Customer service is not for everyone as it requires a positive customer service attitude, excellent work habits, general reasoning skills, and good self control. To assess whether or not an employment candidate is a good fit to deliver excellent customer service, employers must consider giving some form of pre-employment testing prior to hiring.


An employee with good customer service skills will have the ability to make every customer that walks into or calls your business feel welcomed.  While a friendly smile and outgoing personality are helpful hints of a positive attitude, it takes more than that to be good at customer service.   To ensure your prospective employee has a sustainable and productive attitude, make sure your pre-employment test and interview questions probe areas that predict how a candidate might respond when confronted with an angry customer or the candidate himself is having a bad day.  

good interview question you might ask is: Describe for me a customer service situation that you handled badly because you were having a bad day.

Work Habits

An employee with a great attitude is a wonderful asset for your business to have. But if the employee doesn’t have great work habits as well, it won’t make a difference. For example, if the candidate is the type of person who makes friends instantly, but is frequently late or absent or tends to have “sticky fingers,” the risks may outweigh the benefits. To find an employee with a positive attitude and work habits, use a pre employment test that screens for dependability, conscientiousness, honesty, and frustration tolerance (sometimes labeled hostility on a few assessments.)

A good interview question you might ask is: Describe for me situations where you might feel arriving late or being absent from work might be acceptable.

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General Reasoning/Self-Control

Because of the high volume and dynamic nature of customer service work, there will be many times that customer service representatives will have to respond to difficult questions from upset customers under pressure and time restraints.  Employees who are unable to think on their feet without losing patience will underperform. To assess general reasoning skills, a candidate should complete a general abilities (or reasoning) test. Several of these are offered online. Self-control is assessed using several personality traits often described as stability, composure, self control, frustration tolerance, resilience, and criticism tolerance. When testing for general reasoning and self-control, human resources and hiring managers must be sure to use the right test.

A good interview question for general reasoning might be: Describe for me a situation where you were forced to make a decision but you didn’t have all the information at your fingertips. A good interview question for self-control might be: Describe for me a situation when everyone seemed to want a “piece of you” but you managed to keep your emotions under control.

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Screening employees for positive attitude, good work habits, general reasoning skills, and the ability to remain calm under pressure ensures that you will select the best candidates with the right customer service skills.

Many customer service skills tests can be completed and scored online via the Internet. Results are available in real-time by simply logging into the employer’s administration panel. Some delivery systems email the reports directly to human resource or hiring managers, too.

Regardless of the type of customer service pre-employment test you choose to use, the rewards of finding the best employees for your business is well worth the time spent.