Category Archives: BPO interview tips

Tips on appearing for an interview to a BPO


How to prepare for that upcoming job interview


So you have a job interview lined up. Good for you! Believe it or not, actually getting a job interview is probably one of the hardest parts of the employment process. If an employer is willing to interview, that means that they must have liked what they saw in your resume or your cover letter. They want to get a chance to know you face to face. All you have to do is act natural and professional, and everything should be fine.

Now what I just said is what you should feel before your job interview, but that’s rarely how any of us feel when we land one. Most people are filled with anxiety and doubt during the time before a job interview, worrying about all things that could go wrong. It can be a stressful time, but you can take control if you want to. I advise preparing yourself with a set of guidelines that will help you anticipate the direction of the interview.

Here are four guiding principles that might help you tackle that job interview.

Know your strengths

You only have so much time to explain yourself during an interview. This is a time to play to your strengths. Rather than make excuses to your interviewer for how you didn’t do something during a previous job or how you’ve stumbled at some point in your profession, you should plan to focus on the positives of your career. You want your potential employer to have a glowing mental picture of your value as an employee, so plan on making every second of the interview count towards building that ideal image. Be nice, be forward, be inquisitive, and be yourself.

Anticipate explaining your value as a potential employee

This point expands on the previous one. Plan to explain your strengths to your potential employer, but plan to explain in particular how those strengths will benefit their business if you’re hired. If you’re a recent college grad with a business degree, maybe you can explain how your academic experience can bring a new and bold perspective to the potential employer.

If you’re an industrious financial professional, maybe you can pitch your success as a number-cruncher as a huge benefit to an accounting firm or a financial management company. The point is that you take your core strengths and apply them specifically to the duties asked in the job posting so you can prove your worth to the interviewer.

Show that you understand the employer’s business

It’s also a good idea to study and review the background information about the employer before you go in for the interview. You want to show the interviewer that you have a firm grasp on the industry that they do business in, and you can’t do that unless you’ve taken the time to research what they do. The interviewer might appreciate your initiative if you show that you know at least a little bit about the employer’s business practices and company goals. If anything, the research will give you plenty to talk about with the interviewer should your interview run longer. The more you have to talk about, the better your interview should be.

Take a deep breath

This is the most important point I can offer to you. Like I said before, the hardest part is over: you have the interview set up, now you just need to show up on time and act natural. There’s only so much that you can prepare for before an interview just because you don’t know exactly what the interviewer will ask you. Some employers will ask you fairly conventional questions about your life goals and your career ambitions, while others might ask questions that you could never anticipate.

You can study the company for as long as you want, and you can act out interview scenarios with your friends, but there’s really only so much prep you can do. Take a deep breath and realize that you’re completely capable of knocking the interview out of the park, and you should be fine.

About the Author:

Stephanie Brooks is a freelance writer and blogger who mostly enjoys covering all things education, including online universities and traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. When she’ snot writing, she can be found at the gym working out to Zumba and cooking healthy recipes at home. She welcomes your feedback.



Tell me something about yourself

QuestionWhat is the first question that you get to hear from an interviewer?

“Tell me something about yourself”.

Most of the interviewers start with this question and most of the interviewees take it the wrong way and respond to it. A poor first impression!!

Why is this question the favorite of these interviewers? What is the response that they expect from an interviewee? When everything is clearly and legibly written in the CV that is in front of an interviewer, why does he ask this question?

These could be many more such questions in your mind but the answer to all this is simple. Because he wants to know the reason he should hire you.

This one sentence has quite a bit of it in it. Let me elaborate on the question and the motive behind asking such a question. A CV is a good enough picture of a candidate but is an incomplete picture. It is not uncommon for us to summarize everything that we did in a paragraph or, two to fit into our Curriculum Vitae and squeeze the rest of the things into the next couple of paragraphs. While we do this ( and this is required because a CV cannot be a novel) we tend to ignore small and important things that we did in our previous roles, just because we feel that it is too unimportant for our CV.

So when I as an interviewer intends to interview a candidate, my objective is to find the 1-2-3 points that can justify the reason for hiring the candidate for the particular role. But these things will obviously not be there in the CV which is almost similar for all the candidates who have applied for the position. This is where my favoritism for the question “tell me something about yourself” comes into the picture.

When I ask this question, me expectation from the candidate is a response that explains a few special skill sets that he possesses or, some unique experience of his, that he has not mentioned in the CV, and which makes him feel that he is the right fit for the position.

So how will you go about responding to this question?

  • Before every interview, ensure that you note down about 5-7 points on things that you did in your previous roles, which were of value and which are not there in your CV.
  • These points should be relevant to the position that you are applying for.
  • Practice speaking these out aloud and in a synchronous way.
  • Form a good meaningful paragraph with these points.

So, the next time when you are asked this question, “tell me something about yourself”, understand that what the interviewer wants to hear from you is, why you think you are the right fit for this position and what are the skills that you possess because of which you think, you would be the best candidate for the position.

Non-Verbal communication – the handshake

In this part of the interviewing tips series, we are going to touch upon the most important part in any interview. This aspect is what plays a major role in deciding your fate in an interview. This aspect is the “Non-verbal Communication” in an interview.Handshake

Many a times we ignore this part and focus so much on the other aspects of an interview that we feel so confident that we are going to make it, that we actually become over-confident. This over-confidence influences this aspect to an extent that the interviewer gets to know that we are over-confident and then the result is a rejection.

