Why the Rise of Skills-Based Hiring for Contact Centers and BPOs

Skills-based hiring means looking at talent acquisition from a different perspective. Traditional hiring prioritizes accomplishments and education over proved abilities, and it’s often much too near-sighted. As people find new avenues for learning and developing their talents, skills-based hiring levels the field for applicants and helps companies focus on getting more effective talent in a faster and easier way.

If you’re a contact center or BPO considering a skills-based approach, read on to learn more about why it’s becoming so popular and how it can help your organization thrive.

Skills are more valuable than achievements

Harvard Business Review reported that, in the past year, LinkedIn has seen a 21% increase in skills-based job postings over those that emphasize qualifications and requirements. This shift comes as companies recognize that accomplishments and requirements aren’t all that helpful in demonstrating what a candidate can really do.

Some achievements certainly have a rightful place on a resume, but what your recruiters really want to know is if their candidates can do all that’s required of them in the role they’re trying to fill, and testing applicants’ skills is how you can find that out. 

Searching for skills broadens your talent search

If you’re feeling stuck trying to find hires from your regular talent pools, leading with skills can help you tap into nontraditional groups of great potential hires. 

A recent LinkedIn study found that 70% of food service workers have the skills they need to succeed in customer service. That’s a lot of qualified candidates! But if a contact center isn’t leading with skills in their job postings and screenings, most of these workers probably wouldn’t apply.

Casting a wider net for great hires also helps you find a wider variety of people. Harvard Business Review has found that “Evaluating employees and new hires based on their skill sets instead of their work history can help level the playing field — and help companies realize the talent they already have. It also makes talent pools more diverse and often makes hiring more effective.”

The bottom line? If you’re too focused on hiring based on qualifications and requirements, you might miss a potential gold mine of great hires.

Skill-based screening is easier than ever before

Another reason skills-based hiring is becoming more common is because technology has made it easier than ever to test your applicants’ skills and knowledge. The hiring market is exploding with tools and software built just for that purpose. Using software solutions relieves the burden on hiring teams and leaves them with more time to focus on developing talent pools and focusing on interviews and offers later down the line. 

Our suggestion? Focus your screening tools on the beginning of your hiring process. SHRM agrees–when screenings are first in your process, they don’t replace traditional hiring steps like interviews and reference checks, but they help your hiring managers and recruiters to be more effective in finding great hires.

We also recommend choosing screening technology based on its quality and the most important skills your agents should have. Is your top requirement language-based? Knowledge-based? Something else? Whatever it is, screen for it first and make sure you’re using the best in innovative technology to do it. 

You just can’t afford the alternative

The benefits of skills-based hiring are becoming so important in today’s talent acquisition landscape that they’re turning into requirements instead of perks. Things like finding candidates fast, hiring right the first time, lowering turnover, and raising CSAT scores are essential to a contact center’s success. When organizations start to fall short in these areas, they’re losing valuable employees and clients to competitors with better hiring and recruiting tactics. 

Traditional hiring also places a much heavier burden on your hiring managers and recruiters–in-person testing and screening is repetitive, draining, and eats up the time they should be spending on interviews for cultural fit and finding talent to screen in the first place. 

Even though it takes trial, effort, and time to find great screening solutions, the payoff is definitely worth it.


Skills-based hiring is the future of contact center talent acquisition. By emphasizing abilities over achievements, broadening your talent search, and taking advantage of modern tech, you can stay competitive in your industry and ensure that you really are getting the best agents first. 

Emmersion proves language ability for contact centers and BPOs around the world. Our fully automated and adaptive language assessment engine provides accurate and immediate testing for speaking, grammar, and writing in more than 10 global languages. With proper language screening at the beginning of the hiring process, global contact centers are more quickly, accurately, and affordably hiring top talent, reducing turnover, and improving customer satisfaction scores. Immediate results lead to immediate decisions—so recruiters can extend offers before candidates walk out the door. And, the benefits stretch even beyond the hiring and recruiting process. By improving accuracy, agents will feel more confident in their positions and are more likely to stay. When qualified and confident agents fill the seats of the contact center, customers and clients will receive the customer service they expect—and deserve.

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