How are remote or work from home jobs different than typical brick and mortar positions?

When you are hiring for home agent jobs, you are first hiring for a customer care, support, sales, loyalty, or collections role.  You must first understand if the candidate fits the hiring profile for these jobs.  Then, you must understand if the candidate can perform the job while at home. 

Examples of Core Competencies and skills Required for Success in Home Agent Jobs

Contact center jobs consist of abilities, skills, motivations, and behaviors.  FurstPerson research, based on nearly 3,000 subject matter expert (supervisors, incumbents, trainers, and managers) surveys from 16 countries and five continents, uncovered 15 universal core competencies (see chart below) that are important to success for six of the most common contact center jobs (customer care, inbound sales, technical support, customer retention, collections and outbound sales), regardless of whether the job is performed in a home or traditional office.  These 15 core competencies reflect personal responsibility, effective communication, emotional control, as well as comfort with change, technology, and simultaneous work activities.

Top Skills & Core Competencies Needed for Success in Contact Center Jobs

Core competencies examples for contact center positions

NoteB&M = Brick-and-Mortar contact center environment; W&H = Work-at-Home environment; N/A = no data available.

Job Candidates Must Have the Right Behavioral and Motivational Make-up for Work at Home Positions

These 15 core competencies are important for both brick and mortar and work-at-home jobs.  However, a job candidate that possesses these competencies still needs to also have the right behavioral and motivational make-up for work at home.  The same FurstPerson research also confirmed that autonomy and time management are two competencies that rate as more important for performance in an at-home environment than in a brick and mortar contact center. 

This makes perfect sense, of course.  At-home contact center agents are often working alone, without supervisors and co-workers observing their activities (though their performance is usually monitored remotely). 

Additional Skills Remote Workers Must Have

Several other customer care agent competencies were also rated higher for home agents than for brick and mortar agents:  Perseverance, Multi-tasking and Detail Orientation.  Again, these are all characteristics and skills which one would assume to be important for an at-home agent to be successful in their job. 

Not All Employees Are Cut out for remote Home Agent Jobs

Successful customer care agents working in brick and mortar centers must often share many of the same skills and abilities as agents in home-based environments, but even one differing core competency can make a big impact.  With regard to behavioral competencies in particular, FurstPerson research shows that the most successful customer care agents in both brick-and-mortar and at-home environments are those who demonstrate compliance with rules and policies. 

Skills and Competencies Needed for Brick and Mortar Jobs versus Work at Home Positions

But some key competencies for one environment are not necessarily the same as those for the other environment.  When you are hiring customer care agents for a brick and mortar site, finding candidates who demonstrate accountability and openness to feedback in addition to their other key competencies will likely improve their chances for success in your organization.

In comparison, candidates who show themselves to be more autonomous, detail-oriented and able to manage their time well may outperform other agents in an at-home environment. 

Thus, the most successful agents in any customer care role will be those who demonstrate the key competencies best suited not only to the customer care job itself, but also those best suited to the particular environment in which they will work. 

Finding Agents Who Best “Fit” your Particular Customer Care Role

Taking both factors into account will increase the chances of finding agents who best “fit” your particular customer care role, which can lead to higher overall performance, lower levels of attrition, and a competitive edge in the war for talent. 

Want to learn more about hiring the right agents for the right roles? Download the infographic below, or speak with one of our talent selection specialists