Applying in a call center can be compared to an elusive four – leaf clover. For some, it is a dream come true to work in such environment that seems to defy the usual office norms. Hoodies and jackets dominate the production area, coffee seems to replace the blood inside the veins of the employees, and of course, the camaraderie between different colleagues regardless of position (say, having a cigarette break together with a Team Lead or Operations Manager). It is indeed a delightful environment to work with, regardless of sleepless hours and stress.
However, as the old saying goes, nothing comes easy in life. And the call center’s rigorous hiring process will always be our constant reminder about this fact. Tales of staying until midnight for operations interview and recruiters with intimidating accents are enough to make a first-time applicant shake in nervousness for hours.
Don’t worry. We are here to help you jump-start your BPO career! We have started to collaborate with Ms. Lei Del Rosario a year ago with a post help call center applicants to know more about the industry and finally take the plunge to apply. To say that the post is a success is an understatement. Of course, we have decided to come up with part 2, however, due to schedule constraints; I was not able to publish this on time.
Now, we will cover how effective training can be, how to prepare for an interview, what is the biggest hurdle from getting THAT job, and of course, a glimpse of what it’s like to be Ms. Lei every day.
PART 1: Catching Up
Q: How are your previous applicants doing so far after they got hired?
A: Some of the people we have referred have now been promoted to higher posts. Some have won awards. In general, we are happy to inform you that they are leading productive lives and are helping their families and others. We tell them that they should pay it forward. And for the most part, they do. Some of the guys help us mentor new people and tell them what to expect, give them tips and pointers.
Q: How many people have the group helped so far?
A: Literally thousands. Not just job hunters, but also recruiters, talent acquisition people and the like. I know that the group plays a part in filling their daily quota. Currently, I have 2 major groups which are Call Center People and Call Center People Aspirants (exclusive to newbies and aspiring call center agents)
Part 2: Tips for Call Center Applicants
Q: Do you still remember the first time you applied for a call center? What happened?
A: My first experience is with Sykes(Quezon Avenue) and I failed.
Q: Starting from scratch, how should an applicant prepare for an interview?
A: First the applicant needs to be prepared, be calm and confident. We know everybody can understand and speak English – we’ve been studying it since the first grade! What we lack is practice. So that’s really what we ask people to do. Practice constantly until they get better. When they do, then they will become confident in their ability. That’s three-fourths of the battle won right there.
Q: Is there a certain step or method that an applicant should follow to avoid being overwhelmed in the recruitment process?
A: Not really. Every company has its own process. Trying to anticipate them all is a waste of time. That is why we teach people to be spontaneous and to be ready for anything. And the best way to be ready is to be calm, relaxed and confident.
Q: How can they manage to be comfortable to talk in English?
A: There’s only one way. Constant practice.
Q: How effective is TESDA / Call Center Training based on your experience?
A: It is effective if the students buy into what the instructor is saying. If you treat it like a normal class, which you more or less, didn’t excel in when you were studying, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be there in the first place, then there’s a big chance that it won’t be enough. Thanks to Sir Arnel Aka Johnny The Bagger, KGW and Ariel Rosales for accepting our members all over the metro to attend their TESDA Training.
Q: What is the common problem that you encounter with applicants?
A: Lack of confidence. That’s really it. That and LAZINESS.
Q: With a lot of Call centers opening its doors to newbies, what are your suggestions on how an applicant can decide where to work for?
A: We tell them to not be blinded by the compensation package. People need to look beyond the salary. Don’t be blinded by location. What If you are not qualified in the Center near you? What if the opportunity is far away from your place?
PART 3: Call Center / BPO Recruitment
Q: One of the biggest challenges in recruitment today is mass hiring. How did you overcome it?
A: I don’t really see it as a challenge. We see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to help more people than would be possible otherwise. you see, when a BPO company ramps up, usually the standards and criteria for hiring becomes more “relaxed”. In their rush to fill in seats before the deadline, they will take in people that they, under normal circumstances won’t. Sometimes, this is just the opportunity that people need in order to shine and make something of themselves. We know a lot of people who have turned their lives around because they got hired during mass hirings. There are examples of people who would never have been hired in normal circumstances winning awards and becoming valuable members of the company.
Q: Probably you are receiving a lot of proposals to team up with different call centers. Do you have any criteria on which project you will take?
A: I speak with my partner and we decide if the project is worth it. We have to believe in it. And we have to make sure that they treat people right, that the hiring process isn’t too hard, and whether they hire HS grads or not. Things of that nature. We’re not really after the name of the company. We just want to ensure that if we partner with a company, then that company treats its employees fairly. The pay is a factor, but it’s not the most important thing.
PART 4: All About Lei
Q: How does your typical day go by?
A: It depends if we have Open House event or training or if a training center invited me. But a usual day, I woke up around 11 am. Do online coaching, admin duties, paper works (other “racket”). I still have a call center agent’s body clock. My day usually ends at 5 am.
Q: Do you still manage to have some free time? What do you do?
A: Of course! What I love about my work today is I can adjust to my family’s time. During my sister’s rest day (she’s also a call center agent), we love to travel and eat out.