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Contact centres: how to recruit and retain high performing agents

Five steps to help contact centres to identify, select and retain talented agents are available in a new insight guide from cut-e.

Called ‘Recruiting special agents’, the guide provides best practice advice to help contact centre recruiters to hire the right people, differentiate their employer brand, engage candidates and improve the efficiency of their selection process.

“Many people who apply for agent positions in contact centres are unsuited to the job,” said Andreas Lohff of cut-e. “This guide explains how to attract, recruit and retain ‘right fit’ agents and how you can save time and resources in recruitment.”

The guide outlines how technology can optimise the selection process and cut the time-to-hire. “Integrating systems such as your Applicant Tracking System and HR Information System can create efficiencies,” said Andreas Lohff. “It also enables you to mine and utilise employee data in ways that weren’t possible before. This opens the door to a wealth of new talent analytics that can further improve your recruitment, increase sales and help you to avoid the disruption of hiring the wrong people.”

cut-e in the media

Be aware of "black box" problems when using AI for recruiting

The Student Employer - 31st October 2018,

Using artificial Intelligence (AI) for recruiting can enhance your candidate selection process, but beware of ‘black box’ algorithms that can lead to recruitment decisions that you can’t defend. Richard Justenhoven explains the two types of AI system and how it can be used effectively in assessment.

A Guide to AI

Global Recruiter - 22nd October 2018,

Richard Justenhoven gives four key guidelines to using AI in recruitment.

The goal of any recruitment process is to identify the right person for the job. The closer you match the individual to the requirements of the role, the more effective that person will be. You don’t need Artificial Intelligence to achieve this. But AI will help you do it quicker and more efficiently.

Recruiting safe commercial drivers

HRHQ - 22nd October 2018, Ireland

Commercial drivers - whether they drive a train, lorry, bus, ferry, delivery van or a forklift - are responsible for the safety of their passengers or cargo, and their vehicles. If you recruit drivers, you’ll undoubtedly check whether job candidates have the necessary driving skills and the required licences or certificates. You may even conduct medical and eyesight checks. But, can you be confident those individuals will drive safely?

Suzanne Courtney: How to attract and select great graduates

HR review - 5th October 2018, UK

In the face of fierce competition to find the right talent, today’s graduate recruiters are striving to make their assessment and selection processes shorter, more focused and more engaging. Here are five essential tips to help you to stand out from the crowd:

The essential competencies for digital transformation

HRHQ - 10th September 2018, Ireland

To survive in the digital future, organisations need a fluid structure, an agile culture and employees who are ‘digitally-ready’ to cope with rapidly changing circumstances. Digital readiness is not about being proficient with technology - it’s not about whether you can use Excel or mobile devices - and it is not related to age. Every employee now needs the ability to perform tasks, manage information, share knowledge and work with others in a digital context.

cut-e scienceBlog

How to Measure Power

Power is not just held by those in positions of authority thanks to job title but is a personality trait that we all possess to some extent. But how can we measure power in our work colleagues and candidates? 

power as measured by talent assessment

Think of those holding power at work and your mind might run to power-hungry, megalomaniac types. Power is not just held by those in positions of authority because of job title but is a personality trait that we all possess to some extent. Consider, for example, a group of individual contributors. Who are the people keen to be in charge and pushing themselves forward, and who is content with simply being a team player and leading by example?

A person's preference for either taking control of a group of being more of a team player and leading by example, has a strong impact on the workings of a team. This important dynamic is commonly explored in selection and development activities. So, how can it be measured?

The ADEPT-15® personality model covers 15 aspects of personality which are arranged into 6 broad workstyles. The Power aspect or dimension is partnered with Ambition and together, these two dimensions form the Achievement workstyle. This workstyle explores internal motivations and how individuals expend their effort.

How is Power Seen in Behavior?

The Power dimension measures the extent to which a person is interested in leading and having influence over others as opposed to being more of a contributor and allowing others to take control. A score in either direction on the Power dimension has both potential positives – and potential watch-outs. Take a look at some of the points to leverage, as well as some of the areas to watch out for.

The Leverage Points

Those scoring high on the Power scale are likely to be:

  • Motivated to take the lead and to be in charge.
  • Confident in their ability to make tough decisions.
  • Able to hold others accountable.

Those scoring low on this scale tend to be:

  • Good team players.
  • Leading by example rather than through direct authority. 

The Watch-Outs

Watch out for the following with high-scorers on Power:

  • Less willing to take direction from others, regardless of others’ authority.
  • Overly interested in organizational politics and accumulating authority and influence.

For the low-scorers on Power, watch out for:

  • Aversion to making difficult decisions which have broad implications at work.
  • Reluctance to tell others what to do and to hold them accountable. 

The Role of Power in the Workplace

By understanding how a person is likely to want to lead control a team or group, we get an insight into both team and leadership styles, as well as other areas of work.

Influencing Others

Because those with high Power are confident, willing to engage in organizational politics, and interested in gaining control, they are typically seen as highly capable influencers and can change others’ perspectives and actions.

Providing Direction

Those with high Power scores are much more willing to be directive compared to others. As such, they will be more comfortable and keen to provide directions and set goals for a team.

Coaching Others

Individuals that score highly on Power are more inclined than others to want to lead and direct others. Given this, they will be more likely to provide the leadership and direction that would enable others to improve their skill sets and develop their capabilities.

Compensating for an Individual’s Power Score

We have looked at how Power as a single construct is portrayed in behavior at work, and how there are both positives and negatives to this trait. Let us now consider how scores on other ADEPT-15 dimensions can compensate for a person’s Ambition score and shape how it is behaviorally displayed.

