What are the skills required for BPO job roles?
The industry, be it voice or non voice, by its very nature requires a great deal of communication with customers offshore & onshore and hence skills in general abilities such as written English, ability to learn, attention to detail, comfort with numbers and basic maths are desirable and mandatory. Usage of English is also important.
Voice-based processes such as customer service, tech support, tele sales, collections requires a person to be good at spoken English in addition to the general abilities. Whereas the skills required for a non-voice based process such as order processing, financial transaction and medical transcription would require more emphasis on typing skills and quantitative ability rather than spoken English. Function based processes such as payrolls, accounting, legal services also require an additional knowledge of domain skills.
Why are assessments important in this industry?
The forecast for the Indian BPO industry indicates high growth and it is likely to be accompanied by a similar growth in demand for professionals. This accompanied with the fact that each year India generates a graduate output of 3.1 million each year across all disciplines and only one out of every four is deemed employable adds to the criticality of talent crunch.
All companies and segments in the industry will continue to vie for the same pool of employable talent and hence in this context, assessments become all the more important. Assessments are required to sift out the employable from the unemployable and reduce the cost of a bad hire for a company.
While this dearth of talent and competition hurts companies, usage of assessments would seem to add to the problems by rejecting a lot of applicants. But assessments in philosophy are more of a selection tool rather than a rejection tool. Assessments are utilized to identify not just the selectable talent but also the trainable along with identifying parameters on which training is to be imparted. For example, in a typical voice-based test, the evaluation also identifies in which area the candidate has slipped up and provides specific inputs to trainers.
This model when flipped to the candidate side can provide an insightful report for self-improvement, which can be utilized to become job-ready.
What levels are assessments used for?
Assessments are mainly used for hiring at fresher levels i.e. for individuals with 0-2 yrs of experience. It is at that level that hiring happens in large numbers. Lateral hires are relatively in small numbers and are for individuals with 2-5 yrs of work experience.
What are the specific assessments used?
The specific assessments used are General Abilities Test (that comprises verbal ability, numerical ability, attention to detail, learning abilities, numerical ability). Spoken English Test, if its non-voice based.Typing skills is essential and if the job is function or domain (industry) specific, a domain test is also included like knowledge of banking and insurance, medical transcription etc.
Communication or spoken English tests involve the assessment of candidates on parameters like grammar, accent neutrality, voice clarity and fluency . They are tailor-made to suit the requirements of the BPO industry. These parameters define the essence of communication in a front office situation and prove of immense value to recruiters in the BPO space. Most of the tools available in the market test communication skills and only a part of these parameters and are not holistic skill tests. Only a complete assessment by experts can provide scientific tools to evaluate skills according to requirements of the BPO industry.