Implementing Effective Onboarding Strategies in Your Interpretation Services Center
How do you address a growing need for an improvement in hiring, training and retaining excellent Contact Center Agents? DATAMARK responds to the challenge by creating an intense Recruiting and Retention Program to deliver a large number of high-quality candidates.
Background: A Growing Need for Improvement in Hiring, Training and Retaining Good Employees
In recent years, more and more companies have been struggling to hire and keep good employees. From McDonald’s to Apple, there has been a shortage in labor both pre-COVID and post-COVID. DATAMARK has had a share of hiring struggles, as well. However, DATAMARK has cultivated a very effective strategy for recruiting and hiring great people at a corporate level and within the contact centers. Here at DATAMARK, employees stay with the company for many years and even recommend others to apply. It is a goal for DATAMARK to lower attrition rates as much as possible.
Challenge: Overcome Hiring Obstacles and Attract Quality Candidates
DATAMARK’s many clients often need to hire more than 150 agents for their contact center needs. With today’s current climate, hiring so many agents at a time can be difficult. It can be tough if one does not use the proper channels to attract potential employees. The days of advertising positions through television advertisements and newspapers are long gone. It is a challenge in itself to change how one approaches the hiring process.
While DATAMARK employs more than 3,000 people worldwide, it has been a challenge to get there. DATAMARK has facilities in Mexico, India and the United States. Each location comes with its own set of challenges. For example, DATAMARK in Mexico has had issues with hiring quality interpreters, and DATAMARK in the United States has issues with local residents knowing DATAMARK exists as a company. These issues can make it challenging to meet the quotas set by clients.
Another big challenge is that DATAMARK and other companies are constantly learning how to wisely advertise to the different types of employees needed efficiently. Another challenge within this realm is showcasing company culture, so people are more likely to apply to your company. It can be hard to demonstrate your company culture without the right outlets. Every company should be able to be open and honest about how they operate as a company and how they treat their employees.
Solution: Use Various Methods to Modernize the Approach to Recruitment
DATAMARK has solved many of the issues mentioned above in recent years. The current hiring process has provided us with more than enough employees to run each location efficiently. Depending on the facility’s location, DATAMARK uses various channels to connect with potential employees. Social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram work great in the United States and occasionally Mexico, depending on the role. Referral programs or job fairs are more efficient in India and Mexico locations.
By modernizing the approach to recruitment, DATAMARK has been able to see a large increase in applicants. While they may not always have all the requirements, there is a large pool of applicants to search through for the best talent available. For hiring purposes, DATAMARK no longer advertises through newspapers or commercials on television. DATAMARK now utilizes social media channels, word of mouth, online job boards and community events to find local talent.
One of DATAMARK Mexico’s strategies is to host an event at local schools. They do this because many of the students are bilingual to attend these schools. The United States uses a similar strategy at local universities with job fairs and other events, but students in the United States often don’t need to be bilingual to enroll. There may be an extra step in recruiting to find those who speak more than one language. This helps us find people with the most crucial language requirement easily. The offices in El Paso have found success in working with local news channels to reach more people and promote recognition. It is important to have local residents be aware of your company and the roles offered.
Using DATAMARK’s Business Process Management System (BPMS), the team documented each step of the workflow, identifying and removing steps that did not add value. Then we apply Lean Six Sigma and other methodologies to reduce variations in output quality. DATAMARK’s experts worked with the client to understand the pain points in the process and developed a training system to ensure the high quality of output by data entry keyers.
Valuing Your Employees
DATAMARK strives to run a company that values its employees in all areas. Companies should want to ensure that corporate employees, agents, and clients are all well cared for. DATAMARK offers many benefits, including insurance, PTO, retirement options, and extensive upward mobility within the company. These incentives are great for attracting applicants to open positions.
In addition, DATAMARK’s tried and true hiring process allows us to hire the numbers clients need to run their contracted contact center. We go through many steps to ensure we select the best applicants. Let’s take a look at the three stages of the hiring process:
The first step to the hiring process involves sourcing the position. To begin, the recruitment department needs to define the position they are looking to hire for and create a job description. After, they decide where to place the ads and which search engines to use.
