In the era of digitization and the growing demand for outsourcing services, the borders between states and economic systems are beginning to blur. Exchange of services in different countries is an everyday reality, sometimes, even within different branches of one company. Taking this into account, the knowledge of foreign languages is one of the main and basic requirements for jobseekers.
During the heyday of private language schools, it would seem that most of us fluently speak at least one foreign language (or even two or three). Research carried out by the European Commission called 'Europeans and their languages' shows unequivocally that only 40% of Europeans understand even one foreign language well enough that they can easily track news or listen to radio broadcasts in that language.
In 2005, the European Commission also carried out research on the recruitment of people who speak foreign languages. It turned out that the recruitment of candidates with foreign language skills takes place regularly in over 73% of enterprises. The demand for the management staff, who efficiently speaks foreign languages and can function in a dynamic, international environment is increasing. Choosing the right candidate, however, is difficult and time-consuming.
Traditional interviews often allow you to explore the soft skills of candidates, but it is not a comprehensive way to assess the language skills of a potential employee. It does not allow him or her to present the reading or writing skills, that are necessary at every office position. A comprehensive examination of a candidate's skills would require the employer to create a test developed by specialists and by the evaluated specialists. In practice, it would look like the company would have to employ internal auditors for each language that is required by the candidates. Auditors would have to create a strategy to control candidates' language skills from the scratch, which is additionally hampered by dynamically changing market realities, that require flexibility and responsiveness from employers.
For the above reasons, internal testing of candidates' language skills is laborious, risky and often simply unprofitable. Hence, the growing popularity of outsourcing this process to language specialists who both have the tools and have the necessary competences to conduct a professional language audit. They know how and are able to put into practice the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which has been adopted by the Council of Europe and is valid throughout the European Union.
It is increasingly common practice for HR departments to audit even those candidates who have completed studies in philology. Completion of the philological studies by the candidate does not guarantee the ability to actively use the language. Learning foreign languages at university undoubtedly broadens knowledge, but does not mean preparing candidates for real, dynamic market demands. Employment of a native language user also does not guarantee high language competences - a person from a given country can also write or express himself in an unprofessional or even erroneous way. Language audits allow you to verify not only grammatical correctness or vocabulary, but also the ability to write business messages, fluency and how a person communicates at a professional level. Therefore, in order to meet the growing market requirements, we have created an up to date tool that allows for quick, comprehensive and meaningful language audits, that enable HR departments to determine the language skills of their candidates for employment - says Martyna Kuczmarska, specialist in language audits of Skrivanek language school.
Language audit is an excellent tool for a quick and reliable check of a person's skills. It differs from the traditional test in checking all key skills of the candidate: knowledge of grammar, lexical resource, reading, writing, listening, speaking. In addition, candidates are usually required to have the language skills needed in specific branches of business. For this reason, each audit can be adapted to the specifics of a given project, for example to give up some parts of the test to speed up its execution, or to create texts and tasks tailored to the position for which the candidate is recruited.
The exact determination of language competences of candidates for positions related to foreign clients is crucial in the recruitment processes at Nordea. Thanks to the use of the verification methods offered by the Skrivanek language school, we can be sure that the employed employees are able to communicate in a written and oral manner in a given language - says Anna Buczek, Senior HR Specialist at Nordea Bank AB branch in Łódź.
The company's success is built primarily by its employees. Finding the right candidates is an extremely important issue, keeping in mind the company's development. Omitting the aspect of independent language skills check, it involves the risk of employing a candidate with insufficient language skills. This situation is difficult to solve. A new employee may not be successful in the new role and even act to the detriment of the employer. This puts the company in a situation where the number of employees is still insufficient, and in addition, all recruitment must be carried out from the beginning.