Today we announced we’re adding 2500 temporary roles to help better serve our customers and play a part in supporting employment in Australia during this unprecedented time. This is on top of the 1000 people we’re already recruiting, as well as other ways we’re mobilising our workforce to support our customer needs.

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A few weeks ago we said we would recruit 1000 temporary contact centre roles across six sites in Australia, including in some regional centres. We knew there would be demand, but we didn’t anticipate having more than 19,000 people apply. This shows there’s plenty of talent in the market and we’ve started to welcome some new team members with more to join us over the coming weeks.

Now, we’ll bring on another 2500 people and in more locations. Some of these roles will be directly employed by Telstra and others by our partners in Australia so we can get people on board as quickly as possible for our customers.

These new jobs will be a mix of contact centre and back of house specialist roles covering a range of activity like customer service, order provisioning and testing, as well as team leaders. In addition to the locations already advertised, we’re also looking for people in Newcastle, Perth and Sydney. But a lot of these roles will be flexible as many of our new recruits will be working from home so we’re absolutely open to having more people in regional Australia.

We’re also reaching out to our Alumni network who have some of the specific technical skills we need at this time, such as network engineering, software engineering, data and analytics.

To help us meet our customer service needs, we’re also redistributing work around our business where we can. For example, many of our stores are quieter than usual as Australians ‘stay home.’ So these teams are helping other customers when they’re quieter by interacting with customers through our digital messaging service, processing digital orders and checking in with our small business customers to see if they need our help with connectivity or service at this challenging time. Similarly, some of our techs are stepping out of the field and into our contact centres.

Using technology to recruit and train new team members

Processing and interviewing 19,000 applicants and making offers to the first group within two weeks has been possible through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the algorithm we’ve programmed specifically for these roles. All candidates complete two steps as part of the process:

  1. Record a video interview based on a series of behavioural questions. Our AI software converts the candidate’s spoken responses to text and reviews all answers against the required skills for these roles.
  2. A game-based cognitive test that measures candidates against the skills needed for the role.

The AI takes the information provided in the video interview and the cognitive skills game and categorises candidates based on an assessment score. Those in the top-tier progress directly to hiring managers for review, without the need to involve a recruiter. While those in the tier below go to a recruiter for further assessment.

This approach allows our hiring managers to review candidates at a time that suits them so they can continue to focus on delivering for our customers at this busy time.

Speed is only one of the benefits we’re realising from AI-aided recruitment. This process assesses the candidates in a standardised fashion, so any bias or subjectivity is removed from the process upfront. We’ve also seen a high satisfaction rate from candidates who prefer the simplicity and flexibility of the new process. They can complete the interview and assessment at a time that suits them, on a device that suits them.

Supporting our customers and the broader community

We want to be there for our customers and keep them connected as we all manage through this global pandemic. Expanding our team is one way we’re doing this, but it will take time for all our new recruits to be on board and fully trained. We appreciate your continued patience as we work to improve our call wait times and better help you with your enquiries.

Creating new jobs in a time where many businesses are standing employees down is an important way we can play our part in ensuring Australia’s economy comes through this pandemic as strongly as possible.