8 Tips For Hiring For Cultural Fit In Your Contact Center


Share on LinkedIn

We’re hiring in our contact center.  Yay!  If you run a small customer service operation like we do, you likely have low turnover and a relatively happy team.  This probably means that hiring is more of a once or twice per year occurrence than once or twice per month.

You also likely have little to no dedicated HR staff in your organization.  This most certainly means that everyone on your staff, including yourself, drops their normal routine and focuses a ton of energy posting, finding, recruiting, interviewing, negotiating, dusting off and updating training stuff, setting up desks, welcoming, training and answering tons of questions before everything returns to normal.  Sound familiar?

Yeah, we’re hiring and that’s the drill.  In this season, I am reminded of the importance of hiring for culture and NOT for convenience.  As I was driving to work the other day I actually started to panic and thought to myself, “I’m really worried we won’t find anyone good. What if we just lower our standards slightly?”  Stop that thinking!  Rushing and hiring a few bad apples can be detrimental to your culture and the quality of your customer service.  Not to mention, they might quit after their first day.  I’ve been there and it’s not fun!

With that being said, here are eight things to consider when hiring for culture in your contact center and ensuring that AWESOME customer service lives on.

  1. Gain consensus- Absolutely involve your team in the hiring process.  Don’t be afraid to interview candidates multiple times and allow leaders in your customer service team to vet them without you in the room.  I’ve been swayed to hire great candidates because my team liked the fit, even though I didn’t.  I’ve also been talked out of hiring people I liked when others did not.  Agreement is important.
  2. Ask “Can I manage/lead/supervise/work with this person?”- I’m a firm believer in celebrating our unique strengths and abilities and see great danger in having a completely homogenous team.  That being said, there needs to be a certain level of teachability and humility in the candidate.
  3. Trust your gut- There might just be something “off” about a person that you can’t pinpoint.  Talk through this with your team and find out what they sense.  This may or may not confirm what you are feeling.
  4. View them through your customers’ eyes- You might be tempted to hire someone who displayed poor written communication or perhaps they mumbled when you spoke with them on the phone.  In your haste to hire, don’t compromise the quality of the service your customers deserve.  There are a lot of nice people out there that have no business interacting directly with your customers.
  5. Communicate expectations clearly- It’s starts with the job posting.  Be sure to describe the job, company and culture well in the posting so you attract the right people.  Make sure the the candidate gets a good feel for the work they will be doing and the people they will be working with.  If they show up the first day and they had completely different expectations, they might walk out before they begin.
  6. Have a little bit of fun- In our call center, we rarely take ourselves too seriously.  If we can laugh in the interview and develop a sense of comfort with the candidate, we know they can work in the environment we’ve created.
  7. Put your best foot forward- Don’t forget that the candidate you are interviewing is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.  Be kind and positive in communication.  Roll out the red carpet for them when they show up for their interview.  We always offer them a beverage and introduce them to a few folks before we get down to interviewing.
  8. Keep improving- When you involve others in the hiring process, meet with them after each round of hiring and evaluate how you did.  Did you hire your ideal candidate?  How can you improve for next time?

What tips would you add to this list?  Please take a moment to leave a comment below.  Happy hiring!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here