Call Center Hiring: The Ultimate Guide

13 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 13 April 2023

Call Center hiring is busy right now because the call center industry is a rapidly growing sector in both the US and UK, and the demand for skilled call center agents is increasing. According to the 2021 US Contact Center Decision Makers’ Guide, 71% of contact centers in the US anticipate an increase in call volumes, and 68% of UK contact centers anticipate the same, as per a report by ContactBabel. To meet this demand, companies must invest in their hiring processes to attract and retain top talent.

A photograph of call center employees at work
Call Center Employees

Also, according to a recent report by IBISWorld, the call center industry in the US is expected to reach $36 billion in revenue by 2025, while in the UK, the industry is projected to reach £5.4 billion by 2024.

In terms of hiring trends, the call center industry in both countries is facing significant challenges. In the US, there is a shortage of qualified candidates, with only 20% of applicants meeting the minimum requirements for call center jobs. This has led to increased competition among employers for skilled agents, resulting in higher wages and more generous benefits packages.

Similarly, in the UK, the call center industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers, with 69% of companies reporting difficulty finding qualified staff, according to a report by the Contact Center Network. As a result, many companies are turning to recruitment agencies to fill their vacancies, leading to increased competition among employers for the best candidates.

In order to attract and retain skilled call center agents, companies are adopting various strategies, including offering flexible work arrangements, providing ongoing training and development opportunities, and offering competitive salaries and benefits packages. With the growing demand for call center services in both the US and UK, the industry is likely to continue to face significant talent shortages, making it more important than ever for employers to invest in their workforce and create a positive work environment.

This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the call center hiring process, from writing effective job postings to interviewing and onboarding new hires. By following these steps closely, you can ensure you’re hiring top-notch talent who will positively contribute to your organization.

What is call center hiring, and why is it important?

Call center hiring is the process of recruiting and onboarding new employees for customer service, sales, or technical support positions in a call center. The people you hire are responsible for providing top-notch customer service and helping to grow your business. Additionally, well-trained staff can help reduce training, error reduction, and customer retention costs.

By finding quality candidates during the hiring process, you can ensure that your call center runs efficiently and provides customers with exceptional service. Furthermore, it can also help cultivate a positive work environment that attracts talented individuals passionate about their jobs. Knowing all this, it’s vital to understand the best practices for successful call center hiring.

Call Center audio head sets
Audio headset used by call center agents to help clients and do telecommunication with technology. Empty customer service workstation with headphones, computers and modern gadgets.

How to Effectively Execute Call Center Hiring

Here are the main steps, along with some tips, for conducting a thriving call center hiring process:

  1. Create an adequate job description – This should include the duties and responsibilities of the role and set clear expectations regarding qualifications, skills, and experience required to be considered for the post.
  2. Advertise the position widely – Make sure you use multiple platforms such as social media, job boards, newspapers, or even print advertisements so that you’re able to target a wide range of potential candidates.
  3. Screen applicants carefully – A pre-hiring assessment helps you identify the best-suited candidates. 
  4. Conduct interviews – Utilise a combination of competency-based questions to assess the applicant’s skills and knowledge and behavioural questions that aim to understand how they would react in certain situations.
  5. Follow up with successful applicants – Once you have identified your preferred candidates, you must reach out quickly, not to let them slip away; moreover, contact unsuccessful applicants to inform them of their status and provide feedback where appropriate.

How to screen applicants during call center hiring?

One of the most effective ways to screen applicants for call center jobs is to use pre-hire assessments. These assessments are designed to evaluate the skills, abilities, and personality traits that are necessary for success in a call center environment. Here are some tips on how to use assessments to screen applicants for call center jobs:

  • Determine the skills and traits needed for the job: Before choosing an assessment, it’s important to understand what skills and traits are required for success in the call center role you’re hiring for. For example, some call center jobs require strong customer service skills, while others may require excellent problem-solving skills. Make a list of the skills and traits needed for the job, and use this list to guide your assessment selection.
  • Choose an assessment that fits the job: Once you have a list of the skills and traits needed for the job, you can start researching assessments that are designed to measure those specific areas. Some common assessments used in call center hiring include cognitive ability tests, personality tests, situational judgment tests and realistic job assessments. Choose an assessment that fits the job and provides reliable and valid results.
  • Administer the assessment to all candidates: To ensure fairness and consistency in the hiring process, it’s important to administer the assessment to all candidates who apply for the job. This helps to ensure that all candidates are evaluated using the same criteria, and helps to reduce the risk of bias in the hiring process.
  • Use the assessment results to inform hiring decisions: Once the assessments have been administered, you can use the results to inform your hiring decisions. Look for candidates who scored well on the areas that are most important for success in the job, and consider their assessment results along with other factors such as experience, education, and references.
  • Overall, pre-hire assessments can be a valuable tool in screening applicants for call center jobs. By evaluating the skills and traits needed for success in the job and using assessments to measure those areas, you can make more informed hiring decisions and select candidates who are most likely to succeed in the role.
Cheerful call center operators during working process. Confident client support team at workplace. Call center concept

How to interview call center candidates?

The interview is a critical step in the call center hiring process. It is your opportunity to assess the candidate’s communication skills, problem-solving ability, customer service experience, and other relevant skills.

Prepare a list of interview questions:

Before the interview, prepare a list of questions that you will ask each candidate. These questions should be designed to evaluate the candidate’s suitability for the call center role. Ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to provide specific examples of their past experiences and how they would handle hypothetical situations.

Assess communication skills:

Since communication is key in a call center role, evaluate the candidate’s ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas effectively. Listen to their tone of voice, clarity, and organization of their responses.

