I have worked in a call centre known as ICM research doing market research for them for over a year now. As far as hours/flexibility and pay are concerned this is the best job in the world for anybody after those things. The job itself is monotonous and soul destroying, having said that the good and bad factors do cancel each other out so you are left somewhat in the middle in terms of job satisfaction. I would not recommended working in sales, they treat their workers very poorly and the bonuses are often unreachable, you will also be seen as the scum of the earth to many members of the public. If you can cope with being abused down the phone and can sit at a computer for hours on end without killing yourself then I would recommend this job. As part of this job you are required to ring hundreds of numbers per shift and guide them through surveys over the phone in order to reach your bonus. The basic rate of pay was 5.42 increasing to 8.10 if you reach your bonus. On average I was reaching my bonus two thirds of the time after working there for a few months, of course there are good spells and bad spells. If you do decide that working in a call center is for you then good luck, just make sure that you don't fall into the trap like many there for staying for too long and realising you're unhappy.
Applications (at ICM at least) work by you calling them, and if they are recruiting at that time, which is common with such a high labour turn over, they will invite you in for an 'interview'. This will involve reading a short script over the telephone, and answering a couple of questions. As long as you can read and answer coherently, you'll get the job, and be invited back for a training day. This is a long day in which you are shown how to use the computer system and conduct surveys, and at the end of the day you do one for real. They listen to this, it doesn't need to be perfect or particularly good, and unless you're completely hopeless, you'll get the job.
The way it works then, is they will take your bookings for the following week. You never book shifts more than one week in advance, and as long as you work at least three shifts, you can work any of; 17.30 until 21.00 Mon-Fri, 10.00 until 14.00 and 14.00 until 18.00 Saturday and Sunday. 14.00 until 17.00 is offered during the week if they are busy.
ICM Centers are found in Stevenage, Kentish Town and Bedford, but similar places exist throughout the country.
I secured this job prior to getting my GCSE results when I was 16. The aim of the job is to ensure that the public receive the latest up to date public transport information regarding unplanned and planned disruption/engineering works. Basically you have four computer screens in front of you, and you must use a variety of sources to gather this information, as well as picking up phone calls from the road authorities. You can also work on reporting road traffic incidents. Environment is a pleasant open office and the starting pay is £9 an hour for part timers, more for full timers. The office is based in Central London, although you can do the work from one of several offices around the country. I started off with an 8 hour shift on Sundays, there is usually overtime available during the we
I worked in a call centre which sold double glazing windows called Zenith Windows. Pay was measly, 4.00 an hour basic and bonus' were very hard to achieve as its near impossible to make a sale. Plus you only get a 1 pound bonus for 1 sale a week, after that it increases exponentially. Pays rubbish, most the other people working there are low lifes or have been suckered in. Majority of management are idiots, they have a very very very bad work ethos and probably to break many industry guidelines. The only reason you might want to work for a place like this is you can literally walk in and get a job on the spot.
I also worked for Zenith Windows, £5 and hour, £12 if you persuaded someone they wanted a quote. Which if you can do it is very good money. Shifts are flexible and ANYONE can get a job there, I phoned them up, they said come in this afternoon you have a job. However, its high pressure work and if you aren't selling you will get fired. People are pretty horrible to you over the phone, and the managers can be horrible horrible people, although I suppose this will depend on the branch. The staff turnover is really high, but it isn't that bad a job really. If you're tough and persuasive you can make a lot of money, but it may well take your soul after a few months.