Scroll Top

What are the four most crucial workplace language skills,
and how do you assess them?

computerListening, speaking, reading, and writing are the four essential language abilities. Proficiency necessitates mastery of all of them; some may be more vital to you than others, depending on the function you’re aiming to fill.
So, how does ELAM assess a candidate’s linguistic skills?
You can obtain a good impression of your candidates’ language ability using our assessment services: ECBE and ECFA. Simply chatting with your applicants in the language you’re testing during the interview process will give you a good notion of their abilities but won’t allow you to delve into their capabilities.
Listening is a passive language skill that most people acquire before speaking a language. Listening refers to the ability to comprehend spoken language in various situations, including a phone conversation, a one-on-one meeting, a Zoom session, a presentation, and others. Depending on the job requirements, you might want to evaluate whether candidates can understand complex issues with their intricacies and vocabulary or understand diverse accents. Listening is a simple skill to assess: a recorded voice track followed by a few open-ended or closed-ended questions is generally sufficient. At ELAM, we conduct a screening call to put an applicant’s listening abilities to the test. This method is the most efficient and can be used with a few pre-selected individuals.
Speaking indicates that a person can converse fluently with another person about a specific issue (e.g., a colleague, manager, client, or supplier). It’s especially vital for jobs that require your new workers to communicate with clients or business partners in English or French. Speaking demands clear, complete articulation and the correct intonation, in addition to a firm grasp of grammar and an extensive vocabulary. Speaking ability can be challenging to assess in the early phases of the employment process, such as before a phone interview or a screening call. You might, however, use a service like ELAM to invite candidates to a 15-minute assessment interview.
Reading necessitates comprehension of written text, which can vary in complexity. To be considered highly-skilled, candidates must read and comprehend written language, such as emails, guidelines, contracts, manuals, and articles. Testing your candidate’s reading skills is simple—usually, a text with a few multiple-choice questions to assess their comprehension would be sufficient. You may even put their reading and writing skills to the test by having them summarise the content, rewrite it, or compare it to another text.
Writing is a skill that allows you to express yourself in written form. Testing your candidate’s writing skills is critical if you need them to respond to messages or emails or produce presentations, articles, guides, or other resources. Their cover letter and email conversation (if they’re in the language you’re testing for) may already offer you an indication of their writing abilities. You might also ask applicants to rewrite a brief passage or use an online test to assess this talent efficiently. With ELAM’s language assessments, you may conduct an in-depth assessment of your candidates’ grammar, vocabulary, sentence composition, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. They’re quick to book using our online booking link and allow you to screen prospects before conducting an interview.
laptopWhich positions necessitate language proficiency testing?
In a variety of situations, it may be required to test your prospects’ linguistic skills:
  • Language assessments are necessary when hiring from afar or bringing in talent from another country. Employers’ interest in acquiring international talent is growing, and many organizations have decided to start employing remotely because of the coronavirus outbreak. If you want to attract global talent, you must ensure that the applicant you hire has appropriate language skills to perform their work effectively.
  • When it comes to hiring for your company’s international offices, if your business is growing and you need to hire people to work in a new country, you’ll want to be sure your candidates are fluent in the language (or languages) they’ll be using.
  • Some jobs will attract overseas candidates when hiring for positions that attract many international applications because of the nature of the work, your location, or even the unique language requirements.
  • For client-facing positions requiring the employee to communicate in a foreign language. Salespeople, customer service personnel, and account managers must all be fluent in the language they speak with their clients.
  1. What are the various levels of language ability?

The CEFR framework identifies six levels of proficiency: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. The scale ranges from A1 (beginning) to C2 (advanced) (proficient). At the A1 level, a candidate can use straightforward language to accomplish specific goals. A candidate at the C2 level in French and English is considered perfectly bilingual.

The essential distinctions between each level are depicted in the chart below:

language levels

  1. What language level should you ask for?

Different levels of proficiency may be required depending on the role. ELAM’s Language Audit Analysis will help you establish the level needed for any position.

Employees who are fluent in a second language can converse freely with clients, coworkers, and other stakeholders in various circumstances that may arise in the workplace. The test’s words and sentences are based on real-world scenarios from the workplace and everyday life. Those who do well on this test will understand basic, related phrases on themes that are familiar to them.

Employees who are fluent in a language may communicate fluently and spontaneously without looking up words. They can comprehend complex, longer texts and recognize latent meaning in written and spoken exchanges. They can generate complete texts on complicated themes, demonstrating a regulated use of organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices. They can utilize the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic, and professional objectives.

If an employee will be interacting with customers, you should search for someone fluent in the target language.

  1. How do you assess your language skills?

It’s a good idea to assess your candidates’ language skills before interviewing them. Because the interview procedure is expensive and time-consuming, screening applicants ahead of time will allow you to filter them and spend less time conducting interviews.

As a result, ELAM offers a variety of alternatives for assessing all aspects of language proficiency:

    • All of our language assessments have a listening component. You can also assess candidates’ listening skills by writing one or more video questions and then testing them on their video’s content.
    • Candidates’ speaking ability can be assessed by filming a video response to a question (or multiple questions).
    • Assessments that can be adapted to your unique job postings can assess all four skills.
    • Language exams might help you speed up the employment process.
    • When hiring globally or for foreign language roles, online language assessments will help you minimize the time to hire and the cost-per-hire drastically.
Frequently asked questions:
  1. How is the assessment organized? 
  2. How long does it take to get the results?
  3. How do you establish language requirements for a position?

Related Posts