When Power scores are low, we need to look at other scales:

  • Higher Assertiveness can help ensure low scorers are resolute, strong minded, and confident in their decisions and choices. Further, high Assertiveness scores can offset low scorer’s propensity to tell others what to do and ensure they’re directive and willing to hold others accountable.

When an individual has a high score on the Power dimension, you may like to look elsewhere in the profile for:

For more about assessing the preference for power in your candidates and employees, take a look at our personality questionnaire ADEPT-15®


About ADEPT-15®

ADEPT-15® is the most advanced, secure, and award-winning* personality test available. With over 50 years of personality, leadership, and psychometric research combined with an adaptive approach to assessment design, ADEPT-15® measures 15 personality traits critical to successful workplace performance. It looks at our preferences, work styles, and tendencies as well as what gives us energy and our possible blind spots. It indicates our strengths and areas for development as well as the leadership style we may use, and how others may see us.

*M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research & International Personnel Assessment Council Innovations in Assessment Award

Why is Hiring the Right People so Difficult?

When I was interviewed as part of TalentCulture’s WorkTrends podcast series, I outlined five fundamental reasons hiring can be tricky. Although recorded earlier in 2019, these core issues remain as true now as they were then.

We think we are better at decision making than we actually are

Modern neuroscience has shown that humans are not as capable of making decisions as we like to think. This means that we need help making our decisions by getting more information from assessments and technology.

We include assessment in hiring that isn’t relevant

It may seem obvious, but we need to make sure that the candidate assessment we are using is relevant for the role we want to fill. How many times have you seen the same assessment program rolled out to applicants during a hiring campaign, regardless of the skills and behaviors needed for that specific vacancy?

We don’t realize the impact of personality and motivation on success in a role

Personality traits and motivational drives are essential to hiring the right people. They make or break the performance of a candidate once selected for a role. Understand what the role needs, and track down the assessment that will measure it. Make sure your assessment vendor can show you proof that the assessment measures what it says it measures and supports performance improvement.

We don’t use the technologies available to us to give us the best information

Technology has impacted talent management greatly in recent years, from the efficiencies gained due to online assessment and scoring, to the ability to connect and engage with applicants through mobile-first assessment, regardless of geographical location. But we don’t always use the technology to the fullest. Now, we have digital and video interviewing technologies that go beyond simple video recording, by scoring the verbal responses to interview questions. We need to embrace the benefits such technology brings while adhering to the science and best practice methodologies proven over time that underlie successful assessment implementations.

We underestimate the importance of the candidate experience

There has been much talk about the need for a great candidate experience, and technology can improve and strengthen this, but it doesn’t remove the need for human touch. AI can help. It frees up the time of the recruiter, allowing them to take on more of an employer brand custodian role during recruitment. Gamified assessment offers greater insight into capability while simultaneously supporting candidate engagement; some applicants even say they “enjoy” this type of assessment! 

Of course, finding a great vendor for your assessments and investing in that relationship is key to making the hiring process less troublesome. Make sure your assessment vendor has the requisite background, understands your roles, your talent strategy, what you want to achieve, and how you intend to achieve it, you’re on the right track and you’ll get more from them. They’ll help you keep up to date with talent trends, and you can pick their brains about the assessment process and learn about potential pitfalls before you encounter them.

Listen to the full podcast here.


Helping to Save the World’s Resources at Nobina with Pre-Hire Assessment

Driving skills and behaviors impact bus fuel consumption. Find out how Nobina has identified the characteristics that predict good drivers and the influence this has on on fuel consumption. 

Successful bus driving at Nobina

Nobina is the Nordic region’s largest and most experienced public transport service provider. It is committed to delivering great customer service to its passengers and is keenly aware of its impact on the environment.

Nobina’s Green Journey Initiative details its most important goals to minimize the impact on the environment. Part of this initiative is the training and monitoring of its bus drivers to drive more efficiently so as to conserve fuel.

Saving time in hiring and hiring successful drivers

We worked with Nobina several years ago to define the competencies and personality characteristics needed to be a successful bus driver. We then supported the redesign of its bus driver selection process. Talent assessment was introduced earlier into the hiring activity so that the clear predictors of performance were used to focus on the best candidates. After re-engineering the process, Nobina was able to reduce interviews by two thirds, and save over 70% of the original time spent on the hiring. But the benefits extend beyond that of time saving.

More eco-friendly driving

Having assessment data from the original hiring process and driving data from the on-board monitoring system, Nobina could determine any link between the drivers hired and fuel consumption.

The team learned that drivers with an eco-friendly approach can be predicted from their scores on personality and capability assessments. Those drivers who have a strong match with the success profile of a bus driver at Nobina have 18% lower fuel consumption after 6 months and consume nearly 11 litres less fuel each month. If all the drivers for Nobina had this strong match to the profile, 1.8M€ of fuel cost savings could be made.

Hanna Larson, Head of Strategic Recruitment at Nobina comments on the screening process, “It accurately predicts which drivers will help us meet our environmental goals – as well as being the best drivers for our customers.”

Martin Sirén, the Aon consultant working with Nobina project continues, “The results from this study at Nobina clearly shows that better drivers can be hired who not only drive safely and efficiently for the passengers, but also play their part in saving the planet.”

You can read the full story here.

Join the cut-e Talent Forum

LinkedIn is the ‘go-to’ professional network of many HR, Recruitment and Talent decision makers – and a great way to keep informed about work-related issues, ask peers for advice, post a job and take part in relevant discussion. 

But the world of work is transforming; attracting, assessing and developing the skills employees need is changing rapidly. Our LinkedIn Talent Forum is there to share relevant articles and news, and to prompt discussion and thought as we shape and adapt talent management

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