About a month ago, John Sumser wrote on Electronic Recruiting News about effective screening for call center hiring. We’ve been reading John’s website since 1997 when we first started our company. At one point, he consulted with us on our business plan and model. We admire and respect his writings and appreciate his direct methods, even if they might be pointed at us.
John wrote about effective screening for call center hiring as part of a larger topic that effective recruiting really depends on several dimensions: We agree 100% with John’s summary:
We think recruiting varies in the following dimensions:
Volume of Hiring across the enterprise
Volume of a specific position
Strategic importance of the position
Regarding effective screening for call center hiring, John wrote the following:
“There is no one “right” kind of person for the call center operation. Managers routinely experiment with differing views of candidates. Some emphasize experience, some knowledge, some skills, some a fuzzy set of nearly measurable attributes. Competitive advantage and sustained success depend on continually trying to find a better approach.
Making an automated tool that effectively screens for the current variable is virtually impossible. Doing so would eliminate the competitive advantage call centers gain when they figure out a new screening variable. So, even though the job is straightforward, the solutions are challenging to automate when screening is the primary source of value in the recruiting process.”
Our business focuses on making automated tools that effectively screen candidates for call center jobs. In our experience, we consistently find that several abilities and behaviors that many candidates possess do contribute to successful job performance in a call center. Time and time again, job analysis summaries show that critical competencies (abilities and behaviors) like multi-tasking, dependability, and work attitudes are linked to performance outcomes. In our experience, we have been able to automate a testing process to screen for these competencies.
For example, almost all call center HR managers and Operations managers agree that multi-tasking is a common ability that is required to work in a call center. We, and a few other vendors, have automated realistic job simulations that force the job candidate to complete call scenarios that measure multi-tasking ability, among other competencies. This test can be used across almost all call center environments. Other competencies can be evaluated via multiple choice questionnaires or other types of assessments.
Most important, and we think this is where John was heading when he wrote, “Competitive advantage and sustained success depend on continually trying to find a better approach”, is the ability to update the hiring model to reflect better knowledge and data.
With our clients, we focus on predictive modeling across the entire employment lifecycle. This means that the hiring model gets smarter and smarter as more information is fed into it. This information includes variables like recruiting source, training data, tenure, job performance metrics like first call resolution, and other metrics. With a data driven model, progressive hiring organizations can constantly update their hiring model to drive additional competitive advantage over other organizations, whether those organizations are marketplace competitors or labor market competitors. The ability to quickly screen a candidate early in the hiring process that identifies them as a potential high quality hire can add significant value to the hiring process.
John is spot-on when he writes that, “screening is the primary source of value in the Recruiting process” for hiring call center agents. With a data driven model that links recruiting sources to downstream job performance and the technology to update the scoring model at will based on refined understanding of this data, call center hiring managers can drive significant competitive advantage for their companies.