Help Desk Interview Questions

22 Help Desk Interview Questions to Ask Your Candidates

Use these questions to screen for the best candidates.
Guest Contributor
10 min read
10 min read

In a Nutshell

When interviewing for a help desk position, use these help desk interview questions to screen your candidates for technical know-how, communication skills, their customer service abilities, and how well they work in a team.

Good help desk support staff are hard to find and much of the process depends on the interviews conducted with potential candidates. Employers are looking for support staff with strong communication skills, problem-solving skills, technical know-how and how to deliver excellent customer service. Employers will use help desk interview questions that test for your ability to work across different channels including email, chat, and phone.

The right candidate will demonstrate the adaptability to handle a broad scope of issues that come up. Customers call in about all sorts of problems so your knowledge must be flexible and able to cope.

Customers that contact the help desk may be rude and aggressive, so employers will be testing your ability to deal with unpleasant customers and keep calm in the face of adversity. Ideal candidates have a strong customer focus and a relentless desire to help. 

Table of Contents

Types of help desk interview questions to ask

General questions

When interviewing for a help desk position, employers are likely to ask questions about a candidate’s previous job and experience. They’ll want to know if they have experience in working for help desks before and what draws them to this type of role.

Technical know-how questions

When working at a help desk, you may have to work closely with technology and troubleshoot all sorts of technical problems for customers. The tier of support that you are recruiting for will determine the level of technical knowledge required.

Communication questions

Knowing how to communicate with all types of people is an essential quality in a help desk agent. They have to work closely with customers to understand different problems in-depth and work out how to arrive at a solution. They may also have to provide detailed reports so that managerial staff can comprehend the problems after the fact.

Customer service questions

Dealing with customers is critical to the role of the help desk agent. You’ll want to assess if the candidate can provide a high level of customer service that not only solves problems but brings a smile to the customer’s face. The potential applicant should have the ability to stay calm under pressure, demonstrate patience and determination.

Teamwork questions

Help desk agents are working closely as part of a team and they should demonstrate strong teamwork skills. They should have the ability to handle criticism and be able to clearly communicate their points to senior management when necessary.

22 help desk interview questions to ask

1. What is a help desk? 

A help desk is a first point of contact between a business and its customers. It provides customers with support for a company’s products and services. The aim of a help desk is to solve problems and deliver their support through a variety of channels such as phone, chat or email. Companies also have in-house help desks designed to provide assistance to employees using technology.

2. Why does a company really require a help desk? 

This question tests whether the candidate truly understands the role of a help desk in the efficient operations of the company. Customers always require assistance and it is the responsibility of companies to offer exemplary support in using their products and services. The help desk plays a key part in retaining satisfied customers and can’t be overlooked.

3. What does good customer service mean to you? 

Good customer service means going the extra mile to help customers solve their problems, never resting until you get to the root of the issue and ensuring it doesn’t happen again. It comes from an authentic wish to assist the customer no matter what happens, and even if you aren’t sure of the solution. Because you go out of your way to help the customer, they continue using your products and services and are satisfied with the business.

4. Can you talk about a time when you had to walk a person with no computer knowledge through an IT issue? 

Helping customers who have no knowledge of computers can be one of the more difficult aspects of help desk work. The candidate should demonstrate an ability to break down complex concepts in a way that the customer can understand, and show how they answered any further questions with empathy and patience. How did they know that the customer grasped the solution?

5. What would you do if you encountered an angry customer? 

When dealing with an angry customer, the most important thing to do is to stay calm and not respond in kind. While it’s never okay for customers to become abusive, it’s your responsibility to keep everything professional and stick to the topic at hand. You’ll need to demonstrate active listening skills and the ability to offer empathy even under pressure. If the customer is angry at the company, it’s your job to provide a solution and show them that you’re on their side.

6. Why do you want to work as a help desk agent? 

The candidate should talk about the skills that they will bring on board to the role, such as their excellent technical know-how or strong customer service skills. They are driven by a desire to help customers succeed and enjoy solving complex problems. The candidate should avoid talking about things they want from the job such as a good salary or career advancement.

7. Do you prefer communicating through email or phone, and why? 

The role of a help desk agent includes a lot of writing. You’ll be writing to customers through email tickets and instant messaging as well as communicating with internal colleagues about ticket escalation. Candidates should also demonstrate strong verbal communication skills if the company offers a phone-based support service, and should talk about the pros and cons of the different communication channels when it comes to supporting customers.

8. What do you find interesting about our product or service?

This question tests whether the candidate has done research into the company before coming to the interview and determines whether they have genuine enthusiasm for the company’s products. You can also ask candidates about who they think the typical customer would be for the business and how they think the products can help them.

