Often contact centres can be guilty of over engineering their recruitment processes and forgetting that this is a people business; At the same time some other contact centre recruitment processes are far too simplified and add no value.
So exactly what should the ideal contact centre recruitment process include?
Here are my 5 must have ingredients…
1. Clear Objectives
Companies are rarely specific enough about the duties, skills, & competencies they need a candidate to have. Instead “wish lists” of super-human attributes & unrealistic salaries create havoc in a talent search.
Vague job descriptions with generalities like “good written & oral communication skills” don’t help either. It’s far easier to hit a clearly defined target. This might mean going back to the job & person specification, but the longer term benefits are real & calculable.
Create an avatar or virtual candidate & be very specific in what they look like – even give them names for different roles & ensure everyone involved in the hiring process is aligned with who you’re looking for.
2. Realistic Expectations
Companies sometimes have unrealistic ideas of what kind of candidates might be available & the money it may take to hire them. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate, & waiting for one is as unrealistic as searching for one.
Do your research, especially in this economy as it changes so rapidly. Know what & who is available & the earnings expected & plan accordingly. The number of quality candidates active in the market is far lower than it was even last year.
Many people assume lots of unemployment means lots of candidates to choose from however good skills & experience have effectively become a commodity & this is driving up salaries & limiting the candidate pool so you need to make a decision – be prepared to attract the best talent or be satisfied with second choice.
3. The Right Number of Decision Makers
Once the number of people in the interviewing & hiring process exceeds three, the probability of a bad hire is greater. The reason too many people get involved in the hiring process is the simple desire to spread the risk of decision-making.
Better hiring decisions will be made if only a small number of people (ideally just 2) manage the process objectively. The key here is having the right people because having the wrong people in the decision making process is equally risky.
Lots of people state that hiring good people is the second or third most important function they have, right behind making a profit. So why delegate screening or interviewing of candidates to people who have no real understanding of your companies’ needs & objectives?
Worse still why delegate to people potentially with hidden agendas? If hiring is one of your most important functions, you should take the time, make the effort & be responsible for the whole job from start to finish. How can you afford not to?
4. Precision & Speed
With the number of candidates high & the number of opportunities low; having a call centre recruitment process that takes too long risks losing good candidates to more decisive companies. It reflects badly on your company’s brand & gets harder & harder to fill the vacancy. The “shelf life” of quality candidates is increasingly short – This has now become a competition!
Maintaining momentum with candidates particularly following first interview (when only the one or two “choice” candidates remain) is crucial to keeping them motivated. If things take too long to progress, they will lose interest & find other employers who respond more rapidly.
Fast & efficient processes impress candidates & make them feel worthy of a job in the organisation. Slow processes, red tape & over the top assessments put calibre candidates off & might be a crucial element should they have to decide between two job offers.
5. Effective Interviewing Techniques
So why do so few companies manage to do this?
It is often down to a lack of experience on the interviewer’s behalf – particularly if it’s not something they do every day. “Tell me about yourself” is the first question down the wrong road.
Most interviewers start with random questions to “get to know the candidate” & never recover, making pages & pages of notes & trying to compare the candidates three weeks later when they remember very little.
You have to adopt a structured, disciplined interview technique that is applied to every candidate in exactly the same manner – it’s so simple to do! Controlled interview processes with rigid structures applied fairly across all candidates, in a short space of time, deliver the best results.
Try bringing an experienced interviewer into your process to observe & provide guidance as opposed to conducting the actual interview – this is technique delivers results when a decision maker lacks the confidence or experience to interview.
Rob Wilkinson | Director
Call Centre Connect