Many call center hiring managers still rely on the typing test as a tool during the job candidate evaluation process. We’ve often wondered why?
Explanations have included:
Front line agents need keyboarding skills and typing tests measure keyboarding skills
Front line agents need to type information into the CRM system so a typing test measures their ability to do this
It is simple to administer
We’ve always used a typing test
Based on our job observations, we’re not in agreement that the typing test represents a realistic representation of the traditional call center agent’s keyboarding activities. For example, most call center agents only type information into a system after the caller verbally provides it to them. But, in a typing test, candidates have the ability to look ahead and read the information. In addition, call center agents don’t enter complete paragraphs of information. Usually, the data entry encompasses short sentences, numeric characters, or checking boxes in a system.
An article from the Spring 2004 National Journal of Emergency Dispatch by Jim Kuthy provides additional information. According to Kuthy, “The ability to type in a clerical setting is not directly comparable to the alphanumeric, highly verbal setting of the telecommunicator.”
The reality is that a good front line agent job candidate needs to be proficient in their computer ability which includes keyboarding capabilities. Measuring keyboarding is very different than a typing test.
Hiring managers should consider the use of realistic job simulations to measure a front line agents computer ability and accuracy with information in a setting more realistic to the call center environment.