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Home > Business > PTI > Report

BPO sector favours test for aspirants

April 19, 2005 14:53 IST

Welcoming Nasscom's plan to hold a common all India pre-qualifying test for job aspirants in the booming business process outsourcing industry, industry officials on Tuesday said the test would add credibility to the workers' skills, besides reducing time and cost of hiring for recruiters.

The National Association of Software and Service companies had recently announced its plan to conduct an all India entrance test for job aspirants in the call centre and BPO industry to help companies in hiring people with a minimum set of skills.

"Such a testing methodology (as planned by Nasscom) is necessary and I believe that time has now come for software and ITeS professionals to bebranded. It adds credibility, authenticity and level of competence," said Jyothi Menon, head (human resources), Lason India, a leading BPO company.

She said the Nasscom proposal was reflective of the organisation's capability to read the pulse of the industry.

According to Lonnie Sapp, chief operating officer, OfficeTiger, the pre-qualifying test would reduce recruitment time and costs. OfficeTiger, which is into outsourcing of graphics and illustrations, hire only 1.5 percent of the 1000 applicants for jobs at the company.

"Significant time and effort goes into selecting the right candidate, therefore, a pre-qualifying test would increase the hit rate and reduce recruitment time and costs," he said.

Sapp said Nasscom's initiative was a welcome solution to help the BPO and call centre firms target the right candidates. "However, it will be important that Nasscom have different types of certifications that specify clearly what the candidate is qualified for," he said.

V Chandrasekharan, co-founder and chief technology officer of Secova eServices Ltd, another Chennai-based BPO outfit, said a pre-qualifying test assures a minimum capability and aptitude and therefore would reduce the efforts and costs involved in hiring.

"It also provides a certain degree of uniformity of skills to the workforce (as more and more certified people enter the industry)," Chandrasekharan said. The all-India test would also result in a reduction in the initial training costs by BPO companies, he said.

The industry officials, however, warned that the quality of the tests should not be lowered. "This system, like any other system, has to be monitored, it has to have a proactive dialogue with the industry, fine tune the process so that the glitches can be ironed out sooner than later, and as we go along, it could evolve into a fabulous tool," said Menon of Lason India.

India's BPO industry, growing at 50 percent annually, currently employs over 2.5 lakh people and has exports of $ 5.1 billion.

Nasscom has evolved the test model based on experiments by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in their BPO Skills Assessment Test (BEST), which has helped BPO firms in those states to get the right candidates, officials said.

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