Finding the right employee: Experience or adaptability?

Posted in Best Practices and tagged

Attractive business woman

Think about your perfect employee for a second. Visualize them: the face of Giselle Bundchen with the brains of Hilary Clinton, or maybe the build of Thor with Albert Einstein’s grey matter. Surely there’s more to a good employee than just being really, really, ridiculously good-looking?

There is! It sounds outrageous, but some people (like “scientists”) are actually suggesting that you should look for employees who are dedicated and hardworking team players. Where these “scientists” disagree, however, is when they start talking about experience and adaptability.

Team experience: Some people think the most important trait in a prospective employee is experience; you need to have people who know what they’re doing and have a familiarity with the type of work your company does.

Team adaptability: Others think that adaptability is better; all you need is smart employees who are good at thinking on their feet and can respond to new situations.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Ideally, you’d have experienced employees who are adaptable. So, if you have to choose, how do you decide between the two?

To help answer this question, let’s look at Specialty Answering Service as an example.

The candidates.

Mick and Keith come into our office one day and are looking to start work immediately.

Mick’s Bio: Mick is fresh out of college, he’s had experience working in customer service, but he’s never worked as a call center agent.

Keith’s Bio: Keith, on the other hand, is a seasoned veteran. He’s worked at countless call centers, and he knows the ropes of most of the technology we currently use.

Keith requires little to no training, while Mick could probably benefit from shadowing another employee for a few days. Keith is set in his ways and has his system down to a precise routine, while Mick is ready to try the latest stuff.

The facts.

Call center technology is changing at a rapid pace. We are constantly instituting new systems, and have recently shifted to hosting of all our calls on the cloud. Our services have expanded to include much more than simple call forwarding and message taking. We now schedule meetings, handle customer service and IT, make outgoing sales, and process incoming orders.

Our business is constantly adapting to serve our customers’ needs.

The verdict.

We want employees who can adapt as much as our company does. Mick is the clear winner here. While he may not know how all of our current systems work, he can roll with the punches as things change. In the long run, we’re going to save ourselves time and money by having employees who can adapt to any situation, and handle the fluctuating nature of our business.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours to make. You know best what your company needs and which employees can best fill that need. For us, we need people who can respond to our customers and respond to the changes in our industry. We need people who can switch gears on the fly, and consistently perform with excellence no matter what the task may be. What’s most important for your business?

14 days of free service awaits!


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Specialty Answering Service is a leading call center company, helping fast-growing businesses close sales and deliver amazing live customer support 24 hours a day. SAS' friendly virtual receptionists and customized call handling create an outstanding virtual office experience. There are thousands of small businesses already using our services. Try SAS for free today.

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