The business landscape properly functions with the right communication across various channels, departments, and global offices, and the English language is the foundation of this seamless communication. The wide usage of this language across countries has now increased the hiring of employees proficient in English speaking and writing. It helps express the benefits and key components of products and services to clientele, offering them a smooth experience.
The English language has greater importance in consumer-facing roles, where spoken proficiency tilts the scales in favor of the company. With good communication skills and experience, employees can communicate better with clients and highlight the product or service features.
For this reason, businesses have started using voice and accent tests to hire employees in customer-facing or communication-intensive job roles.
A voice and accent assessment (VNA) is an oral skills evaluation to ascertain candidates’ fitment for client-facing roles. This test assesses candidates’ language skills, such as English accent, clarity of speech, pronunciation, intonation, listening skills, grammar, and fluency. It is conducted in a simulated environment where candidates perform specific tasks, such as answering calls, replying to pre-recorded messages, or reciting a pre-written script. These activities are aligned with the job role to simulate a real-world environment.
A voice test is part of a broader employability interview, which involves shortlisting resumes from bulk applications and gauging candidates’ interpersonal skills.
A VNA assessment is evaluated by trainers certified on the ‘Common European Framework of Reference for Languages’ (CEFR framework), a widely accepted spoken English skills evaluation mechanism. CEFR has a set of guidelines to determine learners’ proficiency in foreign languages throughout the European region. It is now utilized globally, making it the most accepted framework for language assessment.
VNA trainers are primarily educated on the CEFR framework to help them evaluate language proficiency on three levels of expertise and a six-point scale. The three levels of expertise are basic, intermediate, and proficient. They are further divided into a six-point scale, including A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2, with A1 being the lowest and C2 being the highest on the scale.
A basic language user is segmented into A1 (beginner) and A2 (elementary). An independent-level user is bracketed into B1 (intermediate) and B2 (upper-intermediate). Likewise, a proficient-level English language user is bracketed into C1 (advanced) and C2 (proficiency).
The automated VNA round is controlled and monitored by an AI tool rather than a VNA trainer.
SpeechX by Mercer | Mettl is a computer-administered software-based AI tool offering voice and accent online tests. This automated tool provides examinees a rating, similar to a rating given by the VNA trainer, determining their English proficiency and employability. It accurately assimilates the nuances of the English language and critical parameters, such as pronunciation, grammar, fluency, and listening skills.
Benefits of an automated voice and accent test
Automated voice and accent tests are accurate, high-quality, time-efficient, and hassle-free. Some benefits of using AI-based voice tests during placement are:
Automated voice tests are not susceptible to the external environment, such as weather, static noise, and other uncontrollable situations. Therefore, these automated tests offer an enhanced test-taking experience, keeping candidates free from network issues and allowing them to focus on important tasks.
An automated voice assessment test uses an AI-based online tool that is highly scalable and can be utilized to conduct thousands of tests concurrently. This means thousands of candidates can take automated tests simultaneously because AI is equipped to handle increasing demand. These tests don’t experience manual interventions and generate minimal touchpoints to streamline the entire process.
Automated English voice assessment tests use artificial intelligence to offer test-takers a seamless and integrated experience. Candidates only need to be aware of the process of accessing a computer and a microphone to complete this test correctly.
Additionally, automated speech tests can be conducted round-the-clock because they don’t require human intervention. Therefore, candidates can complete the VNA test at any time without challenges.
Automated voice and accent tests are video recorded, and a report is generated for future review. Therefore, trainers can check the recorded stream for discrepancies to ensure candidate authenticity.
Voice assessment tools, like Mercer | Mettl’s SpeechX, auto-generate cheating flags using AI-proctoring technology. It fully ensures the sanctity of the evaluation by authenticating candidates’ credentials beforehand.
Voice and accent tests help shortlist suitable candidates for customer-facing and communication-intensive job roles. These automated assessments empower hiring managers to make valuable hiring decisions and allow the onboarding of culturally fit employees.
Mercer | Mettl’s SpeechX is a leading AI-powered automated English evaluation tool that enables a smooth hiring experience. This English voice assessment tool is machine-administered and auto-graded to measure a non-native speaker’s ability to speak and understand English.
Originally published December 15 2020, Updated October 30 2023
Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.
An English proficiency test software is used to evaluate the English-speaking and comprehension skills of an individual. Customer-facing industries like hospitality, retail, BPOs, etc., often used some variant of an English proficiency test software to assess the pronunciation, fluency, accent, intonation and grammar of potential employees.