Profiles Helps Sitel Hire, Develop and Promote with Speed and Precision

This is part of a special advertising section featuring case studies offering solutions to HR technology challenges.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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Sitel is a global leader in business-process outsourcing. The company provides customer-care call centers and complementary back-office services; it also provides customized solutions in the areas of sales, technical support, risk management and collections. Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Sitel operates more than 130 onshore, near-shore and offshore solutions facilities in 26 countries, including about 25 sites in the United States. The company (which has roughly 56,000 employees worldwide) invests a lot in its associates to ensure they have ample subject-matter expertise and superior people skills.

Sitel required a partner with a proven job-fit assessment in multiple languages, rigorous scientific validity and a robust online-delivery system that could integrate into its HRIS platform. After a comprehensive search, Sitel chose Profiles International. Sitel uses Profiles assessments for pre-screening, learning and development, and succession management.

Pre-Hire Screening

Sitel's business model and approach to hiring create some unique needs when it comes to developing and implementing assessment tools. For example, many companies judge job candidates in terms of their qualifications for only one job at a time. Sitel prefers to gauge each applicant's suitability for multiple positions at once and then set the applicant on a path toward whichever position seems to be the best fit.

When someone applies to work at Sitel, the application is first reviewed by someone in the HR department. If the candidate meets the minimum requirements, he or she is invited to the site to learn more about the company. Then, if the applicant is interested, he or she will be invited to take the ProfileXT® assessment.

PXT results are generated quickly enough for a hiring manager to discuss findings with the applicant during the same visit and specify which job is expected to be the best fit. Before the interview, the hiring manager can refer back to the assessment results and use them to tailor an approach that pinpoints areas in which the applicant's profile deviates most from the ideal. Interviewers use standardized questions, but emphasis in an interview can vary for this purpose.

Learning and Development

If a candidate is hired, he or she goes on to training and PXT results are considered at this stage, as well. Trainers receive copies of assessment results, in addition to guides for interpreting them. Also, trainers participate in what Sitel calls "Friday-before" meetings in advance of each group training session.

These meetings are forums for discussing what the assessment has indicated about each applicant's training needs and how that might affect a particular session. For example, awareness of a training group's particular mix of learning styles might lead a trainer to adjust his or her technique. Assessment results are also used after training sessions.

For example, if conduct problems arise with a particular trainee (or with any employee), Sitel officials might examine assessment results for any indication of whether the problem stems from core behavioral or personality traits. If that is the case, it can be a red flag that problems are likely to continue throughout employment. If not, the problems might be attributed to circumstances that will pass or an issue that can be addressed with coaching, which can also be guided by assessment results.

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Succession Management

Sitel has found that PXT results can offer a great starting point for discussions of employees' potential for promotion and for identifying the development needs of high-potential employees who want to advance.

Because the assessment is part of the hiring process, this discussion of possible career paths can begin very early in the employment lifecycle -- as early as the initial job interview. It can also be revisited during performance reviews to encourage motivation, and to guide goal-setting sessions between an employee and a supervisor. Leaders at Sitel appreciate the help assessments offer with what otherwise might be more subjective decision-making.


Organization: Sitel


Headquarters: Nashville, Tenn.

Primary Business: Customer-care call centers and complementary back-office services, customized solutions in sales, technical support, risk management and collections.

HR Technology Challenge: Needed to reduce new-hire turnover, improve service quality, improve agents' learning and development and enable more effective succession management.

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