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1 Interview Question You Must Ask Frontline Candidates

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1 Interview Question You Must Ask Frontline Candidates

There are many things to consider when adding a new employee to your team. The award rates, superannuation, interview and induction processes, workplace safety protocols, team introductions, tax file numbers, presentation standards, privacy and confidentially regulations, position descriptions and the list goes on and on and on.

Just the thought of what it takes to employ staff can make some of us want to curl up into a tiny little ball and roll away. Fortunately, there is lots of help available, and it’s definitely worth reaching out if recruiting staff is not your forte.

In my experience of working with business owners seeking to add to their frontline team, there is one area of recruitment that gets left to the interviewer’s ‘gut’ feeling. It’s the potential recruit’s ability to provide consistently excellent service to their co-workers and your customers.

A resume will provide you with an insight into a candidate’s qualifications and work experience, and their referees will speak on their behalf, but a resume doesn’t confirm how that individual will cope under pressure: the pressure of peak periods and the pressure of dealing with difficult customers.

Let’s be honest; you can never 100% guarantee during an interview what your chosen candidate/s will be like on the job. The way to make your decision more informed is to add this 1 question to your interview process:

Explain a time when you have had to deal with an upset, angry or complaining customer and what did you do during the interaction and after?

How they respond to this question will give you a great insight into three things:

1. Their ability to self-regulate. Assess their response to confirm if they have the skills to remain calm and help an upset customer professionally. Do they see the event as an opportunity to help someone or do they take it personally? Do they know that how they react in the first instance can make the situation better or worse?

2. Their big picture skills. Do they consider the effect the interaction will have on other customers who are within eye or ear shot? Do they record the interaction so the business can identify improvement opportunities? Do they seek help from co-workers or try to go it alone? Do they follow complaint handling policies and procedures?

3. Their level of self-awareness. Difficult customer interactions can leave employees feeling annoyed, angry or upset. How do they process those emotions? Do they seek to de-brief privately and professionally? Did they review the interaction to see how they could have done more, better, different or less? Did they share their insights with the team as a learning opportunity for all?

The above three insights are related to Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Employees with high levels of EQ consider difficult workplace interactions as learning opportunities; they learn about themselves and how they feel and act under pressure. They learn about a co-worker or customer; what they expect and how they want to be communicated with.

Employees with high EQ embrace complaints as they know that unhappy customers treated well, become valuable assets to a business; free positive word of mouth marketing.

Customer Service Professionals have high levels of EQ.

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