Staffing shortages can put pressure on already-stretched resources, but rushing to recruit can be counterproductive. You can overcome this if you:
- Treat Recruitment Like the Priority It Really Is
- Stop Putting It Off Until It’s Urgent
- Be Clear on What You Want to Achieve
Michelle Ansell at Douglas Jackson explains how to make the best use of the time you have – even when recruiting under pressure.
How to Maintain Quality Recruitment Under Pressure
Here are six great ways to maintain quality recruitment:
1. Treat Recruitment Like the Priority It Really Is
When you’re snowed under, it’s easy to bump the recruitment process off the list, or give it less time than it really needs – but it is and should be treated as a priority.
Stop and think for a moment. Is there anything else in the contact centre that you would treat in such an offhand way? If it was a technology project, or a presentation in front of the board of directors, you’d make the time, right?
Recruitment should be no different, and this is where a mindset shift can help get you off to the best possible start.
Making the time to do recruitment properly and giving it the time it needs to get it right first time makes for a more efficient, positive, and productive experience all round. It’s a win-win.
Having a good recruitment plan is a great starting point, and if you’re looking to find out more, read our article: How to Write a Successful Recruitment Strategy
2. Stop Putting It Off Until It’s Urgent
A time-wasting mistake some leaders also make is to put off thinking or talking about recruitment until there’s an urgent need.
Start planning ahead – instead of always being reactive and hoping for the best!
This instantly puts any recruitment project on the back foot, as when the contact centre suddenly is hiring again, those trying to lead the project quickly find that schedules are busy, and they haven’t got any time ring-fenced to do it properly…
Then it becomes a very rushed, stressful process where “everything needs to happen yesterday” and bad hires risk being made that cost the contact centre in the long run.
If this sounds painfully familiar, think about how often you engage with recruiters, where situations might be coming up where you need more people, and where you might be able to kick-start the process that bit earlier to take some of the pressure off.
In short, start planning ahead – instead of always being reactive and hoping for the best!
Top Tip – Don’t forget about your procurement list! Just getting your chosen recruiter on your procurement list can take a week (or even 6 weeks) before they can even start work on the project, so get this taken care of before you need their support.
3. Be Clear on What You Want to Achieve
Before starting the recruitment process, have the end goal in mind and ask yourself:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- What do I want to happen?
- What do I need to help that happen?
- Who do I need to bring in to help that happen?
Just like any other significant programme of investment across the contact centre, it helps to have clear goals in mind from the outset.
Recruitment is important, and if you want to discover more about what you should ask yourself, read our article: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Recruitment
4. Talk to Your Planning Team
The contact centre industry hosts some of the best planners and forecasters in the world, so make use of this insight to drive your recruitment strategy for the months ahead.
Whilst you can’t plan for an unexpected mass exodus of staff (for example), you can talk to the planning team about the headcount they’ll need to meet or improve service levels, and where current rates of attrition might also impact this.
5. Look at What Skills You’ll Need in Future
One way to maintain quality recruitment under pressure is to think about the future – not just the here and now. If you focus too much on what you’ve got and are only replacing the people you’re losing ‘like for like’, you may fail to future-proof your contact centre.
So, instead of looking at the skills and experience of people that you have hired in the past, think about who you might need in the near future.
This can make a big different to what you put in your job spec and can help to save time too!
If you focus too much on what you’ve got and are only replacing the people you’re losing ‘like for like’, you may fail to future-proof your contact centre.
After all, one of the biggest reasons contact centres hire the wrong person for the role (and have to rehire) is that they mis-sell the role and hire someone based on what they see today.
This person then often can’t deliver what’s needed beyond the next 12 months and will quickly look for a new role.
Top Tip – Don’t just dig out an old job description, add a few more bits, and go to market! Stop and think about what you’re really looking for and start your job description from scratch if you must.
6. Prepare for Every Interview
It sounds obvious, but more and more I’m hearing of time-poor hiring managers going to interviews underprepared and ultimately wasting everyone’s time – with candidate feedback ranging from “I don’t think they even read my CV” to “they weren’t even listening to the answers”.
What’s the point of getting someone in to interview if you aren’t going to give them the attention they deserve?
For the best possible outcome (and the best use of everyone’s time), hiring managers should be making time to prepare for those interviews and really understand what they are looking to ask.
In the interviews, they should also try to be more present, listen to the responses, and wait until they’ve seen and spoken to everybody to come to decisions about who to hire.
Looking for inspiration on what to ask in an interview, read our article: Top 50 Customer Service Interview Questions – with Answers
With thanks to Michelle Ansell, Managing Partner and Executive Search Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson
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