Call centers often have trouble recruiting. This can be for a number of reasons including skill shortages, the constant changes in agents needed, low unemployment and high numbers of agents needed, job competition in the area and entry level pay for higher stress work. These are all hurdles that call centers need to jump in order to meet the needs of their clients on a regular basis. Because of the challenges of recruiting, many businesses look to staffing agencies or high budget marketing plans to bring in applicants. For some, that is the right decision. For us, we have found a few things that have helped us spend most of the year in the free or low cost strategies without having to utilize ad budgets.
Building a Strong Culture and Reputation
The first step in keeping recruiting challenges at bay is by creating an atmosphere where people want to work. We discussed creating an excellent company culture in a previous blog that can be found here. But from a recruiting perspective, evaluate what exactly you are asking your agents to do and compare it to the stress level, hours, and pay in the area. Pay people slightly more than other positions in the area who offer similar work if you can. This will help weed out competition and create more loyal employees. Flexible scheduling is something we are known for in our area. We go the extra mile (and extra admin headaches) to accommodate tougher schedules and be understanding with our agents when things come up in their lives. This is huge for making sure they know we care about them and is a benefit when they are deciding where to work. For some, they do not view call center work as a career, but more of just a side job or summer work. To combat this, we show our agents that we love to hire from within for our supervisor and management positions and give people ample opportunities for advancement.
All of these things give us a reputation as somewhere that people feel valued and want to work at. Our Facebook and other reviews reflect this and word of mouth has been an excellent source of applicants.
Hire with Turnover in Mind
A major struggle that goes hand in hand with recruitment strategies is turnover. Many companies have turnover issues that could potentially be avoided by reworking their hiring process. Here are some things we do that help reduce turnover in the first few weeks of employment. First, we focus on making it quick and easy to apply and we contact them right away. This gets plenty of applications flowing in our system and helps us contact them before other employers have a chance to. One of the primary reasons people quit a job in the first few weeks is because they did not have a clear view of job responsibilities, schedule, or pay. We conduct an extensive interview with them where we will allow them to listen to a live agent and roll play with their interviewer. This shows them exactly what they will be doing and allows us to see exactly where their skill set lies. If it is not a good fit for them, they will know it after the interview.
Where we Source Our Applicants
Of course we cannot discuss recruiting without mentioning some great free and low cost places to find applicants. Here is a list of some of the sources we utilize on a regular basis:
- Job Sites – We have found the most luck on Indeed, however there are tons of job sites that will allow you to post listings completely free! We have recruiting hundreds of applicants over the last year with free listings on job sites like this.
- Social Media – LinkedIn and Facebook both offer excellent options for employers to find job seekers. On Facebook in particular we utilize job groups and job listings completely for free. You can also promote your job listings on both LinkedIn and Facebook for very low budgets if you choose to. Also, simply creating a strong brand image on these sites by posting regularly and growing your audience will attract applicants.
- Local Colleges and Universities – Springfield is a college town, so that plays in our favor. However, be sure to check to see if your local colleges have job listings. Many of these are free. Most colleges also hold career fairs that are usually beneficial to be a part of.
- Local Career Centers – We have a career center in our town that allows you to list for free for job seekers. They also hold events regularly to help connect you to applicants. Our job center even hosts on site job fairs for us at our location a few times a year to help us promote open positions!
- Walk-Ins – Do not neglect your building to promote your open positions! We are located at one of the busiest intersections in our city and we have several semi-permanent signs on the outside of our building to help people be aware that we are hiring! This has worked wonders for us!
- Employee Referrals – Some of our best employees are ones that have referred their friends. We love to run contests with our employees to earn cash or prizes to recruit their friends.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list for low cost recruiting, however I hope this gives you an idea of where to begin with utilizing free and low cost avenues first before turning to high dollar marketing companies to do a lot of these things for you. Please let us know if you have sources that have worked well for your company! We would love to know!