Questions at SYKES interviews

We analyzed 871 interview reviews for SYKES from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

12 frequent non-technical questions at SYKES:

How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?
Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer
Tell me about yourself
Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to satisfy a customer. What was the outcome?
Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What one skill do you possess that you think will be the most important to a hiring manager?
What experience do you have in this field?
Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult or disruptive person. It may be a client, manager, or coworker. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?
Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer
What were your responsibilities in your last job?
What is your greatest weakness?

According to our research, hiring managers at SYKES ask soft skills interview questions 94% more than at other companies:

SYKES interview question statistics

1. How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?top question

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in every company, and even so much more so in a company that deals with difficult customers occasionally. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember how you diffused the situation and how you turned things around. Do you have certain principles, or methodology, to deal with difficult people? Do you have strong people skills, are you good at conflict resolution? Are you high on emotional intelligence? Can you give an example?

  2. About The Company

    What have you found about the company and its culture? What have you learned about how the employees value each other? How do they treat their customers? Knowing their line of business or industry, what can be some examples of difficult customers? Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    A question like this asked in an interview, may be an indication that difficult customers, or other difficult stakeholders, may indeed be something that you will probably encounter in this company, and it is important for the interviewer to know that you will be able to handle this challenge with good grace. If you can give an example of how you handled a difficult person in the past in a situation similar to what this company may require from you, this will strongly increase your chances of showing yourself as a good fit.

Pro Tip

One methodology for diffusing a difficult situation is called “the triple A” approach:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you added another "A" to your approach by Asking for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 4.9x more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

2. Tell me about a time when you've resolved a problem for a frustrated customer

How to answer

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. How you handle a disgruntled customer can make the difference between closing a sale and failing to do so. It takes good people skills to handle such situations, and this question is a good opportunity to demonstrate your people skills.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of a time when, as a customer, you had a problem with a company. How did you feel? How did you want to be treated? How would the situation ideally be resolved? If it were you on the serving side of the table, what would you do differently? Have you had such experiences in the past where you helped a frustrated customer? What was the critical factor in a successful resolution of the situation? Try to define your principles or approach.

    For example, I know that people tend to be frustrated when they feel neglected and unimportant. Whenever possible, I try to meet in person and establish face-to-face contact with someone who feels disgruntled, so that I can fully focus on the situation. (And believe me, checking your phone while speaking with such a customer is definitely NOT a good idea). Of course, this may not always be possible in your line of business or profession, but I guess you see what I mean - showing full attention greatly improves your chances of mitigating the situation.

  2. About The Company

    Every company relies on customers. Research the Сompany you are applying to and try to find out what their standards of customer relationship or service are, as well as try to find out some real cases where the customers complained about the company, and what the company did to mitigate the situations (a possible source might be Yelp! or another social media platform). Based on your research, how does the company treat customers? How do they resolve customer issues?

  3. About The Fit

    How can you make things better and WOW the customer? Give an example that demonstrates that your approach to resolving customer frustrations is in line with the company policies.

Pro Tip

A disgruntled customer generally just needs someone to listen to them.

The three A’s of customer service can help diffuse the difficult situation:

  • Acknowledge the customer's feelings,
  • Apologize for the customer's experience,
  • Admit the customer is experiencing an issue and you will do your best to assist them.

Add the extra “A” and Ask for the customer's contact information so you can update them on any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 3.9x more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

3. Tell me about yourself

How to answer

This question may sound vague, but it actually requires a matter of fact, concise and relevant answer. Here’s how you can approach it.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement. Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills? Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Research the Company. Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit

    Based on your Key Selling Points and your knowledge about the company, why do you think you are a good fit for this position? Can you support your statement with relevant examples from your past experiences? Try to be concise and stay within 1-2 minutes.

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like “Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?" That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Statistics

This question is asked 29% less frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

4. Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to satisfy a customer. What was the outcome?

How to answer

This question lets the interviewer know how well you think on your feet and how great your customer service skills are.

  1. About Yourself

    Think about the time you were a customer, how were you treated and how could your experience have been made the best?

    Now think about the times you had to help a customer. What did you do to make that experience unforgettable for the customer? How did you exceed expectations?

  2. About The Company

    Think carefully about the company and what they are looking for. Have you found any reviews online that can help you identify what the company's greatest challenge is? What are their standards for treating customers? Do your Research.

