Call Center Hiring Featured Article
Adjusting Call Center Hiring Processes for Home-based Agents
December 26, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
If you run or manage a contact center, chances are, you’ve recruited and hired hundreds of agents. You likely have a process in place that helps you move a little more quickly through the hiring lifecycle. You may even have an automated communication system to speed the process. This may work very well with in-house agents, but what happens if your organization decides to hire remote or home-based agents? Does the same process really apply? Do you even look for the same qualities in home-based agents as premise-based agents?
Not if you know what you’re doing. Home-based agents tend to be older, more experienced and more likely to be looking at call center work as a career. Since you can’t stand over their shoulders, they need to be reliable. They need to be well-versed with your technology (since they can’t yell for help from your IT department).
This changes the hiring picture entirely, as TMCnet’s Susan Campbell pointed out in a recent article. Experts recommend asking a different set of questions entirely during the recruiting and hiring process for virtual agents.
Are they tech-savvy? Unless the agent lives nearby and can come in for in-house training, the process will need to be virtual. More experienced agents who have used a variety of different CRM, workforce management, quality management and call platform solutions may be your best bet. Requiring home-based agent candidates to run through a demo of your call center’s technologies may be a good place to start.
How do they manage their time? With home-based agents located on the other side of the state or the nation, it will be up to the individual agent to make the best use of his or her time. While there’s some wisdom to hiring older agents, who may be more experienced with time management, this won’t provide the full picture. Check references for remote agents who have demonstrated a history of quality time management.
Are they motivated? While some in-house agents manage to do well as long as there is a manager lighting a fire under their chair, this won’t work with home agents. They need to be self-motivated individuals. Determining the reason the candidate is seeking home-based work is a good start. Does this person plan to pursue call center work as a long-term goal, or is it a quick bandage during a rough patch? Setting rewards based on performance can go a long way toward ensuring home-based agents remain motivated.
Modern call center monitoring and analytics can go a long way toward identifying slackers, and since most of these technologies are cloud-based today, they can be extended to cover home-based agents. This provides you with extra insurance about whether remote agents are carrying the loads they’ve been allotted.
Once they have put remote agents into place, many call centers find they are more hardworking, more reliable and more long-term than in-house agents. While the recruiting and hiring processes may take a little more time, the rewards can be greater.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein
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