Each job has its own unique requirements. For example, DATAMARK Mexico requires all its agents to be bilingual. Our language and interpretation services are vital to many clients. They must also be of a certain age (depending on the country) and live in a certain region. Mexico often receives 2,700 applicants, but after the entire selection process, only 21 out of 2,700 will be considered for hire. This is unlike the 95.3 percent of language service companies who are often times self-employed and self-managed.
DATAMARK goes through the extensive process of screening and testing all of its incoming applicants to see if their language and service skills are up to DATAMARK’s standards of quality. It is important to keep this in mind when outsourcing your language services due to the fact that these interpreters are often times handling highly sensitive information and need to be properly trained to take on these kinds of situations. The number of applications that DATAMARK goes through, the time that is spent testing and training these agents is proof that DATAMARK takes the time to find the right qualified candidates, who are capable of handling sensitive needs with linguistic clarity, empathy and full understanding.
The next step in the hiring process is the initial recruitment of candidates. After reviewing the applications, DATAMARK begins to screen those applicants who seem to be the right candidate for the position. After a couple of initial tests and further qualifying/disqualifying candidates, they are ready for the next step. Candidates that have been green-lighted to go on to the next step are then verified to make sure they have the language and other qualifications; the candidate’s information is sent to an actual recruiter to conduct a second interview. The recruiter evaluates linguistic skills, experience and overall qualifications for the position. After reviewing the candidate, they will move on to the next stage.
Language tests include a bilingual fluency assessment, written & comprehension quiz, audio interview/test and a basic interpretation assignment. These extensive tests and interviews help DATAMARK find the best candidates with the most language qualifications for clients in need of bilingual or multilingual agents.
DATAMARK recruiters and trainers undergo strenuous training and have many qualifications to find and hire the best candidates. Recruiters and testers must have the following:
- Bachelor’s degree
- English Level – C1/C2 (IELTS – 7.0-9.0) or (TOEFL 110-120)
- English Proficiency (first/second language)
- English Teaching Experience is preferred
- TTT Program Completion
- 40-hour Certification Interpreter Training
- 120-hour over-the-phone Interpreting Experience/VRI
It is the recruiters’ job to find the best possible candidates for the job. Each candidate must fit the expectations set by DATAMARK’S many clients. If they are lacking in any area, the recruiters do not move along with the hiring process. Each office sets its standards according to each client, and it will always actively search for the best talent.
The final step of the hiring process is onboarding. DATAMARK’s recruiters are highly selective throughout the entire hiring process. The United States can often get up to 500-600 applicants when they advertise, but only one out of 10 candidates are chosen to be hired. Similarly, DATAMARK Mexico may receive hundreds of applications, but only those who fit entirely within DATAMARK’s criteria are fully hired.
DATAMARK uses the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale to determine language fluency during the onboarding process. The ILR is is one of the language proficiency scales used to determine one’s primary English skills, using a scale from 0-5. Candidates must be on the high end of the scale in order to move forward.
Once hired, the onboarding strategies begin. First, recruiters collect all necessary paperwork and ensure candidates are legally allowed to work. Candidates begin their extensive training on the first day of work and ensure all agents prepare to start their jobs. There are various trainings and assessments each agent must pass to begin their assignment.
Results: Intense Hiring Strategies Lead to the Best Choice of Candidates
Due to DATAMARK’s intense hiring strategies, DATAMARK has agents that clients can trust for years to come and can easily receive hundreds of applications when needed. The reputation DATAMARK offices have attained allows recruiters to have the best choice of candidates. The employee retention rate continues to rise due to the positive changes DATAMARK has made within the company.
Not only can DATAMARK retain employees, but they are also able to retain clients for just as long. When the recruitment department hires quality agents for clients, they are more likely to continue renewing contracts. A great example of this is DATAMARK’s relationship with one of the leading over-the-phone interpreting companies. DATAMARK has worked with this company for many years, and both parties continue to deepen the relationship to this day.
Here at DATAMARK, the hope is to continue this process of hiring the best talent for clients. DATAMARK wants to continue developing its reputation as a contact center, call center or BPO that companies can trust with their clients.
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