Becoming the ideal candidate

INTERVIEW WITH VINCENT RONDEAU, IN CHARGE OF RECRUITING FOR THE VIDÉOTRON CALL CENTRE:

“THE IDEAL CANDIDATE”

Vincent Rondeau is in charge of recruiting for the Vidéotron call centres. On a daily basis, this human resources professional is in contact with many candidates. For those of you who are thinking about applying, he agreed to explain his methods and criteria to us.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN YOUR RECRUITING PROCESS?

I get online CVs for the various jobs to be filled—customer service, technical support and installation service technician. They are put into a database and as required, I contact those candidates whose CVs are relevant, and talk to them on the phone. I find out about their customer approach, quiz them on their problem-solving skills and find out about their experience and background. This comprises the initial screening.

After this first contact, the pre-selected candidates are called in for a one-hour written test. Customer technical support representatives are asked technical computer- and network-related questions. Questions for customer service advisors are more about having common sense, because the job is about having an effective customer approach in the situations described. A benchmark has been set, and we consider the test as successful starting with 60% right answers. 

The last stage of recruiting is a face-to-face interview with a manager, who determines whether the candidate has the required qualities to become part of the team. He or she makes the final decision. If we hire the candidate, he or she will be trained as soon as he/she starts work.

WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN CHOOSING A CANDIDATE?

What matters most is how the person uses his or her knowledge. We prefer someone who is not necessarily very knowledgeable, but who has interpersonal skills and knows how to sell him or herself, rather than the reverse. We value people skills over know-how. In customer service, people skills are linked to experience— the ability to persuade is acquired over time.

WHAT KIND OF PROFILE DO YOU PREFER FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE? 

We like candidates with a few years of experience under their belt, ideally in the same sector of activity as the one that is being applied for, and of course, in a call centre. It’s clear that having worked with similar products and procedures is an asset. Sales experience with targets is also a plus. As well, we like candidates who have worked for the same company for a while; constant job-hoppers are not a good fit for us. And on the other hand, education is not that important.

WHAT ABOUT FOR TECHNICAL SUPPORT?

One can say that the above is the reverse for technical support candidates. Experience plays a lesser role, and we pay more attention to the candidate’s education. In computers, for example, you need knowledge to provide technical support. Overall, we’re looking for people with interpersonal skills, who are loyal, stable, reliable, have good attendance and who can communicate with customers.

DO CANDIDATES HAVE TO BE FLUENT IN SEVERAL LANGUAGES?

It’s very simple. . . Since our calls our inbound, we ask for candidates to be perfectly bilingual; they have to be able to take calls in French as well as in English. 

WHAT DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN YOU READ A CV?

We read the entire CV: experience, education, skills and language level. We know that some people are better at page layout than others, so we don’t pay too much attention to that.

DO YOU READ THE COVER LETTERS?

We get so many applications that we don’t always have the time to read the letters. We look strictly at the position the person is applying for, and his/her interest in the job and the company. For us, the CV has much more importance than the cover letter.

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