Call Center Hiring in a Recession: What You Need to Know

Most economists agree that we are in a recession if there are two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Many are now saying that we are not in a recession yet, but we will probably will be soon. 

It is still “business as usual” in your call center, regardless of the economy. So, you still need to find and hire employees who can keep your business running smoothly and help you meet your growth goals. So, hiring is just as important as it has ever been.

Since the last recession, job applicants and businesses have learned that hiring during a lackluster economy requires a different strategy. These steps you should take to add safeguards to your hiring process that will give your company a competitive advantage if and when you need to cut costs. 

Hiring Tips for Call Centers During an Economic Downturn

Simply hearing talk that a recession is on the horizon is enough to make some business leaders rethink hiring. Here are some tips to help you revise your strategy if you are one of them.

  • Adopt Tools That Streamline Hiring: HR teams typically see more applicants for open roles during a recession. Therefore, they need a leading assessment solution like the eSkill Talent Assessment PlatformTM to use call center skills tests to recruit top candidates. 
  • Perform a Skills Gap Analysis: To run “lean and mean,” you need to assess the talent you already have in your company and list the skills your company will need going forward. Then you can recruit employees who will help you reach your long-term goals. Call center hiring tests enable HR and training teams to identify skills and knowledge gaps on teams, within departments, and organization-wide.
  • Focus on Employee Develop: You should first use your skills gap analysis results to create personalized training programs for each employee. Then use call center skills tests to continually measure progress. This will help you improve retention because top employees are more likely to stay if you invest in their growth. You may also find that the perfect candidate for a job you are trying to fill already works for your company. You will also find employees who are ready for new challenges and others who could be if provided with the right training opportunities.
  • Remote Employee Recruitment: Remote workers are often less expensive than full-time staff, and they can offer valuable expertise. Call center skills tests such as Customer Service Manager, Call Center Operator, and the Inbound/Outbound Call Center Simulation enable you to evaluate job-related abilities. Call center skills test such as Remote Working, Videoconference Communication and Etiquette, and Time Management help you confirm that candidates know how to work efficiently without direct supervision.
  • Contact Passive Candidates: Employees often change jobs during an economic downturn for a salary increase or better job security. If there are senior executives or subject matter experts (SME) that you would love to add to your team who currently work for other companies, this is an excellent time to approach them.
  • Target Employees with Specific Skills: Focus on recruiting promising new talent with specific skills and expertise critical to your future growth. As a case in point, software engineers Apple aggressively recruited following the downturn following 9/11 developed and released the first iPod and iPhone models

Hiring During a Recession

During a recession, your first thought might be to stop hiring altogether. However, history has shown that organizations benefit when they make selective cutbacks and concentrate on recruiting core competencies. This is because they can draw from a larger talent pool and find candidates who might otherwise have been unavailable.

The Harvard Business Review reviewed how 4,700 companies conducted business during the past three recessions. The results showed the companies that thrived succeeded by focusing on long-term strategic goals, retaining employees in critical positions, and acquiring new employees key to future growth. Many were available due to layoffs, company closures, or because they wanted to change jobs. For example, in the late 1940s, Hewlett-Packard was able to hire top engineers because US military labs closed. Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, and Airbnb are three companies that ramped up hiring during recent recessions and were stronger in the long run. 

Implement a Call Center Hiring Strategy

You must build resiliency into your workforce when implementing a call center hiring strategy during a recession. Start by deciding where you want your company to be positioned and what you want it to look like one year or five years from now when the economy recovers. This will guide your hiring process and help leverage all possible advantages.

Want to learn how call center skills tests can help you withstand a recession and keep your business growth on track? Contact us to request a demo.

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