If any interviewer asks ‘Tell me a story in English’ they are obviously trying to check your communication and language skills. But how do you answer this particular question at a call center? What kind of story do you tell?

If you are asked to a call center interview, you should be already aware that the work can be hectic if you are not prepared. You need to deal with a lot of people, be diplomatic and flexible, think on your feet and be well understood. This is why you could be asked this particular question.

Organizations need efficient employees who can handle situations as they come along. And that’s why we are going to show you how to answer the ‘Tell me a story’ question. It’s not that common but it is worth being prepared for. If an interviewer, in any industry, poses this question there are certain things you need to know. This article should help you to answer it.

tell me a story

Question the question

Before trying to answer any question in interviews, make sure you understand it. What is ‘Tell me a story in English‘ asking you?
• How is the question related to the job? If you understand this then then you will come up with a good story. Otherwise what you come up with may be irrelevant.
• What are they looking for? In relation to this question, they want to see that you speak good English and that you have certain skills.
• Do you have the qualities needed to work in a call center? You can frame the story around working in a call center. But keep it short because you don’t want to bore your interviewer. And if you get the job you don’t want to bore customers either!

If you bear these things in mind there is an 80% probability you will answer the question well.

What qualities does the ‘tell me a story’ question reveal?

When interviewers pose this question, they are primarily trying to assess your communication skills. But they are also trying to find out if you are a quick thinker who can come up with an engaging story.

To answer the question well, you must try and be creative. Maybe use their names as the characters in your story. Relate the story to the job you are being interviewed for, so you can show you understand the job. Tell the story in a strong voice and look at your interviewer. This shows them you are confident.

Tips for your story

Everyone knows a few stories, and some people are really good at making them up. But few people know how to relate the story specifically to their audience, or interviewer in this case.

  • The story needs to be imaginative. What the interviewer is trying to find out by asking ‘Tell me a story’ is whether you can think on your feet and impress them in a short time.
  • Take control of your English and the words you use. Be eloquent, but don’t try to blow people away with long words. Good speakers use simple words to convey their message. More complicated words tell the interviewer you are trying hard to please them, or that you are a know-it-all.
  • In the same way, you should use short sentences. These are easy to follow for your audience.
  • Remember to focus the story on the call center job. For example, ‘Anita picked up the phone and dialed. The customer was irate, because his order had arrived but it wasn’t working. Anita calmed the customer down. I’m so sorry about that! It might have been damaged in transit. I will send out a new one right away’.  This story kills four birds with one stone: you think on your feet (tell a story to your interviewer and the customer), you are diplomatic, you understand the job and are great at customer service.
  • Tell the story as if it happened recently. This makes it seem current and relevant. You could even give it a title.
  • You can throw in a couple of jokes if you like, but only if you are feeling confident at that moment.
  • Use characters the interviewers can relate to, rather than space aliens.
  • A good story should have a perfect ending. Be creative and make the ending one that any interviewer will remember.
  • Of course, when an interviewer in a call center asks ‘Tell me a story in English’ he or she is trying to find out whether you express yourself well in English. Your story should flow in the sense that you do not pause to think too much. This may cause them to question your English language ability.

What do you say if your interviewer then asks ‘do you have any questions for me?’ Ask them a question if you have one, maybe about training. You don’t have to ask anything, but if you do make sure it makes sense and isn’t asking something too obvious.

tell me a story

Always be prepared for questions in interviews that take you by surprise. Interview questions test your knowledge and capabilities in different ways. Know your strengths and weaknesses and work on your weaknesses well before any interview.

Good luck!

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