|   India

Revolutionizing people decisions for a global IT-services leader

The client is a leading IT-service provider with 42 global offices and has a digitally empowered workforce of 19,407 employees, collectively working toward solving everyday complexities through smart technological interventions, human creativity and intellect.

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Use Case

Communication assessment using SpeechX and Writing Simulator

What the client achieved

Efficiently assessed 636 candidates across 28 campuses

Upgraded hiring strategies based on holistic insights

Business Challenges

The company needed solutions to meet the following requirements:

  • Hiring candidates who displayed an ideal balance of domain expertise and language proficiency

While domain expertise is key to thriving in any industry, language proficiency acts as a huge benefit, especially in companies dealing with global clients. Hence, it needed a method to assess candidates on both fronts- technical and communicative.

  • Incorporating a seamless communication assessment in its campus hiring process

As a firm also active in the BPO sector, the company continually seeks a workforce that can exhibit exceptional proficiency in the English language. Its colleagues needed to be flawless in their communication skills, considering its global clients and external stakeholders. Hence, the company wanted tools that could help holistically assess candidates during the campus recruitment process. The goal was to test the candidates’ ability to receive, process and share information in English, clearly and concisely.

  • Tools to assess candidates on essential parameters of client communication

As a global company, it sought to build strong teams adept in handling client groups- both Indian and international. It wanted to assess candidates across parameters like intelligibility, grammar and culturally appropriate language. Since the BPO sector is mainly dependent on building a good rapport with clients, the company needed to have a workforce adept at processing information, maintaining the essence of messages and avoiding miscommunication. A holistic assessment of these skills and abilities could help them attract new hires equipped to succeed in their respective job roles.

  • Eliminating the need to train the future workforce in the area of communication

A significant chunk of its existing workforce did not pay close attention to the content of their written communication. Apart from spelling mistakes and the lack of an appropriate format, there were concerns about the articulation and efficiency of business correspondence. Consequently, several of its L&D efforts were directed toward improving email etiquette and language proficiency. Therefore, it wanted to eliminate the need for extensive training, which could happen only when it hired candidates well-versed with the nitty-gritty of oral and written English communication.


Winning the client’s trust


Mercer | Mettl’s association with the client’s campus hiring team stemmed from its ongoing L&D collaboration, focused on the company’s existing employees. The company is unparalleled in technology and innovation domains. Hence, its primary L&D focus was on communications. Mercer| Mettl’s products, such as SpeechX and Essay Writing Simulator, were already incorporated in its long-term employee development strategies. Moreover, Mercer| Mettl customized its solutions to address the company’s specific concerns and challenges seamlessly. Features like remote proctoring, CEFR rating, and customizations further convinced it to widen the scope of employing these tools.


Pleased with the efficacy of Mercer| Mettl’s products, the company came up with the idea of using them for streamlining its hiring processes. Eventually, after thorough planning and modifications, Mercer | Mettl’s SpeechX and Writing Simulator became the foundational filters for candidate selection in the company’s extensive campus hiring flow.


The client’s collaboration with Mercer | Mettl was set in motion after a few trials, customizations and additions to SpeechX. Mercer | Mettl created a complete package of communication skills assessment to measure all attributes like listening, speech and comprehension, writing abilities and reading. Mercer | Mettl’s blended its Essay Writing Simulator with its Communication Test to create an ideal solution for the company’s campus hiring team. Mercer | Mettl replaced the original robotic voice with a freshly recorded human voice to further lend the company comfort with the tool to test listening skills. The audio questions were now easier to interpret because of the human touch.


Holistic evaluation of oral communication skills using SpeechX


Mercer | Mettl employed the AI-powered English speaking assessment technology of SpeechX to comprehensively assess the candidates’ spoken English on parameters like fluency, pronunciation, grammar and listening comprehension. SpeechX is powered by Carnegie Speech’s world-class speech evaluation and recognition technology that ensures a high degree of accuracy in test results. It also enables delving deeper into the sub-parameters of language proficiency, such as intonation, the rate of speech, fact and inference-based understanding, etc.


Besides, SpeechX also offered:

A holistic assessment of all major aspects of communication skills

Unmatched accuracy ensured by AI

Ease of use and administration

Remote proctoring augmented with a portfolio of anti-cheating features

CEFR validation

Assessment of grammar, spelling and punctuation using Writing Simulator


Mercer | Mettl’s Writing Simulator automatically grades and evaluates a candidate’s written piece on grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and more. Mercer | Mettl used the tool to gauge whether the candidates could translate complex information into easy-to-understand written correspondence and if they were able to understand and follow detailed instructions to create accurate content.


Refining the company’s extensive campus hiring process with a series of evaluations


Mercer| Mettl helped the client add a refined structure to its campus hiring process by using SpeechX and Writing Simulator as the basis for pre-employment assessment. In other words, for a candidate to qualify for domain tests, aptitude tests, and the final interview round, they had to clear the first stage of the recruitment process, which was all about communication.


So, its new hiring workflow looked something like this:


Stage 1: Communication assessment using SpeechX and Writing Simulator


Stage 2: Aptitude testing of shortlisted candidates


Stage 3: Domain-specific tests for candidates selected for their expertise in CS and IT, mechanical engineering, electronics and electrical engineering.


Stage 4: Psychometric assessment to measure the candidates’ learning agility who clear all the previous stages. This was not a filtration round but a recommended assessment.


Stage 5: Interviews


This new process enabled the HR managers to shortlist technically sound candidates equally proficient in English communication. Consequently, it helped reduce the burden on the L&D team.


Insightful reports for hiring decisions


Mercer| Mettl’s assessment tools helped the client identify critical errors in sentence correction, sentence reading and impromptu speech. More importantly, the assessment reports offered a detailed overview of trainable errors vis-à-vis non-trainable mistakes. The recruitment team could overcome the critical challenges of conducting mass assessments for customer-facing roles in the BPO industry.


The cut-off points for speaking and writing assessments were kept different to make it easier to understand the current proficiency levels of a candidate in both areas. All of it cumulatively helped the client shortlist candidates based on accurate, factual and analytical data.

The Impact

Mercer | Mettl’s set of products enabled the IT services management company to improve its recruitment processes by augmenting them with contemporary tools. Both platforms’ insightful features helped build a strategy that ensured holistic evaluation of the candidates’ communication skills in the initial phase of campus hiring.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Mercer | Mettl helped the client efficiently assess 636 candidates across 28 campuses across 20 states.
  • An assessment cut-off score of 6 and above enabled the selection of highly agile candidates, with 162 test-takers getting a score above 6.5.
  • 457 test-takers were assessed across major learning dimensions, including depth of learning, speed of learning and variety of learning.
  • The holistic assessment reports allowed Mercer | Mettl to offer extensive recommendations for areas of development for every top candidate, complete with distinct lists of trainable and non-trainable errors.
  • Thus far, Mercer | Mettl has helped the company conduct over 22,000 communication assessments for recruitment, and the numbers would grow with every new hire.

The impact of these assessments and the way they have transformed campus hiring for the company promise a lasting structure to its candidate selection criteria. It has helped it save time and effort by taking the load off its L&D programs. Instead of focusing on communication skills, the L&D managers can take up new and varied areas of learning and development for the workforce.


The Way Forward


Given the immense value added by Mercer | Mettl’s platforms to the client’s campus hiring process, the management plans to continue with these evaluations extensively. They have made it mandatory for candidates to clear both the assessments- speech and writing – to ensure a holistic analysis of communication skills.

Explore the possibilities offered by holistic communication assessments

Mercer | Mettl’s SpeechX and Writing Simulator helped a global IT leader refine its hiring processes

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