Home // Blog

Distributed Recruiting Addresses Sourcing Challenges for the Virtual Contact Center

As the at-home model for contact centers evolves, there are specific advantages unavailable to the physical contact center. One such advantage is distributed recruiting. A virtual contact center has the ability to recruit from an almost unlimited geography, in comparison to a physical call center that typically contains its search within an approximate 30-mile radius from its location to allow for commute times.

Where agent attrition is ranging as high as 50%, depending on the environment of a physical call center, imagine the difficulty in finding qualified agents when you have a few thousand candidates. Compare that to the extensive talent pool that includes the 300,000 applications that Sykes receives each year for virtual agent positions. Rather than scrambling to find the best from limited options, this enables us to be highly selective to ensure the right match of candidate to program and interaction requirements.

Distributed recruiting also attracts a more highly qualified applicant. Consider the marginalized workforce that includes the disabled, parents, those affiliated with the military, and retirees. Additionally, an evaluation of virtual contact center workers finds that they are more highly educated, more mature and have extensive work experience, resulting in the creation of a very strong talent base.

In the best approach, distributed recruiting will be conducted in a totally virtual environment. Due to the increased size of the talent pool, we’ve developed and use a practice we call the Science of Selection. In order to match the best candidates to positions, we’ve found that utilizing a multi-step matching process yields the most productive, qualified talent selection.

Science of Selection

  • Step 1: Analyze your top performers’ capabilities, attitudes, behaviors, and background experience to create the minimum requirements for the evaluation of new candidates. Include an assessment of how those factors play well within a virtual environment. Apply these requirements as a preliminary filter to screen the applicants that will move on to Step 2.
  • Step 2: Conduct a personality style assessment to determine candidates’ compatibility with a work-at-home environment. This will also help you identify which programs may be the most suitable for them. The choice to work virtually can be as much of a lifestyle choice as it is to fulfill the need to earn income. The removal of traditional work schedules due to incremental scheduling can also be attractive. The ability for the agent to choose his or her level of availability for scheduling allows them to create a tailored level of work commitment that meets their personal needs. For example, a parent can work while the children are at school and then be free for afterschool activities.
  • Step 3: To determine the best program match, you’ll need to decide the qualifiers that apply for each program. Does the agent need to be social and casual, or more technical and professional? Do they need to be rule followers, such as would be necessary to work on a credit card fraud program? Do they like the brand? Have they used the product? How much do they already know about it? Do they have experience or education that plays well to the brand and program needs for the sharing of knowledge that will be helpful? By gaining insight about the candidates through the answers to questions such as these, you’ll be able to correlate the qualities of the new candidate to the qualities of your top performers that have proven most effective.
  • Step 4: With those who have made it through this far, conduct a final skill evaluation and verify the key factors that your decision to hire is based upon. This final step is about validating the findings from the earlier steps to ensure that you’re making the best decision.

Career Options and Impact Are Key to Agent Retention

Once you’ve hired the best, you want to be sure to keep them. Recent research conducted by Frost & Sullivan found that career options, the understanding of the business’ goals and personal objectives and the ability to impact their work environment are three factors that play into the extended tenure of contact center agents. All of these factors are also critical to the success of a virtual contact center.