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David Sadler, Thought Leader – “Running A Virtual Recruiting Call & Contact Center”

Posted on August 27, 2007
Filed Under Sourcing Technologies, Technology | 1 Comment

By David Sadler, Recruiting Programs Manager / iRecruit Worldwide Deployment Manager

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In the war for talent it’s a fact that many companies receive candidates they want, have in their database or have a “resume submission” from but don’t ever speak with. It’s a fact that recruiters are very eager to help, and the technology they have been given is eons behind what Call Centers use. It’s also a fact that many CEO’s will say their most important assets are their employees unless their an oil company or a general in an army.

So why are recruiters often so burdened with legacy technology in an underdeveloped ATS market? Why are recruiters given tools that assist HR in the on-boarding process and left with only a bastardized deployment of their ATS’s feature rich recruiting functionality? Why is staffing typically given the smallest budget if the most important asset is their employees? And that the staffing budget is usually a fraction of the R&D budget? Maybe because the success of the investment in R&D is more predictable then the success in staffing?

We can try to adopt supply chain to recruiting to offer some predictability to our industry and offer relief to recruiting… But how do you inventory something where no two “products” (candidates) are the same? Furthermore the shelf life of a candidate is dynamic not only from the candidates situation, and interest; But their viability for their candidacy changes with each conversation. Inversely the situation of each organization changes with each new hire and is equally as dynamic.

In the dynamic environment that we work in the best solution to addressing these issues may be to treat recruiting like a call center and learn from the sales industry; With real-time technology, real-time response to real-time problems. This approach may not be the only way to skin this cat but offers many exciting possibilities to our situation. First and foremost it is important to remember that Companies have invested huge amounts of capital on what happens from the lead to the close in Call Centers and Staffing has the majority of its budgets invested in simply generating leads and on the personnel (recruiters). Learning from Call Centers in what happens in between is most likely the largest benefit for recruiting.

What exactly is a Virtual Call / Contact Centre’?

Is a centralized office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing, clientele, and debt collection are also made. In addition to a call centre, collective handling of letters, faxes, and e-mails at one location is known as a contact centre.

Most major businesses use call centers to interact with their customers. Examples include utility companies, mail order catalogue firms, and customer support for computer hardware and software. Most applicable to recruiting is the huge investment in this area into QED (Quality and Efficiency Driven) model that help identify exactly how to maximum Efficiency though call Quality and Quantity, and since recruiters live or die on the telephone it would seem directly applicable.

The Similarities

There is an almost transparent mapping that exist between call centers and recruiting organizations, particularly from the roles of personnel, and the ease of which the application could be configured. Like Call Centers, recruiting calls are either inbound “candidates calling in” or outbound “recruiter is initiating the call”. Using Call Center queues and call management capabilities a lot of time and efficiency can be realized for recruiters.

In call centers we have Lead Generation Specialist “Sourcers” which are responsible for generating leads and ensuring a strong and steady pipeline of qualified leads “candidates”. Call center agents “recruiters” are responsible for qualify leads, selling the opportunity and expediting the “hand off” of the qualified leads to Account Managers “Hiring Managers”. Call Centers are run by a call center managers “staffing Manager” in our case that manages the entire operational structure. Lastly we have Contact Center Representatives which easily maps to (interview schedulers / staffing administrators) to help facilitate the sales (recruiting) lifecycle from an administration standpoint.
From an Recruitment Ontology perspective we could easily configure any Call Center Application to look and feel more like recruiting. Here is an example of how we could make a Call Center Application look like a Recruiting ATS:

  • Accounts = Targeted Recruiting Companies (Hoovers)
  • Products = Requisitions “what the recruiter is selling”
  • Customers = Hiring Managers
  • Sales Team Members = Interview Team Members
  • Contacts = Candidates
  • Opportunities = Candidates linked to Requisitions
  • Campaigns = Recruiting Campaigns (Targeting specific Companies, Universities or Geographies).
  • The Benefit for Recruiting

