Research Article

“Indianism” In Spoken English: Assessments for Detection and Filtering

Originally Published April 16, 2019 by Aspiring Minds, now SHL

Indianism refers to a word or phrase which is a characteristic of Indian English. Indianism may also refer to the way a sentence has been structured as if it was literally translated from an Indian language to English. Some examples of common Indianism mistakes include:

Examples of Indianism vs Correct English

“Indianism” In Spoken English: Assessments for Detection and Filtering

Indianism is a significant factor when hiring for ITeS companies, especially if they are dealing with international calls. In an actual work scenario, while most of these Indianism would sound like poor grammar and sentence structuring to the caller (client), some can actually cause miscommunication resulting in serious issues. The biggest problem with Indianism is that many candidates who otherwise have good Spoken English, still use Indianism unknowingly, and it doesn’t get detected easily during the selection process of companies, leading to bad hires. As a result, companies have to invest significant time and efforts to make the candidates un-learn these Indianism which they have been using thinking its correct English.

In order to help companies assess and filter candidates based on their usage of Indianism, Aspiring Minds developed an additional module on Indianism, as a part of their SVAR assessment (Aspiring Minds Automated Spoken English Evaluation tool). A study was conducted at one of India’s biggest ITeS companies to understand if assessments on Indianism at the time of recruitment can provide any incremental value after the assessment of a candidate’s spoken English. Around 100 applicants were assessed on SVAR and scored on the following parameters:

  • Pronunciation
  • Fluency
  • Spoken English
  • Understanding
  • Active Listening
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Indianism

Recruitment cutoffs were applied on the first six parameters, and 32.9% of candidates who met the required cutoffs were shortlisted. Additional cutoffs on Indianism were applied on these shortlisted candidates and 25% of them did not meet them and were additionally filtered. The fact that an automated tool can filter candidates based on Indianism, before the interview, has two-fold benefits:

  • Better interview throughput – these candidates would have got rejected during interviews as recruiters assess and filter candidates on Indianism. Thus the tool was able to provide a more refined shortlist.
  • Reduced possibility of bad hire (type I error) – there is a possibility that some of these candidates, when interviewed might have cleared the manual evaluation, leading to a bad hiring decision

This indicates that filtering on Indianism can provide an increment value of 25% to the screening process. The following table illustrates the study results:

  • The value provided by assessment and filtering on Indianism
    • Shortlist Percentage after applying cutoffs on Spoken English parameters (other than Indianism) – 32.9%
    • Shortlist Percentage post applying additional cutoffs on Indianism on the shortlisted candidates – 24.7%
    • Incremental Value provided by assessment and filtering on Indianism – 25%


Scientific and automated assessments on Indianism can go a long way to reduce Type 1 error (bad candidate getting selected) in the hiring process for a Voice profile. The tool can be successful deployed to eliminate potential bad hires right at Stage 1 of recruitment to get better throughput and increase the overall efficiency of the hiring cycle.