When Should You Test Job Candidates’ English Skills?


There are three main options for when you should test your employees’ English proficiency. The first option is to rely on the candidates themselves to provide test scores. The advantage of this is time and cost to you. If the candidate is paying for the test, you don’t have to. An additional benefit is that the traditional tests geared towards individuals tend to be in-depth and high quality. The problem with this option is that this sort of test is also very expensive, which means that you are limiting your candidate pool to people who have the resources to pay for a test which costs upwards of $150 USD.

The second option is to test onsite, during the interview process. Within this option, there are two possibilities. The first is to assess English through an interview. The benefits of this option are that you can tailor the testing to the exact needs of the company, including simulations and questions relating directly to the needed skills and vocabulary. The drawbacks are that this sort of interview is generally conducted by HR personnel, who are not experts in language testing. Testing done in this way may not be consistent or reliable.

Another onsite option is to have the candidate take a test during the interview process. The right English test done in this way can be an affordable, reliable option, although less personal than an interview.

The third possibility is to test remotely before the interview process. This has all of the benefits of onsite testing, although you will need to choose a test with built-in security measures to prevent cheating. An additional benefit is that timing a test in this way can lower the costs of hiring by prescreening for those who don’t have the necessary language skills. When language is a crucial component of the job, prescreening can help you to ensure that the people who walk into the interview are people who have the necessary skills for the job.

Want to explore an English test that works well onsite or for prescreening? Click here.

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