Evaluate problem-solving ability:

Call center agents frequently encounter difficult or unusual situations. Assess the candidate’s ability to handle these situations by asking hypothetical questions or giving real-life examples.

Evaluate customer service experience:

Customer service experience is essential for a call center job. Evaluate the candidate’s past customer service experience and how it relates to the call center role. Ask them to provide specific examples of how they handled challenging customers or situations.

Evaluate technical skills:

Call center agents typically use software or tools to manage customer inquiries or complaints. Assess the candidate’s ability to use these tools by asking about their experience with various software or by giving a technical skills test.

Behavioral Interviewing:

Use behavioral interviewing to determine how the candidate is likely to handle certain situations. You can ask the candidate to describe a specific situation where they had to deal with an upset customer and how they resolved the issue.

Assess cultural fit:

Since call center agents work in a team, assess the candidate’s ability to work well with others. Ask about their experience working in teams, and how they handle conflicts or difficult team members.

Allow for questions:

At the end of the interview, allow the candidate to ask any questions they may have. This can help you assess their level of interest and engagement in the position.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you are interviewing candidates who have the necessary skills and experience to excel in a call center role.

Confident owner interviewing young call center specialist
Confident owner interviewing young call center specialist

Top interview questions for call center hiring:

Can you tell me about your previous customer service experience?

This question will help you assess the candidate’s experience and skills in handling customer interactions.

How do you deal with difficult customers?

The ability to handle difficult customers is crucial in a call center environment. Look for candidates who can remain calm and professional while still addressing the customer’s concerns.

How do you prioritise tasks and manage your time?

Call center work can be fast-paced and requires excellent time management skills. Look for candidates who can prioritise tasks effectively to ensure they meet targets and deadlines.

How do you handle a high-volume of calls or customers?

This question will help you understand how the candidate copes under pressure and whether they can remain focused and productive during busy periods.

How do you handle conflicts with team members or supervisors?

The ability to resolve conflicts professionally and constructively is essential in any workplace. Look for candidates who can communicate effectively and collaborate with others.

Can you give an example of a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?

This question will help you assess the candidate’s level of customer service and their willingness to go the extra mile.

How do you stay up-to-date with product/service changes and updates?

The ability to stay informed about changes and updates to products and services is important for customer service advisors. Look for candidates who are proactive and stay informed about their work.

How do you handle confidential or sensitive information?

Customer service advisors often have access to sensitive customer information. Look for candidates who understand the importance of confidentiality and have experience handling sensitive data.

Can you describe a situation where you had to use your problem-solving skills to resolve a customer issue?

Problem-solving skills are essential for customer service advisors. Look for candidates who can think creatively and come up with effective solutions to customer issues.

Why do you want to work in a call center environment?

This question will help you understand the candidate’s motivations for wanting to work in a call center and their level of commitment to the role.

Happy call center agent wearing headset while talking with clients and working in the office.
Happy call center agent wearing headset while talking with clients and working in the office.

Where to advertise call center jobs?

If you’re looking to advertise call center jobs, there are many different platforms and channels you can use to reach potential candidates. Here are some of the most effective options:

Job boards: Posting your job on popular job boards like Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor can be an effective way to reach a wide pool of potential candidates. Many job boards also allow you to target your job posting to specific locations or industries.

Social media: Posting your job on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can be a great way to reach a targeted audience of potential candidates. You can also use social media to promote your job posting and encourage your followers to share it with their networks.

Company website: Adding a dedicated careers page to your company website can help attract job seekers who are already interested in your company. Make sure to include detailed job descriptions and information about your company culture and benefits.

Referrals: Encouraging your current employees to refer their friends and colleagues to your call center can be an effective way to find high-quality candidates who are a good fit for your company culture.

Staffing agencies: Working with a staffing agency that specialises in call center recruitment can be a great way to find qualified candidates quickly. These agencies can help with everything from screening and interviewing candidates to onboarding and training.

Local newspapers and publications: If your call center is located in a smaller town or city, advertising your job in local newspapers and publications can be an effective way to reach potential candidates in your area.

Job fairs: Attending local job fairs and career events can be a great way to connect with potential candidates face-to-face and promote your call center as a great place to work.

By using a combination of these advertising channels, you can increase your chances of finding high-quality candidates who are a good fit for your call center.

Joyful colleagues laughing during work. Happy office workers sitting at table with VR headsets and laptops. Technology concept
Joyful colleagues laughing during work. Happy office workers sitting at table with VR headsets and laptops. Technology concept

Tips and Reminders for Call Center Hiring

Here are some final tips and reminders to bear in mind when it comes to hiring for call centers:

  • Remember that a call center employee’s role is essential, as they are often customers’ first point of contact. You must ensure that candidates possess vital traits such as excellent communication skills, patience, and empathy.
  • When assessing applicants’ qualifications and experience, do not focus solely on technical knowledge; instead, pay more attention to individual qualities such as enthusiasm, customer service orientation, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Ensure that all recruitment criteria are job-related and non-discriminatory to comply with legal requirements. Be careful not to discriminate against candidates based on age, gender, ethnicity, or other protected characteristics.
  • Ensure to provide feedback to all applicants to maintain a positive reputation as an employer and show your appreciation for their effort in applying.
  • Call center attrition is a crucial metric to monitor. Providing an attractive and competitive salary structure, benefits package, and training opportunities can help reduce employee turnover and increase job satisfaction.
African american employee using headset at customer service job, answering call about telemarketing sales. Male operator working at call center office to help clients on helpline.
African American employee using a headset at a customer service job, answering calls about telemarketing sales. Male operator working at call center office to help clients on the helpline.

Closing Notes

In conclusion, the success of your call center depends on the quality of your hiring process. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this guide, you can attract top talent and cultivate a positive work environment that promotes growth and success.

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