What skills or traits do you look for in your caller interviews? Personally, I like callers with a small chip on their shoulder; who take failure just a little bit to heart and who want to come back on their next call and get a pledge. I want to look over at their calling station after they get a refusal and see traces of frustration- not because they believe they can never get a gift, but because they feel they could have done more on that last call to get the prospect to say yes. These are characteristics of a competitive caller, and I like my phone room to be full of them.
Fundraising is an active profession, not a passive one. It takes students who are sincere and passionate about what they do to be successful. Callers who don’t much care whether they get the gift or not, or who are just happy to move onto the next call without thinking about what they could have done better really shouldn’t have a place in your program. While not everyone you hire will be of a competitive nature, it is important to have a critical mass of these personalities to keep the energy of the calling floor at high levels so that nobody gets too comfortable with being told no.
So who makes a competitive caller and how do you find them? Well, there is no single test you can implement to decide if this person is competitive. But look at their application and resume for clues. Previous sports activities may or may not show the type of competitiveness you seek. Being involved in a ton of activities may just distract your applicant from focusing on their job and cause them to call out more often. Leadership is important, mainly because leaders don’t want to fail in front of everyone. Their pride and reputation is at stake, and they want to make sure they always come out on top- so certainly look for that.