If you don't mind the idea of phone work from home but would prefer not to do customer service or sales, you might consider becoming an interviewer. I've been coming across a lot of different companies lately that hire home-based interviewers. While this is outbound calling, you may not be quite as likely to irritate the people you call because you aren't trying to sell anything. Instead, you're just gathering information. The type of information you're gathering will depend on the company you work for and what type of business they are in.
There are several different companies you can apply with to become an interviewer. Below I've provided the name, website link, and some brief information about each company:
As a phone interviewer for Apptical, you are contacting people who have signed up for insurance, asking about medical histories and things like that. The people you call should usually be expecting you to contact them with the questions, so there won't likely be as many irritated people on the other end of the line. No rate of pay is listed and this info is hard to find as Apptical employees must sign an NDA promising not to reveal that info. There are apparently opportunities to work either full- or part-time and you will need a land line phone. There are also a lot of inbound calls where you talk to insurance agents.
ORC International regularly hires home-based telephone research interviewers to conduct interviews for many different Fortune 500 companies. The pay is on the low side at $8.75 per hour, but the website claims the work is flexible and that there are many different shifts available. The work at home position is not always open, but you can keep tabs on the careers page to see when it is.
Westat occasionally has openings for home-based data collectors. This is outbound calling where you conduct surveys on things like education, the environment, health, and transportation. Right now I am only seeing bilingual (English/Vietnamese and English/Korean) positions available, but keep tabs on this because they do sometimes have openings that do not require you to be bilingual. You can work between 15 and 40 hours per week and you do need a land line phone. Rate of pay is not listed on the website, but I've read that it's around $8.25 per hour for people who are not bilingual and over $10 for people who are bilingual.
Advanis is almost always hiring telephone research interviewers. Note that this company is based out of Canada and appears to hire only Canadians. You would be conducting market research. The training is fully paid. A land line phone and quiet working environment are required. Unfortunately they do not list rate of pay or hours required on their website other than to say everything is flexible.
Ipsos is yet another company to consider if you'd like to conduct market research interviews from home. Unfortunately they are usually only hiring in Ohio or Kentucky. I don't think I've ever seen any openings outside of those locations. The people you are calling have already signed up with the Ipsos company and have agreed to be called with survey questions, so hopefully that would cut down some on hang-ups, etc. Training time is fully paid and you start out at $8 with potential to work up to over $11 hourly. Hours per week range between 15 and 35.
This company seems to often be hiring work from home research interviewers. It's US only and pay ranges from $7.25 to $8 an hour. This appears to be part-time work because Maritz won't let you work more than 25 hours per week, with a minimum amount of 20 hours per week. No land line is needed.
People Calling People
People Calling People does primarily political polling, so you'll usually find that they are not actively hiring except for around election time. The polling projects are also temporary — you'll usually only get to do them for a couple of weeks. All calls follow a script and will be dialed automatically through your computer, so no land line is needed. Pay is $8 an hour and shifts are 3-4 hours long.
Go here for more information and to check for openings or here to read my review of People Calling People.
Quest Diagnostics is occasionally hiring work from home tele-interviewers to gather data from patients. This is a location-based position because you must train for the job onsite for 6-8 weeks prior to working from home. For this reason, you must reside within commuting distance of their Lees Summit or St. Louis locations. Rate of pay is not listed and it appears they have full- and part-time positions available. To find this position, you have to do a search for “Teleinterviewer” on the Quest Diagnostics job search page.
The Center for Client Retention
Update 4/22/16 – This company no longer hires home-based workers.
The Center for Client Retention hires people to work from home conducting surveys with consumers and business professionals. This is a flexible, independent contractor position where you can make your own hours. The rate of pay is not listed on the website, but it does say that you need a bachelor's degree or higher to be considered for the work. You also will need a land line phone. Go here for more info and to apply or read my full review of the company here.
Vocalabs specializes in customer satisfaction surveys. You can work from home and conduct these surveys. They are short (usually five minutes or less) and you are paid $2.50 for each completed survey. Vocalabs pays weekly with Paypal. Keep in mind you will need a land line, corded phone and high-speed internet as well as a quiet background for working. This is a flexible job so you can work anytime during the day or evening hours.
Another Resource For Finding Home-Based Interviewer Jobs
You can visit FlexJobs, one of the most reputable work at home/flexible job search sites on the web and find several more leads. They post hundreds of home-based jobs in all sorts of categories 5-6 times per week, and they are one of the only job search sites on the web that is able to guarantee no scams will be posted, so you can feel safe applying for pretty much anything you find there. This is the main reason why I love their service!
It's $15 a month and you can cancel it at any time, or get your money back if you're not satisfied after becoming a member. Go here to see a preview of some companies are hiring remote interviewers on FlexJobs.
Good luck with whatever you decide to pursue!