The September 2019 Issue of TAS Trader

Optimize Agent Hiring

Streamline Your Hiring Process to Realize Fast Results

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, author, blogger, publisher, editor

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Have you ever offered a promising job candidate a position only for them to decline because they already accepted a job with another company? I have. I took too long. Even though they claim to have preferred to work for me, they grabbed the first job offer that came their way.

People today—including job seekers—have little patience. We live in a world that wants instant gratification, and we have little tolerance for waiting. Unless you want to continue to lose qualified candidates, you need to optimize your hiring process. Look for ways to make it more efficient so you can hire the best applicants before someone else does.

Don’t continue to follow yesterday’s hiring practices, because they’re no longer appropriate for today’s workplace. What is the average time between a job seeker first expressing interest and you hiring them? I hope your answer isn’t more than a week. Even a couple of days is too long. Can you get down to twenty-four hours? How about a same-day decision? Just how fast can you act?

Here is an idea to consider. Note that this isn’t a proven plan to follow but merely a possibility to spark your creativity:

Online Self-Assessment: Once you’ve captured a prospective employee’s attention, provide them with an online self-assessment tool that will allow them to determine if an answering service environment is a good fit for them. Present a series of questions that reflect work at your answering service. The more questions they answer “yes” to, the better fit they are. Score their answers. Then tell them: “People who score between X and Y tend to like working for our company, whereas people with lower scores may struggle to succeed in this position. Do you want to apply?” [Note: unless you take time to validate the outcome, don’t record their score or ask them their results. To avoid a legal quagmire, let them use this tool privately to determine if they want to move forward.]

This assessment occurs online and automatically without any involvement on your part.

Phone Screening Call: If they want to proceed after taking the online self-assessment, move them immediately to a prescreening evaluation over the phone. This is a standardized set of questions to rule out candidates who don’t fit your criteria, such as people wanting full-time work when you’re hiring part-timers or candidates seeking a business-hour’s position when your openings are for evening and weekends.

You should script the call flow so that any of your operators can conduct the phone screen call. Anyone who passes should move on to a phone interview.

Same Day Phone Interview: For candidates who pass the phone screen, give them the option of an immediate phone interview, or let them schedule one. Yes, an immediate phone interview. Connect them with your hiring manager or HR department. Again, this should be a structured process that will provide an instant pass/fail outcome.

Though you may prefer an in-person interview, remember that all their work at your answering service will take place over the phone, so a phone interview should be more indicative of their capabilities than an in-person meeting.

Make an Immediate Offer: For candidates who pass the phone interview, make an offer at that point. Don’t delay. Desiring to compare a group of candidates who pass the phone interview will not only take more time, but it also increases the risk of your best candidate receiving a job offer from someone else before you make yours.

Once you’ve made the offer, don’t push them for an immediate yes/no answer. Though some people will accept right away, others will want to think about it. If that’s the case, schedule a follow-up phone call.

This idealized hiring process could take less than an hour. Though it will require effort to fine-tune each step and compress it into a sixty-minute procedure, you can do it.

Now your next task is to optimize your onboarding and training process to make it just as efficient.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.


Classified Ads:

TAS Sales Rep: 40-year-old, multiple-location, answering service seeks outgoing, highly professional, hard-working, and self-motivated sales representatives. Previous sales experience is preferred. Strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Must be comfortable with phone sales, computer-literate, and capable of creating written sales proposals. Email resume to Janet Livingston at janet@callcenter-salespro.com.

Operations Manager: 32-year-old TAS in sunny Central Florida looking for an operations manager. Experience is a must! Send resume to jeanpearson49@gmail.com.

Seeking Acquisitions: Reputable TAS, in business since 1967 and still owned by the founding family, seeks a small TAS acquisition in the USA. Ideally, you’re billing under $50k per month. Smaller is better. We’ll treat you right, and your employees and customers. Let’s talk. Contact Doug at 888-693-7935 or douganswerphone@gmail.com.

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Reactions: The Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had

By Jennifer Powers

If you want to take more control of your reality you need to take more control of your reactions. But how do you do that? Start with this simple three-step formula:

1. Observe and Resist Your Knee-Jerk Reaction: Observe how you tend to react when things don’t go your way and resist going there. Give yourself time and space to allow any negative reactions to flow through you.

By pausing, you allow your “fight or flight” mechanism time to calm down. This gives yourself a second to regain your composure. Consider taking deep belly breaths, counting to ten, or humming a tune. This will occupy the space that a crappy reaction would normally take.

2. Ask Yourself a Question: To redirect your focus, ask yourself a question. Not just any question, but one that will help you shift into a more positive mindset from which you can react. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What about this situation can I be grateful for?
  • What belief or opinion would serve me better?
  • How do I deserve to feel?
  • Who would love to switch places with me? 

Feel free to come up with your own powerful questions that will shift you into a positive mindset.

3. Answer the Question: You can’t skip this step. If you only ask yourself the question you are only halfway there. The shift in perspective and your ability to react from a more positive outlook occurs when you answer the question. This part may be challenging at first, but push through it because the payoff is big.

Then you can calmly respond.

Conclusion: Remember, seemingly bad things happen to everyone. You’re not alone. But you have way more power over your day than you may recognize. The moment you begin to take control of your reactions you begin to take control of your reality. 

Jennifer Powers, MCC is an international speaker, executive coach, author of the best-selling book “Oh, shift!” and host of the fun and binge-worthy “Oh, shift!” podcast. For more information visit www.ohshift.com.

[This piece is adapted from Article Weekly. Read the full article.]

Industry News

Amtelco Releases IS Social Media Monitor: The Intelligent Series (IS) social media monitor translates popular social media posts, messages, and notifications into dispatch jobs that call center agents can manage on behalf of their clients. The social media monitor polls the client’s social media accounts—such as Facebook and Twitter—for incoming activity and presents the resulting notifications to the IS server as MergeComm Web API triggers. The MergeComm triggers are presented to agents as dispatch jobs that can be scripted as needed in IS supervisor. For more information, contact Amtelco at 800-356-9148 or info@amtelco.com.

Email us with your TAS news for consideration in our next issue.


Quotes for the Month

Life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements. -Alice Munro

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” -Sean O’Casey

“When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.” -unknown