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Personality tips for BPO interviews
Celeste Dean
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March 13, 2007

In my last article -- How to crack BPO interviews -- I highlighted the importance of a good voice and a sound thought process.

As most front-end BPO jobs require handling clients, you also need some complimentary skills like 'service orientation' and 'overall grooming.' 

So, now, we talk about these two ingredients. 

The Service Attitude

I once asked an interviewee to change a sentence into a positive phrase in such a way that it does not lose its overall impact. "We cannot accept your proposal without the price quote." Try finding the negative words and change them into positive -- cannot to can; without to only with.

Now, start thinking like that. Talk about things you can do rather than what you cannot.

Learn to see things from others' perspectives. Before giving your opinion on things, respect others' viewpoints.

You love speaking, now start loving listening too.

And keep your sense of humour in control. Being witty is good, but don't overdo it.

Practise these simple role plays to improve your service orientation:

Arrange this with a friend. Ask him/her to be a customer and take an order for a pizza from him/her. Take his/her feedback as a customer.

Be a customer service representative for your telephone service provider and ask your friend to seek help. Take feedback.

You can also be a florist and let your friend place an order for flowers with you. Seek feedback.

The Personality

All first impressions are extremely important. No company looks at your hiring as a short-term deal. You are looked at as future team lead, manager, trainer, etc. Your personal grooming is important.

1) Dressing

What you wear for an interview is of utmost importance. Please dress in something you are comfortable in.

You don't get any extra points if you are dressed in a Western outfit when you are used to wearing ethnic. However, you will surely lose some points if you are inappropriately dressed.

Wear smart clothing -- Western or ethnic. Wear soothing, light colours. Avoid bright pastels. Avoid denims and all-casuals. Semi-casual is preferred. Don't be overly formal. And please iron your clothes well.

Be careful about your shoes. Wear something comfortable so that you can walk with confidence. Ladies, avoid those really fancy high heels and block sandals. Wear something smart.

Boys, polish your shoes please and don't wear those sneakers with trousers.

Avoid over-accessorising. Keep away from too much jewellery.

Ladies, avoid layers of make-up. A light make-up comprising face powder, lip gloss, and some kajal (kohl) will make you look just fine. Do your hair nicely, keep your nails trimmed and use a light deodorant.

2) Body language

Walk with confidence; keep your chin parallel to the floor. Shake hands firmly when you meet the interviewer. Look at people and talk. Maintain eye contact; however, don't stare.

Keep your hands out of the pockets and don't fiddle with things like pen and paper. Don't fold your hands while talking to someone -- it conveys the impression that you are not open to their conversation.

And if you want to make a whole world of difference, SMILE.

Part I: How to crack BPO interviews

-- Celeste Dean, a training consultant with W.C.H Training Solutions, can be reached at

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