Hiring Practices for Customer Support – 3 Personality Traits to Look For


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Customer Success

Customer success begins with employee success. Employee success begins with hiring success. Hiring success begins with knowing the right skills and qualities to look for in customer-facing employees. With the high rate of turnover in contact centers, sometimes hiring teams are just trying to fill vacancies and the standard screening processes get thrown out the window. While there are times when this can’t be avoided, i.e., holidays, big events, etc., employee churn can be reduced if the right person is selected for the position—especially when it comes to customer service representatives.

Customer support employees who interact with customers are the faces, voices, and representatives of your brand and product, which is why hiring decisions matter. Employees with personality types that are happy, extroverted, solution-seeking, and agreeable are best suited for customer support roles. These employees not only deliver better customer experiences, they also allow higher-aiming team goals to be met. Conversely, those employees whose temperaments are shy, introverted, or easily offended face greater challenges when working with customers and tend to require more effort and energy from management. It’s not that people from this latter group aren’t good employees, but if they are hired for roles for which they aren’t suited, it requires a lot more effort on everyone’s part, from company to customer.

For any customer-facing employee, there are certain skills and personality traits that are more important than others. Let’s look at three personality types that are better suited to directly supporting customers and how your hiring teams can screen for them:

1.    Extroverted—Most of us are familiar with the simplistic notion that extroverts are social while introverts are shy. The reality is these traits are more nuanced and represent points on a spectrum. Those who are considered “extroverted” require socialization and interaction to feel recharged, whereas “introverted” people can recharge without interacting with others. What this means for customer service employees is that those who favor the extroverted end of the spectrum are more naturally energetic, social, gregarious, and outgoing–traits that make interacting with customers a bit easier.

2.    Agreeability—Being agreeable doesn’t mean the person doesn’t have strong opinions or beliefs; it’s more a measure of trusting and being helpful. Similar to extroversion/introversion, agreeableness is measured on a spectrum, with highly agreeable people seen as submissive or naïve while less agreeable personalities are seen as untrustworthy or challenging and competitive. When hiring for customer service positions, measuring where a potential employee falls on this spectrum will indicate their likeliness of working well with colleagues and customers. The ideal candidate would be on the more agreeable end of the spectrum, which often includes traits such as compassion, trust, compliance, and humbleness.

3.    Openness—Another trait that makes for good customer service employees is openness. Being an “open” person often includes characteristics such as a willingness and curiosity to learn and try new things and not being defensive when confronted with new ideas. Hiring candidates who are open shouldn’t be limited to customer service roles. When employees are open, they are more willing and able to stretch their imaginations and not get stuck in ruts or old habits.

Identifying some of the personality traits that make for good customer service representatives allows hiring departments to select candidates who are better suited for customer-facing positions. Personality tests are readily available, but they are best administered and interpreted by trained professionals. If your budget doesn’t allow for formalized personality assessments, less formal yet effective ways to screen for personality traits include online assessments and in-person observations. There are a number of companies that offer online assessments for hiring departments, including Central Test and Hire Success. A note of caution about personality tests: They are not the be-all and end-all for assessing candidates’ traits. An article published by Harvard Business Review warned that hiring teams often rely too much on personality tests alone. To get a more accurate read on the skill sets of a candidate, personality tests should be combined with other assessments that are less prone to being manipulated, such as testing for cognitive ability and integrity.

Whether your hiring teams rely on personality tests, in-person observations, or a combination of other measurements, it pays to fit the person to the role. Delivering exceptional customer experiences can be demanding, but for those employees who are more naturally outgoing, social, open, and agreeable, interacting with customers–even challenging ones—comes easily.  Customer success circles back to employee success. Employees are more likely to be successful in their jobs when their skill sets and personalities are in sync with the demands of their roles.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


  1. Hi Jodi, you have truly touched all the important nerves of any customer support executive’s traits , these traits must be searched in any applicant while he is applying for job, and all HR executives must emphasize on these things.


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