Why test applicant language levels during recruitment?

May 3, 2022

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

In a professional context, a multilingual employee will often be able to avail of interesting opportunities, both nationally, and internationally. 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 developed to meet your needs.

The language level test as part of the interview process: a clear view of applicants’ language skills

Depending on the sector, the company department or the hierarchical position, is the candidate’s level in line with the expectations linked to the position? To initiate and succeed in a recruitment process which requires fluency in a language, it’s necessary for the recruiter to truly analyse the language skills required.

Once the required level in the target language has been defined, the recruiter must be able to determine the applicant’s true level. Beginner, intermediate, bilingual. Generally speaking, the applicant’s CV simply states their level using one of those three words. What does that mean precisely?

Two solutions are available to HR recruiters:

  1. test the applicant orally during the interview: this solution, which can eat up time, is often subjective and imprecise as it is carried out in a few minutes, and usually without an objective evaluation reference. In addition, the recruiter requires a very good level of the language concerned in order to assess level.  
  2. test the applicant online in 30 minutes, before or during the interview. The test enables precise results based on the CEFRL scale . The assessment will then allow the recruiter to have 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 the applicants’ language skills and objectively choose the person who best meets the recruiter’s expectations.

A language test for recruitment: the reassurance that you are selecting the most motivated applicants

When testing an applicant’s motivation, the language test is a valuable tool. An applicant who takes the time to carry out a language test, in the time given, proves their motivation when faced with new professional challenges.  It is also reassuring for recruiters as the applicant shows their willingness to be tested and be transparent concerning their language skills.

A language test, such as ELAO, lasts roughly 30 minutes. It is therefore an additional investment in time for the applicants, who prove their commitment to the recruitment process.

On the contrary, if you are faced with an applicant who is hesitant to take the test, you can draw certain conclusions and identify blockages. Is the applicant truly motivated by the position? Is their language level truly the one stated on their CV? Does the international context linked to the role genuinely motivate them?

Internationalisation and internal training: a global view of your employees’ true language skills

When entering a new market, or being taken over 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 needed.

If you realise that an employee’s level is lower than a B2 (the level required to speak at ease in a business context), you can better adapt your training schedule and offer language training only to those that need it. In addition, this type of training is often highly appreciated, as it offers new opportunities for employees to progress in their career.

Finally, if a minimum level is required for a position, you can also set up a language test within the internal promotion process. The employees who master the required language will be motivated to put themselves forward.

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 applicant and employee language levels.

Being able to avail of ELAO within your company provides you with a reliable tool which allows 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 chosen).

The added plus? 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 the objectives defined.

In conclusion

The ELAO language assessment tool can provide HR professionals and recruiters with key information, allowing them to make the right decisions at the right time. Several companies such as Deloitte, the SNCF or the recruitment professional, Randstad, already use ELAO on a daily basis, so why not you? Discover all the test functions here.