Labor Market Trends Impacting Customer Service Hiring 

In today’s tumultuous labor market, where some industries are slowing down, customer service hiring is still challenging across financial services, utilities, hospitality and retail. Organizations in these sectors often find themselves competing on customer experience, which is being impacted by the lack of staff.  

A consumer survey from PwC shows that the four most important factors for an exceptional customer experience are speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service. The key to excelling in these factors is happy, engaged employees. Organizations with highly engaged workforces are 21% more productive, outperform competitors by 147% and have customer loyalty rates 233% higher than companies without engaged employees. 

How can companies achieve this kind of success when they are struggling to fill their customer-facing vacancies? Talent acquisition leaders are getting creative to recruit and retain customer service and call center talent. Here are three trends in how companies are adjusting their approach to hiring and engaging a customer-focused workforce.  

Trend 1: Hiring for Potential 

As customer expectations have changed, so have the skills needed for top customer service talent. We recently conducted a poll in which talent leaders indicated that soft skills related to emotional intelligence are highly sought after. 

The most desired skills for customer service recruiting are communication, empathy and relationship building.

We’ve worked with several of our clients to implement a culture-centric approach for attracting talent. Instead of assessing candidates based on previous work experience, we advise evaluating based on whether they possess the right skills, values and behaviors to be successful in the role. We’re reimagining interviews and assessments to be more focused on soft skills and purpose as we help talent leaders and hiring managers embrace candidates coming from outside of their industry.  

Trend 2: Expanding Talent Pools  

With job openings outnumbering job seekers, organizations across sectors find themselves getting creative as they try to expand their talent pool. For some, this means looking into new talent audiences, like underrepresented group or military veterans, and putting programs in place such as apprenticeships to future-proof their talent pipeline.  

For many companies, the growth of remote work means that they’re looking outside of their physical call center locations to candidates across the country and even expanding to new countries. This requires an adjustment to your talent acquisition strategy to ensure your employer brand and recruitment processes are ready to handle dispersed talent.  

Trend 3: Adapting to Remote Work 

Remote work is impacting more than just where talent comes from, it also affects how organizations onboard and engage their staff. As some countries are experiencing a cost-of-living crisis, customer service representatives are fielding queries from vulnerable customers which can be especially draining. Talent leaders are getting creative in how they connect with staff to ensure a sense of belonging and wellness—regardless of where the employee is working.  

Some contact centers have even adjusted their operational structure to work in “pods” which ensures agents—both in the office and remote—get the support they need to solve customer queries efficiently. Before, managers and team leads could walk around the call center floor and see when agents looked stressed. Remote working has made it harder to monitor employee wellbeing. Customer-focused leaders are investing in employee wellbeing, from training managers to catch the signs of burnout to offering wellbeing support programs.  

These are just a few of the labor market trends that are impacting how companies hire and engage talent. Clearly, organizations are finding creative and bold ways to invest in their employees to maintain a resilient and customer-focused workforce.  

9 STRATEGIES FOR SOLVING HIGH-VOLUME HIRING CHALLENGES

Strategies for Overcoming High-Volume Hiring Challenges

Competition for talent is steep, with high demand from contact centers, hospitality, retail, security, travel, logistics, healthcare and even government entities. In fact, 65% of companies have high-volume recruitment needs. Organizations across sectors are struggling to stand out in today’s competitive talent landscape, but for those talent leaders trying to meet their high-volume recruitment goals it feels like an impossible mission with soaring attrition rates, labor shortages and record job vacancies.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the top challenges you’re probably experiencing with high-volume recruitment and offer some ideas to address them.

What is High-Volume Recruitment?

High-volume recruitment involves sourcing, screening, interviewing and hiring large numbers of applicants for similar openings or job types. It requires a tricky balance of keeping substantial quantities of job applicants moving through the recruitment process at speed. Plus, throughout the year it requires talent acquisition teams to scale up quickly to meet seasonal demand, like for holiday shopping periods or during peak travel times.

ebook

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

The High-Volume Hiring Landscape

COVID-19 was a mixed bag for high-volume recruitment. Retail and logistics workers were less severely impacted by furloughs and layoffs due to the “front line” status of grocery stores and the growth in online shopping. However, other industries, including the travel and hospitality sectors, were hit hard as lockdown came into force. 

