Why test applicant language levels during recruitment?

May 3, 2022

The ability to speak several languages is a major asset. Whether in one’s private life, or in a professional context, it’s always an advantage to be able to communicate easily with people from different cultures and backgrounds, especially after having learned a language.

In a professional environment, a multilingual employee will often be able to take advantage of interesting opportunities, both at home and abroad. For a company operating in an international market, recruiting applicants with the necessary language skills is vital.

So, how can a recruiter determine if an applicant’s language level meets the requirements of the position to be filled? If a new opportunity opens up within the company, how can employees’ language levels be assessed?

To avoid recruiters having to improvise in English or Spanish in the middle of an interview, we have developed ELAO, a powerful language assessment tool for companies .

The language level test as part of the interview process: a comprehensive view of candidates’ language skills

Depending on the sector of activity, the department or the hierarchical level, recruiters need to work out if the candidate’s level is in line with the expectations linked to the position. To initiate and succeed in a recruitment process for a post that requires fluency in a particular language, it is necessary for a recruiter to closely analyse the linguistic skills required.

Once the required level in the target language has been defined, the recruiter must be able to determine the actual level of the candidate. “Beginner”, “intermediate” or “bilingual”. Usually, an applicant’s CV simply states their level using one of these three words. But what does it mean precisely?

Two solutions are therefore available to HR recruiters:

  1. Test the applicant orally during the interview: this solution, which is rather time consuming, is often subjective and imprecise as it is completed within a few minutes, and usually without an objective evaluation rubric. Furthermore, the recruiter needs to have a good level in the language themselves if they are to assess a candidate’s level.
  2. Test the applicant online in 30 minutes, before or during the interview. The test provides accurate results based on the CEFRL scale. This assessment will then give the recruiter a clear, precise and, above all, objective view of an applicant’s level.

A language test also offers another advantage: it allows you to compare candidates’ language skills and objectively choose the one who best meets the recruiter’s expectations.

A language test for recruitment: guaranteeing the selection of the most motivated candidates

When testing a candidate’s motivation, the language test is a valuable tool. An applicant who takes the time to carry out a language test in the allotted time, demonstrates their motivation when faced with new professional challenges. It is also reassuring for recruiters as the candidate shows their willingness to be tested and open about their language level.

A language test, such as ELAO, takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. It therefore requires candidates to investment additional time in the recruitment process. In doing so, they prove their commitment to such a process.

On the other hand, if a candidate is hesitant or unwilling to take the test, you can draw certain conclusions and identify blockages. Is the candidate really motivated by the position? Does their language level correspond with the one stated on their CV? Does the international context linked to the role genuinely motivate them?

Internationalisation and in-house training: a global overview of your employees’ actual language skills

When entering a new market, or being acquired by a foreign multinational, it is sometimes useful to have a general idea of your employees’ language skills, in English for example, and be able to react if adjustments are required.

If you notice that an employee’s level is lower than B2 (the level required to communicate with relative ease in a business context), you can better adapt your training schedule and offer language training to those who need it. Moreover, this type of training is often greatly appreciated as it offers employees new career development opportunities.

Finally, if a minimum level is required for a particular position, you can also set up a language test as part of the internal promotion process. This will motivate employees who master the required language to apply for the position.

The ELAO assessment tool, a rapid and effective solution for internal recruitment

Thanks to the development of digital language assessment platforms, HR departments can now rapidly and independently assess candidate and employee language levels.

Having access to the ELAO platform within your company will provide you with a reliable tool that will allow you to assess several languages, such as French, English, Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish, and test both general and professional vocabulary (depending on the version of the test selected)

The added bonus? The results provided in the analytical report at the end of the assessment are detailed, easy to understand and, above all, allow you to determine training trajectories and the budgets necessary to obtain your objectives.

In conclusion

The ELAO language assessment tool can provide HR professionals and recruiters with key information which allows them to make the right decisions at the right time. Many companies, including Deloitte, the SNCF and the recruitment professionals Randstad, already use ELAO on a daily basis, so why not you? Discover all of ELAO’s features here.