Creating a Career Path for the Seasonal Student

Cheeks in the seat. Bums in the chair. A warm body. A pulse with a brain. These are just a few of the descriptions I have heard to express the selection criteria for a call center representative. With Summer on its way we need to start thinking about how to be smarter about our seasonal call center hiring practices.
We know we need a better job description—this much is obvious; but it leads me to wonder about seasonal call center employment. How did I make that mental leap, you ask? I opened my e-mail. In it was an urgent message from a close friend. Her daughter desperately needs a summer job. My friend would like me to pass her daughter’s resume along to colleagues and clients who might be hiring. "But not in a call center," my friend warned. "She did that last year and no way is she going back."
This doesn’t lead me to ask whether her daughter needs a lesson about how beggars can’t be choosers—which she very well might—but leads me to ask what call centers are doing to alienate the call center industry from potential recruits. I mean really, is the job that bad?
Here we have an incredible opportunity knocking: We have the chance to offer seasonal employment to some of the nation’s best and brightest learners. For this reason it’s high time we started rethinking the job of call center representative and giving the position a little pizzazz. At least this way the seasonal worker will consider the call center as more than a job, they’ll consider it an opportunity to learn from a mentor, link up with the best communicators in the business, and get a birds-eye view of some of the greatest organizations out there.
Creating a Call Center Career Path is Always In Season

It’s not that difficult to do. It’s called creating a call center career path for the seasonal student. Students want a glimpse of a better and brighter future. By providing seasonal workers with a path of personal improvement they will return again and again as they make their way through the University system. This makes the call center recruiting process a breeze and it reduces costs substantially. It gets better. When these rich resources complete their degrees they become a talent pool from which the company—as well as the call center—can draw. Sure, you could argue that these kids are only at the job for a short time or that they are born in a generational letter of the alphabet that doesn’t "get it"—but the reality is that we are the ones in the call center who are out of touch.

The upside of creating a seasonal call center career path—and keeping the same seasonal workers in the call center year after year—is that we keep people motivated and engaged. Moreover, by the time they graduate they will know you, you’ll know them, and they’ll know your company’s products, services and customer expectations. And they will have learned it by working with you in the call center.

What’s the downside? I can’t think of one.

For more information on Jo'Ann Alderson's Web seminar Tested Methods for Reducing Absenteeism and Turnover in Your Call Center, taking place Wednesday May 5, 2010 at 2 P.M., please click here.

First published on Call Center IQ.