Picture of an office environment, depicting an Account Manager in discussion with a colleague

Interview with an Account Manager

Later this year changes in TV licensing mean that many over 75’s will need to pay for their TV licence. As a result, more people than usual will have questions and concerns. To prepare for this, Blue Arrow are recruiting for temporary customer support staff to assist with the expected increase in calls.

We interviewed Jo, a Blue Arrow recruiter, actively recruiting for Capita, for some insight into how to get this temporary customer service position.

What type of candidate are you looking for?

Ideally, someone who is patient, resilient and empathetic. The majority of the callers are going to be over 75, so we need someone who is not going to get frustrated having to repeat themselves ten times. Good communication is key, along with a really strong customer service base and the willingness to go above and beyond.

What 5 skills do they ideally need to have?

  • Basic IT skills
  • Being able to multitask
  • Clear communication and a good phone manner
  • Patience
  • Resilience

In terms of transferrable skills, we need someone who is able to use a computer, IT skills are really important. Also, the ability to multitask and to talk to all audiences. While most calls will come from the over 75s themselves, some calls which will come through will be from family members. This is where objection handling comes in, because some people will be unhappy that they, or their relative, have to start paying for their TV licence. When things like this happen people often take out their frustrations on the person at the end of the phone. So I always say, don’t ever take it personally, sometimes people just need to vent to someone so it’s a case of listening and handling their objections appropriately, because at the end of the day they have to pay it.

What 3 things will give candidates the best chance of landing one of these jobs?

  • Experience
  • Willingness
  • Polite, good communication

Experience within customer service is key, but in terms of behaviour, showing willingness and having good, polite communication skills, these are the things that we’re looking out for when we’re interviewing people.

What should a candidate be including in their personal statement?

As a customer based role, something that gives a nod towards this would be beneficial. They should include any customer service experience they’ve had, state how they found it and why they want to go into this role.

What can a candidate expect to happen next once they have applied online?

Once they have applied they will then get a call from a Blue Arrow consultant. After we ascertain that they are happy with all the details of the role, we then go through a very in-depth telephone interview.

What format will the interview process take?

We tend to do a more in-depth telephone interview because it’s a call centre environment, so we go through the majority of the questions on the phone, which can take 30 to 40 minutes. We also like to do the interview this way because then we know if the person can communicate clearly on the phone. If they pass the telephone interview, we then invite them in for a group registration. If we feel we need a little bit more elaboration on their CV or have any further questions we will do a quick interview then, but the bulk of it is on the phone. Candidates then have to complete two online assessments. One of them is a data entry test to gauge their speed and accuracy. We’re not looking for the fastest typists, we’re just looking to make sure that their level of IT skills is suitable for the role as they will need to update notes while the customer is on the end of the line. The second online assessment is an aptitude test for basic Maths and English.

Will you be running background checks on applicants?

Yes, following a successful interview and group registration. A basic DBS check, a financial probity check, a social media check and also a staff fraud check. Those are the 4 checks we need clearance on in order for anyone to start. The time taken for this can vary depending on the individual.

How long will it take between application and interview?

Typically, within a week. However, depending on the number of applicants it could take longer.

If successful, how quickly could a candidate start?

Once they have passed the interview stage and the security checks have come back positive the candidate can start with the next available intake.

Will there be an induction and training period for new staff?

Yes. Training is classroom based and that is where Capita will go through everything with the candidates. If they do the training full-time it takes three weeks, part-time is five weeks.

What extra advice can you provide for our candidates?

Be confident and trust in your abilities. A lot of people, especially those who have not worked in a call centre environment before, can be hesitant. If you have got computer skills, you can multi-task between different windows on a computer, you like talking to people, you’ve been in customer service roles and you like putting the customer first and helping people out, then you will be successful. It’s having the confidence in yourself to say, I can do this.

If a candidate is shy when they come in for the group registration, that’s absolutely fine because the interview was done on the phone and at the end of the day they’ve got to be able to reassure the customers over the phone.

If you have already shown some personality and confidence and given all the right responses that we’re looking for then you can definitely do the job, regardless of whether or not you have worked in a call centre before. It’s about showing that willingness and that confidence and letting it shine through.

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    Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) the TV Licensing Agency has postponed this campaign until later this year.