We are strong believers that it is particularly important for call centers to match candidates to their center from a skill set and personality standpoint. That being said, it is equally important for job seekers interested in call center jobs to match potential employers to themselves! By understanding the culture and quality of a potential employer going into the job, the job seeker will be more likely to succeed long term.
The first step to understanding a potential employer is research. Read the “About Us” section of their website. Read the management bios, and press releases. Read the latest news about the company. Look for trends such as commitment to bettering their staff as opposed to mass layoffs or consolidations. This is your first opportunity to understand the company and its culture, so take advantage!
While research can give you a sense of the company and its culture, the best approach is to prepare and ask questions as part of your interview! People often think the interview is the opportunity for the potential employer to ask questions to the potential employee, forgetting it is also the time for the reverse.
In our research, the leading cause for turnover in call centers is “job fit”. That is, call center agents often leave because they don’t feel they are the right fit for the job. Taking the time to understand if you are a fit is critical to ensure your happiness long-term in the position.
Examples of questions you could ask during an interview for a call center position include:
- Tell me about your training program for new agents. What you are looking for here is a sense that the company invests into their agents, giving them the skills they need to be successful. Companies that throw agents into the deep end without proper training are setting the agents up for frustration and failure.
- What is your current turnover rate for agents in this position? Call Centers are notorious for high turnover among call center agents. High turnover – typically over 75% annualized turnover – is often a sign of troubles in the center. Lower turnover typically indicates an environment in which agents can be successful.
- What is the Supervisor to Agent ratio on the floor? There is a statistical link between the ratio of Supervisors and Managers to Agents (called Span of Control) and performance and turnover rates. Centers with a Span of Control above 20-to-1 are in the danger zone and should raise some red flags as a potential employee. This ratio goes to the amount of guidance and feedback you will have from your managers and will impact your ability to be successful in the job. You can read more on Span of Control here.
- Are there career development opportunities within your company? Again, here you are looking to see if the company investing in you as an employee. Great companies will recognize talent and develop that talent.
- Why would someone what to come work in your call center? Seriously, why? Great culture, fun work environment, encouraging management, and opportunity for growth are all things you might look to hear.