Are You Still Sourcing Call Center Reps and CSRs Yourself?

Recruiting dozens of call center and customer service representatives (CSRs) is time consuming.

It’s also wasteful: what could your recruiters be doing if they weren’t constantly sourcing, interviewing and hiring for these positions?

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  • Could they be working to build a talent pipeline in other areas of your business so that they won’t be scrambling for candidates when openings occur?
  • Could they be sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, and vetting candidates for higher-level positions so that your company has a better chance of hiring these positions right the first time, thus cutting down considerably the chance that poor hires take place in these more important positions?
  • Could they be working more closely with hiring managers in creating job descriptions, screening applicants and vetting them, thus seeing to it that hiring managers only spend their time on interviewing top candidates?

Or are they instead constantly sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, and vetting dozens upon dozens of call center reps and CSRs…and then repeating it all again and again? (Call center reps, on the whole, tend to have low retention rates, with a turnover rate of between 25-35 percent.)

And that doesn’t even take into account additional costs of high turnover: training, benefits, salaries, etc. With high attrition, up to a quarter of your annual staff expenses can disappear.

Outsourcing your call center rep and CSR hiring improves recruiting effectiveness

Here’s how:

Many company recruiting/HR departments are short-staffed with team members stretched much too thin, resulting in difficulty in finding qualified candidates as well as improving their department’s overall recruiting function and processes.

Unfortunately, when HR/recruiters get backed up, it’s very difficult to get caught up with hiring.

Outsourcing CSR and call center rep recruiting means a company can take advantage of a staffing firm’s ability to reach more candidates (recruiting companies are constantly sourcing candidates), find passive candidates and overall find more qualified candidates more quickly.

Engaging a recruiting company to recruit call center reps and CSRs simply is a much more efficient – and effective – use of recruiting budgets.

CSR/call center rep turnover also can be reduced

CSR/call center rep turnover isn’t so much about a recruiting professional’s abilities but more with the actual recruitment function. The recruiting process performed by a staffing firm is one that’s been honed over the years by its dedicated, experienced, savvy recruiters.

Your business thus will enjoy better quality candidates.

Small companies can gain a competitive advantage

Using a staffing company with considerable experience recruiting call center reps and CSRs means a small or mid-sized business can efficiently and quickly work to build its own key staff. The company will be able to focus its limited resources where it truly counts: sourcing, recruiting and hiring people for higher-level positions.

Leave a good deal of the onboarding to the recruiting firm

Allowing your staffing partner to provide an overview of your company’s call center/customer service policies and procedures as well as your company culture can cut back considerably on your call center/CSR managers need to do so.

In short, integrate your sourcing, recruiting, hiring, and some on-boarding activities, and you’ll be opening both brain power and time for your own HR and recruiting pros to focus on recruiting higher-level positions, creating policies and benefits packages, handling employee concerns and issues, working on building employee engagement throughout your entire company, and more.

Employee turnover and productivity often are the first areas of a company to suffer when recruiting and onboarding is stressed. Even the Society of Human Resources Management has said that onboarding is key to retaining and engaging talent.

Helpmates has exceptional experience sourcing, hiring, onboarding, and training CSRs

This isn’t bragging: this is fact.  Just last year at the beginning of California’s stay-at-home orders, we helped two of our clients transition 60 call center specialists between them to remote work.

And we did it in just three days (over a long weekend).

In fact, so successful were we that our clients told us that none of their own customers suspected that the representative with whom they interacted the first week of lockdown wasn’t working at the clients’ locations.

We’ve been in the business of staffing customer service needs for more than 40 years. We understand completely what it takes to be an exceptional CSR or call center rep and we have both a deep and wide talent pool of terrific individuals looking for this kind of work.

Contact Helpmates for more information on how we can perform recruit CSR and call center representatives for you.

Tips for Hiring Great Temporary Specialists in SoCal

Your Los Angeles or Orange County company may need more workers as your business starts growing again as the economy continues to improve.

Yet you probably don’t really know how fast you’ll grow, in what areas you’ll grow and if you’ll be able to sustain that growth over a year or more.

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Bringing on temporary specialists could be the answer.

Bringing temporary specialists in for one or a few days, or even for several weeks if not months, can help you grow your workforce as needed in the next few months…and then cut back if necessary .

Yet hiring great temporary specialists isn’t as cut and dried as simply calling up or emailing your go-to workforce management partner and discussing your current needs.

