Lead the Way With World Languages in the Workplace

meeting room table hands working paperwork global businessWe are living in a global society; there is explosive growth nationally and internationally. Our clients, prospects, and staff are diverse, yet one in three businesses report a gap between the language skills needed and the employees available to fill the need.

As organizations grow, so does the demand for language proficiency in multiple languages. In order to thrive in an evolving marketplace, consider these steps to meet the opportunities that are ahead. 

Assess Your Needs for Language Proficiency 

Conduct a survey of your current organization to determine the strengths and weaknesses, and identify the current and future language needs to help your company meet the demands of an increasingly global marketplace. Analyzing where you are today will help you create clear goals for hiring multilingual talent and developing the skills of current employees. Work with an expert to help you take stock of the skills needed internally and externally to meet the demands of your business. 

Take Inventory and Capitalize on Talent

Do you have multilingual talent? Have you taken inventory of the skills they can offer your organization? Have you used a valid and reliable measure to confirm what they can do with their language skills? Are your multilingual workers in the appropriate roles to help your business grow? Have you mitigated the risks of miscommunication by ensuring employees language abilities verified and certified? Take the guesswork out of the equation, and use assessments developed by subject matter experts to help you understand where you are and where you need to go. 

Hire the Right Talent for the Task at Hand 

Once you have determined your needs with the help of language proficiency subject matter experts, incorporate best hiring practices for recruiting multilingual talent. Conduct a task analysis with experts, understand the job requirements and the level of language needed, and incorporate language testing in the hiring process to ensure that the candidates are qualified based on the benchmarks and proficiency levels you have determined to be important.

Language Training

Training the best and the brightest! Targeted on-the-job language training is a terrific way to ensure your employees have the appropriate language and strategies for the scenarios they encounter on a day-to-day basis. In many cases, the level of language proficiency may vary. Training helps your employees’ confidence, mitigates risk, and puts your company in a position to delight your clients.

Build Your Pool of Qualified Candidates

The most successful global companies identify and cultivate a pipeline of multilingual talent by partnering with local universities, foreign language programs, or diverse community groups. Consider offering internships to qualified students who are studying world languages and culture; they will welcome the experience and are perfect for your professional pipeline.

Become an Advocate of Valid and Reliable Language Credentials

Nine out of ten U.S. employers report a reliance on employees with language skills other than English, yet studies have shown that there is a huge skills gap, leaving many employers unable to meet their multilingual business needs. Ensure that your organization has a development plan and multilingual recruiting process that allows it to excel  in attracting and retaining talent to serve the needs of your business.

About Language Testing International

Since 1992, Language Testing International (LTI), a Samsung company, has been the leader in the development of language proficiency testing for more than 120 languages, globally. In partnership with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), we proudly offer our corporate clients valid and reliable reading, writing, speaking, and listening tests. Each test is designed to properly determine the specific proficiency level of an individual and ultimately to provide a valid and defensible language credential.

From Fortune 500 corporations to small and midsize companies, LTI works closely with your human resources department to identify the appropriate level of language proficiency required for the position you are looking to fill. Once your needs have been identified, we will help you qualify the right candidates with the language skills needed to be successful.

Contact us today for a free consultation on best practices for hiring multilingual talent!

Hiring Multilingual Workers and Taking Out the Complexities

two women interviewSo, you’ve decided to hire multilingual employees, and that makes your organization simply amazing! Why? Because as confirmed by the New American Economy Report, “Americans lose almost $2 billion each year because of language and cultural misunderstandings.” Thus, hiring multilingual talent is clearly a smart business decision.

Now comes the tricky part—how do you find the most qualified multilingual candidate? Who will have the right level of language proficiency to get the job done? How do you do this with a reliable assessment? Who do you partner with? Perhaps, you are not multilingual yourself. Leave it to the experts!

Experienced human resource managers use language assessments to hire multilingual employees and follow these three important steps:

Step 1: Have a clear understanding of the position and the associated tasks 

What are the tasks you will  be asking your new employees to complete in the target language? This is very important in determining the language level they’ll need for the position. 

Many hiring managers make the mistake of assuming all multilingual candidates have the same level of language ability. This assumption can be very misguided. It is important to understand how the language skills were acquired. Did they have formal training in college? Did they live or grow up abroad? Are they heritage speakers who learned the language from family and friends as a child around the kitchen table? Each scenario means a very different level and command of the language. 

Depending on the position, some candidates with lower levels of language proficiency can get by; however, do they have the confidence to get the job done? Will your customers be satisfied with the service they receive? Is it fair to put someone in a role he or she can’t do well?

Some positions prioritize written language skills, and in these cases, a formally educated multilingual candidate is likely the best fit and the most qualified. The level of formality required in the language spoken (or written) may also determine what level of language skill your ideal candidate needs. 

Consider if there is a cultural aspect to the position you’re looking to fill as well. Having a native speaker from the same country as your customer base can help to create trust between them and your company as well as aid your team in successfully navigating what may otherwise end up as costly cultural confusions

Step 2: Test the skills

Once you know the tasks and the level of language proficiency required, it’s time to make it clear to job applicants. This saves you time and money. Candidates will appreciate the transparency. Not sure what the level of language proficiency should be? Check out this great guide to Oral Proficiency Levels in the Workplace.

According to research, candidates may misrepresent their abilities on resumes, and language proficiency is certainly a skill that can be tested and measured reliably. Thus, there is no reason to take chances.

Multilingual candidates tend to overestimate their language skills, perhaps not intentionally, but unless you are a native speaker yourself, you probably won’t find out until there are issues with performance on the job. Protect yourself from making costly hiring mistakes by testing candidates’ language skills prior to hiring.

