In our most recent Everything eCommerce podcast with Jeremy Wilson of Practicology, we touched on the importance of hiring on an attitude and aptitude basis and skilling up from there in order to keep the company culture as it should be. Jeremy explained to us what he sees as the fundamentals of growing your eCommerce business online, which are ‘people, structures and systems’. We discussed ‘systems’ in our last blog post, so let’s dive into the people aspect today.
Look at a brand like Gymshark. A hugely successful business which has experienced massive amounts of growth in the last few years, because they got their people right from the outset. CEO Ben Francis made sure that with every employee, he created a community, not just workers, but people who would grow alongside the business. Gymshark mainly achieved this through influencer marketing, but hiring employees in your business is just like this, you need to get it right so you can grow together.
Disney is another great example of this, in particular, the employees who work at the theme parks. You don’t go through life specifically learning how to be Cinderella, but you may have the natural spark and personality to become her while at work. Disney employees go through a lengthy recruitment process, during which their personalities and inbuilt talent are assessed. Spending hours a day smiling, in character and taking photos with children is definitely not the role for everyone, but by employing the people who already have natural flair and energy, Disney is able to teach the skills from there and create an iconic employee base. Disney also extends this to its more ‘behind the scenes’ employees. Aptitude is taken into account, but ultimately you need to fit into the Disney family.
This isn’t to say that you should employ anyone regardless of skillset, it’s just about having the eye to see potential in someone who needs a little training, but is perfect for your brand. Aptitude is extremely important when hiring a new employee, and you need to make sure they have the fundamental basics in order to flourish in your business. Think about what can be taught and what can’t; learning how to work a machine can be learnt, inherent creativity can’t necessarily be taught. Often businesses will have aptitude tests to gauge whether the applicant is right for the job. Depending on what the role is, this could be testing their vocational skills, or it could be academic testing. Working out the starting point of their current skill level gives you the perfect starting point when looking at where to start training them once they’re hired.
Our Recruitment Process
At The Chat Shop, we’ve always believed in an aptitude and attitude approaching to hiring, and we have a lengthy recruitment process with around 800 applications per week, and only 1% going through to get a job.
Firstly, anyone who is wishing to be a chat agent must fill out an application with their CV, typing tests, and some other basic starting questions. We look at aptitude at this point, we’re looking for the basic necessities such as good spelling, grammar, internet speed and get an overall feel for the applicant.
After those pre-interview questions, we start digging into the applicant’s personality a little more, this is where attitude comes into play. The interviews are friendly, with questions about their background, why they want to work here and how they react to certain situations, such as a difficult or busy time on chat.
We then move onto a second stage where they are assessed using a mock client, this is where aptitude and attitude tie together. We look at their ability to use information, but also their engagement and personality – we need to see if the applicant can do more than copy and paste.
For the third and final stage, our prospective agents do a sales and aptitude test. This is where we can really see the attitudes coming out and what the working situation is like for that person. At this stage, we also look at the availability and hours that would work for the agent, and if this goes well, they are hired.
This may sound like a lot for a live chat agent job, but at The Chat Shop, we offer a premium service and need to make sure we only hire the best agents possible. Through this interview process, it really gives us a feel for both the aptitude and attitude of the applicant, and we can see whether they would be a good fit for us. As Jeremy reiterated, you need to get the people right, and hiring on an aptitude and attitude basis is a perfect way to do this.
Read more about our chat agents here.
Watch the full episode with Jeremy Wilson here.