The following trends are shaping the high-volume recruitment landscape:

  • Increased Competition:
    Job openings have grown by a third since 2019, yet job seekers per opening have fallen by half. Plus, hourly employees who were let go during the pandemic may feel resentful of their former employers and may have moved on to other roles in other sectors.
  • Recruiters are Rare:
    As of April 2021, recruiter job postings on LinkedIn surpassed pre-pandemic levels. There’s a record number of roles to be filled and not enough recruiters to tackle the work, creating a series of knock-on effects for organizations.
  • Attrition is Skyrocketing:
    A massive 41% of the global workforce is considering quitting their jobs and only 20% report feeling engaged at work. In a recent survey, 55% of hiring managers cited retention and turnover as the number-one issue impacting their ability to hire—and their company’s ability to thrive.
  • Candidate Expectations Have Changed:
    Modern candidates have modern expectations which are more aligned with today’s consumer experience. They want digital-first experiences—on their mobile phone—and fast responses. In fact, they expect acknowledgement of their application immediately upon submission, first contact from a recruiter within 24 hours and regular updates on the hiring process in a timely manner.

High-Volume Recruitment Challenges and Solutions

In this challenging landscape, how can employers stand out from the competition and attract a large number of candidates quickly without sacrificing quality?

We’ll tackle three of the top challenges below and offer strategies you can use to get ahead.

Challenge: Ghosting and Candidate Drop Off are Rampant

“Ghosting”—not showing up with no reason given and often no communication from the candidate—is on the rise at the interview, assessment and even onboarding stages. According to an Indeed survey on ghosting in the workplace, 22% of candidates say they have accepted a job offer but didn’t show up for the first day of work.

Many organizations are not prepared to support the current pace of hiring. Candidates are much less tolerant of long recruitment processes and pauses in communication from employers, so organizations who can move the fastest are more likely to have their offers accepted. Plus, those doing high-volume recruitment are seeing an increase in candidates dropping out of the funnel even in the application phase. If applying for a position is too complicated or too long, candidates won’t complete it. Online applications with 45 or more questions have an abandonment rate of nearly 90%.

Solution:

An RPO partner can help you evaluate your recruitment processes and identify opportunities for efficiency. They may suggest steps you could eliminate or combine and introduce tactics to help reduce the time between steps to help you keep pace with candidate expectations and reduce ghosting. They can also take over time-consuming steps like reference verification and background checks, leaving your team to focus on moving candidates through he funnel faster.

RPO providers also have access to the latest talent acquisition technology which can automate parts of your process. Leveraging CRM technology enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), your RPO partner can nurture candidates through automated recruitment emails and even SMS messages. Texting is also a great way to screen candidates and automate interview scheduling, eliminating manual steps and accelerating your hiring timeline. By automating some of your candidate communications, you keep candidate engaged and reduce funnel drop off without increasing the workload for your recruiters and hiring managers.

Challenge: Desperation to Fill Vacancies Results in Reduced Quality-of-Hire

Increased attrition from the Great Resignation is leading to productivity loss. Many businesses have been forced to close stores due to lack of staff or because they don’t have enough staff to assist customers in a timely manner—in-store, in-branch or in the call center. The customer experience suffers which results in decreased sales and revenue loss, leading to some talent acquisition teams and hiring managers making bad hires out of desperation to fill vacancies.

With tight competition, time-to-offer has become a competitive differentiator. Often hiring managers may skip some interview or assessments steps in order to speed up their processes and keep talent in the funnel, leading them to compromise on quality-of-hire. Candidate without the right skills can also impact your customer experience.

Solution:

Challenge your assumptions or your hiring managers’ assumptions about the type of skills and background that are really needed for your roles. This will help you understand what experience is necessary for talent to have coming into the role and what can be learned on the job. We did this for one of our high-volume RPO clients that was struggling to hire for customer service roles. By interviewing their most successful customer-facing employees, we helped the brand realise that past customer service experience was not a predictor of future success, but rather employees stressed the amount of problem solving they had to do in their daily tasks. Not only did this expand their pool of talent, but it also helped to increase the quality of their hires and reduce attrition.