Many folks who work for staffing companies register with several staffing companies.

This is normal. After all, a specialist’s favorite recruiting firm may not have an opening for the specialist when he or she comes off from one assignment and needs another. It’s therefore savvy for folks to register with more than one staffing company.

Which means you may be competing for their services.

That’s right: many temporary specialists are extremely sought after by the staffing firms with which they’re registered. They have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. Or they may have highly sought-after skills AND have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy. They also may have multiple offers for assignments with possibly higher hourly wages.

Our point? Our clients have found that they, too, need to stay sharp and on top of their game when it comes to hiring the best temporary specialists for their assignments!

How to beat your competition and hire the best-of-the-best.

  • Make your hiring decision quickly.

Working with a staffing agency means that their candidates are pre-screened. You know they have been vetted and pre-qualified.

When interviewing specialists sent by your staffing partner, move quickly. Have just one or no more than two people interview them. Use a qualified fit assessment to make sure they have the skills for the work and will fit in. (Consider giving this assessment tool to your staffing partner so that they can do so when they interview the specialists.)

Aim to let your staffing partner know as soon as possible whether or not you want the candidates: end of day, or the next day is best, yet no more than three days.

  • At the interview.

Be extremely clear regarding duties and expectations. Explain them again, if necessary. Make it clear that you’re happy to answer any and all questions.

If there’s a chance the assignment might lead to the specialist being hired on to your payroll, do say so, but don’t give false hope. If there’s a 50/50 chance, say so. The same goes for if there’s only a 10 percent chance. Bottom line: don’t provide false hope. It’s better to surprise someone with good news – you want to hire them – then it is to set their expectations too high.

If the assignment end date is unclear at the time of the interview, let the candidate know so. Be as honest as possible: if the assignment definitely won’t be extended, say so.

If you often provide letters of recommendation for temporary specialists, let the candidate know. The candidate isn’t your employee, of course, but letting the candidate know that you do write letters for exceptional work is a definite selling point for your position.

  • When the specialist is working on assignment.

Treat the specialist as much as possible as a regular employee. Many specialists tell us they often feel like second-class citizens and will leave an assignment before its official end if they are offered one (via another staffing firm).

Onboard the contractors as you would a regular employee (minus the employee benefits conversation, of course). Touch base with them often and provide them kudos regularly (and be sure to let the staffing firm know, as well).

Include them in small team gatherings, such as Friday pizza parties (when your employees work in person together again), and so on.

Many of our clients are starting to bring on more temporary specialists.

We have many terrific specialists in our ATS but the best ones are taken quickly. Reach out to the Helpmates branch nearest you and let us know all about your workforce needs as the economy improves.

Avoid These Recruiting Marketing Mistakes

Does your company start hiring someone only as soon as you have a need? That is, do you whip up a job posting only when a hiring manager requests a replacement or needs to fill a new position?

If so, do you find yourself scrambling to source and recruit great talent? Probably, right? And that’s certainly an unpleasant place to be, always feeling pressure to hire quickly.

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But what if your company made a habit of creating a talent pipeline? What if you always looked for people with certain skills for certain positions? And what if you created relationships with these folks so that when you do have a need, they’re eager to apply?

How would that change the caliber of your hire? Pretty darn well, actually.

Hiring “just in time” is just one recruiting mistakes you might be making. Here are three more.

  1. Not following up after a virtual recruiting event.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a lot of recruiting’s tasks are performed online, including recruiting events and career fairs. And even though a lot more people are out of work this year than the beginning of March last year, it’s pretty much up to you, the recruiter, to follow up with candidates.

Remembering the talent pipeline warning above, it’s smart to reach out to candidates as soon as the event is over, especially those who appear the most promising. Keeping prospective candidates engaged means you have a much better chance of hiring the best talent when you need them.

What kind of “reaching out” should you/could you perform? Why not use an automated tool to ask candidates what they thought of the event and/or your company? Text or email them to tell them about next steps (if you have immediate hiring needs). Keep in touch with everyone you met with a newsletter. (This is terrific for pipeline building, as mentioned above.) And so on.

  1. Not hiring quickly when there IS an opening.

Too many companies make the hiring process far too long. Weeks, even months long. Hiring a mid-level person should take no more than four-six weeks, tops, from the time the job is posted to when an offer is made.

So no more posting a job when it’s “under consideration.” Post it only when the hiring manager is actually ready to hire. Posting when they’re just “thinking about it,” or you and they want to fill the pipeline in this way isn’t smart: you’ll alienate candidates who wait to even hear from someone about an interview, let alone making them angry if they find out there’s no actual need right now.

