Illustration of a doctor in an exam room working on a computer

Why this matters:

A dispatcher’s job is far from easy, often filled with stressful calls and long shifts. Before hiring a candidate, you want to make sure they know what the position entails. It’s important that they’ve spent time considering whether they have the necessary qualities to succeed at the job, from strong communication skills to the ability to remain calm under pressure.

What to listen for:

  • Signs that the candidate has thoroughly researched the profession
  • Mention of communication and listening skills, patience, and the ability to handle stressful circumstances 
  • Indication that the candidate has these qualities themself

Why this matters:

These days, dispatchers use much more than a telephone to fulfill their job responsibilities. They often rely on sophisticated dispatching software to work as fast as possible and gather information with greater ease. While the candidate can learn how to use dispatching software on the job, it’s important that they have experience learning new computer programs and can do so quickly.

What to listen for:

  • Proven computer skills that show the candidate can fulfill the responsibilities of the job
  • Familiarity with the specific software your organization uses is a plus
  • Versatility with learning and operating new technologies

Why this matters:

Dispatchers often receive calls from people they can’t understand, whether due to a language barrier or a faulty telephone connection. While this situation is challenging, the dispatcher should know not to simply hang up. You want a candidate who will confront this situation with resilience and determination to find a solution.

What to listen for:

  • Suggestion to use a translation software tool or find a person who can translate the call for them
  • Instinct to check other information that may help them identify the caller
  • Signs that the candidate won’t easily give up

 

Why this matters:

Across numerous industries, dispatchers are the first people to be notified when there’s an emergency. 911 dispatchers are in charge of sending first responders to the scene, while bus dispatchers may need to send out additional drivers due to an accident or road closure. It’s important that the candidate can remain calm during crises to capture all the information they need and to follow protocol.

What to listen for:

  • A logical response to the situation instead of a reactionary one
  • Ability to think through potential courses of action and respond quickly with the best option 
  • Capacity to focus on the task at hand and complete it in a timely manner

Why this matters:

Dispatchers will likely have night shifts when they’re working without a full staff, or time-sensitive emergencies when they won’t have time to run their decisions by a supervisor first. An ideal candidate will have strong decision-making skills, and be able to trust their instincts in unfamiliar situations.

What to listen for:

  • Critical- and forward-thinking skills
  • Trust in their ability to make the right decisions
  • Signs that the candidate has learned from a prior mistake when making decisions without a supervisor

Why this matters:

At the other end of a dispatcher’s phone calls are often distressed people, whether a school administrator frustrated that a certain bus hasn’t arrived to take students home or a person who’s experiencing a house fire. Dispatchers need to have the interpersonal skills necessary to calm people down in order to get enough information to dispatch their services.

What to listen for:

  • Signs that the candidate can distance themself from an emotional caller
  • Ability to empathize and place themself in the other person’s shoes
  • Strong interpersonal skills that allow them to connect with the people on the other side of their calls

Why this matters:

Dispatchers have a stressful job. While they need to be skilled at calming others down, they also need to be able to ease their own nerves in tense situations. It’s important that the candidate has an array of self-care practices and calming techniques in their back pocket for when the stress of the job becomes particularly intense.

What to listen for:

  • Calming practices for dealing with immediate crises, like deep breathing or focusing on their surroundings
  • Healthy coping strategies to ward off long-term stress, from spending time in nature to meditating 
  • Signs that the candidate exercises self-compassion after potential mistakes

Why this matters:

Dispatchers can have a queue of calls waiting for them at any given moment. They may also have to place a caller on hold while they are contacting their team’s services for dispatching or when returning to a more pressing call. Because of multitasking and moving at a fast pace, the candidate should be able to keep a lot of information organized.

What to listen for:

  • Specific strategies for staying organized, like using a notepad or shortcuts and abbreviations while typing
  • Experience switching between several tasks in a short time frame while successfully fulfilling their responsibilities
  • Ability to remain calm amid high call volumes

Why this matters:

As the candidate advances in their career, they may find themself training other new hires or even supervising a team of several people. A stellar candidate with potential for promotion will understand what makes an effective leader and know how to be patient, communicate effectively, and trust and respect their direct reports.

What to listen for:

  • Strong interpersonal skills, including practiced listening and communication skills, that will allow the candidate to form positive relationships with their team members
  • Previous leadership experience in any capacity
  • Mention of the importance of delegating tasks
chatting over desk with laptops and coffee

Contact a sales specialist.

By submitting this form, you agree that we may use the data you provide to contact you with information related to your request/submission and LinkedIn's products and services. If you are a LinkedIn member, you can control the messages you receive from LinkedIn in your settings. If you are a guest, you can unsubscribe from LinkedIn marketing emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the email. Your data will be used subject to LinkedIn's Privacy Policy.