To support this, you should also rethink your candidate assessment so that it evaluates not just hard skills, like the ability to use a point-of-sale system, but also soft skills like empathy, attitude and work ethic, which are increasingly important for high-volume hiring. At PeopleScout, we’ve developed our whole person assessment model specifically for high-volume hiring. Through this we’ve helped many organizations create an assessment process that can identify and excite great candidates without extending their recruitment timeline.

Challenge: Leaning on Hiring Managers to Recruit is Leading to Burnout

With recruiters in short supply, hiring managers are picking up the slack in order to fill their vacancies. Unstructured, ineffective hiring processes and weak employer brands are putting the burden of attracting candidates and creating positive candidate experiences squarely on the hiring manager. The pressure only increases as they miss business targets due to lack of staff. In fact, 84% of hiring managers say they have hit or have come close to burnout because of hiring for their organization.

Solution:

A high-volume RPO solution helps augment your resources by acting as an extension of your in-house team. An RPO provider can handle everything at scale from sourcing and pipelining, screening, interviews, assessments, reference checks, offer management and more—whatever you need to free up your in-house recruiters and hiring managers to focus on more high-value tasks. Plus, RPO partners have particular focus on keeping hiring managers informed—whether it be ensuring they’re prepared for interviews or delivering feedback from candidates afterwards.

One of the biggest value-adds that RPO brings is experience with the latest talent technology innovations. An RPO partner can help you assess talent acquisition software to address all aspects of your recruiting process, from sourcing talent to creating a more efficient candidate experience. Your provider can show you how emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and predictive analytics can boost your speed and hire quality. Your hiring managers will love not having to spend so much time on administrative tasks.

Conclusion

The current talent market can’t be conquered with your old talent acquisition strategies. A high-volume RPO solution offers a range of approaches to help organizations attract, process and hire a large number of candidates. Whether you need to revamp your employer brand or to augment your in-house recruitment team, an RPO partner can help crank up your high-volume recruitment program.

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

Competition for hourly talent is steep, with high demand from call centers, hospitality, retail, security, travel, logistics, healthcare and even government entities. In fact, 65% of companies have high-volume recruitment needs.

Talent acquisition leaders are facing the most tumultuous job market in recent memory with an impossible combination of soaring job openings and a labor shortage.

  • So, how do they compete for hourly talent when the competition is so fierce?
  • And how can they prepare for seasonal peaks?
  • More importantly, how can they increase speed without sacrificing on quality-of-hire?

Download our ebook to learn 9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges. It’s a must-read for any talent acquisition team focused on solving critical problems in their high-volume hiring programs.

Providing Workforce Planning Data to Support European Call Center Recruitment

Providing Workforce Planning Data to Support European Call Center Recruitment

Providing Workforce Planning Data to Support European Call Center Recruitment

Call center recruitment is essential for any enterprise in today’s customer-centric environment. A large multinational financial services provider identified five European countries where they could potentially open a bi- or tri-lingual contact center. They turned to PeopleScout—and our Talent Insights solution—to get the data they needed to understand which location had the best talent pool for their needs.

Labor market data provided for five countries
Labor market data provided for five countries
Provided data on size of talent pool and language capabilities
Provided data on size of talent pool and language capabilities
Added value with data to support DE&I and more
Added value with data to support DE&I and more

Situation

With dozens of contact centers in countries around the globe, the financial services organization wanted to simplify and optimize their operating model with multilingual hubs. The client asked PeopleScout to help them understand more about five shortlisted potential locations for these “super sites.” Time was of the essence with delivery of the insights required in just two weeks.

Solution

Our in-depth talent insights included:

  • Size of talent pool – The number of individuals working in the customer service sector in those locations
  • Languages spoken – The languages spoken by the talent pool within those locations
  • Cost of language ability – Any additional cost to hire people with particular language abilities in those locations
  • Demographic data – Age and gender data to support diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) efforts as well as recruitment marketing messaging
  • Drivers and motivators – For candidates in each market to inform go-to-market messages that will resonate with each audience
  • Channel strategy and advertising tactics – To attract these audiences on their go-to websites and job boards
  • Candidate expectations – What candidates want from the recruitment process to enable an improved candidate experience
  • Salary expectations – How the employment offer might need to vary from location to location based on regional information

The Results

The PeopleScout Talent Insights team distilled their research into an easily digestible report. For each country, the report included:

