Call Center Background Checks: What You Need to Know

The world is remote now—and that means that call centers are even more critical to our daily function than they used to be.

Think about it: if you have a question about how to use your wireless mouse, will you be walking to the wireless mouse store, hat in hand and mouse in pocket, just to admit that you can’t find the “on” button? Or will you be dialing up the mouse’s manufacturer from the comfort of your own desk?

Even pre-pandemic, the answer for most people was option B. Why leave the desk when you don’t need to? And in most cases, COVID-19 only accelerated our adoption of technologies that allow us to conduct the business of life remotely.

That means call centers—offices or organizations that exist to receive and respond to a large volume of inquiries by phone—are becoming even more important (and busier). Many call centers are currently in the process of hiring more employees.

Hiring is always challenging, and it’s made even more so by the fact that physical call centers may be becoming a thing of the past.

This effectively raises the bar on what is required for call center employees to do their work. Not only do they need to be friendly, well-spoken, and knowledgeable—they also require the skills to operate in a remote environment.

A strong interview—and background check—can help.

What do employers look for in a candidate?

Call center employees have stressful jobs. They need to multitask while retaining and appropriately recording information, and do it all with a smile you can hear on the phone.

Typically, employers look for candidates who meet the following criteria:

Possess strong communication skills

Call center agents talk for a living—and every word that they say has the potential to reflect, either positively or negatively, on the brand they represent.

Employers typically look for excellent grammar and the ability to express warmth and understanding through tone of voice. A major in vocal performance isn’t required—but a little modulation of emphasis and pitch can go a long way in aiding remote communication.

Demonstrate a history of providing excellent customer service

Call center work is a customer service job, so a history of providing excellent customer service is a strong qualification for the role.

Call center employees need to be able to make callers feel valued, and they should never express frustration or anger—even when a customer might be testing their patience. When it comes to verifying that record of providing excellent customer service, employment verification is helpful.

After all, ten years of completely fabricated customer service experience is more of a red flag than it is a reason to hire!

Have a sense of empathy

So how exactly does one communicate warmth and maintain composure when fielding dozens (if not hundreds) of calls per shift?

It’s all about empathy. People who are able to understand the reasons behind a behavior find it much easier to respond in a positive manner.

For example, a good call center employee will understand that a customer who is yelling about a frozen browser window isn’t yelling at them—instead, this person is dealing with a difficult emotion, which could be anything from anxiety about a work product being late or unrecoverable to feelings of helplessness and irrelevance arising from the difficulty of navigating an increasingly unfamiliar technological environment.

High-empathy individuals are able to tap into the underlying emotion, retaining their composure when dealing with unhappy clients.

Are responsible and attentive to detail

Responsibility is critical in all roles—and particularly in those that are high-volume (and remote). You need to be able to trust your call center employees and know that they won’t drop the ball when you aren’t looking.

Red flags for call center employees

When hiring call center employees, it’s important to keep an eye out for these red flags:

Frequent job turnover

A short duration of work at each role held isn’t always a red flag, but it certainly can be—especially if it indicates a history of dismissals. In particular, be attentive to positions held for a short amount of time for which a potential candidate hasn’t listed a reference. This could be a sign that the relationship concluded on bad terms.

False or misleading information on resume

Lies on a resume are always cause for concern. The question here is less “how bad is this” than “how do I find them?” And that, of course, is where background checks come in.

It’s estimated that 40% of employees lie on their resumes, so pre-employment background screening increasingly goes beyond just looking into criminal history and instead proactively verifies that the claims that employees make about their work and educational history are true.

No questions in the interview

Call center employees should be inquiring, personable, and engaging. Some of the highest-performing ones will go above and beyond, asking questions about a caller’s pets or hobbies.

If a candidate doesn’t ask any questions during an interview (a time when most people are at their most engaging), it stands to reason that they won’t perform well in the day-in, day-out work of conversation.

How to ensure that your background checks are thorough

When hiring a call center employee (whether that person will work remotely or in-office), a thorough background check is key.

That’s why it’s important to work with a knowledgeable, trusted screening provider who can do a deep dive into your prospective employee’s history.

At Eaglescreen, we make it our job to get you the information you need to make the right hire for your business. This means that we won’t just call a reference number twice and close out a file—instead, we’ll continue to follow up until we have all of the information we need to make sure that your call center employees are accurately representing their history and skills.

The good news is that a knowledgeable, trusted provider will both know the regulations and advise you on best practices, saving you time and money.

Call us today

Background checks are both critical and complex. It’s important to conduct them, and employers are also legally and ethically obligated to treat candidates fairly and to comply with a host of rules and regulations governing the process.

If you’d like to talk to one of our experts about how to screen candidates while staying compliant with all federal and state requirements, call us today.

Recent Post

Subscribe Here

Subscribe to The Works for monthly updates and insight on changing hiring laws and background check best practices.

    What Our Customers Say