Check your BPO strength with SkillTrac

Monday, 28 October 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: Youngsters flocking to join business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in India can now test where their skills lie -- in voice-based operations or back office work.

That's thanks to SkillTrac, a program to test in which area BPO hopefuls should hone their talent and which promises to help companies in the recruitment process.

The Indian call center industry has been facing difficulties in finding voice-based talent, with fewer graduates lining up for walk-in interviews. Also, because of quality consciousness, fewer people are being recruited.

And those who don't make it either do not return to try their luck or pay huge sums of money to join private institutions. That's where SkillTrac steps in.

"In a week's time, we will be sending out letters to all the candidates not selected for recruitment from Mysore, pointing out what area they are good at," Madan Padaki, director, MeritTrac, a competence assessment company, said.

In an unusual private-public initiative, the details of the talent search test being conducted by MeritTrac in Mangalore, Hubli and Bangalore, for ICICIOnesource would also be shared with the Karnataka government, which is focusing on training at the undergraduate level as part of its BPO policy.

"The BPO sector as a whole recruits five to eight people out of every 100 people tested for the voice-based section and 10-15 for the non-voice based section," says Aashu Kallappa, head of human resources, ICICIOnesource.

"In fact, the industry is recruiting people from as far as Shillong for Delhi and Mumbai and we are giving the choice for people in Pune to join either of our centers in Bangalore or Mumbai. This is why we have no problems sharing data with the government to create a talent pool for the industry," adds Kallappa.

The SkillTrac program includes test of verbal ability, business calculations (or mathematics) and mental application (or the ability to do repetitive tasks with an eye for detail, a very critical BPO operation).

The questions come from a bank of 12,000 questions that MeritTrac has saved by conducting recruitment tests online for several top notch IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) companies.

A candidate can return after two months and take the online SkillTrac test and join the talent pool for the job market.

"The government is interested because it wants to help BPO companies in cutting the cycle time for recruitment by using SkillTrac," says Padaki at the BangaloreIT.Com 2002, where MeritTrac has taken two stalls in the BPO pavilion.

But it is not just Karnataka.

"Kerala too seems keen to implement SkillTrac in not only ITES but also for IT. We are right now in discussions with the University of Kerala to identify people so that it can train them at the undergraduate level," adds Padaki.

Andhra Pradesh has adopted a different form of providing a talent pool to the BPO sector. About 2,000 people took the entrance exam at the Institute for ITES Training (IITEST), a government initiative.

The first batch of 70 has started a six-week training program to join the BPO talent pool.

"All our industry partners have offered to pick from this talent pool. If recruited, companies pay the course fee of 4, 500. From January, we have been asked to conduct assessment tests every month in places like Vijayawada and Vizag," adds Padaki.

By the end of the first year, Andhra Pradesh will have a talent pool of 7,500-10,000 from which companies can recruit as per their needs.

How does this help companies? "The government is not just creating a certified talent pool. It is also reducing the cost of companies in terms of advertising, screening and sourcing, as well reducing the cycle time for recruitment.

"Companies spend 5, 000-8, 000 per candidate for recruitment alone," adds Padaki.

Source: IANS
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