July 12 -

In addition to defining the knowledge, skills, and attributes that make up the ideal call center employee, another important consideration in assessing the job is to define the unique working environment of your call center.

In particular, you’ll want to identify aspects of the job and the environment that may be less than desirable and assess candidates’ motivation to accept these conditions. Some examples include the following:

  • Repetitive tasks. Is there variety in the type of work your agents do, or are the tasks fairly repetitive in nature? While some people like the predictability of call center work, others need more variety and challenge on an ongoing basis.
  • Solo work. Will the employee get to interact with others in the organization? While you may be looking for a “people person” when making a hiring decision, it is important to recognize that a call center employee may have limited opportunity to actually interact with peers and others.
  • Confined space. If this person is working in the office, is the workstation space in your call center limited? Some people will feel uncomfortably confined in a small cubicle workspace.
  • Frequent monitoring. Can you think of any other place where an employee is monitored so carefully? You probably record calls to ensure quality and review statistics that indicate an agent’s work state every single second of the day. Some of your potential candidates will view this lack of privacy as a negative working condition.
  • Inflexible schedules. How much flexibility can you provide in the work schedule? While many other departments of your company may have a flex-time policy in which staff may start at any time as long as a set number of hours are worked, the call center is at the mercy of incoming call demand. Therefore, there’s probably little to no flexibility in a person’s work schedule to accommodate personal needs.

Finding a person with the skills and attributes who will also be happy with these unique work environment conditions is one of the biggest predictors of long-term retention and job success. Therefore, all work conditions – both positive and negative – should be included in the position description form.  Defining these unique characteristics as part of developing the position description will help to identify personnel during the selection process that are the best possible fit for the call center environment.

While the “can do” elements of knowledge and skills are certainly important to make sure a candidate has the basic capabilities to do the work, the “will do” elements of personality attributes and environmental fit are even more closely correlated with retention and employee satisfaction in the long run.