Interview questions you must ask your job candidate

by Cate Schreck -Lightbulb Training Solutions

There are many things to consider when adding to your team; relevant experience and qualifications, how and if they will ‘click’ with staff and your customers, presentation standards, security and log-in codes, privacy and confidentially regulations, position descriptions, pay rates, toilet paper protocols and the list goes on and on and on.

Just the thought of what it takes to employ and induct staff can make some of us want to curl up into a tiny little ball and roll away.

A resume will provide an insight into a candidate’s hard skills (technical skills), but a resume doesn’t confirm how that individual will cope under pressure; the pressure of peak periods and meeting deadlines and the pressure of dealing with emotional customers. To help you gain a deeper insight into the service skills and attitude of candidate/s, add this 1 question into the interview process;

“Explain a time when you have had to deal with an upset/angry or complaining customer and what you did during and after the interaction.”

How they respond to this question will give you a great insight into 3 things;

  1. Their ability to self-regulate. Assess their response to confirm if they have the skills to remain calm and help an emotional customer professionally. Do they see the event as an opportunity to help or do they take it personally? Do they know that how they react in the first instance can make the situation better or worse?
  2. Their understanding of the ‘big picture’. Do they consider the effect the interaction will have on other customers who are within eye or earshot? Do they record the interaction, so the business can identify improvement opportunities? Do they seek help from co-workers or try to go it alone? Do they follow complaint and safety policies and procedures?
  3. Their level of self-awareness. Difficult customer interactions can leave employees feeling annoyed/angry or upset after the interaction. How do they process those emotions? Do they seek to de-brief privately and professionally? Did the review the interaction to see how they could have done more, better, different or less? Did they share their insights with the team as a learning opportunity for all?

The above 3 insights are related to Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Employees with high levels of EQ consider difficult customer interactions as learning opportunities; they learn about themselves and how they feel and act under pressure. They learn about the customer; their expectations and preferred communication style.

Employees with high EQ embrace complaints. They know those unhappy customers treated professionally, happily join the marketing team of the business and they do it for FREE; free positive ‘word of mouth’ and ‘fingers to keyboard’ marketing. 

If you would like your team to understand more about Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Chapter E in my book “The A – Z of Service Excellence’  covers it in depth. Link to Book  –  Use my book as a resource in your Induction pack and you will be confirming to new recruits that customer service skills are not only vital, they are valued in your business.

Cate is the Director of Lightbulb Training Solutions (LTS) and is known for designing and delivering workplace training programs that educate and motivate staff to work together in harmony and provide consistently excellent customer service. Cate is passionate about sharing the skills that create harmonious workplaces and delighted customers. 






The sensational Cate Schreck is presenting at the Paediatric Private Practice Virtual Conference, and we can’t wait!. Cate is fun and practical presenter who motivates her audience to become customer obsessed. Don’t miss out on her sensational presentation. Jump in and join us for the day.


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