cut attrition
Illustration by Scott Lewis

In my last post, I mentioned a Purdue University study on decreasing attrition in a contact center environment. The study found that contact centers can reduce their attrition by 21% by implementing an applicant intake process that includes a realistic job preview, assessments and a behavioral interview. The post offered tips on assessments and realistic job previews.

Now let’s look at the third element: behavioral interviews. There are two main types of interviews: structural and behavioral. In a structural interview, you ask questions like:

  • What have you done in the past?
  • What pay do you want?
  • What schedule is best for you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

These questions can ensure that the candidate and the position match from a big-picture standpoint, but rarely determine whether the agent is a perfect fit to your culture and contact types. A behavioral interview goes deeper and determines if the candidate has the judgment, effectiveness and reasoning needed for success.

Behavioral interview questions could include:

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with an upset customer. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a co-worker. How did you resolve the issue?
  • Tell me about a time you worked with a bad supervisor. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me how you would handle a call that involved profanity?

If the answers match your culture, the candidate could be a great hire. If the answers cause you to lose sleep at night, so will the employee!