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Old 09-20-04, 08:18 PM
Canuck Canuck is offline
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Question Help! Need Advice on Possible Call Center Job

Recently I attended an open house at a local call- center in my city. We were given a guided tour of the modern spacious building and than attended an information session on the company's history, structure, work environment, benefits, etc. I was blown away by the company's extremely generous benefits package (100% medical and dental from day one, among other things), bonusses, incentives (including shift incentives), not to mention the absence of a dress code per se (you can come to work in jeans and a t-shirt every day if you want to). They also seem to be extremely employee oriented and appear to make every effort to ensure that the work environment is as stress-free as possible, at least for a call center. After the presentation, we were offered the choice of either leaving our resume and scheduling an interview or taking some time to think it over first: no pressure on their part. Against what would appear to be my better judgement, given my notoriously poor track record working in call centers, I decided to leave my resume and shedule an interview (next Tuesday at 3PM).

Now here's my dilemma: first of all, how can I explain to them in an honest but diplomatic fashion that just because I was fired/terminated/whatever from at least two previous call centre jobs and had to quit another one because of stress, that doesn't mean that it would be a risk for them to hire me? Also how can I portray my strengths without giving the impression that I am more capable than I actually am? They seem like a very understanding company and I get the impression that if I would be forced, by my circumstances at least, to divulge my ADD that they would be willing to provide me with the help I needed to function well in this particular workplace. Of course, I don't yet know for sure. Then there is their training period: 4 weeks and very intense! Plus, the minimum passing mark is 80%! I tremble at the thought of my focus/concentration constantly drifting in and out. Althoughif I understood correctly, I seem to recall them mentioning they would provide a kind of teacher's aide during training to help new employees with any parts of the training that are difficult to grasp. If that's the case, I may have a chance. That is, if I make it through the interview. I'm just wondering if non-medicinal methods would be enough. I'm on 200mg of Amantadine a day right now since this past May and it isn't working worth beans. My doctor said it can take several months before I feel any effects from it. I'm going to give it another month and make an appointment about switching to something else. I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of this potential job but it's difficult. On the one hand, the benefits are outstanding and so is the support to employees. But on the other hand, the shifts run anywhere from 7AM to 1AM seven days a week with a possiblility of going to 24hrs sometime in the future. The job itself is in-bound customer service in either their Wireless or Cable TV departments (they're looking to fill over 300 positions during the coming months, eventually climbing to 1000 once the centre is staffed to full capacity).



Then there is the memory of all my past call center failures due to each of the following:intimadation and sensitivity when dealing with irate customers, disorganization, procrastination, lack of motivation, stress and performance anxiety caused by fear of making mistakes which would lead me to avoid asking for help in timely manner, forgetfullness which would make me uncertain of a lot of the information I learned during training, lack of confidence.It was horribly embarassing to be constantly asking the same questions over and over. It would always come to the point that my supervisors would finally approach me when things had gotten so bad instead of me approaching them for help and advice when the problems started. Was this due to fear and intimidation of them? Probably. But I keep having this nagging feeling that now that I know where all this was coming from (ADD), that I may have a better chance this time around if I use the right tools and techniques. I have been working on the disorganization problem with mixed results. Procrastination is prooving to be a tougher nut to crack, but I think a lot of it is lack of motivation due to my depressive unemployment situation. I don't know how I'm going do handle the training, short of bringing along a tape recorder for the times I tune out (LOL). It's weird that the psychologist who diagnosed my ADD seemed to think that my biggest problem was trouble focussing and not organization....weird. Of course there was a bright spot in all of this: my first call center job lasted over a year and the last 9 months of it were actually quite tolerable and practically stress-free. Leave it to an idiot like me to throw it all away without thinking first...grrrr!


Anyways, there you have it. Sorry if I rambled, it's a bad habit I have. Like I said, any advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm kind of desperate for work right now and feel like I can't really afford to pass up an opportunity no matter how risky it may seem from the outset.
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Old 09-21-04, 05:45 PM
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sLiPpY sLiPpY is offline
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Now here's my dilemma: first of all, how can I explain to them in an honest but diplomatic fashion that just because I was fired/terminated/whatever from at least two previous call centre jobs and had to quit another one because of stress, that doesn't mean that it would be a risk for them to hire me?

First the previous employers cannot legally provide reasons for termination. They can verify only a job title, salary history (some won't even provide that), and your start and end dates. That's it.

Also how can I portray my strengths without giving the impression that I am more capable than I actually am? I would portray strengths regardless, it seems to have worked out well for previous positions you'd landed. Take that interview success and "go with it."

As to "accomodation"...I would wait until you identified something you needed additional help with. Some positions and training are presented in such a way there may not be an issue. g/l
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Old 09-21-04, 05:47 PM
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hmmm...just noticed you are in Canada. mmm...I'm not sure what the regulations are there, you might want to search the internet or ask someone there.
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Old 09-21-04, 08:40 PM
Canuck Canuck is offline
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Thanks for the tips!
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Old 09-21-04, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sLiPpY

First the previous employers cannot legally provide reasons for termination. They can verify only a job title, salary history (some won't even provide that), and your start and end dates. That's it.
Actually, AFAIK and IANAL and IANAHRW (I am not an HR weenie), this is not even true in the United States. That said, a lot of employers *won't* give reasons for termination because they fear a lawsuit in case of a negative reference.

Florida, IIRC, actually has a law on the books that specifically spells out that an employer is not liable for a negative but factual reference.
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Old 09-24-04, 03:12 PM
Canuck Canuck is offline
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Thanks for all the helpful tips, everyone. By the way, I mentioned this obstacle to an employment couselor who has been helping me with my job search by providing me with job-leads and advice (it was he who told me about the call center which was holding an open house). His suggestion was to be as brief as possible when answering these types of questions and to only give details if the interviewer requests them. He also was able to provide me with lots more helpful information regarding the type of interview I can expect next Tuesday, since he attended a presentation on the subject given by the company in question. Apparently, they're big on the behavorial type of job interview. He mentioned that when they ask a candiate to give them an example of a situation, that they are looking for measurable information so it's important to focus on that when giving your answers. He also gave a lot of other pointers, which are pretty much standard with any interview but are good reminders, such as don"t give answers that are too vague, don't ramble when answering, don't offer personal info., keep eye contact at all times, etc. I'm trying not to sweat it too much. I figure if I get the job, great! But if I don't, then that means there's a reason I was screened out during the interview: the job probably wouldn't have been a good match more me and I probably would have been miserable. I'll just go in and give it my best shot. What has helped me a quite a bit in dealing with my anxiety is that I've been praying a lot and I'm leaving the stuff that's beyond my control up to the Lord. He knows what's best for me and if this job is for me, things will work out during the interview. If not, then this job was probably not for me anyway.
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