As anyone who runs or manages a call center knows, the recruiting and hiring process takes up the most resources, both in money and time. Most call centers – even the good ones – have high turnover rates, and that’s not even factoring the holidays into the equation, where bundles of workers are usually tacked on last minute. Needless to say, the hiring process is usually ongoing, taking up a lot of HR personnel and call center managers’ time which could be better spent elsewhere.
It’s a particular time-consuming problem in the call center industry: there are often dozens or even hundreds of resumes for a single application. Many of these applicants will be unfortunately unsuitable, or in other words, candidates sending out resumes for jobs they are frankly not qualified for.
To try and combat this, smart call centers conduct their first interview over the telephone, which is a great way to find candidates with a good telephone presence and verbal skills. While this can cut out some of the time spent on face-to-face interviews, call centers may still find themselves wasting time speaking with unsuitable candidates.
Interactive voice response (IVR) solutions provider Plum Voice recently posted a blog that describes how call centers can use their IVR to cut some of the legwork out of the hiring process. By automating the process – at least the early stages of it – hiring companies can simplify and standardize submittals and early-round assessments, as well as effectively combine the application and phone interview steps into one.
“When an applicant calls into an IVR, the system walks the applicant through the process,” writes Plum Voice. “It ensures that HR gets all the information they need, and it gives the HR person a first glimpse at the applicant’s personality, which is difficult to gauge over e-mail. For the applicants, it ensures that they always have a correct submittal, and it gives them the opportunity to show some of their personality over the phone.”
Craving some more tips for hiring effective call center agents? Try these:
Crafting the phone interview to seek out those with good telephone skills quickly. It's very important that call center companies look for agents with a pleasant, clear speaking voice (power, pitch, pace and pause). It’s also important that the applicant have the ability to stick to a script without sounding like they’re reciting anything.
Know what skills to look for, and test for them. Ensure in advance that a candidate can demonstrate a minimum acceptable level of proficiency in specific areas such as pronouncing names, spelling, typing speed and accuracy, comprehension, grammar, audio transcription and data entry.
Find the right personalities for your call center. Smart call centers administer a personality/job-fit Assessment to candidates. These assessments can help forecast the future success of a potential agent.
Make sure the candidate knows what to expect. Some companies find success in having second-round candidates experience a realistic job preview kind of day. This will give them a taste of what the job’s day-to-day activities and responsibilities will be like while experiencing first-hand the call center environment. This way, if the job isn’t for the candidate, you won’t waste time with hiring and training.
Call centers are generally known for their ability to automate. While this works with customer processes, there’s no reason why the same skills shouldn’t apply to the hiring and recruiting process, as well.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo