Interview Question Guide

Customer Service Representative

Customer Service Representatives help customers by providing information about the products and services being offered by their organization. They address customer inquiries or complaints, take customer orders and process returns. Customer Service Representatives communicate with clients via telephone, email, social media, web-chat and face-to-face in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Ultimately, their role sustains customer interest and engagement with the organization’s products and services. To achieve this goal, Customer Service Representatives acquire deep knowledge of their organization’s products and services to provide timely solutions for their customers after adequately identifying their needs.

Core skills for Customer Service Representatives


Active Listening


Client Focused




Product Knowledge





How to effectively interview Customer Service Representatives

While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as a Customer Service Representative in your company, a well-developed set of interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in a Customer Service Representative role will go a long way in helping you decide. 

But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great interview questions? 

The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates. 

At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the Customer Service Representative role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral and situational questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills. And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created a Customer Service RepresentativeInterview Template for you that integrates other interviewing best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process. 

Example questions to ask

Question 1

Tell me about a time a customer tested your patience. How did you handle the situation?

Answer Tips

  • Shows they can stay calm and professional under challenging circumstances
  • Shows they were empathetic and worked to understand the customer's motivations
  • Shows they didn't take the situation personally
  • Shows they investigated the underlying issue
  • Demonstrates a solution-oriented mindset

Question 2

Imagine the volume of customer queries is higher than usual. How do you balance maintaining quality with speed/quantity?

Answer Tips

  • Shows they can juggle contending needs (e.g. quality versus resources available)
  • Discusses prioritizing/adapting the service for different customer segments
  • Discusses first response time versus resolution time
  • Discusses using the Urgent-Important Matrix and SLAs to define priorities
  • Discusses considering the complexity of issues and the volume of affected users

Question 3

What does 'customer-centric' mean to you? Tell me the ways you are customer-centric in your current role.

Answer Tips

  • Discusses valuing the customer above everything else
  • Discusses choosing the customer when making decisions that require trade-offs
  • Exhibits customer empathy and an ability to engage in perspective-taking
  • Discusses designing strategies around what the customer cares about
  • Provides specific examples of how they prioritized customers in previous roles

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