Help Desk Software Agents are not always easy to find. All organizations have to conduct a series of interviews for various new hires. Generally it centers on an immediate need such as an employee, a new insurance agent, a legal advisor or an accountant. However, finding and hiring new help desk agents can be a little trickier than the normal hiring process. The 10 tips given here will give you some great ideas of how to find Help Desk Software Agents that fit your company and are willing to learn to work with your customers. Turnover is a huge problem in the industry, but your company will be envied for their loyal Help Desk Agents.
1.Identify the need
Obviously the first step is to identify the need and write a job description. Build an outline of the ideal candidate for the position, and then stick to the outline. Try not to be influenced by factors such as: he had a great personality, or spoke 3 languages, or she was a single mom with 3 kids, etc. Make sure the outline is flexible enough to include handicapped workers. In today’s workforce, special considerations often must be invoked to follow federal guidelines, but oftentimes handicapped workers are dependable, enjoyable to be around, and can be a motivator for those that are around them in the helpdesk call center.
2.Write the Job Description
The job description can be as detailed for the candidate as you want. I know it sounds silly, but having a detailed description for a help desk software agent will just make your life and job easier. Be as detailed as possible, both in the expectations that you have for the help desk software agent, and what you would like to see in an ideal candidate. In other words, a life insurance company that is dealing with conversion clients and will be dealing with senior citizens could not afford to hire college kids to take calls on the helpdesk. The caller has to have someone they can relate to, and who is knowledgeable. If the agent is talking in new-age lingo, the caller will become frustrated and end up costing the call center more money as they escalate the call.
a. No coffee in desk area
b. Appropriate clothing during working hours
c. Ability to handle questions easily
d. Ability to deal with frustrated callers
e. Knowledge about the business
3.Find the applicant
This is an area that you will have to explore to some degree based on your needs as well as the industry and the geographic area you are in. Obviously a 150 agent help desk software call center in a large metro area has a greater challenge than one in a small town. But a few ideas are:
a. Craig’s list
b. Internet resources such as http://www.jobs.com
c. Local newspaper
d. Some local news stations have a nightly job announcement
e. Job fairs at local colleges and trade schools
f. Posting at local colleges and trade schools
g. Get to know the counselors at colleges, high schools, and trade schools. They generally know who is looking for work and available.
h. Colleges, high schools, and trade schools are also good sources for hiring instructors and teachers in summers and during vacations
i. Consider temp agencies. Often using a temp is a good way to fill a seat temporarily and be able to assess their performance for long-term employment.
j. And, of course, recruiters in many cases can help you find applicants.
4.Screen Calls, Emails, Resumes
Run the resumes for the help desk software agent that you receive against your needs. I suggest email resumes for the first round. If they don’t use email, they probably don’t use a computer on a regular basis, thus will increase your training curve. And the emails can come to: resume(at)yourcompany(dot)com avoiding a flood of phone calls to your desk or e-mails to your inbox. You could have e-mails sent to a gmail address to avoid calls to the receptionist. Once you narrow down the list, you can inject your company email into the conversation when desired. While reading the resumes, number them with a rating of 1-5, with 5 being the perfect candidate. You will be able to further define the final candidates as the process continues.
5. Narrow the selection (for interviews)
The initial phone interview has become the norm these days in the job market process. The goal, of course, is to minimize the amount of time the HR person spends narrowing down the list. As the HR manager, you want to insure that you don’t miss anything in the process. Make sure when you call the person to be interviewed that they have at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to visit. Allow more time per call for those that flow well. If you call them during work hours or catch them during lunch, or on break, they are going to feel pressure to return to the current job, or get you off the phone, which will cause them to blow the interview. Therefore, make the first call to set the appointment for a phone interview. Have someone else set the appointment so you don’t get pulled into an interview unnecessarily. That way, both you and the candidate are prepared for the process. Create a list of interview questions to ask each interviewee during a first phone interview, another set (with some possible overlap from previous questions) for a second phone interview or first face-to-face interview, and a third set of questions for any follow-up interviews. Stick to your lists and write answers to be evaluated after the interview. Rank the interviews 1-5 as you did the resumes. Those with the highest combined scores move on to the next round of interviews.
6.Make appointments for face-to-face interviews
Set a time and date for the interview appointment several days in advance so you and the candidate have a chance to organize. Send the candidate some brief information about the job description and your company. Invite him or her to write down any questions. Ask the person to schedule enough time for an interview and some testing (see below for testing). The person who will be supervising the new help desk agent should also have an opportunity to conduct an interview and assess the suitability of the person for the position. You may want to give the person a tour of the company or spend some time observing the help desk area.
7.Do background checks
I highly recommend background checks. This should be initiated immediately when an interviewee seems to be moving to the second round of interviews, definitely prior to a face-to-face interview. Sometimes the smoothest talking help desk agents have learned their craft in places you will certainly want to know about. Look for discrepancies in their resume, timelines that don’t add up, and dates that don’t match or overlap. Make sure you speak to employers for last 2 years, and confirm their existence as well. A client I had once had hired an employee, did a phone call to the former employer’s cell phone, to later find out that it was simply a friend of the employee that had stolen from him. By the way, the thief had been out of prison for less than a year. Hire a competent company to do the background checks. If you can’t afford one, there are a number of public agencies that can give you basic information about recruits, and you can always subscribe to certain agencies that can also be helpful in this.
8.Give psychological testing/profile testing
I am a huge believer in Profile Testing. A simple 10 minute test which costs you less than $25 can save you hours and hours of training and interviewing time.
9.Make the offer
Decide at the beginning of the process what this position is worth. Don’t be influenced by the applicant. If you have low-balled the position, you need to raise the bar. But set expectations based on the pay level and position.
10. Deal with Acceptance/Rejection
Once you have decided to hire someone, a phone call is appropriate. And that call should be made by you or the person’s new supervisor, someone that can properly welcome the applicant to the company and answer any immediate questions they may have. If the help desk software applicant has decided to reject your offer, it is important to query the applicant to discover why. Have at least one alternate candidate for the position whom you can call if your first choice does not accept the offer. And don’t forget to notify all those you have interviewed that you have hired someone and appreciate their time and effort in applying and wish them success in their future endeavors.