Get Answers for Interview Questions About Handling Call Volume

Confident businesswoman on the phone in a modern office

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When you’re applying for an administrative, receptionist, or other office position, a typical job interview question will be "Are you comfortable using a phone system with multiple lines and handling a high volume of telephone calls?" 

Clearly, you want to express that you’re comfortable with multiple phone lines. It’s easier if you’ve handled high call volumes in the past, but even if you haven’t had that experience, you can still answer the question in a confident way.

Examples of the Best Answers

Here are sample interview answers which you can edit to fit your personal experiences and background:

  • Yes, I'm comfortable using multiple phone lines with a high volume of calls and have done so in the past. I'm able to keep the conversations separated, and deal with the clients in a friendly efficient manner.
  • I haven't directly handled multiple phone lines, but I understand the importance of being courteous and efficient, and I'm a quick learner.
  • I understand that phone contact is often the first interaction that a customer has with the company, and the first impression is extremely important. It is critical to maintain a friendly, professional manner on the phone at all times.

Composing Your Answers About Phone Systems

Start out by examining the job description of the position you’ve applied for, and matching your qualifications to the job. Is being able to hand high volume calling one if the requirements? If so, you can be sure the interviewer will ask about your ability to handle all those calls. Even if the requirements don’t explicitly state the ability to handle a large number of phone calls, you can bet that it will come up during the interview anyway.

Look at your current and previous jobs and make a list of the phone systems you have used. Think also of any unpaid or volunteer jobs, student jobs, and training jobs you had where you answered the phone. You may want to make notes about the phones for each item on your resume to help guide your interview answers.

Which Phone System Does the Job Use?

You may want to do a little research before the interview to see what phone system is used in the office. That can help you prepare for an answer to the question. If you haven’t used that particular system, the fact that you explored how it works should still make a good impression on the interviewer.

But how do you know what system they use? You could ask the person who sets up the interview with you. You should also note what phones are being used when you arrive for the interview (if you can see them). Pay attention to how the phone is answered if you make a call to confirm the interview time and place, that will give you insight into what will be expected.

Here’s a list of questions you can expect to be asked about your experiences with phone systems:

Which Phone Systems Have You Used?

There are several systems and you may not remember which ones you used. You could contact your previous employers or colleagues and ask. Expect to be asked any of the following questions:

  • Which brands were they?
  • What models of phones have you used?
  • How many phone lines did you handle on each?
  • What was the usual volume of calls each day?
  • How often did you have more than one caller at once?
  • Did you use a headset?
  • Did you use a speakerphone?
  • Did you use a conferencing phone system?
  • Did you use a video phone system?

Which Phone Skills Have You Used?

You might want to touch up your resume to include any of these skills, if you have them. In addition, your interviewer may ask about these skills:

  • Placing callers on hold
  • Screening calls for supervisor
  • Placing calls for supervisor
  • Transferring and forwarding calls
  • Conference calls - setting them up, placing them, managing them, participating in them
  • Voice mail management
  • Taking messages

The Customer Service Phone Skills You Have Used

Handling a high volume of calls includes more than pushing the right buttons. You’ll need to express how well you can handle the callers too. Think about these customer service skills before you go into your interview:

  • Dealing with angry or frustrated callers
  • Frontline phone answering for a large office, transferring callers to their intended contacts
  • Using appropriate business manners and language on the telephone
  • Courteous and respectful handling of calls to and from higher level executives and clients