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Accent Check: An innovative new agent assessment tool

Online English Voice & Auditory Processing Assessment

Accent Check is a brand new online tool for assessing a candidate’s English accent, clarity of speech and audio processing capability, the objective being to rate the candidate’s potential for employment in a domestic or international call centre, or in a retail or other frontline position.

How Accent Check Works

The assessment is made up of two sections. In the first section the applicant/employee is required to do two recordings. The first step is to read a script that takes approximately 30 seconds to record. The script uses common English words, but contains a variety of difficult English sounds and sound sequences. The script contains practically all the vowel and consonant sounds of English. This enables our voice analysts to do a quick and efficient analysis of the speaker’s proficiency in English and the effect that their mother tongue has on their English pronunciation. The speaker will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being unintelligible.

The second step is for the applicant/employee to do a spontaneous recording for 30 seconds describing themselves and their aspirations. This spontaneous connected speech recording will allow our voice analysts to do a quick and efficient analysis of the speaker’s unscripted expressive capability in English. The speaker will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being unintelligible.

The second part of the assessment comprises of a series of exercises which are designed to test the applicant/employee’s ability to process the English words and sentences that they are hearing and to accurately interpret them either by typing or selecting the correct words and sentences. There are ten exercises plus an additional data capture exercise which simulates a customer giving personal contact information to an agent in a call centre environment. The results are expressed as a percentage of the points achieved, then reduced to a 1 to 10 rating.

Assessment Rating Criteria

Voice Recordings

Shows Potential for the International Sector

Clear speech with a voice that is pleasant to listen to.

Fluency is good to excellent. Accent is very mild to neutral with good to excellent speech clarity – globally understandable accent. Capability to communicate with their customers, colleagues and managers in clear and understandable business English, whether face to face or on the phone.

Suitable for Domestic
Call Centre

Skill exists however improvements would make the communication more successful.

Candidate has mostly clear speech and appropriate voice projection. Second language errors do not significantly affect intelligibility, however an international customer base not as familiar with the accent as the domestic sector may have difficulty understanding what is said. Accent may range from mild – strong as long as speech clarity is good.

Suitable for a Retail Opportunity

Not Suitable for a Call Centre

Speech is adequately delivered but need for clarification may exist. Candidate communicates with some clear speech and voice projection but this may be inconsistent and the listener may need to put in effort in order to hear or follow speech. Speech may be hesitant or dysfluent. Candidate’s voice may lack energy.

Mark as Fail on Role Fit

Too Weak to Recommend for a Job in the Retail Sector

Speech limitations impact on the ability to communicate effectively in a retail context. Speech is unclear and/or voice projection is very poor. Speech disorder exists that causes a breakdown in intelligibility or a discomfort to either speaker or listener. Candidate exhibits stutter-like behaviours. Those unfamiliar with the candidate’s accent would struggle to understand.

Auditory Processing Exercises

The applicant’s auditory processing capability is measured by the score that the applicant achieves when doing the 11 exercises that they are required to complete within 60 minutes. The scoring aligns with the 1 to 4 Voice Recording scores:
Score Rating
0 – 25% 1. Fail
26 – 50% 2. Possibly suitable for retail opportunity
51 – 75% 3. Possibly suitable for domestic call centre
76 – 100% 4. Shows potential for international sector