Four Qualities to Look for when Hiring a Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter ExpertEvery call center organization faces its share of challenges, but it’s how those challenges are met that separates the winners from the losers.

But what if your call center is confronted with a seemingly insurmountable challenge in a specific area of its business operations?

Who are you going to call?

A subject matter expert!

The job title itself should be self-explanatory.

The point is, there comes a time when a call center organization, or any organization for that matter, needs the help of someone with a highly specialized knowledge to take care of things.

A subject matter expert, however, is not just your go-to-authority for resolving complex issues, they can also be relied on to make sure that every cog in the machine is doing what’s it supposed to do.

Hiring a subject matter expert for each area of your organization’s business processes is always a smart investment. You better hire the good ones, though, if you want your investment to pay off.

Here are critical qualities to look for when hiring a subject matter expert.

1. Intelligence

This one’s stating the obvious, but it can’t be emphasized enough.

Keep in mind, though, that intelligence is not exactly synonymous with expertise. Expertise, of course, is important, but that alone doesn’t cut it if you want an SME who can make a difference.

For starters, a subject matter expert needs to have great analytical skills to ensure that his highly specialized knowledge is being put to good use.

An SME for cybersecurity, for example, may have to gather inputs and then develop policy reports that are in line with the company’s vision. It takes someone with an analytical mind to pull that off.

Furthermore, an SME needs to be an innovative thinker. When complex issues that require unique solutions arise, a subject matter expert can be called upon to find and execute those solutions.

2. Knowledgeable about their area of expertise

Before you hire a subject matter expert, you need to know for sure if the candidate knows her trade. Otherwise, what’s the point?

You need to hire SMEs who have undergone extensive education and rigorous training to be an expert in their chosen field. In short, an SME needs to be an authority on her area of expertise.

So make sure that candidates are screened extensively. Check on their educational background, work experience, and professional competencies. Ask questions relevant to their area of expertise and prioritize those who can to deliver insightful answers.

3. Passionate about their work

We live in a brave new world where industries change at an accelerated pace.

This can only mean one thing: subject matter experts who aren’t passionate about their jobs are more likely to be left in the dust.

On the other hand, SME’s who are committed to lifelong learning are more capable of overcoming new and unique challenges as they come. They’re always open to new challenges, thus helping the organization stay ahead of the curve within the industry.

4. Personable

Social skills are critical qualities you need to look for when hiring a subject matter expert.

For one, it is part of the SME’s responsibility to communicate his expertise to designated persons within the organization in a clear manner. In many cases, subject matter experts are called upon to impart their knowledge in a classroom setting.

Moreover, SMEs have to identify and address issues for the good of the organization. If they are unable to communicate their solutions and insights effectively, confusion may ensue, and progress will be slow.

Key Takeaway

Subject matter experts play an important role in a call center organization, and you’ll be doing your company a big favor by hiring the right ones. Specialized knowledge is a valuable asset in any industry.

If your candidate ticks all the right boxes, your company has nowhere to go but up.