Interviewing for Retention and Quick Success


At least 10 to 14 days before your first day or before your next training class, place ads for telemarketing representatives. Run the ads for a minimum of one week, preferably two. Collect as many applications as you can. Save them for current and future needs.

Interview Times:

Interview 3 to 5 days before the start date.

You can interview prospective employees whenever they walk in the door, or you can control your time by setting up appointments, or a general time frame of availability such as afternoons and early evenings from 2pm-6pm. The appointments are preferable because it allows you to measure the timeliness of the applicant and you allocate your time wisely.

Each interview should last about 15 minutes. It is recommended that you never offer a person the job on the spot (unless you're desperate) because the job won't mean as much to them--it was just too easy to get hired. In fact, at the end of interview, the more I want to hire an applicant, the more I, 'take the position away'. By this I mean, at the end of the interview, I'll say, 'go home and think about our opportunity. If you're interested, call us back at (date & time), but if you're not interested, just don't call.'

When to Hire:

If you offer qualified applicants a position too early (more than 5 days before the start date) they probably won't show up because they probably had applications elsewhere and got a different job. Hire 2 to 4 days before the actual start date.

Make it easy on yourself. Don't call the applicants back. Instead, at the end of the interview, give the potential new employee your card and tell them to call back at a certain time (like Friday afternoon between 3pm and 6pm), if they're interested. This way, all the applicants that are truly interested, will call you back, and you have to answer the phone. This is a lot easier than making numerous callbacks.


Generally, anywhere in the country, it easier to hire for day shifts than night shifts, unless you're located within a couple of blocks of a major University. Therefore, your ads should specify nights and weekends (Saturdays and Sundays if you work Sundays).

This will save a lot of needless telephone calls asking about full-time day work.

However, if your labor situation is tight, you might not want to state the schedule in the ad. Whatever schedule you need to fill, it should be made perfectly clear to all applicants in the interview.

Interview Tips:

Review each application and ask yourself these questions as you continue to review their application. The entire interview should take about 15 minutes--or less if you pivot out of the interview.

Is the application neat?
Is the handwriting legible?
How is the spelling?
Is there a phone number to reach the applicant?
(In case you decide to hire them.)
Are there gaps in employment? (If so, why?)
Is the application signed and dated?
(This will become a part of their employment record) What education level has the applicant achieved? (Overqualified applicants usually don't last too long.) Was the applicant on time?
Is the applicant clean and neat?

During the interview ask these types of questions:

You're looking for positive, enthusiastic, and honest responses.

  1. What job or position (or for students, what class) did you like the most? Why?
  2. What job or position (or class) did you like the least. Why? What did you try to do to make it better?
  3. What sales experience do you have? (telephone experience would be a plus.)
  4. Where did you find out about us? (To help get a feel for your ad dollars.)
  5. Can you handle rejection? How do you handle, 'no' when told you can't have something you want?
  6. Are you a person that is reliable and will always be here on time or will you be late a lot and miss a lot of days?

    I love to hammer this one because attendance and telemarketing are crucial to my company's success. I make the applicant tell me how super reliable they'll be, if selected, so I have a lot fewer problems later on.


If the applicant doesn't answer questions well, or has a very poor application, you may terminate the interview here: (We'll review your application further and call you if we have an opening.)

Also, based on the responses, would you consider this applicant to be an extrovert or an introvert? Extroverts and telemarketing only last when the extrovert is a supervisor. Are you hiring supervisors or TSRs?

Introverted personalities, on the other hand, have a tendency to say with the job a lot longer because they don't mind sitting in a booth by themselves. Plus, slightly introverted personalities still have a keen sense of competition--even if just for themselves. Its them against the computer, or against the phone, or against some other rep, etc.... Think about it.

Explain the job.

(Calling prospective clients, via a state-of-the-art computer for a variety of products and services. The position requires that everyone be on time for their scheduled shifts -- explain the schedule, including the training dates and times. Yes, be redundant.)

Explain the pay structure!!!

Explain the possible career path. Explain exactly when they'll get paid and how. I'm amazed at how many companies I've consulted and trained with that have a bunch of new hires that don't know how or when they'll get paid.


If they can't work the shift you need to fill now, or attend the training class dates, end the interview, but save the application for the future...)

Have them read the "Reading Script" out loud. This is really a type of a test, but the word, 'test' has various problems in certain states. Therefore, I call it a Reading Script. As they read, listen for these items:

  1. How is their diction?
  2. How is their pace? Fast? Slow? Faster is usually the case because they'll be nervous but this is easily corrected. The ideal rate of speech for telemarketing is about 140-160 words per minute. Anyone above this rate will probably be fine, but anyone below about 130 wpm could have severe production problems.
  3. How is pronunciation? Can they pronounce all the words? Disparaging?
  4. Do they have an accent or lisp that might hinder their ability to deliver a clear presentation?
  5. Do they read with enthusiasm?
  6. Do they read with some inflection (or over-emphasis) of certain words or phrases?


If the applicant's reading did not meet most of the criteria, end the interview. (We'll call you if we have any openings...)
If the applicant, in your opinion was real nervous, but could probably read well in a non-pressure situation, you might let that applicant take the reading test home to practice with. Have them call back later that same day and read it to you or into a voice mail box, then make your final decision.

For those applicants that you do want to hire:

We'll be making our final selections in the next couple of days. Why should we consider you? (Looking for a positive response such as: I'm dependable, reliable, looking for a company that has opportunity, love challenges, have excellent computer skills, a very fast learner, etc.)

Review the applicant's phone number. Is this where you can be reached?

Ask applicant if they have any final questions. Give them your card/phone #.

Tell the applicant that if they don't hear from you by (4 days from start date) that they should call you (between [certain hours] on [3 days before start date]). Let them call you to see if they can follow directions (call you on the date and time range you specified).


Overbook all your training classes. Many client's primary complaint about excellent telemarketing companies is: 'They can't do enough hours quickly enough'. Don't fall into the same boat! Over book all your training classes by 10-20%.

Reading script.

My name is (Your Full Name) and I understand that if I'm hired for this position there are number of things that I will be held accountable for. First, I fully understand that I must always be on time for my scheduled shift. If I'm going to be late for any reason, I should call before my shift begins as a simple courtesy to my employer. The same holds true if I'm sick. I understand that my employer has contracts with a number of major clients and that I must never be rude to any customer. In fact, the customers that I speak with are actually paying my wages, so I should never make any rude or disparaging remarks -- even between phone calls.

I also understand that swearing is not tolerated and that I may be immediately terminated for swearing to or at or about a customer.

To be really successful, I just need to read the scripts and responses with enthusiasm and for all the proper call paths. I must never make up any information or mislead the customer in any way. Some clients will require that I read a billing statement a certain way and I shall do so. This way there will be no misunderstanding about the billing process for a product or service.

Many customers I call may be rude to me and some might even hang up on me. This is rejection and it is not personal. It is just a customer that missed out on an opportunity that might have helped them. When this occurs, I will never be rude to the customer and I will never hang up on a customer first. I will always let the customer hang up first.

Telemarketing and sales can offer a tremendous opportunity to many individuals but not everybody will be 100% successful. My supervisors and trainers will work with me to help make me as successful as I want to be in this position.

(331 words. Should be read in 2.5 minutes or LESS!)

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