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How to Hire the Best Reps for Work at Home

A 2017 survey of 60 US contact center organizations indicated that 70% are expanding their work at home programs - many moving to new markets.  It is a fact that when we effectively market home-based positions, we see an increase in applicant flow of 200-400%. Here's the challenge: with growing work at home programs, smart hiring workflows and process automation become a requirement, versus a passing interest.


We have worked with hundreds of organizations who have become very successful at work at home, but all too often the applicant funnel becomes so large, it's unmanageable. As a result, the wrong reps get hired. Here are two examples of proven workflows and processes that help companies hire the best reps for work at home.

When Hiring 500+ reps per year or more:

  1. Applying for the job - keep it simple, 10 minutes to complete is optimum. Ask applicants to use a device similar to the one they will be using for the job itself (laptop or PC). Mobile phones can make the application process itself cumbersome, and alter results.
  1. Opt in/out questionnaire - the second gate (after the physical application itself) should be a questionnaire that includes the minimum requirements such as job scope, hours, shifts, and minimum abilities/aptitudes. When applicants choose undesirable multiple choice answers (i.e. no vs. yes) on more than 30% of the questions, suggest (through auto-return of results) that their choices indicate this specific job may not be the best fit for them. Forecasted fallout rate of applicants at this point in the process: 35%
  1. Upload/download speed test - for those that applicants that pass the gate above, invite them to speed test their current ISP, enter the upload/download speeds in a pass/fail section on the application, and upload or screen shot the results to you with a date/time stamp.   The hiring company is assessing technical skills and gaining critical information about ISP viability all in one go. Best practice is to make this a separate section on the application module itself. Forecasted fallout rate of applicants at this point in the process: 20%
  1. Self-scheduled recorded job simulation - for those applicants who meet the minimum upload/download speed test, send an auto invitation for a recorded job simulation session.   Applicants will be asked to respond to questions/simulate real world customer/employee exchanges with the use of recorded audio (minimum) and/or ideally, video. Maximum time for this session is 10 minutes, including practice. Forecasted fallout rate of applicants at this point in the process: 25%
  1. Company review of recorded sessions and personal interview - it is only at this point in the process that the hiring company starts to manually touch the application. The application itself, the upload/download speed, the questionnaire and the recorded job simulation are reviewed by a credible hiring function within the organization (usually someone in talent acquisition or HR). For those applicants that meet all minimum requirements, a personal interview is scheduled.
  1. Personal interview - conducted virtually using video, and conducted by the person responsible for making the hiring decision.


When Hiring less than 500 reps per year:

If the technology investment described in #4 above is not available, use a manual phone screen for this step. All other steps are identical to above.


To learn more about what others are doing to fully leverage home working, join an upcoming Work at Home Conference. The next one is July 19-20 in Denver.