Landing the Target Job

By: Rob Daniels

With 385,000 American workers in the call center industry, competition is intense for the most desirable positions. If you are fortunate enough to be called in for an interview for one of these posts, how can you prepare yourself so that you stand out from the crowd?

Hopefully you did some preliminary research of the company when you sent in your resume. Before your interview you will want to visit the corporate website and familiarize yourself with the company's products and services. You should be able to converse knowledgeably about these. Know what expertise and interests you have that would be valuable to the company, along with your career aspirations. Set goals for the next one, three, and five years. Chances are good that you will be asked this question. You want to appear matter-of-fact and positive, but not arrogant.

Some job training centers and schools offer mock interviews. This is an invaluable opportunity to get feedback on your interviewing skills. Often the process is videotaped, giving you the chance to see yourself the same way an employer would. Consider each criticism given you with an open mind, and seek to improve your skills, rather than defend yourself to the trainer.

Keep a briefcase or binder ready for your interviews. Keep it stocked with the following supplies: clean manila envelopes with extra up-to-date resumes, white envelopes with copies of your references, two working pens, two sharpened pencils, a notebook, a folder to hold information and pamphlets about the companies you are researching, a spare tie or pair of hose, your planner, a map of the area, a comb or brush, and your cell phone.

Being prepared will make you more comfortable and confident. Upon arrival to the interview introduce yourself to the receptionist. Be polite and positive to everyone you see. This not only puts you in the proper mind-set, but also will give everyone a favorable impression of you. You never know who may have influence.

During the interview it is important to be yourself. Speak honestly, stick to facts, and remember that it is 100% okay to ask for clarification and narrow down ambiguous questions. Stay positive, even if you are asked uncomfortable questions about your past employment. Don't blame or make negative comments about past employers, rather admit that the situation was less than ideal and that you and your employer decided to part ways. Almost every employer asks for questions from you toward the end of the interview. Having a genuine question ready is an opportunity to show your knowledge and interest in the position. Before you leave remember to smile, shake hands, and thank the employer. After each interview it never hurts to send a brief thank-you card. Don't gush, but let your interviewer know that you appreciate him/her spending time with you.

In your car after the interview is over give yourself a little self-assessment. What went perfect? What could have gone better? If you don't get the job, this assessment may help you to improve and do better at your next interview.

In this competitive, fast-paced field, keep your interviewing skills and your resume current and sharp. This will ultimately help you land that job.

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