Use interviews to create a better candidate experience

How To Make Your Interview Process Candidate-Centric

Your contact center’s HR and recruitment teams are constantly flipping through resumes to interview new candidates and fill open seats with qualified agents. Abysmal retention rates and a competitive labor market makes hiring new agents a daunting process.

As you battle mounting turnover rates, consider your strategy for hiring. Are you hiring to find a good fit or to fill a seat? You can have good human beings in roles they’re just not suited for, and when it’s time to scale up, they’ll head out. Instead, create a service-oriented approach to your interview process to find – and keep – agents that will grow with your organization.

You should already be using a service-oriented strategy with your current agents to increase their job satisfaction. Use that as your foundation of your hiring process. Center interviews around the people you’re talking to and they’ll be more excited about the idea of working with you – and your customers.

How Does Your Current Process Work?

To get an idea of how your current interview process is working, there are a few things you can do. First, take some time to ask how the interview process was for your new hires. Use a survey similar to your customer satisfaction survey, but word it to match your hiring needs.

Look for questions like, “How would you rate the quality of customer service you received throughout your hiring process?” or “How could we have improved your candidate experience?” You can send surveys to new agents or even take time during orientation to pick their brains. Who better to learn from (and compare how you’re tracking against competitors) than your new teammates who’ve recently gone through the interview process.

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The second thing you should do is send out interview surveys to candidates, whether or not you hire them. Ask, “How would you rate your interview with (insert name)?” and provide a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being Very Satisfied. Receiving feedback shortly after the interview is a good way to keep candidates engaged and gather information while it’s still fresh. This also allows you to pinpoint where your problem areas may be in your process.

The last suggestion I have is to keep an eye on your Glassdoor and Indeed pages. Set up alerts so you know when someone leaves a review or provides feedback on your interview process.

Once you have some feedback from candidates it’s time to take action.

Make Your Interview Process More Effective

The interview process should be informative for both the candidate and the employer. A bad hire is expensive for your company and can lead to negativity in the workplace. Don’t make the interview process complex or difficult. The best interview will feel like a conversation with a new friend. This decreases the stress that comes with interviewing and allows everyone to be more open.

Interview Basics

Many companies still use a formal process that includes a long list of difficult questions for the candidate. Then, if there’s time, the candidate can, get a few questions in before you part ways.

This process drains the interviewer energy and does not fully engage the candidate. If your interviewer isn’t engaged in the conversation, you can bet your candidates will feel it. This means the best candidates may be turned off by your company’s (lack of) energy and the cumbersome process you’ve created.

An easy fix for this is getting rid of the strict formality of the process. Instead, turn your interviews into conversations. Have guiding points so you know what you’re looking for, but don’t be a stickler for every question. Candidates should feel comfortable asking questions through the interview rather than waiting until the end. If you need to hit specific technical points during the interview, that’s fine. I’m a fan of breaking up the conversation and saying to the candidate, “We do have some specific questions I need to get answers to about the technical aspects of the role.” Once you’ve completed that, veer away from the formality and end on a more conversational note.

Interview Length

The lengthy interview process does not bode well in a tight labor market. With the unemployment rate still below 4 percent, a three or four-week process means you’re losing out on the top agents. The best candidates won’t wait around for your process, no matter how awesome you think your company is.

Instead, complete the initial phone screen, first. Then, bring the candidate on-site to meet with all members of your team in one day. Candidates will appreciate one longer interview rather than having to take off work many times to visit your contact center.

Conclusion

Making your interview process more candidate-centric will attract better talent. A service-oriented approach to hiring sets an early precedence for the type of customer service you expect your agents to provide for your customers. Keep an eye out for more information on how to use a customer service mentality to improve your agent experience.

For more on the importance of CSAT surveys, check out Veronica’s post on measuring customer satisfaction!