Tip 7: Pros and Cons of Using an Employment Agency

It’s not easy to hire the right people. In the call center we hire a lot of people, and the majority of them do not bring much work experience. Even the most perceptive interviewer and hiring manager will make mistakes, especially as they will often be under pressure to hire quickly to fill a scheduled ...

It’s not easy to hire the right people. In the call center we hire a lot of people, and the majority of them do not bring much work experience. Even the most perceptive interviewer and hiring manager will make mistakes, especially as they will often be under pressure to hire quickly to fill a scheduled and impending training class. By leveraging the service of an employment agency (often referred to as a temp agency), you can easily remedy hiring miscalculations.  If there’s a case of a bad hire, or you simply find the new employee is not a good fit, or you no longer need the rep, this can be resolved with a simple call to the agency you work with. They will notify the employee their assignment is over, saving you the time, paperwork, hassle, and stress associated with terminating the employment of one of your company’s full time, regular employees. You’ll pay a premium to the agency until you decide to either let the employee go or convert them to permanent status (usually ninety days). But if you hire large numbers of call center reps and end up having to let a fair amount go, this strategy can save you a lot of management time and money in the long run.

Note however, I’m not advocating using a temp or employment agency to exclusively source candidates. I recommend you interview and screen applicants yourself. Once you find an employee you would like to hire, have them enroll with the agency and then hire them through the agency for a ninety-day trial or probationary period. At that point if you want to retain them, convert them to a permanent status.  There is some minor risk that during the probationary period a good employee might leave for a permanent job at another company, but this is often outweighed by the time you’ll save in having to deal with a bad hire.

Even with the above advantages, using temps is not the best strategy for all centers. Under normal circumstances someone who is already employed will not leave their permanent position for a temporary position at your company. As a result your ability to recruit top talent may be limited, as you’re mostly drawing from a pool of those currently unemployed. In addition, having a mix of contract and permanent employees can set up an environment of “haves and have nots.” This can create negative effects on your culture.

Before you determine if you want to hire direct or through an agency, consider the pros and cons, as well as the employment laws in your state. Generally speaking, if the rate of pay you offer is at the high end compared to similar jobs in your local talent pool, hiring direct is the more effective strategy as you’re able to attract strong, experienced candidates, and have lower risk of hiring mistakes. But if you offer rates of pay low compared to similar companies, it’s likely you won’t be able to attract the top candidates. Plus, if you find more of the reps you are hiring are currently unemployed, you’re likely to have more issues. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, the agency route is to your advantage.

 

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