Using analytics for agent hiring

Blog Post created by andrewmishalove on May 18, 2016

Key Takeaway: Analytics can help hiring managers assess candidates' skills while streamlining the hiring process.


It's no secret that finding and retaining agents is one of the biggest challenges that contact center leaders face. Contact centers tend to see very high agent attrition rates, and yet these personnel will play the greatest role in determining the overall quality of the support and customer experience the company has to offer.


With that in mind, it's imperative for contact center hiring managers to make the best possible choices when evaluating candidates. After all, making the right hires will improve overall contact center performance and increase the average agent tenure, as well-qualified, skilled agents will excel and be more likely to stay in their positions.


Of course, that's easier said than done. However, hiring managers can do themselves a big favor by taking advantage of analytics. Used effectively, analytics can go a long way toward identifying the ideal candidates to bring into the contact center - and keeping them there.


Setting a baseline

One of the biggest advantages inherent to incorporating analytics into the hiring process is that this approach can significantly reduce the degree of subjectivity affecting these decisions.


Even the most even-handed, fair-minded hiring manager will not be able to avoid a level of subjectivity when evaluating potential contact center agents - it's just human nature. This leads to two potential problems. First and most obviously, even a small amount of subjectivity may lead decision-makers to choose less-than-ideal candidates. Second, it's very possible that candidates - both those who are chosen and those who are passed over - will pick up on this subjectivity. That can undermine individuals' confidence that both their coworkers and themselves are actually the best people for the job, and can potentially create resentment that leads to even greater attrition rates.


Analytics can reduce or even eliminate this risk by delivering objective results. By incorporating automated, analytics-driven assessments into the evaluation process, for example, hiring managers can measure how quickly, clearly and accurately a candidate can read through a prepared script. And by using the same script and analytics tools each time, decision-makers can establish a baseline to better compare future candidates' results. Every potential hire will be evaluated in an objective and standardized fashion.


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The same holds true if contact center hiring managers evaluate new agents through an initial probationary period. Rather than listen in on these agents' calls (or simulated calls) and evaluate them based on subjective judgment, contact center leaders can use analytics to more accurately, objectively gauge performance. Take a look at this webinar to see an in-depth example of this concept in action.


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Another advantage of this approach is the potential to greatly speed up the recruiting and hiring process. With automated analytics, hiring managers can evaluate multiple candidates simultaneously, without needing to devote significant amounts of time to each one. For example, the first month that SITEL Philippines embraced analytics for contact center agent hiring, it was able to process 27 percent more applicants than the previous month. This reduced recruiting resources used by 60 percent.


Last but not least, analytics can help contact centers to more quickly onboard and better retain their new hires. Specifically, analytics can play a key role in new hire mentoring and training. As we've noted before, personalized agent training and coaching is an excellent tool for improving employee performance. That's especially important when it comes to new hires, who may feel overwhelmed or insufficiently helped in their early days with a contact center. Interaction analytics can provide prompts and guided training based on individual hires' needs, making them feel more comfortable and confident in their new roles.


How is your contact center using analytics in the hiring process?