Most call center companies start the hiring process without a plan. They just publish the job post and put the same job tasks and required qualifications defined long ago.
Plus, the majority of those job tasks are just a template and won’t be applied after employing the candidates. Accordingly, this leads to wrong hiring decisions and high turnover rates.
Thus, call center companies should develop an effective and coherent plan to eliminate this hassle and achieve a fruitful hiring process.
In the following lines, you’ll discover a plan that will give you the answer for: “How to hire call center agents?”
1) Build the Ideal candidate profile
The first step is to update job requirements and qualifications to keep up with the changes in the contact center industry and your company's needs.
You should also create a complete profile for the ideal candidate. This profile helps you:
a) Understand what skills and experiences you need to search for in your candidates.
b) Write a complete job description.
c) Define the platforms that help you find such criteria.
d) Increase the efficiency of your hiring process, as the recruiters will be committed to predefined standards
e) Increase the accuracy of your results, as you will hire candidates with the requirements and skills your company needs.
How to create the ideal candidate profile?
Ask your call center agents:
Ask your top employees to write down in detail all their daily tasks. For instance, ask them to explain a task like “finding a solution for customers’ problems” in more detail as follows:
a) The first step the call center agents should do is search for documentation for this problem.
b) If the agents don’t find the solution, they should define other specific resources that tackle such problems.
c) Then, they should check the solution they found using different resources to ensure its effectiveness.
d) Before implementing the solution, the agents should find documentation for how to undo all steps they made —in case the solution didn’t work.
Following those steps will give you a detailed task description that shows its difficulty.
“Finding the solution” makes the task looks easy, but by analyzing its details, it becomes clear that it is a complicated task and requires high problem-solving skills and a well-organized person who knows what the next step is when the former step fails.
Besides asking your agents about their daily tasks, you can also ask them about the skills they need to perform well in their roles.
Gather external information:
You can gather more information about the call center roles from competitors’ job announcements.
Firstly, identify your top competitors and check job descriptions in their job vacancy ads. Also, you may find other call center companies worldwide —not necessarily your local competitors— which provide a complete guide for call center agents’ responsibilities, such as Live agent.
Secondly, you can search for other documents and websites, such as Coursera, that show call center responsibilities and the skills agents must have. However, call center companies’ information could be more effective and accurate because they write based on what they already need.
Keep your company’s objectives in mind:
For your part, you need to keep in mind your company's future objectives and goals. This helps you define the improvements you need to make in the call center roles, so they serve your future business objectives.
For instance, your company may plan to use more advanced technologies to improve customer service. So, you need to add the required tech skills to your ideal candidate profile.
Another example is if your company plans to prioritize customer satisfaction as the first and most significant KPI for the employees’ performance, you will need candidates with patience and communication skills.
Write down the required skills:
After gathering all call center duties from different resources, identify the skills candidates should have to do each task.
Define the selection criteria:
Finally, you need to organize all these points and create the selection criteria that will be used to evaluate candidates.
In addition, you should identify the optional and mandatory skills.
The optional skills that your company can teach the candidates after being employees. On the other hand, the mandatory ones are those the candidates should have to be accepted for the job.
You can also determine a passing score for each skill, and you will accept the candidates who achieve this score.
In addition to the skills and expertise, it is also important to consider the candidate’s culture.
Based on a survey that included 120 interviews with employers and HR professionals, (Rivera, 2012) argued that hiring is more than just a process of skills sorting; it is also a process of cultural matching between candidates, evaluators, and firms.
2) Write a detailed job description
The step of writing the job description is a crucial step that helps you answer the question of “how to find the best call center agents?”
Call center companies should write detailed job descriptions. It saves their time and money, as it makes it clear to the candidate to have realistic expectations and not to go through the whole hiring process in vain.
Unrealistic expectations may lead to the candidate's resignation after a short time from starting his job. Then, you must repeat the hiring process from the beginning with all its expenses.
