The Coming of Age of Frontline Recruiting

Jan 18, 2021Employers & Hiring Managers, News0 comments

The U.S. hires a staggering 66 million people a year – and more than 2/3 of those come from outside the organization. That number swells significantly when speaking about frontline workers – which can amount to almost 75 percent of an organization’s workforce.

And yet, most organizations hire frontline workers the same way as managerial positions. And that is a big mistake. There is a huge opportunity to improve upon this outdated business process and to reengineer to be more efficient and to attract better talent.

Let’s take a step back. 

As businesses become commoditized, the frontline worker must deliver exceptional customer experiences. We’ve all had our fair share of terrible customer experience and of excellent service.

Top and Bottom Lines Impacted

A satisfied customer is worth gold to you. In fact, research says that it is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as the amount of their first purchases.

Clearly, hiring frontline employees with the skills to satisfy your customers is key. What are these skills? 

According to business consultant Andrea Hoffer, there are five key skills:  

  1. Empathy
  2. Authenticity
  3. Motivation
  4. Patience
  5. Flexibility


Further, Hoffer explains that hiring people with these traits not only satisfies your customer – but also “creates a motivated and sustainable environment” that reduces churn and keeps valuable employees. She adds, “Hiring managers should put a greater importance on seeking out these characteristics when deciding which new candidates to hire.”

Keywords Don’t Equate to Key Characteristics

The problem is finding people with these characteristics at scale. Recruiting software for executive and specialty roles use AI to filter keywords. But what works to find a great, say, marketing manager, does a poor job of building your frontline team.

Keyword filtering is the wrong approach for hiring frontline workers. 

Let’s look at Hoffer’s list again – people can use any of these words to describe themselves. Or they can be those words. Trouble is how can you tell from a word whether or not a person possesses these characteristics that are all about perception?

Sure, you can have your HR department review resumes, schedule candidates to come in and meet with hiring managers so they can see for themselves if candidates really smile in an authentic way and are engaging. But if your organization needs to hire hundreds or thousands of people at once, that process doesn’t make sense. The best approach is to reverse the process. 

And bring the hiring manager much earlier into the process.

Seeing Is Being

Candidate video resumes offer a fast and comprehensive screening process; one that is ideal for hiring millennials and Gen Zs. They grew up with a smart phone in their hands and have no trouble posing for a camera. 

You end up being able to see and cull candidates – and review the paperwork later. It’s a process that hiring managers – and job seekers – love.

Here at Wirkn, we don’t hire at the scale of a shopping mall or a call center, but we use this technology to recruit new talent. Camille is our most recent hire and she told me why she loved the process. 


“I hate writing cover letters, and with Wirkn, I didn’t have to do that,” she explains.

“I created a short video, to explain why I was the right candidate for Wirkn. The whole process took less than five minutes to apply. It was easy, and fun!” 

For Wirkn, we were filling a position that would be customer facing. From Camille’s profile video, we could see that she had a friendly presence, took the time to dress professionally, and answered questions with poise. We were able to screen her from dozens of clips in minutes. After that, we brought her in for an interview.  

More importantly – and this is crucial – Camille loved the process. Why does this matter? Applicants are often your future customers. Imagine how turned off by your brand they would be if they took the time to fill out resumes, struggled to write cover letters, and then never received a response. 

If you are hiring for specific positions – a singular specialist, it makes sense to have a department screen for candidates, set up interviews and finally bring the hiring manager into the process.

If you are looking for large volumes of candidates such as contact center representatives, fast-food workers, hospitality or retail associates, then empowering your hiring managers to step up and take charge is the new way of doing business.

Great hiring managers not only know what they are looking for, they can sum people up pretty quickly. Make them step one in the hiring process – and you will have happier managers, happier candidates, and most of all, satisfied customers.