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Contact Centre Recruitment

Monday, 25 February 2019  
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Improve your Digital Candidate Experience now, or face permanent "Do not call” status

“There is a war on talent”. If you are a recruiter or hiring manager, you may have heard or read this phrase somewhere in the last couple of years.

Well, here is the update: “Talent has won the war”.

Have you heard that one before? If not, keep scrolling because contact centre recruiters form part of this post-war scavaging for skilled resources just as much as talent acquisition professionals the in mining, financial services or manufacturing industries.

Even with our 27 per cent rate of national unemployment the quest to attract and secure suitable talent is still plagued by obstacles of skill shortages, increased candidate disengagement levels and counter-offers from competitors.

In recent years, a definite shift has occurred in Human Capital Economics. We moved from oversupply onto insatiable demand for experience and expertise. Welcome to the employment economy of a candidate-led hiring market.

Investment from foreign entities in South African contact centres keeps on growing despite the recent dips in the economy, creating more opportunities for employment, yet we are still facing a constant struggle against limited ‘’suitable’’ candidate flow in this industry.

Time to Redefine

When considering sourcing innovation and design thinking in candidate attraction tactics elsewhere on the globe, it is perhaps time to redefine our digital recruitment methodologies in the South African contact centre environment sooner rather than later to ensure that we remain competitive.

Failing to push conventional digitised recruitment strategies out the door and make way for a more revolutionised approach may result in our current contact centre investment being redirected elsewhere to countries like Bangladesh, India or the Philippines.

Placing job ads on career portals and blogging or tweeting about your remarkable culture or comprehensive employee benefits, just won’t cut in creating candidate awareness anymore:

  • Skilled contact centre agents worth their ‘’occupancy’’ are happy and content in their current roles, too immersed in providing inbound/outbound service excellence to spare a minute thinking about opportunities beyond their current call station.
  • Thinking to employ marketing graduates with potential? Well, think again because these rookies opt for graduate programmes at corporates with exciting brands offering superb candidate experiences as part of their recruitment processes.

Innovative branding antics and presenting killer EVPs (Employer Value Propositions) are foundational elements of candidate attraction, when aiming to rope in experienced heavy weights or lure graduate “freshers”.

The overall ingenuity of the candidate experience is imperative to attract the best as opposed to what is left.

The Digital Candidate Experience

Automation, digitisation and robotisation are undoubtedly helpful for tired, overworked HR staff to stay on top of job advertising, response handling, initial screening and feedback notifications. However, candidates are increasingly expectant of a human touch component during the initial first phases of their application journeys.

From industry jargon to magnetic agent attraction:

VOIP – Value Offered in Position

Your platform should showcase the value of an agent’s role for the company and its customers. Purposeful employment and meaningful work rate as top career motivations nowadays. Instead of highlighting job features, focus on infographics promoting the career benefits in the contact centre environment.

Visible Queues

A Candidate Journey Map, indicative of the various steps in the application process queue, assists significantly in managing application expectations and eliminates candidate frustration. Listing timeframes visually for each stage of the application journey with ETA’s or wrap up times for feedback and test results reassures candidates and creates renewed anticipation during each part of the process.

RSF – Reputable Staff Feedback

Include a series of vlogs or blogs on your platform with current staff members discussing “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of the contact centre environment as a method to increase transparency of the hiring process. Alternatively, take it up a notch by offering prospective candidates the opportunity to engage with current employees by enabling an instant messaging or video chat feature.

VRU – Valid Review Units

A simple way of ascertaining where your recruitment methods are missing the plot is to ask applicants for reviews. Post-hiring feedback from unsuccessful or retracted candidates may help to uncover the critical changes that your business needs to improve talent acquisition strategies in the future.

Busy Hours

Pick the busiest, buzziest, most chaotic hour on the call centre floor to give candidates a 360 tour of the facility, introducing them to other agents and boasting about your state of the art equipment. This can all be done in real-time with a Go Pro camera or smartphone via a live feed from your website. The scale, noise and intensive environment of a call centre can be a challenging adjustment especially those who haven’t worked in one before. This type of introduction can help to reduce the shock for new starters by showing them what to expect beforehand.

Web Self-Service

Give prospective candidates their own login URLs to enter the recruitment portal where they can upload cv’s, manage their profiles, apply to roles and have access to industry blogs, interview guidelines and work readiness programmes. Adding chatbot interviewing capabilities or video interviewing features allows for timing flexibility because candidates are spared from applying for leave and organising transport to travel to interview venues.

CRM – Candidate Relationship Management

Assisting applicants to make informed decisions about their fit for a contact centre agent role is the primary purpose of candidate relationship management. Answering questions in real time and providing feedback regarding their progress forms part of this strategy as well. Displaying empathy and offering positive reinforcement when constructing regret notifications will dilute candidate disappointment to some extent.

Balanced Scorecards

Candidate scoring shouldn’t be boring. Offer assessments with a difference such as interactive gamification, call role-play sessions and animated screening tests to keep candidates engaged during the assessment stages. Using a balanced scorecard approach combining cognitive and behavioural based screening tools ensures optimum evaluation of both competency and culture fit while still offering an enjoyable candidate experience.

Online Authenticity

A digital recruitment platform featuring all the shiny apps that the budget allows for coupled with ample opportunity for interaction with real people can be a formidable tool to create a stellar candidate experience.

Fortunately, within the realm of the contact centre industry we have all the means to offer prospective employees a “best of both” experience which is online in format, but still authentic in nature.

eStudy offers a people-centric approach, driven through a digital platform, to assist a job-seeker to make an educated and informed decision on the feasibility of a career in the contact centre industry. Register at https://www.estudysa.co.za/erecruitment/login to find out more.

In our next write-up we will tackle the thorny topic of Call Centre Agent retention.


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Tel: +27 (0)21 856 3871

Email: info@ccmg.org.za