A major catalog sales organization looked to upgrade the hiring process used for its customer contact positions. It wanted to enhance the focus of the process in two areas:
- Assessing the ability to provide outstanding service to its customers, and
- Assessing the ability to increase incremental sales by suggesting additional items or upgrades to customers
Polaris Assessment Systems interviewed job experts to identify the profile of traits associated with success on the contact center jobs. Tests were constructed that contained personality, attitude and aptitude components. See Figure 1 for the range of characteristics addressed by the testing system.
Polaris tests were administered to 148 incumbent CSRs. Statistical analyses verified the strong correlation between test scores and performance on the job. In addition to the relationships with overall performance, the tests also predicted important facets of performance such as attendance and sales results. Figures 2-4 provide examples of the relationships between test and job performance.
A test booklet was constructed that would take most candidates 30-40 minutes to complete. Computerized procedures were developed that scored candidates against the requirements of the customer service jobs and also produced lists of problematic responses to items that could be passed on to interviewers for follow-up questioning. This made for an extremely effective (as well as efficient) interview process.
The test was added to an early stage of the organization’s screening process. Its addition provided an objective way to pass only the most credible candidates on to interviewers. The increased time interviewers could spend with candidates, plus the focused information interviewers had from the testing stage, significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the interview process. The result: significantly improved screening from both the addition of the testing stage and the enhancement of the interview stage.