The first contact that a candidate has with the interviewer is when he enters the room and shakes hands with the interviewer. This is the beginning of the non-verbal communication that the interviewee will have with the interviewer. If your handshake is not appropriate then you have lost the first battle and the interviewer gets a chance to make an impression about you. Throughout the remaining part of the interview, the questions that are being put to you and the way your responses are being judged is decided primarily by this first impression.

What are the few things that you should keep in mind when you shake hands?

  • Ensure that you lock your palms with that of the other person and then shake your hands. This shows that you are confident and positive.
  • Do not just catch the other persons hands by your fingers and then leave it quickly as if in a hurry. This is the sign of an under-confident and pessimistic person.
  • Always lock your palms with the other person in a straight position., i.e. the inside of your palm should be facing your left side and should be in a 90° position to the ground. This posture is a sign of your attitude.

Follow these basic rules when you shake hands with the interviewer and you have set the tone for a smooth interview.

Photograph courtesy g-hat used under Creatives Common license.

I Cannot Sell!!

I have come across many people who would run for their life when they get to know that they have to sell something in a job. There are numerous others who come to me asking for tips to make money and when I say that they will have to sell something, they raise their hands and say, “I cannot sell”.
This is where a conversation becomes interesting. Once I was with a mentor of mine who was talking to a couple of people, telling them how easy it is to sell something on the internet and make money. He was explaining to them that how salemen were the highest paid people and how selling can help them make good money. As he ended his dialogue, an accountant amongst the them said, “But Mr.Dixit, I cannot sell. I am not good at selling and I do not possess selling skill. It requires convincing power”. Mr.Dixit said a sentence or, two in favor of selling and stopped with an open ended question prompting the accountant to speak on reasons why he felt he cannot sell. The accountant then started off on a “convince him” pitch, trying to convince my mentor of the fact that he cannot sell and the reasons why he cannot, including a detailed description of the skills required to sell something which he apparently did not possess.
After about 2 minutes when he stopped, Mr.Dixit asked him a question, “What is it that you did right now? My friend, what you did is selling. You just sold me an idea that you cannot sell. Wasn’t this selling?”
This is how easy selling is.
An interview is all about selling yourself to the interviewer. Your success will depend upon how well you sell yourself. Just keep a couple of things in mind and you would never face failure in interviews.

  • Be confident of what you are saying. But at the same time be cautious to not be overconfident. Maintain a normal pace and tone of speech.
  • Use examples and instances wherever required, to add value to your responses.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer because this shows you are either under-confident or, over-confident.
  • Don’t just start off immediately as the interviewer finishes his question. Take a few seconds to think and decide on your response. About 3 seconds is an ideal pause before you answer.
  • Never start your responses with “Okay”.
  • Be enthusiastic and maintain appropriate posture. If you are sitting in a chair with arms (which you would be) rest your hands on the arms of the chair.
  • Do not play with your fingers.
  • Do not tie your arms in front of you if you are sitting in a chair without arms.

Succeeding in an interview does not entirely depend upon the responses that you give. Though there would be questions where the response is of prime importance, I should say that your success has much more to do with the way you have responded to your questions.

BPO Interview tips – the written test

What is a written test? Ask this question and there would be a hundred different response to it. More often than not, a written test at any interview is one or, the other form of a Psychometric test.

Now what is a Psychometric test?
The term ‘psychometric’ comes from two Greek words and, literally translated, means ‘measurement of the mind’. The term ‘measurement’, as used here, does not mean that mental abilities or, qualities can be measured in the same way as physical quantities. Instead it infers that psychometrics involves a ‘scientific’ approach to the assessment of these abilities and qualities.

Psychometric tests cover areas ranging from intelligence, aptitude, values, emotions, motivation, personality, etc.
They have been created for three main reasons:

  • It is easier to get information from candidates through tests rather than through interviews/ counselling.
  • The information from these tests is more scientifically consistent than the information from an interview/ counselling session.
  • It is harder to get away with lying on a test than in an interview/ counselling session.

There are a lot of people who refute the claims made by these psychometric tests, but the fact still remains that these tests have helped and are still helping recruiters in understanding the above discussed basic qualities of the candidates.

Things to keep in mind -

  • Psychometric tests generally have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.
  • Your answer to any question should be the first response that comes to your mind.
  • Be honest with your answers and give answers that you feel describes you the best.

Tips to do well in Psychometric tests:

Though the tips mentioned below seem to be understood, they can prove worthy while appearing for a Psychometric test.

  • Ensure that you don’t go for the test on an empty stomach. Research shows that skipping meals reduces intellectual performance.
  • Stay calm; anxiety can affect your performance adversely.
  • Psychometric tests normally need no prior preparation. In case you have an idea of the type of test to expect, for example, numerical ability, then you might practice a few sums before you appear for the actual test.
  • Try to maintain both speed and accuracy, especially for timed tests.
  • You will almost certainly be taken through a practice or instruction stage before the test begins. This will give you the chance to try one or two practice items, before the actual test.
  • Listen carefully to the instructions given by the test administrator.
  • Get the most out of the examples or practice session. Do not hesitate to ask questions.
  • If you need a little more time for practice, ask for it.

Be as natural as possible and answer truly. Psychometric tests (especially the personality tests) have an in-built mechanism of detecting false responses. This is done by means of differently worded statements, which measure candidates on the same feature. So a false response from you would mean the end of the interview for you.
Psychometric tests are a useful aide in interviews. So do not look at it as an obstacle, rather treat it as a positive towards understanding your personality.