3 Steps to Get Off the Recruiting Treadmill…Now!


Let’s say you run a call center or are responsible for recruiting for a call center. What is the biggest hurdle to your company’s success? From our experience, plainly, it is recruiting and retaining quality call center agents. Many times, even if you can get a quality call center agent in the door, it is tough to keep them. This leads to the dreaded recruiting treadmill – recruit like crazy to fill a training class, graduate the training class to the floor, lose 15% in the first month on top of your 70-100% annual attrition, scramble to repeat the process.

So, what can you do to end the dreadful recruiting treadmill?

1) Recruit Agents That Fit

Yeah, it is easier said than done, right? But, you would be amazed at the number of call centers we see hiring a hodgepodge of candidates with all kinds of backgrounds, personality types, and skill sets and then wondering why they can’t figure out how to reduce their churn. Our first step in recruiting for our clients is to start with the creation of a job profile. We start from scratch, looking at the kind of person that thrives in our client’s particular call center, and we don’t just take the CEO’s word for it either. In fact, we often find that management envisions an ideal candidate that has little or nothing to do with reality.

To create a candidate profile, we look at the kinds of people that are successful in our client’s particular call center. We look for trends in personality type or background. We also look for trends in low performance. Using this information, we establish a target profile that we will recruit towards. Using a consistent hiring process focused on a consistent candidate profile will lead to consistent hiring results. We often hear stories about the one super star agent that was hired that didn’t fit the mold, but the reality is, recruiting for call centers is a singles and doubles game. Hiring a batch of consistent and reliable agents is far better than hiring one superstar and 20 bombs.

Once you have a clear candidate profile in place, how do you hire new candidates to match that profile? That is where assessment testing and structured interviews come into place – a topic for further discussion.

2) Invest in Your New Hires

So, you spent the time and money to bring on a new hire (and, if you understand the true cost of attrition, you will realize how much money that actually is), but you don’t want to invest in that new hire to make sure they work out? I am not talking about the typical one or two weeks of training that new hires receive before being thrown to the wolves either…I am talking about truly investing in the new hire, as a person and employee.

We have found that organization that establish mentoring programs experience 28% lower attrition in the first 90 days. We have also found that meaningful daily feedback can increase performance by as much as 20%. Establishing these types of programs can drastically reduce attrition and increase performance without breaking the bank. Another way to invest in agents is to provide closer supervision. Again, we have found that reducing span of control can significantly reduce attrition and can in fact pay for itself. Check out our previous writing for more on span of control.

3) Understand Mistakes

I always tell our clients that people are not widgets. If you want 5-nines reliability, being in the people business isn’t for you. So, that being said, you will have some natural level of attrition and you will make hiring mistakes. The key is to understand why a hiring mistake was made and learn from that mistake. A great place to start is by validating your hiring data against performance and turnover. Tying assessment scores to performance can be complicated, but there is a great wealth of knowledge in that data. Further, implementing a meaningful separation analysis or survey can provide great insight into areas of concern.

All of three of these steps can be taken internally, but it is sometimes helpful to hire outside guidance to break the vicious cycle. The third party can be the driving force for change and can help get your company off the treadmill. If you are curious how CallMe! can help your company to get off the recruiting treadmill, be sure to contact us.