Recruitment Problems

Topic Views - 399

Operations Team Leader

Genesys Conferencing

Recruitment Problems
Leading on from that last post made me think. We have just hired 6 people and after only 5 weeks 3 have been sacked for basically being late and generally unenthusiastic. In the interviews they seemed really good and well up for the job. How do we weed out these people as it is very costly ( almost £2000 ) as the agencies don't refund after the first 2 weeks. Anyone got any good interview questions or tests to get through to the persons real personality it is so easy to mis judge people in a 30 min interview. By the way it is not just the ones I hired it has happened to all of us here so it is more of a general problem than just me ( or I would be sacked myself !!!! )


Reynard Thomson Ltd.

One tactic to take...
Hi Antony,

One tactic you must use is to remember that recruitment people are (as you said yourself) normally sales people working on a commission basis. On that premise, they will be used to the bargaining process, so use the fact that you arein the driving seat (as a potential customer) to dictate the terms to them, not them dictating to you. Tell them that you will expect full refunds if the candidates are unsuitable after a 'probationary' period, or if they leave within six months (say).Any less than that and they really have you with your pants down, pardon the expression... ;-)


Planning & Performance Manager

Thames Water

Stay clear of agencies unless it is for highly specialist staff or short term temporary needs. On one occasion whilst seeking alternative employment a friend of mine was actually badgered as to why he wouldn't go for an interview with a ceratin company. His reply of "it is the same job I am doing now and for the same company!" didn't seem to ring home!!

The company I work for at the moment do a half day recruitment process including role play and group exercises in an attempt to see how peoplereact to situations and to see what skills that actually have. I know from my own experience how easy it can be to talk yourself into a job at an interview by letting the future employer have all the answers they are looking for.

If you can break the interview mould and get people to show their truw qualities, or lack of them as the case may be, then you are on to a winner. Also don't forget that an interview is a chance for both sides to see if they like what the other has to offer. If they don't know what the day to day job is then they may just have a totally different expectation of your workplace. Why not let them spend half an hour or so seeing what it is they are being eomplyed for?

Hope some of that helps

Vice President

Destination Excellence

Recruiters, recruiting, and testing...
I agree with John - if you MUST use a recruiting firm, set down some very specific guidelines for payment. I'm not sure how it is in Europe, but it is quite the competitive business in the US. And, as some of the most recent posts have mentioned, theseare sales people that are simply playing a numbers game. Make them work.

Regarding the testing question: we ran an internal study a number of years ago in a call center in which I worked, and determined that candidates for working our application (inbound reservations sales for a major hotel company) came from a 'bank teller' or 'collections' background. Long story short, we simply created a profile based on our CURRENT staff that were successful in the job in order to determine who we shouldbe recruiting. Make sense? (Haven't had enough coffee yet today) Then, we tested candidates for their propensity to excel in the components of this profile. Note, however, there are always exceptions, and if you have a good 'gut feel' with a candidatewho doesn't fit this profile, you may want to give them a shot anyway.

On the other side of the coin, you can also profile unsuccessful agents in your organization to help you determine who NOT to hire. Hope this helps, its a little generic, I know.

Regarding recruiters (I love the term 'headhunter', is it an international term?): The best headhunters work at a high level, and a search for a manager, director, or executive type of position will be aided greatly by headhunters. At lower levels (bulk hiring), I've not found any that truly understood what they were doing. And since this level is truly the most important (they'll be talking to your customers every day!), we've found that it's best to handle your own hiring.


Operations Team Leader

Genesys Conferencing

That is the strange thing we set all the ground rules out ( and there are not many we are a very relaxed call centre staff schedule their own work and breaks etc ) in the interview and the first day but they still don't seem to give a damm, even when we sacked them they just went "Oh OK then". I was really tempted to go into the room and say you are the weakest link goodbye but my manager wouldn't let me, never mind. Some good ideas there I will try some of them, I think I will go for a newspaper advertnext time as anyone who has gone to an agency to register a CV is likely to be looking in the Job section of local papers anyway.


Reynard Thomson Ltd.

The recruitment process, some thoughts
Hi Antony,

A question which I need to ask, and you don't need to provide specifics (as I don't wish you to get into trouble in any way), but do you see in your own company some failing which may be 'turning off' your new recruits and setting them into the old mires of negativity and demotivation?

Could it be a money thing - are your new recruits joining as a 'last resort' or do they choose your organisation as a 'first call'? Have you ascertained this from interview, found out their reasons for applying? In my experience in dealing with agencies as a candidate, they often exaggerate how great a place is just to persuade you to go forward with the interview; perhaps your disappointing experiences with the new recruits is borne of theirdisappointment in the mismatch between what they were told and what the reality is...?

"anyone who has gone to an agency to register a CV is likely to be looking in the Job section of local papers"

Operations Team Leader

Genesys Conferencing

No we are competitive with our salarys as there are some other large call centres like Vodafone in Croydon. Also we offer some excellent benefits etc.

I like that idea about profiling our good staff and using that to recruit people, I always tryto take the ones with the best attitude even above experience usually because I hate bad attitudes and they are usually unchangable, whereas you can train skills easily.

I don't think it is anything the company does that puts people off, as we have worked hard to create a nice environment where everyone helps each other and there are real chances for development ( about 90% of vacancies are filled internally except agents obviously ) I let my staff do stats and projects. The only thing it may beis an attitude given across by the trainers in the initial weeks. Training is very relaxed and people go home early and have long lunches etc which is fine then but I think they may feel it continues like that out in the Conference centre.


Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Beware the example you set!
Hi Antony,

It's interesting to see that your training is a bit 'relaxed'; perhaps as you say the example that this initial training sets is not conducive to the kind of environment and attitude that the regular work requires. Perhaps one thingyou ought to be looking into is to establish why people are leaving; the exit interview is a good technique here, although many companies feel awkward in adopting it and it's often overlooked.

Re-reading your original post, I see that it's more a case of sloppy attitudes to work; extra-long lunches, bad timekeeping and so on. It's important to let new starts know, in a friendly-but-firm way, that there are certain standards to be adhered to, and that they will be expected to conform from day one. I think the training may be a part of the cause, but perhaps there is a more fundamental problem which new-starts are being influenced by - could it be that the company 'ethos' is too friendly, too 'loose'?

I'm intrigued by this one - keep us posted!


Operations Team Leader

Genesys Conferencing

Company Ethos
It is a really friendly company, but some people seem to handle this better and use it to their advantage by networking and moving on to different departments and others just don't seem to be able to take responsibility for themselves and act in a proffessional way they see our leniency as a chance to take the piss basically. We let people decide when to go on their tea/fag breaks and most are responsible and make sure things are covered and they can go at that time others just get up and wander off for 20 mins ( should be 10 ) it is the same with e mail we don't really mind jokes etc but some people blatantly sit there playing stupid games while calls are in the queue.

We used to do exit interviews, but we haven't really had anyone leave recently, most have been promoted internally. Other reasons were that it was obvious this was a temporary job while they tried to get in the career they want, going travelling ( a normal hazard from employing 18 - 21 year olds i feel ), and going off to University. Although saying that we did get a few people walking out during the first month, we had to nickname the toilet the bemuda triangle as they'd go off to the toilet and never be seen again. It was only about two or three of them though and they were the ones we probably were looking at getting rid of any way, excuses were couldn't handle the hours for the 7 am shift mainly even though in the interview they said that would be fine and knew the hours when taking the job.

Customer Service Advisor

NTL Telecommunications

Why were these people late?

Is your location difficult to reach via public transport? Do they have their own transport?

Do they have a young family? Dependent on childcare being prompt?

Do they work shifts which are difficult to adapt to their home circumstances?

How important did they view punctuality?

Are any of these questions which were posed at interview?

I was asked them all at my interview, our call centre being located in a business park not served (at that time) by public transport. These questions indicated to me that good timekeeping would be essential and excuses not viewed favourably.


Gately Consulting

How to increase new hire performance
When new hires fail to perform as expected it is clear indication
that the wrong people are being hired. The secret is to stop hiring
people who will not become successful employees. Many employers
use job matching to identify which qualifiedjob applicants
look like their best employees in each job. The authors of the book
"First break all the rules, what the world's greatest managers do
differently" make a strong case that what separates the best employees
from the rest is a talent for the job, we call it having a good fit
for the job. The process takes about an hour on the Internet or a pc.

Business Development


Employee Attritition and Recruitment
I haven't dropped by in a while but this opportunity was too good to pass up.

Here are some numbers
Avg. US cost for each new employee: $6000
Annual Attrition Cost for a 400 Agent Call Center/30% Annual Attrition=720K

If you are looking for a solution to the recruitment problem, you should consider outsourcing. Outsourcing companies (well SYKES Enterprises anyway) can provide you a full variable cost model program that ensures you will allways have the right number of people in the right seats at the right time of day.

Think of it this way, no more worries about understaffing, no more worries about overstaffing, no resource planning issues. All you do is work with SYKES ( define your SLA's and customer sat expectations. We take care of the rest.

Of all the clients we help (and we help many) they all have problems with attrition and recruitment. Our solution is really peace of mind.

Okay this was a bit of a sales pitch, but if you think about it, a outsource partner can make alot of sense in certain situations.

Happy Thanksgiving eh! (that would be my Canadian side shining through)

Andrew Bates (

Business Development Manager

Drake International

Your Recruitment Process
Hi There All

Well an interesting discussion. I've noticed in the discussion that some view agencies in a negative light. Yet no questions were asked as to what recruitment process was followed by the agency in question before the candidates were hired. So Anthony I beg to ask what process was followed during your recruitment of the 6 people?

As part of a recruitment agency we use a number of tools to identify and explore candidates behaviours, characteristics and skill sets. Some of the tools we use job matching profiles, role identification, psychometric testing which is then linked to behavioural interview questions for clients, assessment centres, roleplays, site tours, then a day of half day induction where rules & regulations are explained to the successful candidates before they enter training.

The benefit of our psychometric testing is that it provides the client with a report that details all characteristics/personality of the candidate. It also highlights areas that may cause concern ways to deal with the individual in a conflict and learning style of the individual plus much much more. One other very useful feature isthe report can provide BDI questions specific to the candidate which can then be used to explore further into the "real" personality. Also as part of the service we offer, we ask for feedback on what they thought of the profile of the candidate and explain step by step what each part of the report means.

I would be very interested in knowing everyone's views on the service, products and processes recruitment agencies provide you, and what you think we could do better.

I am of the belief spend the money to get it right first time

Best Regards

Want to add a comment?

Not found what you were looking for?

1. Try searching through our site.
2. Still not got an answer?

Why not ask the Call Centre Helper Community? Click here to ask your question