousy at the workplace?
In all honesty, I do not dwell on problems associated with jealousy. I believe that feeling resentment for someone, which eventually converts into jealousy is not my issue. I keep my head down and keep moving forward.
25. What part of working as a telephone operator do you not like?
I love everything about this work. I cannot point out a single part that I dislike.
26. If you were asked to do a double shift because an employee was absent, how would you handle it?
I wouldn’t mind working a double shift. I believe in going the extra mile to work for the company that has taught me so much.
27. What has been your experience with automated systems?
I have worked on automated telephone exchanges widely. In fact, I am working on one at the moment, which is topnotch, and not used by many companies.
28. As far as administrative work is concerned, what is your expertise?
I have performed many administrative tasks while working as a telephone operator. These included handling filing and records management systems, and recording meetings of the minute. I am also well-versed in scheduling appointments over the phone, and in-person as well.
29. Do you follow a script when you handle telephone calls?
Not anymore. In the beginning, it is important to follow a script as you are learning the ropes. 5 years into this work has made me self-sufficient. If I need to respond to a query that I am not sure about, I ask the caller to hold on for a minute and ask my supervisor for help.
30. If you were asked for some information, would you prefer to write it down or explain verbally?
If the information is not too much for the other person to digest, I would prefer explaining it to them verbally since my presentation skills and ability to get the message through to the other person verbally are very good. I am however equally comfortable in writing the same if required.
31. Give us a short account of your experience in operating equipment particular to the position of a telephone operator.
I have ample experience operating PBX machines, telephone exchanges, intercom, and public address systems and fax machines.
32. Do you think it is unethical to provide callers with incorrect information regarding an employee’s availability?
I do not think it is unethical. An employee may not want to take calls due to personal or professional reasons, and it is up to us to comply with their orders.
Telephone operators are not allowed to pass judgment on these things. There are times when a caller is deemed harmful to a company (for one reason or another), and it is perfectly justifiable not to forward his or her calls.
33. How do you deal with demanding callers?
I do not react. If I get a call from an angry or unreasonable individual, I listen to him or her patiently and offer assistance as much as I am allowed to by staying within company protocols. If a situation gets out of hand, I politely inform the caller that I have no choice but to hang up.
34. How do you rate your communication skills? What is the importance of communication in the position of a telephone operator?
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my communication skills at 8. Communication is all that telephone operators do on any given workday so they hold a lot of importance.
35. How do you handle strict deadlines?
I handle deadlines through effective time management, task prioritization, and multitasking. If the tasks are prioritized and timeline chalked out, meeting the strictest deadlines becomes a piece of cake.
36. Can you differentiate between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication?
Intrapersonal communication refers to clarifying what a person wants to communicate within his or her mind. On the other hand, interpersonal communication relates to communication that occurs between two individuals.
37. Share a difficult situation you faced? How did you handle it?
During the last year, something went wrong with the database system, and without the information, it was not possible to process the caller’s requests and complaints. It took the technical department two days to fix the problem.
Those two days were particularly tricky since customers called in all day and I could not cater to their requests. I used an apologetic tone, apologized verbally for the inconvenience and called each one back once the system was restored.
38. What, according to you, are the duties of a telephone operator?
• Determining the caller requirements and providing the relevant information
• Forwarding calls to the concerned department
• Updating customer database
• Filing caller complaints and processing them
• Appointment scheduling.
39. What would you do if a client is asking about something you do not know of?
I would tell them that the information they are seeking is not available to me. Then I will either direct them to the concerned person or will acquire the required information by myself and get back to them later.
40. What kind of people do you get along with best?
I am an easygoing person and usually get along well with everyone. I, however, find it easy to interact with people who are good listeners and effective communicators.
41. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Presently, I am working on learning all there is to learn about the telephone and front desk operations. Eventually, I would like to work in an administrative role, which offers more challenges.
42. What questions do you have for me?
Can you tell me a little about the company culture, please? Also, what exactly would you expect me to achieve in the first few months of joining in? Do you have any set benchmarks?