Sitel scales recruiting and hires best-in-class customer service teams with AI powered assessments


Industry: Business Processing Outsourcing Solutions

Company size: 75,000+ employees

Region: Philippines

Solution: SVAR | IVR Customer Service SJT


An outstanding customer experience starts with your call center and sets you apart from your competition. How well your customer service, call center and online support reps understand and communicate is often the difference between delighting customers or losing them.

Sitel, one of the world’s leading contact centers scaled their call center hiring process using Aspiring Minds’ AI powered language assessments and situational judgement tests, and in the process built a talent selection system that surpassed industry standards. Using our cloud-based platform, combined with advanced assessment technology, Sitel made their recruiting process more efficient and capable of predicting long-term, successful employees.



One of Sitel’s clients – a US-based retail giant, needed to improve hiring efficiency and offer a world-class customer service experience. To accomplish this task, Sitel specifically required a robust and predictive recruiting process that:

  • Is scalable enough to evaluate 1000s of candidates across regions in a few minutes
  • Predicts a candidate’s potential to succeed
  • Evaluates multiple skills required for success
  • Significantly improves overall customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores

* CSAT is a metric used across telecommunication industry to measure client’s satisfaction with product/service delivery.



After conducting a detailed analysis of the customer support job function in conjunction with an in-depth study of Sitel’s key expectations, our experts discovered the best indicators for success as a customer support rep were – spoken English, soft skills and customer centricity. The best hiring solution would have to accurately and reliably measure these attributes and be scalable to reach thousands of candidates seamlessly.

We recommended combining two assessments – SVAR and Situational Judgement Tests (SJT). SVAR uses artificial intelligence and voice recognition to evaluate spoken English language and accurately rates a candidate on parameters such as pronunciation, fluency, listening, vocabulary and grammar. Our Customer Service SJT was used to evaluate soft skills and customer centricity. We combined the Customer Service SJT with IVR-based SVAR to create an innovative, AI powered phone-based soft skills assessment – an industry first.

Both SVAR and Customer Service SJTs have proven track records of providing an objective evaluation of candidates. Our Customer Service SJT is based on a unique scoring methodology which requires candidates to choose the ‘most-likely’ and ‘least-likely’ response options for a particular situation. Our research*, published in the Wall Street Journal found that knowing what NOT to say or do in a particular situation was a greater predictor of success than knowing what to do or say in a customer service role.

*”Knowing What Not to Do is a Critical Job Skill” Aspiring Minds Research Report, 2016



Implementation of the combined solution was a breeze. A short, yet effective 10-minute assessment covering both SVAR and Customer Service SJT tests was given to candidates over IVR (a phone call). The results were impressive!

“A correlation of .45 was observed between scores of spoken English assessment, Customer Service SJT and candidate CSAT score – an industry best”

We observed a direct correlation between the assessment scores and on-the-job performance of Sitel’s employees, affirming the validity and accuracy of the assessments in finding top talent.



Using talent benchmarking and AI powered language and talent assessments, Sitel could easily identify and hire a top-notch customer service team that beats the best in the contact center industry. To meet demand for new talent, Sitel uses this assessment solution to evaluate almost 7,000 applicants per month throughout the Philippines.

Increased CSAT score: CSAT scores of customer service function increased by 32%. Sixty-percent (60%) of this increase was attributed to higher customer centricity of the associates and the remaining 40% was attributed to spoken English skills.

Highly efficient recruiting: AI-powered, fair and reliable assessments ensured only ‘highly-qualified’ candidates progressed to the interview stage, saving the interviewing team a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Broader candidate reach: Using our highly scalable technology and IVR-based testing platforms, Sitel could reach and evaluate 3 times more candidates.


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