Since the new manager of call center has been recently promoted and has no experience with hiring, HR director should help her with resources, effective strategies and methods for screening, selecting and interviewing applicants. For hiring customer service representatives, a large pool of applicants should most likely be screened. First of all, it is necessary to identify what skills, background and personal characteristics should be common to a successful customer service representative of the new call center. It is possible to recommend a variety of recruiting methods. The main of the are advertising in local newspapers, internet advertising and use of commercial employment agencies (Mathis & Jackson, 2008). Other possibilities are personal references of other call center employees, promotion of employees from other departments, word of mouth, advertising in national newspapers and specialized journals etc. I can suggest to combine advertising in local newspapers and internet advertising, since these two methods are claimed to be most cost-effective for hiring service staff (Bohlander & Snell, 2009), and they cover different groups of potential applicants.
It is recommended to perform some pre-employment testing online or in person before the applicant reaches the interview stage. All applicants can be provided a pre-employment testing link, and after passing the test successfully they will be asked to send their CV or background information to the manager’s mailbox. This will help to screen out evidently non-matching part of applicants, and will reduce the workload for the new manager.
Regarding the process of interviewing applicants, it is possible to mention such types of interviews as nondirective interview, structured interview, situational interview, behavioral, panel, computer-based and virtual interviews (Mathis & Jackson, 2008). In my opinion, the most appropriate type is structured interview, since it is necessary to hire a large group of employees. Moreover, as the new manager is not experienced in hiring, she will need some instruments allowing her to evaluate future performance of the applicant. The interview should include situational or behavioral part; in the behavioral part, the applicant is asked to describe what he has actually done in a situation in the past, while in a situational interview the applicant has to make a decision in a hypothetical situation (Rankin, 2003). For applicants with appropriate background it is reasonable to use behavioral questions, and for applications without a customer service experience, situation approach is best. Thus, choosing a structured interview with situational/behavioral part can be recommended.
For pre-employment test and interviewing reliability and validity are important. General methods of reliability testing are test-retest reliability, parallel form reliability, inter-rater reliability, and internal consistency (Rankin, 2003). In the process of evaluating the reliability of recruitment instruments, characteristics of target group and previously done reliability studies should be considered. These instruments should also be validated using criterion-related, content-related or construct-related validation(Medina, 2006). In our case, content-related validation can be used, which is based on the demonstration that questions in the tests and interviews represent important job-related qualifications and characteristics. Both online tests and sample interviews should be previewed to exclude personal and sensitive questions, and should be checked for adverse effect (Medina, 2006).
Finally, call manager can be prepared for her hiring role using several methods. First of all, she needs to pass at least introductory HR training. Secondly, she should develop criteria for selection and evaluation of employees (Bohlander & Snell, 2009), and thus prior to hiring process she should develop a portrait of a successful applicant. She will need to prepare most common problematic work situations and questions for interviews. It can be useful for the manager to contact other call center managers with significant experience, and research for the qualities of good customer service representatives and key features which should be analyzed in the biographies or tests of the applicants. In addition to this, call manager will need to identify whether other managers or employees will be cooperating closely with the customer support representatives in the working process, and involve these people into preparation for the recruitment process.
Bohlander, G. & Snell, S. (2009). Managing Human Resources. Cengage Learning.
Mathis, R.L. & Jackson, J.H. (2008). Human resource management. Cengage Learning.
Medina, R. (2006). Personnel & Human Resources Management. Rex Bookstore.
Rankin, N. (2003). IRS best practice in HR handbook. Butterworth-Heinemann.