Typical Roles at a Call Center

A call center has a clear hierarchy of employees from individual call center agents up to the general manager.

Call center agents are your employees at the front lines of customer service, placing or answering phone calls. Supervisors lead a small team of agents, sometimes for a specific project. They manage the team’s performance and are the primary link between management and individual agents. The manager oversees the business as a whole, working closely with the supervisors to manage agents’ performance and quality of service. The manager also leads marketing efforts and is in charge or acquiring new business contracts and managing office logistics.

General Manager

The manager leads the call center, acquiring new business, managing employees, and determining the business’s overall direction in a competitive market.

Typical Salary: $62,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Employee and budget management
  • Acquiring new business contracts
  • Marketing and logistics

Who to Look For:

  • Degree or experience in management
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the call center industry
  • May be the owner


A supervisor leads a team of call center agents on a specific project. They report to the overall manager.

Typical Salary: $42,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Leading a team of agents
  • Setting and reviewing performance targets
  • May be involved in the hiring of new agents.

Who to Look For:

  • Leadership
  • Salesmanship
  • Strong multitasker
  • Technical skills a plus

Call Center Agent

Call center representatives place and receive calls at the business. Pay varies by the market and type of projects they’ll work on.

Typical Salary: $13

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Making and receiving phone calls for a variety of projects
  • Problem solving customer issues

Who to Look For:

  • Customer service experience
  • Polite and courteous

Call Center Hiring Tips

Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

An Erlang calculator is a quick tool used to calculate how many call center employees you should hire. It calculates a number of agents based on the expected call volume and the level of service you want to provide (i.e., 80% of calls answered within 1 minute).

Call center agents require a wide range of skills to be effective employees. They must be courteous and polite while talking to any customers. They’ll need to be strong multi-taskers who can handle talking to customers, researching a solution, and taking notes for a call-logging program, all at the same time. Problem-solving skills are invaluable: many of your agent’s jobs will involve finding solutions to customer problems within a few minutes and with minimal information.

Attrition is a common problem for call centers. Some possible ways to retain agents are to make work-life balance easier to achieve, and to give employees a sense of progression. Communication is a frequently-neglected tool that can also be very useful.

To help employees achieve a better work-life balance, consider adopting partly flexible schedules, or making shift-swapping easier among employees. Giving employees more control over their schedules allows them to better handle personal and family matters, improving overall job satisfaction.

A sense of progression can keep the job interesting and motivate employees to succeed. Consider holding skill development classes for your employees: these serve the dual purpose of improving their skills at the job and providing a sense of accomplishment and advancement. Always look to promote internally: employees are much more likely to push themselves to succeed if they know hard work will be rewarded.

One of the biggest drivers of call center turnover is disengagement. Employees don’t feel a connection to the company, their manager, or their coworkers. Communication is the simple answer to this problem: schedule meetings with your employees to better understand how they feel about projects or policies and in general strive to encourage open, honest communication. Good communication can let you spot an unhappy employee before they decide to leave, and allow you to come up with ways to improve the work atmosphere for all of your employees.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

Call center agents are usually recruited through advertisements and online job postings. Consider posting ads on facebook or online job boards that highlight your call center’s perks. Ensure these postings highlight the specific qualities that you’re looking for, whether that’s salesmanship or knowledge of a second language, for example.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

Nonetheless, it is natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most call centers look for agents who are:

  • Problem solvers
  • Detail-oriented
  • Polite and courteous
  • Customer-focused
  • Salesmanship

Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  • How do you handle working under stress? (look for techniques and specific steps they take)
  • What does good customer service mean to you?

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll

Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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