How to Hire The Best Call Center Agents

Are you wondering how to hire the best call center agents for your business?  When managing a call center, there are a number of attributes and qualifications that you should look for when interviewing potential candidates.  The article below will discuss the best tips for hiring the best call center agents for your call center.
The tips cover not only the qualities of the candidates that you will want to hire, but also discuss the approach to interviews and your use of open-ended questions to elicit the most helpful responses from candidates. And of course, even a disqualifying answer can be helpful response in that it saves you further effort in pursuing the wrong candidate.

How to Hire The Best Call Center Agents

Establish a Strategy

Like many business processes, establishing a strategy is the first step to clearly define what you need to accomplish.  If staffed and managed properly, the contact center can be an invaluable asset to your business.  Examine your call center and determine how it should be best-managed to drive marketing, sales and product development initiatives.

Smart contact center managers realize that in order to attract quality candidates, they must create a win-win situation for a potential employee.  Remember, candidates will be screening your company, just as much as you’re screening them.  Ensuring alignment, support of people, processes and technology initiatives that will attract candidates with the required skills.

Screen Candidates

Anyone who has searched through hundred of resumes can tell you that identifying suitable candidates can be a strenuous and time-consuming process.  To save time and increase your chances of finding ideal candidates, there are a variety of tools that are available to help screen potential agents.  Some screening tactics that staffing specialist use are: telephone screening, web-based screening, standardized test and behavioral event interviews.  Once you eliminate applicants who are clearly not qualified for the job, move on to more personal aspects of the interview process.

Recognize Service-Oriented Candidates

It is difficult to generalize what makes a candidate the perfect fit for your call center.  Factors may vary depending on the work environment and the job itself.  However, selecting candidates who have the right skills (or the ability to learn them) and the right attitude will help you increase the chances hiring quality agents.  Basic skills to look for when interviewing potential agents include: empathetic, eager to please, efficient, flexibility, solution-oriented, honest, diligent and emotionally stable.

It is also helpful to study your current top performers and determine what characteristics they posses that make them successful.  Then, look for these same characteristics when interviewing candidates for your call center.

Previous Call Center Experience

Look to find candidates that have previous call center experience.  Although there are exceptions, if they have past experience in a call center, they are more likely to know what they are getting themselves into and will be there for the long haul.  If they haven’t worked in a call center, see what work experience they have that may qualify them for the job.  Prior experience, combined with their traits and skills, will show you if they’re able to handle the world of a call center agent position.

Communication Skills

Call center agents should have excellent communication skills, as they do not have the ability of relying on face-to-face interactions.  One way that you’ll be able to evaluate a candidates communication skills is during the interview process.  This will allow you to see how they interact and how they would potentially handle conversations with customers.

Be prepared to ask interview questions that will access if your candidates communication skills are suitable for the job.  Ask questions that give you insight into the candidates goals, values and personality.  For example, How do you deal with difficult customers?  What are the most important aspects of customer service/sales/technical support?  What was one of the biggest challenges you faced in a previous job and how did you handle it?   Open-ended questions like these will help clarify your candidates ability to handle stressful situations, their willingness to open up about mistakes/failures and the candidates knowledge of what is required of the job.

Hire With an Open Mind

Hiring the best agents for your call center does not mean selecting those who meet a precise list of criteria.  It is important to keep an open mind.  For example, some customers in international locations might appreciate speaking to someone with an accent.  Perhaps a stay-at-home mom who can work outside typical office hours may be a good fit.  The point is, do not overlook excellent candidates because they don’t fit your ideal mold, you may be loosing an opportunity to incorporate some needed diversity on your team.

How to Hire the Best Call Center Agents – References