    In an environment where recruiters receive research (lead generation) they can easily be overwhelmed with the “needle in a haystack” principle. Progressive dialer technology and Call Blending of inbound and outbound call management could offer some relief. Call Centers have been solving this problem for decades, and if applied to recruiting enable the recruiter to reach unparalled levels of call volume and efficiency: Feeding them the best candidates at the best time in their call queue. To help ensure that the recruiter is not overwhelmed by this volume: Each would use native Call Center queue management functionality to put each call in the context of the conversation. Since different calls could be in regard different positions, Screen Pop & Call scripting technology alongside the Scripted Pitch and Qualification Call Branching presents the opportunity for the recruiter to reach maximum efficiency during maximum volume.

    Call Script Branching in this process would allow the recruiter to quickly identify and assess skill matches based on answers to interview questions in lieu of using traditional legacy skill profiles or “unstructured notes” found in ATS Systems. Utilizing Interview Call Branching lays out a perfect foundation for integrating interviewing methodologies like “Selecting Winners” or “Hire Octane” with interview questions as scripts, that branch based on the answer to each question. Furthermore automatically capturing and storing the interview question outcomes without lengthy data entry procedures. Call Branching could also aid in determining if the candidate would be a better fit for another position based on the line of questioning mid interview, and queue that candidate to the assigned recruiter for that requisition.

    Staffing Managers would have for the first time, the ability to directly aid recruiters by working with sourcing teams in building call queues and funneling massive amounts of leads directly into the recruiters pipeline. Staffing Managers can also identify pipeline lag in real-time from their desktop at home in a virtual environment and choose to generate more leads, increase the quality of the Call Scripts “Interview Questionnaires” or simply choose to generate a Recruiting Campaign and redirect the efforts of the sourcing team in a few click. Additionally Staffing Managers would be armed with the appropriate information to justify better compensation packages for certain positions where the company isn’t competitive or justify additional recruiting headcount to stay in pace with the number of positions and number of pipeline candidates in queue.

    In Summary the most applicable and beneficial aspects of “Running Recruiting like a Virtual Call / Contact Center” are listed as follows:

  • CTI – Would enable recruiters to speak with more of the right candidates by having call queues directly fed to them by Staffing Managers and Sourcing Teams.
  • Pipeline Management – Would enable Staffing Managers and Hiring Manager real-time access into staffing. CFO’s and departmental financial controllers could monitor cost in real-time and create or release positions dynamically.
  • Centralized Contact Center – Would enable Staffing Administrators, Interview Scheduler and Sourcers direct access to the recruiter and hiring managers queue alerting them with screen pops of exceptional candidates or even have the candidate immediately queued a real-time conversation with the recruiter or Hiring Manager.
  • Skills Based Routing – Would enable each applicant / candidate to speak with the appropriate recruiter about the right job and help ensure that every applicant / candidate is expedited ensuring the increasing the overall “Candidate Experience”.
  • Call Scripting – Would enable the recruiter to experience the same level of lead qualification capabilities as the hiring manager. Each candidate could be quickly assessed for a position and if determined not a fit a new line of questioning would ensue to determine which position would be applicable if any with direct electronic collaboration and hand-off to the most skilled recruiter to pursue that opportunity
  • Virtual Call Contact Center – Allows all members of Staffing and Hiring Teams to sit anywhere and share the value of Call Center Technology, Call Queues, VOIP and a single Recruiting Infrastructure.
  • NOTE: David is open to discussing opportunities where he can make a direct and creative impact in a corporate staffing environment. Contact him directly at

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    One Response to “David Sadler, Thought Leader – “Running A Virtual Recruiting Call & Contact Center””

    1. Lawrence on August 29th, 2007 9:07 am

      As a former Contact Center Director for a large bank and internet retailer who is now in the staffing business I found your parallels between staffing and call centers quite intriguing. Keep in mind that you can also employ call center channels such as a robust knowledge base and chat as well as workforce management to ensure you meet targeted service levels. nice article.