Interviewing for Customer Service Jobs? Avoid These Common Mistakes

What Not to Do in an Interview for a Job in a Call Center

You’ve been invited to interview for your dream customer service job. It’s perfect for you. The job description could have been written as your resume. You’re prepared and confident from a skillset standpoint, but the interview process itself is really stressing you out.

You’ve received a heap of advice about what you should do and how you should behave in the interview. However, the thought of making a mistake and possibly saying or doing something you shouldn’t gives you serious anxiety.

You’re not alone. Many candidates find interviewing to be a daunting task, even when qualified for the role. And employers do report that they have encountered some pretty unbelievable interviewing mistakes throughout their careers. We’ve analyzed a 2018 CareerBuilder Survey that asked employers about the biggest mistakes made by candidates during an interview. From this, we’ve compiled the list of the top 12 mistakes to avoid.

We Trust You Won’t Make These Colossal Interview Mistakes

Before we discuss the most common mistakes, let’s take a quick look at a few of the most outlandish things that employers told CareerBuilder had happened in interviews. There’s no need to explain why these immediately cost the interviewee any hope of receiving a job offer:

  • The interviewee asked their interviewer, “Are you sure that you’re qualified to do this?”
  • The candidate asked if they could taste the interviewer’s coffee.
  • One candidate wore a Darth Vader outfit to their interview. Another wore their slippers.
  • The interviewee pulled out his keys from his bag, together with a bag of drugs.
  • Halfway through an interview, the candidate started singing.

The Dirty Dozen of Mistakes to Avoid During an Interview

While those five errors may be unique events, there are certainly far more common mistakes that candidates often make. Here are the top 12 as told to the surveyors. We’ve put them in order, with the percentage of hiring managers/HR professionals who said they had experienced this from candidates.

1.    You Are Caught Lying (71%)

Never get so eager to impress that you tell a lie. Most likely, your lie will be discovered. Interviewers can typically tell when a candidate is telling an untruth (even a small one).

Even if you manage to get away with a lie during the interview, it will probably come back and haunt you if you are offered the job.

The solution is easy. Be completely honest. Period.

2.    You Don’t Make Eye Contact (68%)

Eye contact is important during an interview. It conveys confidence, shows that you are listening, and demonstrates your engagement in the process.

3.    You Answer Your Cell Phone (67%)

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this actually happens during an interview. There is rarely an excuse to answer your cell phone during an interview. Keep it on silent and out of reach until the interview is over.

4.    You Appear Arrogant (59%)

Okay, so you know this job is made for you. Your qualifications, experience and knowledge are exactly what the interviewer wants. However, don’t assume the job is yours — it’s important to remain humble and focus on demonstrating why you are the best fit.

5.    You Don’t Appear to Accept Accountability (52%)

Customer service is a team sport. When asked about specific situations and how you handled them, make sure not to place blame on others, but instead focus on the steps you took toward a resolution. If something went wrong, accept accountability. This will take you much further than spending your energy trying to convince others why it “wasn’t your fault”.

6.    You Swear in the Interview (51%)

We don’t need to tell you how bad this is, but again, you may be shocked at how often it happens. This is inappropriate and unprofessional in an interview setting and will likely cause the interviewer to question how you may respond to customers.

7.    You Haven’t Dressed Appropriately (50%)

You may not have worn a Darth Vader outfit, but wearing inappropriate clothing comes in many forms. If you are interviewing for an office job, make sure to dress professionally.

8.    You Speak Poorly of Your Previous or Current Employer (48%)

You didn’t like your last boss. Or you think your current employers are micro-managers. While those things may be true, be careful about how you portray this. Oftentimes, when you talk negatively about previous employers, it ends up just reflecting poorly on you. Try to find a way to describe why the job wasn’t the best fit for you without bashing your employers.

9.    You Haven’t Done Your Research (45%)

The interviewer asks you why you want to work for them. You ramble on with something generic. Employers want to know that you are excited and enthusiastic about both the role and the company, and that includes knowing all about them. Never go into an interview room without preparing.

10. Your Body Language Needs Work (43%)

You slouch in your chair. Put your feet on the table. Sit with folded arms throughout the interview. Body language conveys as much as 80% of meaning. Don’t ignore what your body language is saying about you.

11. You Don’t Smile (38%)

Whether it is your interview nerves or your natural demeanor, failing to smile is going to demote you rapidly down the list of potential hires. The employer typically wants to hire candidates who will improve morale and bring a positive attitude to the workplace.

12. You Play with Something on the Table or in Your Hands (36%)

Many of us fidget when we’re nervous. There’s a pen on the table, and you start twiddling. Or you rattle keys in your hand. You most likely won’t even realize you’re doing it. But the interviewers will notice immediately. And it will probably distract them.

Make sure to be aware of what you’re doing, and keep your focus on the interview.

The Don’ts are as Important as the Dos

Much of the interview advice you’ll receive is what you should do in an interview. But, as we hope you appreciate, just as important as what you must do is what you mustn’t do. If you avoid these 12 mistakes, you’ll have a much better chance to make a good impression with the things that you do right when interviewing for customer service jobs.

Are you considering a new job in customer service? If so, contact Lakeshore Talent today. You’ll find us to be a little different than other staffing agencies.