3 recruitment lessons from our contact centre community

Joining us from the worlds of insurance, banking and utilities, our roundtable discussion focused on how getting recruitment right reduces attrition.

The LaunchPad team enjoyed hosting the first get-together of our contact centre recruitment community last month. Some of our participating companies employ more than 17,000 agents and make anywhere between 400 and 4000 hires per year. At these volumes it’s essential to make the right hiring decisions. Something the industry has struggled with in the past.

The right person for the job

Last year, UK call centre agent attrition was 21%. Research by ContactBabel, the contact centre industry analyst, shows that 50-60% of agent attrition occurs in the first 90 days after recruitment. The number one reason for leaving? “Just the wrong type of person for the job.”

So, how can contact centre recruitment teams make sure they attract and retain the right people?

Below are three key themes for improving hiring courtesy of our contact centre roundtable participants.

1. Attracting the right candidates

The issue:

As customers become able to deal with more simple issues online themselves, contact centre agents need to deal with the more complex. So, the agent of the future needs to be a champion of customer service. They need to be empathetic, engaged and right-fit for the role.

At both the attraction and apply stages, contact centres are breaking with traditional recruitment practices to find people with the right combination of behaviours and skills.

One company hosts successful open days that help people with their career choices and provide an insight into the organisation - participants can attend a mini careers workshop and mini-interview during the day. As an indication of its success, 400 people attended the last open day from which 100 have been hired and an additional 50 are in the pipeline.

Contact centres are increasingly adopting CV-free hiring based on feedback from candidates and hiring managers. Using online channels to direct candidates straight to pre-screening questions is a route many contact centres are now taking.

Candidates can learn about the company and roles through video content and quickly proceed through initial screening and, if they’re successful, to video interview. Advanced automation is making the process more engaging for candidates and more effective for the recruitment team.

2. Creating an efficient recruitment process

The issue:

Contact centre recruitment can easily become resource-heavy. Due to the numbers involved, any inefficiency in recruitment and onboarding has knock-on effects, resulting in understaffed teams and recruiters constantly working to keep up with demand from the front-line.

Some of the companies at our roundtable now measure time-to-offer as well as time-to-hire, as checks including credit, criminal and identity can add an extra, frustratingly long, six weeks to the hiring process. Being able to show the business why hiring takes as long as it does has helped recruiters to maintain strong relationships with hiring managers.

Sorting through assessment results and dealing with no-shows at assessment centres also has time and cost implications. Streamlining and improving the process using automation is something several our participants are already doing, or considering.

Making the initial screening and interview process slicker and quicker gets the right candidates into the funnel more quickly. Participating in a video interview or having fun with engaging game-based assessments starts to build engagement, meaning candidates are less likely to drop-out of the process.

3. Make good use of referral schemes

The issue:

The volume of hiring in contact centres presents a challenge even for good employers with strong employer brands. Given the competition between contact centres and the geographical restrictions on hiring, recruiters need to tap into multiple sources of talent and make use of their networks.

Several of our participant organisations are running successful referral programmes. One company now makes 36% of its hires through employee referrals, another has found that referred hires have a 9% better retention rate than non-referrals. The downside is the cost. One banking client has found that employee referrals is their most expensive recruitment channel.

Regardless of how candidates enter the funnel, making the recruitment process faster and more engaging reduces cost to hire, time to hire and attrition. With the help of the latest recruitment technology contact centre recruitment teams can be confident that they’re attracting and hiring the right people to be ‘agents of the future’.

If you’d like to join our community of contact centre recruiters click here.