  • A high-level summary of our findings and recommendations
  • An overview of market size broken down by active and passive job seekers
  • Highlights on “hot spot” locations within each country showing language capabilities and salary expectations
  • What customer service professionals are looking for from an employer
  • Job boards and websites favored by candidates in each country
  • Demographic details including gender and age as well as education and experience levels
  • Expectations for the candidate experience including timelines, number of interviews and likelihood to negotiate offers
call center recruitment market data
call center recruitment market data

The insight PeopleScout provided for each location equipped the client with valuable information that helped confirm the suitability of a location for their multilingual contact center. We were also able to provide them with additional analysis to define their proposition, shape their talent attraction strategy and inform their salary and compensation packages.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Global financial services organization
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT THE CLIENT: This multinational insurance and financial services company offers personal and professional insurance products as well as asset management solutions.

How We Created a Custom Behavioral Assessment Framework for a Leading British Bank

HOW A CUSTOM BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK CREATED A £24M SAVINGS FOR A LEADING BRITISH BANK

HOW A CUSTOM BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK CREATED A £24M SAVINGS FOR A LEADING BRITISH BANK

PeopleScout’s talent advisory team created a new candidate assessment center for a large British bank, resulting in a 58% reduction in recruitment costs totalling £24M.

58 % Reduction in Recruitment Costs

resulting in a £24M savings

55 % Reduction in Attrition

in the first year

50 % Reduction in Application-to-Hire Ratio

from 32:1 to 16:1

SITUATION

Arriving at the right assessment solution for a complex, multi-billion-pound contemporary business is a major challenge. But, this was a challenge that PeopleScout’s team of psychologists was built for when our banking client came to us with a big brief. The banking group had just launched a crucial new set of values. They wanted us to create a custom behavioral assessment framework, along side a full suite of candidate assessment tools to support hiring into core customer-facing roles across the bank.

SOLUTION

We began by carrying out a comprehensive job analysis, involving focus groups with over 300 colleagues as well as one-on-one interviews with job incumbents, senior stakeholders and transformation stakeholders. We identified synergies and differences between role requirements and complexity across the financial services organization. The detailed research and analysis revealed three job families across all roles, each with four levels of complexity. We developed definitions and behavioral indicators for each group and each level in the framework.

Following sign-off on the new behavioral framework, we developed the assessment matrix and recommended key assessment methods. We streamlined and simplified the existing multi-stage process, bringing both the process and tools into alignment with the new values. This made it easy to understand and implement across the bank. We recommended a three-stage process across the framework, allowing for tailoring to job family and complexity levels, using specific skills assessments and assessment center micro-exercises.

RESULTS

We built-in various ways of measuring the cost-efficiencies and the overall return-on-investment of the end-to-end assessment solution. The client was delighted with the results:

  • A reduction in the classroom-based training time required as the calibre of candidates was improved.
  • Improved conversion at every stage of the assessment process, meaning less business time was required for assessment. The application-to-hire ratio was cut by half, from 32:1 to 16:1.
  • There was a 55% reduction in first-year attrition.
  • There was a 58% reduction in whole life recruitment cost, saving £24M.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Leading UK bank
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT THE CLIENT: This client is a leading UK financial services group that includes several retail banking brand. The company has been partnering with PeopleScout for over 20 years, making it one of our longest-standing client relationships.

How to Reduce Time-to-Hire with Candidate Assessment

EXPERIENCE NOT ESSENTIAL: HOW WE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED TIME-TO-HIRE FOR A LEADING UK INSURER

EXPERIENCE NOT ESSENTIAL: HOW WE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED TIME-TO-HIRE FOR A LEADING UK INSURER

Co-op Insurance came to PeopleScout for a new assessment center and streamlined recruitment process, resulting in a reduced time-to-hire and quality new talent.

Reduction in Time-to-Hire
Reduction in Time-to-Hire
73 % Assessment Center Pass Rate

up from 41%

Positive Candidate Feedback
Positive Candidate Feedback

Employing 70,000 people, the Co-op is known across the UK as a leader in socially conscious, community-led business. As well as being the country’s fifth largest food retailer, it is also a major general insurer. Co-op Insurance came to PeopleScout with a problem. They were having big issues recruiting the voices of the organisation: high-quality, productive, right-fit Claims Advisors who would stay. Also, the time-to-hire was very slow and a drag on the time of the resourcing team. Their recruitment process needed a complete overhaul.