  3. About The Fit

    Think of the company's standards and ideals and connect those with your skills and qualifications. If you can remember more than one example, choose the one that fits best with the company industry and standards. Make sure you describe the positive outcome both for the customer and the company.

    Use the STAR method to craft your story.

Pro Tip

Showing you have compassion and empathy for customers is always the best way to answer the question. However, always remember to frame your answers in terms of how the company addresses these issues.

Statistics

This question is asked 5.1x more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

5. Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

How to answer

Nowadays, professional life is stressful everywhere and always. However, there are levels of stress that are so common that we consider them normal, and there are times when they really skyrocket. Your future employer wants to know how you will behave in such times, whether you will be a helping hand or a burden.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a time when you had to hit a tight timeline and to work long hours, hard and overtime; or when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict with someone, or with a group of people. If you had more than one such occasion, choose one that ended positively and successfully, and ideally, that can demonstrate some of your key skills - your Key Selling Points.

    Most likely, the situation was highly emotional. What helped you persevere? Was there an element that you enjoyed? For example, in one of our projects, my team and I had to hit a really tough timeline for a customer, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning. However, we knew that we owned the results and that a major decision by the customer depended on the outcome. This sense of ownership, meaning, and impact gave us energy and excitement. Those were the challenges that we loved and could deal with for a sustained period of time. Also, the pleasure of working with a highly qualified top manager on the customer’s side added to the enjoyment. Now, after a few years, we remember those times as some of the most exciting for our team.

  2. About The Company

    What do you know about the company, where you may encounter a stressful situation? Are they working on a major project which is approaching a due date? Are they going through a difficult time when cost-saving is a top priority, company culture is full of negativity and mistrust, they have gone through massive layoffs, customers are neglected, and everyone wears a long face? These are always stressful times, and you should try to know more about expectations in the company, and how realistic they are.

    Or, are they just a dynamic, highly agile company run by smart and creative folks, which may work excellently for some people and be confusing and mind-blowing for others?

    Do Your Research!

  3. About The Fit

    Think of your ideal workplace environment. Does this company feel like it? Do you feel excited and enthusiastic about the kinds of stress you may encounter here? If you feel compatible with this company culture and enthusiastic about the challenges you expect here, this is a good chance to mention it and to show your excitement. Explain your approach or rationale and give your example from the past.

Pro Tip

If you cannot remember any stressful situation with a positive outcome, you can use one with a negative outcome accompanied by your Lessons Learned. However, this option should not be your first choice, as the failure to give an example of a successful outcome may portray you as an emotionally immature person.

Statistics

This question is asked 74% more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions. The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills. They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally. Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is a Myers&Briggs-based test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job. What challenges do you like overcoming? For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position. However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general. Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects? Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff? Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product. In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes. However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position. If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position. Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “as I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like “Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”. This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

Statistics

This question is asked 53% less frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

7. What one skill do you possess that you think will be the most important to a hiring manager?

How to answer

Employers place a lot of emphasis on finding candidates with the right skills and competencies for their organizations. Depending on the career sector and profession you choose to work in, there are very specific skills, abilities and knowledge needed to do the job well. The interviewer asks this question to make sure you will be a good fit with your skills and experience and will be a great addition to their team.

  1. About Yourself

    If you’re not sure which skill would be best to share, consider your previous work experiences.

    • Where did you excel?
    • What would your peers say you’re especially proficient at?
    • Have you ever received recognition for meeting a particular objective or excelling in a specific area?If so, your skills likely assisted you in reaching this achievement.
    • What personal talents or attributes helped you meet that milestone?
      Ask former coworkers or managers to help you to determine your strengths that made you unique. Imagine yourself as a manager who needs an employee to fill the position you are currently applying for. What would you as the manager expect from a candidate for this job?
  2. About The Company

    Start by reviewing the job description and making note of any required skills or abilities that match your own. The job posting is a great guide for what employers want to see in candidates. In addition to job requirements, consider the depiction of the company and its culture in the job description. Be sure to research the company by reviewing its website for additional information to get to know what skill you should mention.

  3. About The Fit

    It’s important to highlight your best hard and soft skills (your Key Selling Points) to position yourself as a well-rounded candidate. Though you may have several different areas of strength, include only those that are relevant to the job. Adaptability, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and effective communication – it is the list of most common soft skills that can be helpful in any job, so you can choose the one to share with the hiring manager that best describes you. But to make your answer stronger, the skill should be specific to the job you are applying for. Be certain to give examples of how this skill helped you in your last job.

