Sourcing for a Call Center

In the world of high volume sourcing little compares to the needs of a call center. Call centers are a notoriously demanding segment of the customer service industry, resulting in a call center employee have the shelf life of day old bread. Unfortunately, regardless of investments into retention strategies, this turnover is simply the nature of the beast for this industry. It then falls to the sourcer help stop the hemorrhaging and identify the candidate with the fortitude to last.

Communication Gaps

Those new to a call center recruitment assume that good call center agents are a dime a dozen. This is undoubtedly false as the communication and problem-solving skills needed are elevated in comparison to a face-to-face environment. For example, a candidate who has a successful track record in retail sales can find themselves struggling in a scenario where all communication is verbal, and heavily monitored for performance metrics and compliance. Due to this, emphasis needs to be placed on a candidate’s verbal communication skills during a phone interview. Implementing an automated screening tool that tests a candidate’s ability to verbally work through complex problems can be a major time saver.

Multitasking with Tech

The average call center employee will juggle using multiple computer programs while seamlessly communicating information to the customer. To do this well the ideal candidate will have a mastery level comfort with modern technology. Any discomfort with managing multiple browsers will yield an agent who is unsuccessful in resolving customer issues within the metric required time frame. As a result, the sourcing process needs to focus on candidates who exhibit this comfort, think those who are utilizing modern social media to job search. Once a candidate contact is made, having a screening process to assess comfort with technology is prudent. Done right, this can even be gamified and turned into a candidate acquisition tool.

Client Focused and Flexible

Another challenge faced by the long-term call center employee is being able to quickly adapt to a new client need or a new client entirely. Third party contracts change all the time, and it’s common for these employees to be working tech support on Monday, and be asked to handle billing and retention on Tuesday. Behavioral interview questions that measure adaptability are essential to identifying who can hack it.

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Top Places to Look First.

Finding candidates with the required skills and fortitude to be successful can be challenging, especially given the fact that these aren’t highly compensated roles. Here are a few places to get you started:

  • Facebook Jobs- Best way to find tech savvy candidates is to source on leading media platforms, and Facebook jobs is nothing if not new and flashy.
  • College Campuses- College students tend to have the perfect blend of tech and communication skills to be successful. The challenge is attracting them with flexible work hours to accommodate school schedules.
  • Community Partners- Building relationships with area workforce prep programs or tech schools can be key to having a steady applicant flow.
  • Get out in the Community- High volume requires a certain amount of employer brand marketing to keep the ship afloat. By having a presence in the hiring area, and putting a human face to the corporate machine, you can build rapport and counter any negative view the community may have of the facility.

 

Good news is as you adapt to sourcing for this industry the load will become more manageable. Soon the idea of expediting the hiring of a 400 seat contract will no longer be daunting, but rather just another Tuesday.

Phil Hendrickson, former Chief Talent Strategist at Qwalify, is an industry recognized expert in the field of talent acquisition. He brings decades of experience helping companies solve a broad range of challenges, ranging from millennial recruiting, talent pipelining, recruiter training, diversity strategies, employer brand, talent engagement, veterans initiatives, mobile recruiting, social media, talent retention and systems integrations.

Having worked inside companies across a broad range of industries, from professional services, financial services and retail Phil understands how to navigate across teams and lead projects successfully. Several examples include: at Apple, doubling the Americas recruiting team to accommodate record store openings, consolidating a global CRM and beginning a veterans’ initiative. At Starbucks, he helped to: launch their veterans’ initiative, mobile recruiting, begin Starbucks jobs on Twitter and rolling out the first hourly ATS across 9,000 stores.

Phil has a passion for the retail industry and for helping recruiting teams overcome seasonal talent shortages, reduce turnover and other retail specific recruiting challenges. At both Starbucks and Apple Phil has perfected strategies for recruiting for culture fit.

Phil has been interviewed in Forbes, WSJ, CIO Insights and the Canadian Retailer Magazine. He supports local and national recruiting organizations and sits on the board of Northwest Recruiters Association, The LinkedIn 100, US Avature Advisory Council, a founding Advisory Council member for GettingHired a portal for people with disabilities and he was on LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Hall of Fame.

Phil began his recruiting career at a small boutique search firm in Lexington MA, and soon joined larger executive search firms before deciding to go into corporate recruiting. He has spent his corporate career at Sapient, Fannie Mae, Starbucks, Apple Retail, Qwalify and now Proactive Talent Strategies.

Prior to his career in talent acquisition he was an artist in Los Angeles, a painter, sculptor and a glass blower who traveled to Italy many times. Putting himself through school at UCLA Phil was a furniture mover living in Santa Monica while also working as an apartment manager, handyman and gardener for an apartment building near the ocean. In LA he also worked in Hollywood doing production work as a grip on TV commercials and music videos.

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2 Comments on “Sourcing for a Call Center

  1. Thanks, Phil. Why would you have a US based-call center? Very good and much more cost-effective CCs are to be had in the Philippines.

  2. Great article, Phil. It was in recognition of these challenges that my partners and I started Percy (www.callpercy.com), a nationwide call center recruiting firm focused exclusively on helping US in-house contact centers recruit agent talent. We plan to start sharing a lot of content based on our experiences working to fill these high volume, high attrition roles and look forward to engaging with the Sourcecon community regularly on issues of mutual interest.

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