SITUATION

The process we were presented started with a manual-intensive résumé screen. Because of the volumes that were coming through, the Co-op resourcing team was conducting daily résumé screens. This ate up immense amounts of time and resulted in the team screening candidates based on experience. That meant they were inconsistent in the way they were screening candidates (about 70% passed the screen). Those who passed this stage then had a qualifying call. This was not a formal telephone interview, but an introductory call to check the experience on their résumé, discuss any gaps and make sure they were eligible to work in the UK (85–95% passed this stage). Finally there was a face-to-face assessment centre—consisting of a computer-based assessment and interview. Following this, was the offer and induction.

SOLUTION

The right solution meant two considerations: what to assess and how.

  1. WHAT – We conducted a period of job analysis to understand what good looked like in the role.
  2. HOW – We needed to identify a solution which would support progressing candidates at speed through the process, providing a realistic job preview and automatically screening candidates so there was less manual intervention by the resourcing team.

We suggested removing the résumé screening step which meant there was less reliance on experience only. This allowed us to assess the whole person, progressing candidates who had no experience but great potential. We developed an online tool that incorporated a situational judgement test which tested for attention to detail and a video interview. Candidates completed this in one sitting, further reducing the time-to-hire. We also supported in the design of an assessment center.

RESULTS

The Co-op’s resourcing team was delighted with the new process. It’s easy to use and gives them back invaluable time to work on other projects. The assessment center significantly reduced time-to-hire, owing to the speed and efficiency of the new process. The pass rate at the assessment center stage is 73%—a big increase on the previous rate of 41%. This means that a much higher proportion of the best-fit candidates are going further in the process. In addition, new hires have been identified by the business as individuals who are motivated to succeed, with a propensity for learning and a growth mindset. Candidate feedback has been very positive, with many saying it gave them a proper understanding of the role.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Co-op Insurance
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT CO-OP: Co-op Insurance is part of Co-op Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, owned by millions of members. As a leading UK insurer, the organization offers coverage for business, home, life, motor, travel and pets.

Providing a Scalable Solution to Boost Recruiting Capabilities

In 2013, PeopleScout was approached by a major national financial institution looking to supplement its internal recruiting functions. PeopleScout’s RPO solution provides the client with the scalability and flexibility it needs during high and low-volume hiring periods. Over the course of the engagement, PeopleScout’s scope has expanded to additional lines of business.

Scope and Scale

Positions in scope include tellers, personal bankers, IT, risk, compliance, audit, finance, mortgage, wealth management and call center representatives.

Situation

The client enlisted PeopleScout as an overflow RPO solution for its internal recruitment teams in specific lines of business to handle cyclical hiring. PeopleScout supported the client by owning requisitions for full-cycle support, including post-offer acceptance and pre-hire compliance. PeopleScout worked with the client’s internal recruiters to provide support to source and screen candidates and provide administration recruitment coordination support.

Solution

SOLUTION HIGHLIGHTS
  • Scalable full-cycle support for cyclical hiring needs
  • Consultative support and market intelligence
  • Innovative sourcing solutions
  • Dedicated military hiring resources
  • Project scope expanded
SCALABLE RECRUITING RESOURCES

PeopleScout’s team scales according to the client’s needs, fluctuating in size from approximately 90 members to over 200, helping manage costs while ensuring hiring demands are met, allowing their businesses to be staffed appropriately.

FULL-CYCLE SUPPORT

PeopleScout acts as full-cycle recruiters, executing each phase of the recruitment process from identifying quality candidates to on-boarding new hires.

A CONSULTATIVE APPROACH

Provides the client with consultative services including market intelligence and innovative sourcing solutions.

Results

8,000 ANNUAL HIRES

PeopleScout facilitates an average of 8,000 hires per year.

ADAPTED TO CLIENT PROCESSES

Successfully navigated the client’s complex processes and company hiring practices.

EXCEEDED CLASS HIRING GOALS

Exceeded goal for 90% of new starts at a location to start on the same day, as part of a class.

MILITARY HIRING

Helped the client achieve annual military hiring goals, dedicating two PeopleScout team members solely to military hiring.

SERVICE EXCELLENCE

PeopleScout met 90% of SLAs over the course of the engagement.