In order to avoid all this hassle, the job description should include all details about the job, such as:
The company should highlight all tasks of the call center agents, such as:
a) Answering inbound leads
b) Making outbound calls for customer surveys and telemarketing sales
c) Dealing with unhappy customers and handling their complaints
d) Following up with customers when a problem is resolved
e) Conducting market research
f) Update Customer database on CRM
g) Training new call center agents
Skills and Experience:
According to the selection criteria you create, write the most essential skills you defined as mandatory, such as:
a) Communication skills
c) Decision Making
d) Problem Solving
When it comes to defining the experience, it should be more than just the number of years. You should highlight what expertise or knowledge the candidate should have.
For instance, it should include the required knowledge a candidate needs to be able to use call center technologies such as live chat and interactive voice response.
In addition, if the company needs that candidates have a background in a specific industry, it should mention that in the job description.
As call center companies require highly skilled agents, they should attract highly talented candidates with worthy benefits. Such benefits include:
a) High Salary
c) Paid Training
d) Employee perks
e) Remote work flexibility
Although this exercise will decrease the number of applicants, you will get the most suitable ones in the end.
Moreover, you can write the description in a good writing style, so the post viewers feel that the company honestly tells them all the job details.
3) Publish the job announcement:
You should use every suitable platform to spread the word about your need for call center agents.
The website is the most suitable platform to present your company well. It shows its services, number of customers, and branches, so candidates know more about the company before applying.
We highly recommend adding a page for job announcements and call it "Careers" or "Join Us" on your website.
If you want to reach thousands of people, use social media platforms. The most suitable platforms you can use are Linkedin and Facebook.
Firstly, you should use Linkedin because it is dedicated to professionals and job seekers. In such a community, you will find those who announce that they are open to work. In addition, Linkedin enables users to highlight experiences, skills, reviews, and endorsements. So, you can take a quick look at the candidates' profiles and find what you need.
Secondly, you can use Facebook as one of the highest platforms in monthly active users. It is not a specific platform for job seekers, but it will show your job announcement to more people. You can also target specific groups dedicated to call center jobs.
One of the most helpful ways to get suitable employees is referrals. Tell your existing employees that you need call center agents, so they can recommend their friends.
Don't worry! They will recommend the most suitable friends for the job, as they will consider themselves responsible for every action their friends do after being hired. If it is a good action, they will be proud; if not, they will feel a little bit ashamed.
4) Screen candidates:
Although you clarify what you’re looking for in the job description, you will find many irrelevant CVs that need to be filtered. So, you need to apply the selection criteria you have created to filter those CVs.
Sifting through CVs and applying the selection criteria is not that easy. It requires time and effort to ensure you’re making the right hiring decisions. Therefore, to save time and effort, you can use recruitment software.
Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) could filter all your CVs in a blink of an eye. Also, it helps you through the whole screening process.
Let’s look deeper at how ATS will help you in each step.
Recruitment software filters all the CVs to provide you with the best ones. You just need to define the keywords you’re searching for, and it will filter CVs based on them.
AI assistant conducts interviews on your behalf, helping you avoid the hassle of scheduling and allocating time to conduct interviews.
ATS also provides a comprehensive analysis after the interview to help you make the right decision.
Personality assessments test candidates’ soft skills. These assessments are created in multiple-choice or questions and answers format to evaluate your candidate’s behavior in certain situations.
Some recruitment software can conduct personality assessments within the interview as it analyzes the candidate's body language.
Technical assessment is provided in questions and answers format. You can also customize the assessment according to your needs.
You create a specific workflow through ATS and assign tasks to HR team members. Then the system will automate the process according to the defined workflow.
To sum up, hiring suitable call center agents is a little bit tricky due to the high skills and qualifications customer service needs. However, once you define the selection criteria your company needs, you can automate the whole process using recruitment software to get smooth and hassle-free hiring.