Off Center
The best managers realize a contact center cannot succeed without skilled, motivated and mostly sober agents manning the phones (and other contact channels). These managers work hard to develop and sustain hiring programs that ensure the front line is forever staffed with service stars who stick around for longer than the first pay period.

But I’m not here to talk about hiring success. When it comes to agent recruiting, assessment and selection, success is much less common than failure... and it's more fun to talk about the latter.

With that in mind, following are 15 signs your contact center’s hiring practices need work:

15) A common question among new-hires is whether their work schedule will interfere with their dog fighting competitions.

14) Your contact center recently underwent renovations to expand the exit interview room.

13) Candidates typically celebrate a job offer by firing off a few rounds of ammunition out back.

12) While playing hide-and-seek in your contact center, your eight year-old kid secretly answered several customer calls – and outperformed all your agents.

11) You’ve implemented a work-at-home agent program because most of your job candidates are under house arrest.  

10) Your average agent tenure is measured in minutes.

9) Your two most critical selection criteria when assessing agent candidates are “has a pulse” and “wears clothes.”

8) Your most effective recruiting method is begging.

7) Your best agent is your IVR system.

6) The final stage of your agent selection process involves a coin toss.

5) The top candidate from your last recruitment effort applied from federal prison.

4) You promoted the aforementioned candidate to supervisor his first week on the job.

3) Your most valuable applicant assessment tool is a drug-sniffing dog.

2) You hired the aforementioned dog as a team lead.

And the number one sign your contact center’s hiring practices need work is…

1) While reading each item on this list, you thought to yourself, “It’s funny because it’s true.”

For those of you looking for (slightly) more serious and insightful resources on agent recruiting and hiring, check out the following links to previous blog posts:

Active Agent Recruiting: Take Hiring by the Horns
Separate the Reps from the Replicas: Improving Your Pre-Hire Assessment Process
The First Key to Agent Retention? Your Hiring Program

There’s also an entire chapter dedicated to the topic of recruiting & hiring in my Full Contact book.

JR Hardenburgh
10/17/2013 10:03:37 pm

Classic Levin, great article! Would like to add one more (which is actually sad but true from an outbound sales call center in southern California)
Caught agents sleeping in their car between shifts...because they were homeless.

10/17/2013 10:09:22 pm

Glad you enjoyed the post, JR.

NOT glad to hear about the home agents sleeping in their cars. Way to bring my readers and me down after a (hopefully) humorous read.

I'm going to go watch an episode of "Modern Family" on Hulu now to cheer myself up again.

Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to comment!



10/30/2013 07:59:25 pm

Hey Greg! Really enjoyed reading this article. I really like your sense of humor. I'm definitely sharing this with my customer care call center colleagues.

10/30/2013 09:46:06 pm

Grateful for the kind words, Ian -- and for having you share my madness with others.

Best of luck!



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