Finding top-performing help desk staff starts with asking the right help desk interview questions. Remember that working on a help desk takes quite a specific skill set and personality type.
Help desk support staff deal with many different types of customers on a daily basis – from the tech-savvy to those who need straightforward, step-by-step guidance. They’ll need excellent communication skills, empathy, and of course, a strong foundation in the technical skills required to resolve customer issues.
When interviewing candidates, use these 20 help desk interview questions designed to test their initiative, aptitude, and ability to think on their feet.
Best Help Desk Interview Questions to Ask
- What brought you into working in help desk roles?
This is a good general question to get some background on the candidate. They might have deliberately chosen customer service as a career or might have ‘fallen’ into it only to discover they have a natural aptitude.
- How long do you believe a live chat/phone call should last?
This help desk interview question gives you an insight into whether the applicant emphasizes efficiency or quality of service. Ideally, their answer should indicate that they try and help customers as best they can while still being mindful that there may be other customers waiting for help.
- How do you keep your IT skills up to date? / Which tech sites do you regularly visit?
If you’re looking for candidates who are highly motivated and driven to succeed, this question is a must. It will help you spot applicants who spend some of their free time upskilling themselves and learning about new support technology.
- How long have you been working in help desk roles?
This question gives you an idea of the candidate’s experience. Those with less experience will be suited to more junior positions. In contrast, someone with lots of experience could be placed on the fast track for a supervisor/help desk manager position.
- What type of problems have you worked with the most?
Their answer to this question shows you whether they have direct experience with similar technologies to the ones you use or whether they might need some in-house training.
- Can you describe a typical day in your previous help desk position?
This question informs you about the processes, systems, and standard procedures the applicant is familiar with.
- How do you handle angry/frustrated customers?
This is an important question to ask, as dealing with customers who become emotional is something every help desk worker will have to cope with! Look for candidates who have a well-established process for reassuring the customer they’ll do everything they can to assist and techniques for deescalating the issue.
- How important would you say customer service is?
While it’s highly unlikely any applicant will answer this question with something along the lines of, “Not important at all – I honestly don’t know why we bother,” – you can still get valuable clues from their answer. What you’re looking for is not just an answer that customer service is critically important – listen for the reasons they give as to why.
- What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?
This tests the applicant’s initiative and ability to think on their feet. Look for candidates who will take steps to find out the answer on their own first, rather than just passing the customer along to a supervisor.
- How would you rate your problem-solving ability?
If there’s one thing help desk support staff need, it’s the ability to troubleshoot. If you need more details, feel free to ask other help desk interview questions for specific examples.
- How would you respond if a customer isn’t satisfied with the service you’ve given them?
Here you’re looking for an answer something like, “First, I do my best to understand why the customer isn’t happy, so I know how to do better next time. Then I like to offer the customer options for how to proceed – whether they’d like to speak to a manager right away or if they’d prefer to have someone call them back. Of course, I will also make sure the customer knows I’m extremely disappointed I couldn’t help them directly.”
- How well do you handle criticism?
This question works on two levels – it shows you whether the applicant is open to constructive criticism and whether they can be assertive when necessary. While you want someone who follows the rules, you also wish to staff who speak up when they feel there’s a better way to do something.
- How would you explain how [one of your services] works?
This question gives you a chance to see the candidate in action. Give them an example of a customer query you get often and let them answer as if they were dealing with an actual case.
- Have you ever had to work with a difficult colleague?
Help desk agents need to have the ability to work well with others. How they handle interpersonal conflict is a good indicator of their knowledge in this regard.
- What do you enjoy most about your work?
This question gives you insight into what motivates the applicant. They might enjoy the challenge of solving a particularly tricky case (showing they are natural problem-solvers), or they might enjoy going the extra mile for the customer (indicating they are driven by customer satisfaction).
- What do you enjoy least?
This help desk interview question tests the candidate’s initiative – and their honesty! Look for an answer that shows genuine disappointment when the applicant can’t solve the customer’s problem.
- Are you able to work weekend shifts?
Remember that some of your candidates will have commitments outside of work you should be aware of. This question allows you to get this information without sounding like you’re prying into their personal lives.
- Do you have any experience working remotely?
Covid-19 taught us all to expect the unexpected! Applicants with remote work experience are also familiar with remote work software and self-management, which can come in handy.
- How much do you know about our company?
Has the candidate taken the initiative to do some research on your brand? This question will show you!
- How many piano tuners are there in London?
Finally, throwing in a fun question like this – one that you don’t actually expect a real answer for – deliberately puts the interviewee on the spot! You’ll see whether they get frazzled by the question, try to think of a way they could solve for the answer, or if they come up with a humorous or entertaining response of their own. This gives you a glimpse into their personality and psychology.
Asking these 20 help desk interview questions will give you a firm grasp of the applicant’s technical ability, work background, and personality. Their answers will show you straight away whether they’re a good fit for your business and company culture. Pick and choose the most help desk interview questions or customize this list based on your company’s needs!