Pro Tip

It is important to be able to distinguish your skills from personal qualities. The first are acquired in the process of work and training, and the second characterize you as a person.

Statistics

This question is asked 4.3x more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

8. What experience do you have in this field?

How to answer

This question may help you convince the interviewer how smoothly you would fit into the position to which you are applying. It's your chance to WOW them! Be sure to focus on the experience that is relevant to the company and position.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with defining your Key Selling Points you want to emphasize for this position. What job experiences brought you to those points? What were the job titles and the most relevant responsibilities?

  2. About The Company

    Do your research on the company and the requirements for the position. What is the company looking for in terms of experiences and qualifications? What problems are they trying to solve with this position? Highlight 3-5 key required experiences or skills from the job description.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your Key Selling Points match with the required experiences or skills? Can you think of an example story showcasing this match? Nowadays, every hiring manager wants results, so think in terms of specific achievements and try to structure your example accordingly.

Pro Tip

When telling your story, remember to talk about your STARs!
S - What was the Situation?
T - What was your Task?
A - What Action did you take?
R - Talk about the Results.

Statistics

This question is asked 1% more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

9. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult or disruptive person. It may be a client, manager, or coworker. How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome?

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in a company. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities, especially if you are applying for a job that involves teamwork, or a lot of interactions with clients.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember a few such situations and how you diffused them and turned things around.

  2. About The Company

    What have you found about the company and its culture? What have you learned about how the employees value each other? How do they treat their customers? Do they have any specific standards and policies?

  3. About The Fit

    Using what you found about the company, choose one of your examples that fits best with the company standards and share your story. If it's a customer, how did you turn things around and made a customer happy? If it's a co-worker, how did you diffuse a tense or difficult situation?

Pro Tip

Use the triple A of diffusing a difficult situation:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,

  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,

  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on getting it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you "Ask" for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

Statistics

This question is asked 48% more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

10. Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer

How to answer

This question lets the interviewer know how well you think on your toes and how great your customer service skills are.

  1. About Yourself

    Think about the time you were a customer, how were you treated and how could your experience have been made the best. Now think about the time you had to help a customer. What did you do to make that experience unforgettable for the customer?

  2. About The Company

    Think carefully about the company and what they are looking for. Read online reviews and any other available information. What are their standards for treating customers? What complaints have you seen that can give you a hint of some of the challenges associated with customer service?

  3. About The Fit

    Think of the company's ideals and connect those with your skills and qualifications. Now think of how these requirements are met by how you went above and beyond for a customer. Frame your story in terms of your STAR method:

    S - What was the Situation?
    T - What was your Task?
    A - What Action did you take?
    R - Talk about the Results.

Pro Tip

Showing you have compassion and empathy for customers is always an excellent way to answer the question. However, always remember to frame your answers in terms of how the company addresses these issues.

Statistics

This question is asked 11% more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

11. What were your responsibilities in your last job?

How to answer

This is a good opportunity to demonstrate that you have experience or knowledge suitable for the job you are applying for. Even if you have never done exactly this specific kind of job, usually you should be able to name a few “transferable” skills that you used in your previous work assignments that are quite easily applicable to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember your last (or current) job and compile a list of things you had to do while working there. If you don’t know where to start, picture your typical working day at one of your previous jobs, or college day if you are applying for your first job ever. Describe the categories of tasks in bullet points. Then, try to remember the less ordinary tasks you had to do as well, and add them to the list.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company and the job description. What do you expect to be doing in this job? How would your performance be measured? List a few items in bullet points.

  3. About The Fit

    Choose a few task categories that seem like a match between your experience and the requirements of the current position. Think of a couple of relevant examples to illustrate your experience. Craft your stories using the STAR method.

Pro Tip

Optionally, you can end with a question like “Does this correspond with the expectations for this role? Could you give me an example of what is expected from a successful candidate within the first, say, 3 months?" That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the "interrogation" into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Statistics

This question is asked 2.4x more frequently at SYKES than at other companies.

12. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down. What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture. What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself! It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Statistics

This question is asked 71% less frequently at SYKES than at other companies.


This page has been updated on March 26, 2020.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions from SYKES by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

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