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Help please regarding interview on Thursday


 I have an interview on Thursday and I am being asked to run a half hour session on difficult call handling with 4 advisers. I sent a TNA off and got 3 back. The usual thing comes up i.e. problems dealing with irate people, angry and arrogant people. A few other people mentioned in house system problems but that is not something I can really comment on.

I can run a generic difficult call handling session but I want to make an impact by having a really interactive session.

Any ideas how to make it fun and interesting. I only have 1/2 hour and I really want to make a good impression.

Thanks in advance.

7 Responses

  1. lets play like children…..


    Take two toy phones with you

    hand one to one of the advisors and "make a call" using the other phone.

    Be the "caller from hell" (if appropriate, yell, swear, go silent, accuse, threaten)

    See how the advisor reacts


    Stop debrief discuss: what was good, what could be better?


    part way through move the advisors phone to another advisor

    Stop debrief discuss: what was good, what could be better?


    If you can record the call and play it back

    Stop debrief discuss: what was good, what could be better?

    Half an hour will fly by


    …..or you can be really contentious and…

    don’t use the phone

    just tear into one of the advisors for something, be arrogant, irate, angry so that they react in reality rather than "role play"

    Stop debrief discuss: what was good, what could be better?

    (this is dangerous if they don’t give you the opportunity to then run a feedback session but just call the police!)


    I hope this helps



  2. Mr Men

    I’m thinking 4 or 5 characters from Mr Men…

    Mr Angry…Mr Disapointed…Mr Emotional etc etc

    Start with some cut out characters to introduce the gang…

    What, Why, How of each character…ending in a solution

    End with a link that brings them all together as important customers who have and deserve an opinion and who need to be heard and respected and all end up as Mr Happy

    It will get you remembered but no guarantee of the job!

    Good luck!


    (Maybe a Ms and Miss and Mrs to be PC!)

  3. Show them you have ‘earned the right’ to trainin in this area

    Demonstarte that ‘you’ can handle a difficult situation. Get the advisors to be irate, angry customer and show them your skills/experience in handling difficulte issues. There is a saying "those who can do, those who can’t teach’ show the company you are not one of them.


    Best of luck

  4. Interviewers

    "Get the advisors to be irate, angry customer"

    If an interviewee asked me to do that I would say no…then what happens to the plan?

  5. I’d suggest you keep it really focussed


    You have a relatively short period of time so I would suggest you focus on one element of the topic, perhaps on calming the customer down enough to start to deal with their issue, because unless they can defuse the anger they will not get anywhere at all – and telling someone to calm down will only make things worse.

    So, perhaps you could ask the group what sorts of words/phrases/language would be likely to inflame the situation (eg calm down, you’re not explaining it clearly, no one else has complained, all I can do is apologise, I wasn’t here then, I can’t/the computer won’t etc – you’ll be able to think of lots more that are more industry-specific, I’m sure).

    Then, as the second part, ask them to think of words/phrases/language that will help (eg I can hear your are angry about that, the first thing I must do is apologise and then I’m going to ….., I will be able to sort this out for you, let me ……, which option would you like, etc)

    As a summary, see if you can get them to notice that most of the "inflame" responses contain negative language, whilst the "help" responses use positive words. Explain that people tend to dislike negative words and they do not respond well so we need to use positive language. Here’s an example I always use in sessions like this:

    Easyjet (or any other carrier of course!) check in – customer arrives too late – lots of negative language from check-in staff including "all I can do is get you on the next flight". How much better to say "Check in is open until 40 mins before departure. What I CAN do is get you on the next flight"

    Hope this helps a bit – happy to discuss off line if you send me a private message.



  6. with regard to “earning the right”

    It rather depends what the interview is for……

    if the interview is a job interview for a trainer then proving that "you" can do it can be counterproductive; you can be seen as "grandstanding", "trainer as performer" or even as being egotistical. This lays the trainer open to accusations of being "trainer-centric" rather than learner centric (especially in this environment where you have very limited time to actually do anything else)

    One thing this "look at me, I can do it" fails to achieve is proving that you can paln or deliver TRAINING………..

    I find it a bit odd to put the "those who can do, those who can’t teach" line on a website devoted to training and trainers, it suggests that the site users are, well, failures in life: people who can’t do anything.

    Personally I find it as strange as those job adverts for Senior Training Consultants or Training Managers that say "some exposure to training would be advantageous"…this leads to those posts on forums that say things like "I have just been appointed Training Manager and my first task is to carry out a Training Needs Analysis, can anybody give me any advice where to start?"

    Sorry, I’m on a soapbox here, and having a rant, maybe I need a holiday….oh, I’ve just remembered, I’ve got one booked for a fortnight starting Friday!


  7. Thursday…
    As it’s Thursday it would be good to know what you did and how you got on??

    Also…for anyone else who posts questions it is always good to know what you tried and also how you got on…Thanks

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