From extreme hiring targets to challenging labor pools, recruiting in the contact center industry is not for the faint of heart. The time when retail and other companies start ramping up their hiring for busier seasons is right around the corner, and this type of recruiting requires strategy, patience and creativity.
Learn what’s crucial to look for during the next big round of hiring - to not only find the best fit, but to keep them around for a long time.
DON’T GAMBLE ON THE BASICS
Aside from being able to show up, work hard and be coachable, candidates still need to meet the minimum qualifications of a customer care role. These generally include:
- High school diploma
- English language proficiency
- Spelling, grammar and typing skills
- Friendly and helpful personality
Contrary to popular belief, recruiting profiles shouldn’t actually be considered the be all and end all.
PLAY TO WIN
Basing perspective on a candidate’s skillset and work history is becoming less accepted in the recruiting world. That’s because a personal bias can come into play before meeting the person or first digging deep into whether they match the business needs of the role.
It’s key to source for attributes that truly matter to the business. Brands need to decipher what skills and components are essential for the success of their program and then find ways to best test candidates on whether or not they fulfill those attributes.
The obvious answer is just to hire people who possess personal values that are aligned with your brand’s culture and values. Yes, that’s a start - but you run the risk of creating a workforce lacking in diversity, which is vital to the evolution of your brand. There is also so much more to look for including culture fit, “uncapturable” traits, emotional intelligence and curiosity.
IF THE SHOE FITS
Do companies care about their brand identity? Do they care if their customer care team is in love with their brand? Do they want their front-line teams to be passionate about what their brand stands for? The answer to these questions is likely to be a resounding “yes” across the board.
Although typing speed and language proficiency are important, they have no direct correlation to how a candidate feels about a brand. That’s why hiring the right fit for what a brand stands for is really the most important thing when recruiting customer care reps.
Identify the “It” Factor
Identifying the “It” Factor means looking for attributes that will lead to deeper understandings of a candidate. For example, a hospitality brand might look for people who are well travelled and have visited X number of countries. But what they can actually do is examine how that candidate exemplifies the brand’s core values in the way they demonstrate these attributes in their resume, experience or when answering interview questions.
This technique is also helpful in finding diverse candidates - not everyone applying is going to have the same experiences in travel or customer service.
Curiosity Saved the Cat
Assessing curiosity is another way to evaluate a candidate’s behavior and affinity for a brand. For example, place products in the interview waiting area and observe whether candidates pick up the products and play with them, or if certain individuals start to explain the products to others in the room.
“Uncapturable” traits are ones that are sometimes hard to identify on paper. Let’s use empathy as an example, which is often an important candidate attribute for roles dealing with sensitive customer issues.
Maybe a candidate doesn’t have direct experience with the type of sensitive interactions that will be handled, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have life experiences where they have been able to use empathy to solve a situation. Evaluating empathy with potential candidates can be done be asking: “How would you walk a customer through this scenario? Can you provide an example in your own life where you showed empathy?”.
EQ in an AI World
Forward-thinking brands leverage AI as a means to strengthen the human connection they have with their customers. While AI takes care of the transactional elements, customer care teams can focus on the human and emotional components of the interaction. It’s the perfect combination.
What a customer care rep can do better than any smart machine, is relate to people. It’s important to look for candidates who have a strong grasp on emotional intelligence (EQ), so that they’re able to understand customer issues, empathize with emotions and respond in the best and most human way possible.
Finding candidates that fit a brand identity is invaluable in the customer care industry, where retention is constantly a big challenge. When front-line individuals are aligned with a company’s core values and fully aligned with the brand, they are more likely to stay for the next 12, 18, 24 months and beyond. Download our thought paper to learn more!