Hire the best, not the closest

Hear from Fonality CMO Jeff Valentine as he discusses how office technology, including business phone systems, enables companies to break free of physical locations to hire the right person for the job.

When you ask most companies about what they look for when recruiting new employees, they’ll list lots of important characteristics they look for, like:

  • Team players
  • Smart, analytical
  • A good culture fit (it’s all about the passion!)
  • Someone who thinks outside the box

Physical location probably won't make the list, but they are usually looking for someone in a particular geographical area. Right? Maybe – but maybe not in the future.

In my utopian worldview, I think about filling a job opening with the perfect new hire. The one that has excelled in a similar role before, that knows exactly what it takes to get it done but is always learning new ways from the rest of the team, and that has the right balance of “big picture” with “getting stuff done.” So let me challenge you: if you had a crystal ball and knew that a certain candidate was going to do exactly what you were hiring them to do and then some, would you hire them to work from home rather than where your office was located? Would you hire them despite their physical location?

It’s hard even when you know, and that much harder when you aren’t a skilled fortuneteller. At Fonality, we face this almost daily. Let me tell you how we decide.

Finish_Line

Sometimes, we are able to find the perfect employee locally, and it’s worth trying. There’s a certain office dynamic that comes from physical colocation, and you might get lucky. So we advertise jobs locally, and interview more candidates when they are close to one of our 5 office locations. Sometimes, we find someone (usually through personal networks and referrals) that isn’t local to one of our offices, and in those cases we usually interview anyway. And we make hires that are both local to our offices and remote.

In fact, at Fonality, the entire executive team is distributed. Our CEO lives in Seattle; I’m in Rochester, New York; our CFO is in Washington, D.C.; our CTO is in Los Angeles; and our SVP Sales is in Oklahoma.

Thankfully, we also “drink our own champagne.” We use the very technology we sell to other businesses to help run our own. This is where “unified communications” comes in – the next generation of business phone systems that don’t just help you make/receive phone calls but also help companies see employee presence, chat between staff, share files, run conference calls, host video meetings, share screens, and manage call centers.

At Fonality, this all comes to life via HUD, or Heads Up Display. I don’t think most of us would know how to run the business without it.

What’s more, if you have a call center, your life may be both easier and more difficult depending on the technology you’re using. Consider when you hire a remote call center employee or build your contact center across more than one office location. You have to give them the technology they need to communicate with customers, but you also have to make them part of your normal business process. At Fonality, our call center features are built for distributed teams. Our sales and service managers can set up a call queue (also known as an ACD, or Automatic Call Distributor) across multiple locations.  They can view real time presence, queue stats, and even barge, monitor, or whisper with staff regardless of where they’re sitting.

Today, it seems that many companies have embraced a remote and distributed workforce for business continuity – that’s good, sure. But why stop there? Once you invest in cloud-based phone system, you can use it whether there’s a snowstorm keeping a location from opening or as the normal course of business. And if you do, you might find one less barrier to hiring the best, not the closest, in your business as well.


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