Demand for call center employees is on the rise, as the global pandemic has accelerated trends toward online shopping, working from home, and use of digital tools such as video chat and messaging platforms. As people increasingly shop, work, and seek entertainment from home, companies are relying more than ever on call center representatives to meet customer needs.
This has created an opportunity for call center recruiters, who can recruit candidates from a broad geographic area, but it also creates challenges in the screening and hiring process, both of which have become virtual in the past year and a half out of necessity. Those hiring for these virtual call center roles will have to be strategic about what qualities they look for and how to make sure the candidates they hire really have those skills.
What to Consider When Hiring for Remote Call Center Roles
Hiring for remote call center roles seems like it should be easier, since you don’t have the restrictions of geographic area and can expand your search nationally. However, you also have to consider the specific qualifications that make someone a successful call center representative. This line of work calls for a high degree of interpersonal and problem solving skills, whether for dealing with complaints, inquiries, tech or product support, or sales calls.
Whether you’re filling call center representative, tech support, customer service, call center management, or inside sales positions for a call center, the first thing to consider is that the skills requirements for these positions have evolved from answering phones and taking basic questions to communicating via social media, email, chat tools, and other platforms, requiring a deeper skill set for candidates in this market. The good news is that interpersonal and problem solving skills can be found in most industries, so we don’t have to narrow our search to candidates with call center experience.
Screening Remote Call Center Candidates
If you’re moving from a formerly onsite hiring process to a virtual one (or if your company made the decision to go fully remote and stay there), it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your recruitment marketing to ensure your job description, job postings, job requirements, content, screening and interviewing aligns with skills that are not only solidly in demand for customer service call center roles, but also skills that are unique to remote working, like the ability to meet deadlines, work ethic, motivation, and independent problem solving.
Job description and job posting
Keeping the content on your job postings (and job descriptions) up-to-date will help your call center roles become relevant to search engines. If you’re not describing these (often entry-level) roles based on what your company expects from your agents, it can create a poor candidate and employee experience. It’s important to be specific in your job description, including shift scheduling expectations, technical skills, customer support experience, and your hiring manager’s “must have” list of candidate qualifications.
For fully remote positions, candidates will expect a virtual or phone interview. If your call center position requires fielding customer questions or requests over the phone, it isn’t always necessary to hold video interviews, but phone interviews can be somewhat limiting as you cannot see the candidate’s body language or facial expressions. Some employers ask for self-recorded videos in which qualified candidates are asked to record themselves answering a set of questions and submit video responses on their own time. This is a great opportunity to speed time to hire because it can help you choose who should move forward in the hiring process in a standardized way. It also gives multiple stakeholders a look at the candidates without having to schedule multiple rounds of interviews.
In this industry in particular, we should collect information on the characteristics of people likely to do well in a call center role (with industry benchmarks or through collecting information on your most successful, long-term employees) and screen applicants against those criteria. Whether it’s a question of dealing with complaints, inquiries, tech support, or sales pitches, call center work calls for a certain degree of interpersonal skill. Call center agent screening during the hiring process should take that requirement into account.
Identifying a job candidate’s skills and competencies through screening and using programmatic methods to measure this can also improve the overall effectiveness of recruiting for call center roles. It saves time for your recruiting team, and gives you actionable data to move swiftly when you identify a group of candidates that have the characteristics you’re screening for.
For example, using qualifying questions that pair with your job postings can speed up the process of narrowing down all applicants to qualified applicants. Using the Qualifying Questions feature in Talroo Pro, recruiters can assign 1–3 critical questions that determine if a candidate meets basic requirements. Questions can be assigned on a per-job level, or to an entire recruitment marketing campaign. These questions can be multiple choice or multiple select. If a candidate does not meet basic qualifications, they are guided away from that job and are shown job opportunities that are better matches. Talroo also feeds this information back into its recommendation engine to ensure that job seekers get the most relevant job matches. Clients can track their performance to see the improvement in candidate quality as their campaign runs.
As talent acquisition leaders working in the call center industry, we are constantly working to find a balance between speed to hire and quality of hire. By leveraging technology and establishing systems, we can improve candidate quality and speed at the same time.