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August 07, 2008

Overcoming Call Center Hiring Challenges is the First Step to Improvement

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

 

Being able to accurately assess and evaluate a candidate’s ability to successfully fulfill the duties of the job is one of the most challenging tasks within the contact center industry. Combine those challenges with those associated with recruiting qualified candidates and contact centers face the potential to fail in the hiring process, driving an increase in attrition and internal costs.

FurstPerson recently published the whitepaper, “Driving Hiring Performance Improvement” to provide these contact centers with a resource to effectively develop their skills and acquire the tools necessary to turn the tide of hiring challenges and make it a more successful process within the organization.

This whitepaper examines common challenges that exist in the evaluation process of candidates. Often, there is a lack of understanding of critical job competencies; there can be an over reliance on interviews as the only method of candidate evaluation; and there can be a lack of objective scoring against job performance outcomes.

FurstPerson strongly promotes improving the alignment between HR, training and operations in order to help enhance the environment and ensure better leadership within the contact center.

While this alignment can deliver significant benefits, it can also be challenging as each organization has different incentives related to attrition and these division often do not deal with the front line agent issues such as rumors about shift schedules, failure to process payroll, etc.

Many challenges exist in recruiting qualified candidates to fill contact center agent positions. Contact centers often must drive significant candidate volumes in order to meet the hiring demands of the organization. At the same time, they need to be selective in order to reduce attrition. The challenge is finding the balance between the two.

Other obstacles to recruiting within the contact center can include reliance on traditional sourcing from newspapers and job fairs; poor Internet recruiting programs; ineffective referral programs; a lack of analytics that tie recruitment sourcing to quality of hire; generate recruiting messages that do not distinguish the company; and a lack of focus on the employment brand within the labor market.
 
Reducing attrition within the contact center is greatly reliant on the ability of those hiring to understand the requirements and the reality of the job. When the organization ignores the factors that create successful job performance, they are much more susceptible to higher attrition and failed hiring practices. 

The challenges that contact centers often face in job design include a lack of job analysis that create a knowledge gap; a lack of clarity creates confusion between HR, training and operations; lack of clarity prevents the organization from providing a consistent, accurate description of the job to candidates; and ignoring professionals standards that suggest solid job design may place the organization at risk in terms of compliance.

Taking a step back and gaining an accurate picture of internal processes and the overall performance of hiring practices can help the contact center to identify areas of weakness, areas where challenges are limiting success and where improvements can be made.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan�s articles, please visit her columnist page.
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