Instead, work to shorten the gap between when you start accepting applications and when you make someone an offer.

  1. Not using visual content in your messaging.

As you send emails, don’t be shy about using video. Video is a great eye catcher and one of the most engaging types of content.

As you keep in touch people who have expressed interest in working at your company (whether you meet them via a networking/hiring event or they’re not hired for a job to which they applied, etc.), you should be emailing them regularly with information about your company and careers within it.

What types of videos? Videotape current employees about what they like most about working at the company. Create a “day in the life” video of people who work in certain roles. Put together an interactive quiz filled with “did you know?” facts about the company.

Partner with Helpmates for an always available talent pipeline

Helpmates continuously recruits for our clients’ changing needs. That means we always have a healthy pipeline filled with people looking for work. Contact the branch nearest you for more information for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire staffing needs.

Manager, Heal Thyself of Unconscious Bias

We all exhibit unconscious bias whenever we interact with others. In fact, psychologists have catalogued many different types of cognitive biases that filter our perception of the environment.

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But, once we are aware of these biases, we can be alert for them and recognize when we are falling victim to them. Managers need to keep them in mind when dealing with their workers to make sure the managers are dealing fairly and consistently with everyone under them. If you are a manager, here are a few biases to watch out for.

  1. Bias in delegating

Do you unconsciously favor some people over others when you delegate work? Do you tend to give the same workers more challenging and interesting work, while assigning more mundane tasks to others? Also, sometimes managers, without realizing it, give more complete and detailed instructions to certain workers, while imparting scant information to other employees, making their task that much harder.

  1. Bias in feedback

Managers may also unknowingly soft-pedal feedback for some workers, delivering it in a more casual, friendly manner, while taking a more authoritarian and judgmental approach with others.

  1. Bias in assumptions

Managers may also not be aware of unconscious bias they have toward people based on their background, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or education.

Other factors affecting a manager’s judgment unconsciously can be a person’s appearance, mannerisms, and speech, such as a particular dialect. These stereotypes can color a manager’s beliefs about a certain employee’s ability. If you’re manager, you need to think about your behavior toward employees, bring your assumptions out in the open, and examine them.

Also, we tend to give more credence to information that confirms beliefs or assumptions we already hold, neglecting data that may contradict our beliefs.

  1. Bias in recognition

A manager may consistently recognize or praise certain workers and withhold it from others for reasons the manager is not really aware of. Again, unconscious bias may be at work influencing how the manager reacts to some employees.

  1. Bias in hiring

Managers unconsciously tend to favor people who are like them. It’s something everyone does. We feel people who look like, have the same backgrounds, etc. us are somehow better. This is a bias hiring managers need to keep in mind when doing job interviews. They need to figure out how to counteract it. This kind of bias can hinder a company’s efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, leading to employees who generally all think the same way.

  1. Bias in socializing

Again, because we have an unconscious bias toward people like ourselves, we might tend to socialize more with people like us. Managers may be chatting and bantering more with some workers than others because of this bias. This could make some of your team members feel left out or unappreciated.

  1. Bias in mentors

The bias toward people like us can also manifest itself in the choice of people managers look to for advice and counsel. As a manager, ask yourself if you tend to go to the same people for advice simply because you feel more comfortable with them, depriving yourself of different viewpoints and perspectives.

The tendencies listed above are biases related to other people, but we also have many biases about how we perceive the world around us and the information we receive. For example, when examining an issue or problem, we tend to reduce it to general terms and avoid details and specifics. When we make decisions, we gravitate more toward simple solutions rather than more complex ones. We also tend to see patterns even when there is not enough information to clearly establish one. We tend to pay more attention to events that occur more often, even though they may not be any more important than other events.

Helpmates is here to help Southern California’s employers find terrific workers for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on how we can help you find great people to help your business thrive.

Helpmates’ Proven Performers Prepared for Work in Our New Normal

We have oriented and prepared our top specialists in Covid-19 work safety best practices and they are ready to deploy quickly.

Whether you’re an essential business and still operating during our current safe-at-home reality or you’re hoping to reopen your business as you anticipate a relaxing of social distancing guidelines in the next few weeks, Helpmates has the proven workers ready for assignment, whether you need them to work on-site or remotely.

