Identifying Good Customer Service Candidates

Today’s post is a guest writer post written by Darlene McDaniel, who for a lack of a better term, is an interviewing and hiring guru. She knows her stuff when it comes to interviewing, hiring, and training new and potential employees. I asked her to write a guest post for Service Untitled and this is what she came up with – a very interesting and informative read.

Most prospective candidates walk into an interview and hope the hiring manager likes them. While most Managers go into an interview hoping this next prospective candidate will be the right person for the job. When you are looking for new employees, most of the time it is critical that you find the person quickly, because there is a gap in your organization and you need someone to fill it. As a result many managers make quick decisions and rather than ask one more question, they make a decision and many times, unfortunately it is the wrong decision. It is very important that as the hiring manager you ask enough of the right questions to ensure that you are hiring the best candidate for the job. Interviewing prospective employees is never a guarantee.

Here are a few ideas that will help you interview prospective Customer Service Representatives and find the right employees for your organization:

1. As the hiring manager you must have an excellent understanding of your organizational climate. What type of organization do you work for? Who has been successful and who has not been successful in that climate. Some organizations are very open to creativity and a free exchange of ideas. While other organizations are not interested in what you, as an employee think should be changed. Look for candidates who will flow in the “current” of your organization. It will eliminate placing “square pegs in round holes.” If the person you are interviewing is use to working in an environment that allows creative problem solving, but your organization has very clear boundaries, rules and regulations that must be followed, it would be a mistake to bring them into the organization, no matter how well they say they can adjust to your rules. Unless the organization is moving towards creative problem solving it would be a bad fit.

2. Identify Customer Service Representative in your organization who display the skills and abilities you are looking for in your organization. Identify what makes them successful and develop a profile of the type of employee you are looking for based on someone who meets or exceeds your expectations. Match prospective employees with the profile. Know which skills and abilities in the profile are absolutes and which ones are negotiable. Which skills can be taught and which can’t be taught. Clearly articulate the skills and abilities you are looking for in the published job description and ensure that each of your prospective candidates has at a minimum 80% of those qualities. Two qualities that you should see in prospective CSR candidates is excellent problem-solving and an innate desire to help people. If finding solutions is not enjoyable to the prospective candidates, they may not be the right person for the job.

3. Create behavior-based questions that will be part of the screening process throughout the entire interview process. There should be key indicators that you are listening for during the actual interview. Based on your research, you should know when a prospective candidate is credible and when they are making it up as they go. Listen for inconsistencies during the interview. Look for inconsistencies on the resume/cover letter they provided.

4. Along with skills and abilities, personality does matter when hiring Customer Service Representatives. According to Robert Cialdini, “People do business with people they like.” If your Customer Service Representatives are not pleasant, patient and knowledgeable, they will only hurt your business. It cost more money to find a new customer, than it does to retain a customer. Personality is not something you can teach someone in a new hire training class. The people you hire should bring that to the table when they come into your organization.

Writer Bio:
Darlene S. McDaniel, Motivational Speaker, Facilitator and Coach has 8 years as a hiring manager for various large organization. She has hired 100’s of Customer Service Representatives working for organizations such has American Express and AT&T. She has written a workshop called Tough Questions? Great Answers! This workshop will give prospective candidates tangible keys for unlocking the mystery behind job interviews! She is an expert on both how to interview people effectively and teaching people to sharpen their skills so that “on a short list they get the first shot at the job!” For more information or to contact her send an e-mail to: info.toughquestions [at] yahoo [dot] com.

6 Responses to “Identifying Good Customer Service Candidates”

  1. Meikah said:

    Nov 07, 06 at 1:37 am

    Very good tips you got here. It got me thinking: it’s true, good customer service starts with the process of hiring right CSRs or people who will be in the frontline of every transaction.

  2. Darlene McDaniel said:

    Nov 09, 06 at 1:27 pm

    The hiring process is critical. If we can invest the time upfront to ensure that we hire the right people, every organization will see the benefit in their bottom line.

    If you have the wrong people touching your customers, you will also see it reflected in your bottom line. It is unfortunate that we are so busy, sometimes to busy to ask the right questions to ensure that we are getting the right people. Many times, the need to have a “warm body” outweighs the investment and time it takes to find the right people.

    Behavior based questions and group interviews will help in this process. Teaching hiring managers to how to interview will help in this process. Having a clear picture (or profile) of the of people you are looking for will ensure that you have more success.

  3. Adonna Haskins said:

    Nov 10, 06 at 10:40 am

    What a great outlook on the hiring and interview process. This article really gives you something to think about not only the hiring manager but also the candidate. A candidate should research a company and ask the same questions of the company. Thanks for the Article and insight!

  4. Service Untitled » Rapid Growth: Recruiting, Hiring, and Training - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Nov 29, 06 at 4:25 pm

    […] Guest Writer: Identifying Good Customer Service Candidates […]

  5. Gratitude Marathon - Come Join Me said:

    Nov 23, 07 at 1:53 pm

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