9. How do you ensure you can communicate effectively with a customer? 

There may be situations where issues with communicating with customers can arise, especially when troubleshooting a technical issue. In order to keep call times low, a good solution can be to ask the customer for their email address so the agent can send them their instructions in written form. Customers are then able to work through the steps at their leisure and re-read them as many times as necessary, increasing the chance that the problem will be solved.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

10. How would you solve [problem]? 

It’s important to test candidates on their problem-solving skills because they are likely to have to troubleshoot in the course of their work. Fill in the blank with a typical problem an agent might encounter from your customers and ask them how they would go about solving it.

11. Can you tell us about an occasion when you were on the receiving end of exemplary customer service? 

Exemplary customer service means different things to different people. Some people might appreciate a fast resolution to their problem, while others look for a kind and empathetic help desk agent. This question will help you identify the candidates whose values match those of your company and your customers, so they will fit in with your company culture.

12. How would you handle it if a customer contacted you with an issue and you don’t know the answer? 

This question also tests your applicant’s problem-solving skills. Ideally they would research the possible solutions and if that didn’t yield any results they would then turn to a senior agent to troubleshoot the problem. They would be up front with the customer about the fact that they didn’t know but assure them they will find out for them.

13. Can you tell us about when you went above and beyond for a customer? 

A quality you’ll be looking for in your help desk agent is their thoroughness in dealing with customer problems to ensure that the ticket can be fully closed. You’ll want to find out their tendency to ask probing and follow-up questions that can potentially uncover underlying issues, and how likely they are to go above and beyond the call of duty.

14. What is your first response to a customer if they can’t log into their account? 

The very first thing that should spring to mind is whether they have the CAPS lock key on. That’s an easy way to troubleshoot the problem since many customers encounter this error even though the system usually tells them when CAPS lock is on. If that’s not the answer then the customer may require a password reset or another technical solution.

More: 14 Customer Service Response Templates

15. What attributes do you have that make you function well as part of a team? 

The right candidate will be comfortable working as part of a team and their answer should include attributes like empathy and the ability to listen well. They’d ideally include how they’ve used their skills to meet challenges in the past, such as collaborating on a customer ticket or delivering a new project.

16. What are the three best qualities of a help desk agent? 

This question uncovers more about the personality of the candidate applying for the role. These qualities include:

  • The ability to listen well and ask follow up questions
  • The ability to clearly present their ideas and communicate them to others
  • The ability to hold their cool in a pressured situation

17. How do you deal with negative feedback?

There are going to be times when a help desk agent receives negative feedback either from customers or colleagues. This question tests how they would react when being criticized and whether they have the qualities of reacting gracefully or if they would take it to heart. Candidates should consider criticism a learning experience and use it to get better at their jobs instead of getting offended.

18. How do you react to high-pressure situations? 

Help desk agents are often operating under immense pressure to work through large volumes of customer tickets and the need to provide immediate solutions. This question seeks to find out whether candidates can keep their cool and avoid falling victim to stress and burnout. You’ll need agents with the right temperament to thrive in a high-pressure environment and enjoy the requirement to get things done quickly.

19. What’s been the worst incident you’ve had as a help desk agent?

This question is trying to uncover more about a candidate’s past experience and how they have dealt with negative circumstances. The answer you’re looking for here is something like a misunderstanding with a customer or colleague and how the candidate worked to resolve it. The candidate should demonstrate constructive problem-solving skills that minimize negative fallout.

20. What do you like best about working in a help desk role? 

The right candidate will demonstrate a focus on customer service and say something that relates to bringing a smile to a customer’s face after helping them to solve a problem. Happy and satisfied customers are the best part of a help desk agent’s job and they will do everything in their power to achieve this.

21. What do you like least about working in a help desk role? 

Again, you’re looking for an answer that prioritizes customer service and hopefully the candidate doesn’t dislike anything that is essential to the job. A possible answer could be not being able to solve a customer’s problem, or a lengthy queue of customers waiting to contact the help desk. The candidate should display a positive mindset.

22. What’s your availability for weekend and evening shifts? 

Help desks are often offering support outside of standard working hours, and the right candidate will have flexibility in working shifts. This is a chance to make candidates aware of your scheduling needs and ensure they have the availability to work nights or weekends.

Wrapping up

It’s not easy to find the right candidate for a help desk role. They must be the proper combination of helpful and empathetic alongside being technically able. You’re looking for someone who reacts well to pressure and demanding situations, and isn’t put off by a large customer queue.

These questions will help you uncover the correct qualities in your applicant and ensure they have the skills needed to do the job. Some aspects of the role will be unique to your specific company, such as the level of technical proficiency needed in the applicant. The one thing that is common to all job openings is a relentless focus on the customer, and a dedication to helping them solve their problems.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Catherine Heath
Catherine Heath
Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She is often writing case studies, help documentation, and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.