Step 3: Don’t skip importance steps the process 

We all know the importance of process when recruiting talent. Organizations spend more time than they’d like on hiring, and unfortunately, hiring mistakes are costly. Language testing during the hiring process makes it efficient to find qualified candidates to fill multilingual positions. You will spend less time reading resumes of candidates who mistakenly self-assess and less time conducting interviews with unfit candidates, ultimately reducing the time and money spent on hiring your new employee.

Assessments during the hiring process also lower your turnover rates and even increase productivity, as quality communication skills can nearly always be correlated to higher sales volumes and happier customers.

About Language Testing International

Since 1992, Language Testing International (LTI), a Samsung company, has been the leader in the development of language proficiency testing for more than 120 languages, globally. In partnership with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), we proudly offer our corporate clients valid and reliable reading, writing, speaking, and listening tests. Each test is designed to properly determine the specific proficiency level of an individual and ultimately to provide a valid and defensible language credential.

From Fortune 500 corporations to small and midsize companies, LTI works closely with your human resources department to identify the appropriate level of language proficiency required for the position you are looking to fill. Once your needs have been identified, we will help you qualify the right candidates with the language skills needed to be successful.

Contact us today for a free consultation on best practices for hiring multilingual talent!

Reflection on ACTFL 2019: Learning to be an Advocate

My experiences at the annual ACTFL convention are always a little different from a “typical” ACTFL attendee. Given my district role as a program supervisor, I am fortunate to start ACTFL Week on Tuesday, when the National Association of District Supervisors for Foreign Language (NADSFL) convenes for its annual meeting. By the time ACTFL convention rolls around, my brain is full and I have to recharge quickly so I can focus on interesting and timely presentations. This year was no different.

As part of the pre-ACTFL time, NADSFL members are able to participate in the Assembly of Delegates (AoD), a one-day meeting sponsored by ACTFL where delegates from state and partner organizations meet together to hear about and discuss issues facing world language programs. This year because ACTFL was in Washington DC, Howie Berman and staff organized a Capitol Hill Day for the AoD delegates. For me, this turned out to be one of the highlights, not only of this convention, but of any convention I have attended.

ACTFL did a great job of soliciting information from delegates ahead of time so that meetings could be pre-arranged. As we checked in early on Thursday morning, we received a schedule that reflected our visits for the day. After a quick orientation on Capitol Hill where we were given talking points and suggestions on how to approach the visit, we set off with our state delegations.

For me, I visited my two state senators followed by my representative. I freely admit that the first visit was a little overwhelming and intimidating. This was something that was very much out of my realm of experience. Fortunately, one of my fellow Texans had participated in visits before so our entire group deferred to her experience. By the second visit, we were all feeling a little more confident and chimed in with comments.

In none of the visits did we actually meet with elected officials, we only met with staffers but that’s not unusual. Most visits happen with staffers; they are the ones who take issues and concerns back to the senators and representatives.

My third visit was all on my own since I was the lone representative from San Antonio but by the time I arrived, I was ready, although still a little nervous! On my walk to the Longworth House Office Building, I went back over our talking points and requests. Part of it was easy, we were discussing the importance of world language instruction and asking for support. As educators, we all know why world languages are important for the economy, for national security, for being an educated 21st-century global citizen. Specifically, we were asking for support of the Title VI International Education Programs in the Higher Education Act; support for the house-passed funding amounts for Title VI and Fulbright Hays Foreign Language Instruction Programs; and, support of America’s Language Caucus, a bi-cameral and bi-partisan initiative to ensure adequate resources are pushed to world language learning (ACTFL Assembly of Advocates Congressional Meeting Talking Points, 2019).

At the end of the day, I was tired, but I felt fulfilled. I had advocated for something I passionately believe in and I had directly participated in the democratic process. Will it make a difference? Time will tell. But after the AoD experience, I have a much clearer idea of what advocacy entails, as well as what it requires. I am ready to participate whenever I can in organized advocacy days at both the local, state, and national levels. And, maybe, I’m ready to take on some advocacy all on my own.

Save Time, Money & Hire Qualified Job Applicants

qualified job applicants

Imagine what it would be like if finding qualified job applicants were fast, easy, and cost effective? While that might be a far-off dream, there is one foolproof way to save yourself time and money when hiring multilingual candidates.

Save Time and Money, and Hire Qualified Applicants

Language Certification is the answer to ensuring your multilingual job applicants are qualified and have the appropriate level of language ability for the job at hand. 

How does it work?

Simply add “ACTFL Bilingual Certification Preferred or Required” to your job postings. Then point potential candidates to www.languagetesting.com, where they can pre-certify their level of proficiency in the target language. It’s an effective screening method, which ensures that all candidates you choose to interview are highly-qualified to speak, understand, read, and write in the target language. 

Secure and Convenient 

Through our remote proctoring service, we offer candidates the ability to securely test their language skills anytime, anywhere. We visually verify identifications and monitor the entire test, ensuring valid, reliable results. Candidates who choose to pre-certify organize and pay for their exams directly with LTI. 

Besides saving you time and money, pre-certification and language testing provides you peace of mind and a verifiable language credential that confirms the appropriate level of language skills to get the job done. It also confirms the candidates commitment to the process, the benefit to you—you’ll spend less time sorting through applications and more time recruiting qualified candidates. 

Contact us and schedule a time with an assessment specialist to learn more about how Language Testing International (LTI) can assist you with your language proficiency testing needs.