North American Customer Service Management Association

Support for Contact Center Professionals

Phase 3 Strategy - Step 2 Agent Recruiting and Sourcing


Continuously attracting qualified candidates is the single most significant recruiting challenge in contact centers today.

This is what makes site selection so critical. Many hiring managers find themselves with a limited labor pool due to their location. This can be compounded by considerable competition; too many contact centers in the same area as well as possibly being in the same industry like insurance or mortgages. Without a steady pipeline of candidates, the contact center suffers with symptoms such as long hold times, longer handle times, higher abandonment, which results in poor customer satisfaction. Choosing a site location that has the right demographics and the depth and breadth of candidates is critical to long-term success.
Time to Hire is Slow

In a competitive marketplace, contact center candidates are available for an average of 10-15 days.

The recruiting process can take 7-14 days to completethe initial resume review and scheduling of an interview, then another 7-21 days to complete background checks and prepare offers. No wonder candidates have already taken other positions! While the recruiting process has come a long way with automating the steps, still more automation is required to speed up the process. For example, automating resume screening, pre-employment screening, applicant communication, background checks, and processing tax credit eligibility can reduce the time to hire. Tweaking these processes to shave time off the entire process can make the difference in landing top performers.

Glassdoor, Facebook and other social media channels are where people vent about employers.

Are these comments hurting your recruiting efforts? Are these comments true? While the disgruntled employee will sound off unfairly, you should be honest and look at how many of those comments are true and what is your company doing about them? When candidates see one or two, they are likely to think that’s just a disgruntled person, but when they see too many negative comments to count, that raises concerns. Being prepared in an interview to answer candidates concerns about negative comments is just as critical as selling the candidate on the differentiators of your company. Clean up social media with positive comments.
Top Performers Had to Start Somewhere

Is the bar set too high?

Are recruiters complaining they can’t find quality candidates? Some recruiters tend to weed out potential top performers due to lack of or no experience. It’s not always about a person’s past work experience or what they haven’t done. It’s about what they CAN DO!
Pre-employment assessments can provide the recruiter with candidates that fit the personality traits of your top performers. You can always assess skill level and intelligence, but what about traits? Are you looking for a patient person? It’s easy to teach skills like using the computer system, how to answer the phone, conflict resolution and other tangible skills of the job, however, what can’t be taught is just the right amount of assertiveness or conscientiousness agents need on a call, or the right amount of energy. Too little energy or slow pace yields low production, inefficiency and a tendency to get tired easily. How does that show up on a resume? It doesn’t, therefore pre-employment screenings that evaluate intangible traits can help identify future top performers.
By broadening the definition of qualified candidates and focusing on what candidates’ capabilities and motivations are will provide you with a larger pool of qualified candidates.
Pawns or Partners?

The job posting is one of the single best pieces of advertising for attracting applicants.

The job posting should express why your contact center is the place to work. Write the posting from a “we” perspective. What can “we” do together as partners versus what “you” can do for us. The latter sounds like applicants are just pawns. This one subtle change in pronoun can change the way applicants perceive your job, your contact center, and your company. Top candidates want to know that their skills, knowledge and presence are valued. Show how you value them in your job posting.


1. Speed; everyone wants to get an interview fast, get hired fast, be offered a position fast, start their new job fast. Engaging candidates with communication and shortening the recruiting process will keep top potential candidates in the game so you can hire them.
2. Manage the exit interviews to better manage the social media conversations. A bad post can sabotage your recruiting efforts.

Take the Next Step!

There are many articles written with tips and tricks for hiring contact center agents. Hiring the wrong agents shows up in the form of reduced customer satisfaction, resulting in higher customer abandonment; and/or reduced customer acquisition, resulting in lower than expected revenue recognition. Sourcing thus proves to be a significant driver of business results.

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The North American Customer Service Management Association (NACSMA) assists Service Center professionals with improving the delivery of Customer Care to their clients by providing a collaborative networking approach to operational issues.