Hiring Customer Service Associates- Culture > Experience
Through the 25 years of running a contact center, we have tried many different methods of trying to figure out what methods and what traits we look for when hiring customer service associates at our center. Through all the years of trial and error, of trying everything from personality tests, job tests, and different interview tactics we believe we have found what we believe is the best method/system for getting the best associates in our contact center.
You Must Understand your Culture!
Does your organization really know what type of a person it wants? What are you really looking for when hiring customer service associates. Anyone can look at a resume, see experience in the same job and hire. Just basing your hiring on that is a HUGE mistake especially in a call center environment where there are close quarters and the job can be very difficult at times. It is more important to have the RIGHT person that fits your company than the so-called BEST person. I know that sounds crazy but we have found it to absolutely be true
As we start down this road let me ask the question…Can you describe the culture of your organization and the types of employees that meet that standard in a couple of words? Most cannot and until a couple of years ago neither could we. If you cannot plainly explain your culture in hiring you are spinning your wheels and I would bet have higher turnover and a work environment that I am sure can be improved.
Our Hiring culture
The culture for our company and our hiring is that we want associates with a “Sunshine Attitude and an Entrepreneurial Mindset”. This statement is the glue that holds our company together and what we believe is a huge advantage for us. We know exactly the type of individual that fits our standard and creates the type of working environment where our employees enjoy each other (for the most part …lol) and coming to work because they have the attitude we are looking for. It also means we have a competitive atmosphere where we have many of our associates that want to be the best and want to move up in the company. Every employee that we hire no matter if they have 10 years of experience or no experience must meet this standard. In fact, we believe this standard is more important than experience.
A Sunshine attitude with an Entrepreneurial mindset is basically a unique way of saying we hire based on Attitude and Effort. We believe this gives us the best type of person that we want in our company. You can always educate sales and service strategies. When you have people with great attitudes and they want to succeed it makes educating easy. Bottom Line… Attitude and Effort trump Experience when hiring call center associates.
You can never stop interviewing once you start to target a specific type of individual. That’s the hard part. It takes a consistent effort in bringing people in to interview. It becomes more difficult to hiring quickly as well because you limit the pool of who you allow into your companies world? Is that a bad thing???
One of the benefits of this though is you have the right people in your organization. Referrals and word of mouth become a great tool for you because your employees will start to talk. We have found over 50% of our new hires are actually referrals from our employees that meet our culture.
We believe that to hire properly you have to know who you are. You are not hiring people to do a job. Anyone can do that. You need to hire to continue to grow your culture. Every day we try to add people with Sunshine attitudes and Entrepreneurial mindsets….Our favorite kind of people!
Our next post will talk about how we find these people through the interview process. Our interview process I am sure you will find is unique, especially in the call center environment. We have taken a lot of pride and developing some techniques to try to see if our stands of attitude and effort are ingrained in the candidate.