While having great employees in your company starts with the hiring process, the effectiveness of the process is only as good as the other factors that shape it:

  • The quality of the requirements defined by the employer.

  • The attraction of the job content and working conditions by the applicant.

  • The ability to develop and retain employees as a valuable asset.

The process starts with a request to fill a job opening and ends with the hiring or selection of an applicant who successfully completes the initial training course.

Characteristics of a best practice

In a typical 3 to 5-year career, agents will have 35 to 60 thousand conversations with customers. The quality of those experiences is largely determined by the ability of the agent. Over time, agents gain experience applying the right knowledge to the right situation. These knowledgeable workers are important assets to retain.  For these reasons, special care is required for the selection of agents for the contact centre.

  • Hiring requirements are forecasted and updated by the contact centre for a 12-month period to provide the time required for planning and recruitment of quality applicants as well as initial training.

  • The hiring department (i.e. Human Resources) keeps a pool of pre-qualified resources available to ensure timely placement.

    • It is important to keep in touch with applicants while they stay in the pool.

    • Applicants can complete self-paced training modules while they wait.

  • Star “customer care” performers in other companies are recruited in addition to the traditional applicant who is unemployed or unhappy in their current job.

  • It is everyone’s job to recruit quality applicants. Referrals from existing employees are valuable.

  • The old adage “hire for attitude, train for skill and knowledge” continues to be a critical success factor.

  • Applicants are assessed using multiple perspectives:

    • Tests, simulation of work situations, interviews, auditions, customers’ input etc.

  • Job videos and visits are used to ensure applicants have no misunderstanding about the job duties or working conditions.

  • Interest in contact centre hiring is generated within the organization by positioning the job as entry-level to other departments who value the broad base of training provided by the contact centre experience:

Experience with the customer.

  • Knowledge of products and services

  • Knowledge of major business processes in the organization.

  • The same process applies whether the applicants are from inside or outside the company.

  • Hiring is not used as a strategy to inject “new blood” into the contact centre for the purpose of creating a better culture (attitude). In fact, new employees constantly seek to fit in to the existing culture.

Relationships to other processes

Input to hiring & selection process:

  • The job description as defined by the Agent Roles/Responsibilities process represents the employment contract to an applicant.

  • Agent Skill/Competencies process provides the requirements for a successful applicant.

  • The hours of work as defined by the Hours of Operation process are a critical factor in the applicant’s decision to accept a job offer.

  • Force Management process provides the data for the hiring forecast. It also outlines the working conditions in terms of employee schedules.

Output from hiring & selection process:

  • Skill & Knowledge Transfer process is based on the skills, knowledge and competencies of new employees.

  • Force Management process is based on the number of available agents and their level of skills.

What’s in it for me?

Offset the cost of recruiting and training

Other departments often recruit their resources from the contact centre; especially those involved in Sales, Marketing and IT (Business Analysts). These jobs are also attractive to agents who are eager for career development.  It is futile to resist this common sense approach to organizational and employee needs.  Instead, contact centres can market the value of their broad-based knowledge of customers, products and processes for which other departments will pay.  By establishing partnerships, other departments will often share the cost of recruiting and training replacements.  At the very least, partnerships enable you to plan the loss and replacement of your agents to other departments.

Hiring & Selection

The objective of this process is to create value for the company by providing fully qualified employees at the time they are needed.  Not having enough people to handle the contact centre load destroys value in all areas of the contact centre business.

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