Top Menu

I was reading your article on the 14 best practices for managing remote agents. I have the following question – which is the best assessment for determining if an agent is a self starter?

I was reading your article on the 14 best practices for managing remote agents. I have the following question – which is the best assessment for determining if an agent is a self starter?

6/14/2007
  Printer Friendly Format

Question
I was reading your article on the 14 best practices for managing remote agents. I have the following question – which is the best assessment for determining if an agent is a self starter?

Answer
It’s important to first define the skills that you expect from a “self-starter.” In terms of at-home or remote agents, I would define a self starter as an individual with the ability to work independently, to self-manage and self-motivate, to anticipate needs or issues, and to use all available resources to overcome obstacles or problems before seeking assistance.

During the hiring process, there are a number of ways to evaluate if a job applicant has the potential to perform as a self-starter:

    1. Past experience is an excellent indicator of future performance. Carefully review the applicant’s resume to determine if he/she has any prior experience working remotely, working with minimal supervision or with a remote supervisor, or independently on projects.
    2. Create behavior-based interview questions to solicit specific examples that clearly demonstrate the applicant’s initiative or past experience. Some examples of relevant questions are:
      • From your prior experience, please tell me about a time when you were assigned a project and you had minimal experience or knowledge in the area. What approach did you take? What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome these challenges?
      • Please provide an example of a job situation when you anticipated an upcoming issue or need. How did you recognize the issue or need? What steps did you take to prepare to resolve it?
      • Please provide an example of a time when you worked with minimal supervision, or with a remote supervisor/manager. How did this make you feel? What challenges did you encounter? How did you resolve these issues?
    3. Depending on the structure of the program, remote agents are often solely responsible for creating an at-home office that meets all company-defined specifications. This includes purchasing the phone and phone service, computer and ISP service, as well as installation, maintenance and technical support.
    4. Use online skill-based hiring tools that include an assessment or profile of behavioral traits. In addition to evaluating the candidate’s ability to perform as a self-starter, the assessment can provide insights on many other proficiencies that are critical for agents. These include the applicant’s aptitude for customer service, the willingness and ability to take ownership and resolve customer problems, and the overall alignment of the candidate’s ability with the skills needed to perform the function.

> Return to the Q&A Index

,