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You have set up a small business and now see the need to hire a customer support representative to handle customers’ complaints and inquiries. The bigger question needs to be asked: Who is the ideal candidate for the job? What has the prospect been doing in the real world to deserve the open position that you have created in your business.

A customer support representative needs to be people’s person. Perhaps they already are, which is why they are embarking on the journey of becoming one. However, do you believe that their education, training or credential is good enough to perform the job that they are assigned with? Do you think that their past experience is a reasonable predictor of what their future contribution will be for your business? The questions that you ask the candidate you are going to hire can retrieve a lot of information about the personality and ability of the candidate. Through resume and references you can get the whole picture and catch inconsistencies if any.

You want to evaluate the candidate for the job at hand for which you need to ask appropriate questions. “What did you do in your previous job?”. This question may seem obvious to any employee to be hired. The candidate would answer all the tasks performed in his or her previous employment. However, your job is to take note of what the prospect has to say about the employer or the working environment. Are there any complaints about coworkers, subordinates or the company itself? Has the candidate taken responsibility for whatever wrong doing he or she has been cited for? You are seeking an employee who is responsible and knows how to deal with other people. Why would you hire someone who is putting blame on everybody else for his or her failure?

Another area to scrutinize is the position held by the candidate and whether the candidate has been demoted for any reason. The references are the easy source to answer this question and bring in the details to create a coherent whole. A smart candidate for customer support job should be able to describe his or her work and experience clearly and distinctly. After all, that is who you want as a customer service representative, right? He or she should be helpful, seem motivated to do the job and have the sense of commitment to the task ahead as well. At least you should hear that the candidate has very much enjoyed working for the previous company and handling customer issues. The candidate should also be experienced enough to accept criticism from customers, as such instances happen in products and service businesses all the time. Bragging about subjects that have nothing to do with the requirement for the current position or any negative information that you hear from the questions you have asked about customers should trigger a red alert. If that is the case, you can just thank him or her and ask to move on.

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