call center

Exposing the 6 Myths of Call Center Sales: The Recruitment Myth

Welcome to the second installment of our series: Exposing the 6 Myths of Call Center Sales. Be sure to check out the first post in this call center training series here.

Myth #2: You can build your call center team by hiring people the same way you always have.

You know how to find great customer service reps. But now, you’re looking for something different. You’re looking for those unique individuals who can do everything a great CSR does, plus sell over the phone

That’s a game-changer. And it means that you’re going to have to reconsider your approach to recruitment. 

At first, you’ll be tempted just to look for people with sales strategy experience. You’ll ask questions such as, “Have you sold anything before” or “Do you enjoy selling?” But even if you get the right answers from your applicants, they still may not be the right people for the job. 


Because candidates with successful outside sales experiences may not be able to repeat that success when their entire customer relationship is tied to a phone call. What’s more, traditional salespeople rarely thrive in the highly-controlled environment of a call center, spending all day, every day, at the same desk.

So what traits are you looking for in a sales/service candidate? It all comes down to fit: career fit, cultural fit, competency fit, and character fit. We call these The Four Cs, and they raise critical questions you must consider before hiring any candidate:


  • Is this really what’s best for the candidate?
  • Does this job really fit the candidate’s career goals, or is it just a paycheck? 
  • Will the candidate feel fulfilled in this role? 
  • Can he sit at a desk all day doing repetitive work?
  • Is this a step forward in her career? 
  • Can he handle 50+ calls a day? 
  • Is the compensation enough to meet her financial obligations? Will he have to commute from a long distance? 


  • Is this really what’s best for your team?
  • Even if this is a good career move for the candidate, will he fit in well with your team? 
  • What is your organizational culture, and how will she handle it? 
  • Will he get along well with co-workers, managers, and customers? 
  • Does she have the right sense of professionalism? 
  • Does his view of customer service reflect yours? 
  • Do you share similar values and sales/service philosophy? 
  • What if the role requires a lot of flexibility, will she respond well to constant changes?


Does the candidate have talent, skills, and knowledge to achieve the desired results? You’re not just looking for someone who can sell; you want someone who can consult with your customers and handle both service and sales. As you’re evaluating competency levels, remember that you can teach new skills and knowledge, but you can’t teach someone how to have natural talent. 

So, hire for talent, then teach skills. It rarely works the other way around. When you build your profile of the ideal candidate, look for these critical talents:

  • Desire to lead vs. simply reacting to the customer’s stated need
  • Versatility vs. responding the same way to every customer
  • Ability to proactively build relationships vs. trying to memorize what to say to enhance customer intimacy
  • Persuasive delivery of a message vs. delivery that sounds bored, monotone, scripted, and/or insincere
  • Sensitivity to subtle customer communications vs. only hearing the spoken words and interpreting them very literally


  • Is this candidate a person of integrity?
  • Does he have the genuine, honest character that your customers expect from a CSR? 
  • Will she communicate a sense of trust and assurance over the phone? 
  • Does he have the necessary work ethic and willingness to learn? 
  • Will his bad attitude or her self-centeredness undermine the harmony of your team? 
  • Does she have the confidence to deal with rejection from difficult customers and the honesty to accept responsibility for her own mistakes? 
  • Does he really reflect and convey the values of your organization? 

Once you have built your profile, you can use every available sales strategy methodology to determine whether the candidate has the necessary characteristics. Just remember that The Four Cs are your target. It doesn’t matter whether you’re conducting simulations, assessments, or standard interviews, you have to keep your target in mind. The methods you use to assess candidates are simply the tools that help you figure out whether the candidate fits your target. So remember, to find the right fit, identify the target first — don’t just depend on the tool. We have seen far too many organizations miss their target simply because it wasn’t clearly defined in the first place.

Interested in learning more about ASLAN’s call center training and sales strategy? You can download the complete ebook “Exposing the 6 Myths of Call Center Sales” here and continue reading. Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to chat, whether it’s about sales and golf analogies (a company favorite) or sales training. 

As Co-founder and CEO, Tom’s primary role is to create content that helps people live, sell, and serve more effectively. Find him on LinkedIn

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