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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

Can AI Help to Identify Competencies Shown in Video Interviews?

Asynchronous Video Interviewing (AVI) may not be a commonly used term, but you will know its application as organizations are already embracing the concept. In short, AVI is where a candidate records their responses to pre-set questions and then submits the video via an online platform to the interviewer. This process saves time and resources for both interviewee and interviewer because the recorded ‘interview’ can be shared and re-watched across the entire hiring team. Given the power of structured interviewing and efficiency gains AVI offers, this solution has quickly become a valuable inclusion to the early stages of hiring processes.

But with advances in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in assessment situations, is there a role for AI in the objective scoring of such video interviewing?

Miriam Quante, a Master’s degree student at the University of Luebeck, Germany has investigated whether an off-the-shelf AI service from a third party provider can return accurate personality profiles from responses given in video interviews. This service was initially trained by leveraging machine learning algorithms on random texts to predict personality outcomes – not following traditional psychometric standards.

The Study

Five trainee positions were available at an Australian company and all applicants were asked to complete three ability tests and a personality questionnaire mapped onto the Big Five personality factors. The 275 highest scoring applicants based on their combined assessment scores were then asked to answer six interview questions, using our AVI platform, vidAssess, about specific behaviours in past situations. This process yielded in 132 paired samples of data.

For this study, the submitted responses were then transcribed into text. From these texts, the AI service claims to be capable of suggesting how the responses would map onto the Big Five personality factors. In doing this, Miriam was able to look at the correlations between the AI ratings and the results from the personality questionnaire.

The results of the study helped us gain valuable insights into possibilities and limitations of self-trained AI models and their viability in psychometric assessment. There are two key findings that we found particularly useful: (1) the degree of overlap between AI-produced scores and human ratings; and (2) the lack of relationship between AI-produced scores and participant’s self-reported personality results. Simply put, while the AI service produced scores that were positively related to human ratings on pre-defined competencies, it did not produce scores that replicated participant’s self-reported Big Five personality profiles. 

The results from this study ultimately support our approach to develop proprietary AI models based on psychometric research and personality theory. Further, the results also support our decision to apply rigorous psychometric/scientific standards when training and developing natural language classification-based algorithms to analyse unstructured data (e.g., interviews, open-ended responses).


Grit, determination and diligence

Grit, determination and diligence in assessment

Is having Grit different to being Conscientious?

Grit. Perseverance. Determination. Call it what you will, we tend to think of these characteristics as essential foundation for success. Indeed, some say that a high rating on 'grit' is what marks out high achievers from the rest.

But is grit a personality trait in its own right?  If so, do we need to measure separately?

The two constructs of ‘grit’ and ‘conscientiousness’ are, without doubt closely connected – and in fact research has shown this to be the case (Credé, Tynan, & Harms, 2016). But in their meta-analysis, Credé et al also showed that the two facets of grit – perseverance and consistency – differ in their usefulness for predicting achievement outcomes. They found that perseverance is more predictive of achievement. It seems that the grit-conscientiousness relationship needs further research to understand it better and a recent study by Schmidt, Nagy, Fleckenstein, Möller and Retelsdorf focused on this.

The research

Schmidt and his team of researchers worked with two samples (school pupils and adults) and asked them to complete an assessment of Grit – the Grit scale - and the Conscientiousness items of the Big Five personality assessment NEO-PIR. The Grit scale includes two facets; one of Perseverance of Effort the other of Consistency of Effort. The Conscientious trait of the NEO PI-R includes sub-traits or facets of Competence, Order, Dutifulness, Achievement Striving, Self-discipline and Deliberation.

After the participants had completed all the items, the team analysed the variance in answers on one of the scales overlapped with the variance in their answers on the other. In doing so, they wanted to find out whether or not the two scales were essentially measuring the same constructs.

Their findings suggest that:

  • The Perseverance scale of grit shared 95 per cent of its variance with the trait of Conscientiousness and with its more ‘pro-active’ sub-traits relating to being industrious and driven.
  • The global, general trait of grit trait shared a large amount of variance with Conscientiousness and with the same sub-traits as above.
  • The Consistency facet of grit (which is concerned with focus) shared only 69 per cent of its variance with Conscientiousness - which means it was also measuring something else – but was correlated with the Self-discipline facet.  

What does this mean in practice?

It seems that when we talk of grit, we use it synonymously with, and as an alternative, to the ‘driven’ aspects of the trait of conscientiousness. The researchers make the point that, because of this, grit is not a separate trait.

But what of the element of focus and consistency that form part of grit? It seems that this is not part of Conscientiousness but whether this is something different requires further research.


Credé, M., Tynan, M. C., & Harms, P. D. (2016). Much ado about grit: A meta‐analytic synthesis of the grit literature. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Advance online publication.

Schmidt, F. T.C., Nagy, G., Fleckenstein, J., Möller, J. and Retelsdorf, J. (2018). European Journal of  Personality, Same Same, but Different? Relations Between Facets of Conscientiousness and Grit

How Can We Work With Robots? Developing Digital Competencies

digital competencies

The Digitalization Of Jobs

‘Automation will replace millions of jobs’. This is the type of headline we have got used to in recent months. But, it was interesting to read a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggesting that we have far less to fear from robots in the workplace than some may think. But it may mean that, as humans, we need to develop more digital competencies.

The WEF predicts not just the displacement by robots of around 75 million jobs across the world by 2022, but the creation of 133 million new jobs. This gives a net positive of 58 million jobs. Of course, some disagree with the figures and argue that there can be no guarantee that lost jobs will be replaced. Nonetheless, the use of automation will free up workers and offer opportunity for learning new tasks. This shift is being talked about as the fourth industrial revolution.

The WEF comment that robots and algorithms will “vastly improve” the productivity of existing jobs and lead to many new ones in the coming years. It suggests that there could be a growth in the numbers of data analysts, software developers and social media specialists. It also suggests a growth of jobs with what it refers to as “distinctively human traits” (e.g. customer service workers and teachers).

The shift in jobs and roles will cause “significant disruption” with some roles becoming “increasingly redundant”. The WEF report comments that robots could quickly replace positions in accounting firms, factories and office based roles such as secretarial posts. In July 2018, PwC predicted Artificial Intelligence would create as many jobs in the UK as it would displace over the next 20 years.

But working in such a digital environment will need a change in behaviour, ways of working and skill by employees.

We will need to embrace – and make use of – the technology around us. This is what we know as Digital Competencies.

Organizations are already gearing themselves up for the dramatic changes we will see in the coming years and identifying and developing these digital competencies in its candidates and employees. Learning new tasks and new competencies will require development, training and re-skilling and this will become a new challenge for HR and Learning & Development practitioners.

What is your organization doing to meet the digital challenges?

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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