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We’ve been staffing companies throughout Southern California for more than 45 years providing workers businesses need now and in the future. We have oriented our top specialists in Covid-19 best practices and they are ready to work safely and securely in any type of business situation, whether it’s in an office, a distribution center, warehouse, manufacturing facility, or even remotely.

These are some of our exceptional employees, people who have received consistent top marks from their previous assignments and they are eager and ready to be deployed to companies in the industry segments in which we place workers:

  • Office/Administration
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution/Logistics
  • And more.

We visit each of our industrial clients before sending our associates to work on-site and we provide Covid-19 safety support to our office-location clients.

Our clients have told us that our safety oversight visits protect not only our specialists, but also helps our clients improve their pandemic safety practices for their own employees.

In addition, while all of our Helpmates specialists already have received Covid-19 safety orientation, they will do so again right before they head to an assignment with you. We also ensure our specialists receive orientation in your company’s individual safety parameters and/or procedures before they head out for their assignment with you.

We maintain close contact with our specialists while on their assignments with you and make sure they stay up-to-date with new safety recommendations or guidelines as they change. For example, Los Angeles County’s recent mandate that everyone wear cloth face masks when in public, while Orange County in mid-April required that all workers in essential businesses such as grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and places where food prep is done wear face masks. (This may have changed since this post was written.)

Here for you as you reopen

California will slowly start re-opening its economy in the next few weeks. Helpmates is prepared to help businesses reopen carefully as we have started orienting all of our new associates in Covid-19 safety guideline so that they are well-prepared for deployment.

Learn more about how Helpmates can help you and your workers stay safe now and in the months to come by calling Rosalie Villa at 949-225-5016 or via email at rvilla@helpmates.com.

How to Lead by Example

Good leaders, it is said, never ask their subordinates to do anything that the leader would not do. This is what leading by example means – showing your people how to get things done rather than just telling them. It is the kind of leadership that gains the trust and respect of employees, when they see their bosses walk the talk.

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It’s more powerful than any motivational speech or business master plan. Here are some tried and true leadership routines that also embody the practice of leading by example.

  1. Modeling what you want to see

If you as a leader expect your employees to do things a certain way, to practice certain behaviors or performance standards, you need to model those behaviors yourself. This is true not just for significant kinds of work projects but for little things as well. You need to model the core values of the company.

For example, if punctuality is important, make sure you get to work on time or arrive at meetings promptly. If you want a company that values openness and communication, you need to take the time to initiate conversations with employees.

  1. Communicate

How well do you communicate with your employees? Everyone may believe that they do, but on closer examination, you may find that when deadlines loom or other pressures mount, communication lags. As a leader, you need to make sure you are talking to your managers about business developments and decisions and make sure they are talking to each other as well.

Take the time to keep each other abreast of the latest activities, even if just a quick word or two.

  1. Acknowledge imperfection and fallibility

Many leaders believe they always need to show competence and decisiveness. But this can be counterproductive. Leading by example means that if you make a mistake, you acknowledge it and correct it. It shows employees that it’s OK to sometimes make mistakes. You want people to take risks to make improvement, but taking risks means increasing the possibility for mistakes.

Being honest like this also encourages communication among employees because they feel they can talk about their uncertainty or seek advice.

  1. Let your team members know your goals

Every company has performance and productivity goals for employees. This goes for leaders to. Leading by example means sharing your goals, letting employees know that you are holding yourself to the same standards of accountability that you expect of them.

  1. Setting priorities

If you want to show employees that what matters is not just getting things done, but doing the stuff that really makes a difference to the company, you need to set priorities for yourself, share them, and emphasize the importance of doing so for everyone.

  1. Explain your decisions

If you value transparency, you need to show it. That means taking the time to explain why things work as they do, why certain decisions were made. This helps employees understand the reasoning behind the actions of company leadership and will help workers to do their own jobs better. It also boosts employee morale.

  1. Help your employees

Let your team members know that you are there to help them if they need it. Talk with workers, and ask them if there is anything you can do to help out. This is a powerful example of teamwork and collaboration, of working cooperatively rather than competitively.

  1. Keep your cool

There are times when things will go wrong or become hectic. This is the time when you as a leader especially need to stay calm, taking a deliberate, measured and businesslike approach in tackling whatever problem has come up. This too will set a powerful example for employees in times of stress.

If one of the things causing you stress is a shortage of workers for crunch times at your business, call upon the recruiters at Helpmates. Contact the branch nearest you and let us know you staffing needs.

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