The Case for Employment Testing in the Contact Center

According to a survey released in April by Philadelphia-based career-consulting firm Right Management, replacing a bad hire can cost as much as five times the employee’s salary. Yet many hiring managers have neither the training nor the time to adequately interview job applicants. As a result, bad hires are made, followed by high turnover and escalating costs for the company involved. That can cripple any business. But employment testing can improve your bottom line.

Customer service representatives require a range of skills, depending in part on whether they’re handling inbound or outbound calls. Both types of calls require an excellent learning ability, as well as strong communication, problem-solving, and numerical skills. For inbound call centers, characteristics such as service orientation and the ability to work well with others are critical as well. Outbound call centers, for their part, demand persuasiveness, empathy, resilience, and a drive for achievement.

Preemployment assessment testing can help accurately establish the true value of job candidates. Assessment tests provide an in-depth view of a candidate, uncovering characteristics not easily seen during other hiring processes.

For example, an employer may want to hire a candidate who not only has strong logic and math skills but who also works well under pressure ¾ qualities difficult to detect during a job interview, when a candidate is more likely to exaggerate his abilities.

Neutral, third-party assessments help identify candidates who possess the skills and attitudes that are vital to success while quickly eliminating those who are unqualified.

Assessments for CSR positions typically focus on several fundamental abilities and work attitudes. These include:

  • getting along with others
  • perceptual ability
  • language skills
  • problem solving
  • following written directions
  • visual speed and accuracy.

Companies need to make a conscious, informed decision about how they plan to run the hiring process. Do you want to take the time to actively look for great employees, or do they prefer to fill the position ASAP–and more often than not find yourself replacing subpar workers? Preemployment screening in the long term provides a better return on investment and a more solid foundation for the operation as a whole by keeping those nightmare applicants out of your organization.

Doug Walner is president of Burbank, CA-based Psychological Services, a preemployment selection, evaluation, and placement services provider.

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