The English language is the standard tool for communication in lots of spheres. Nowadays, that is a reality. It is no wonder people responsible for communication between development teams and customers regularly search for ways to analyze English language skills, both the traditional and the soft ones.
According to the survey Savvy conducted on Facebook, there are three main ways that IT companies use to assess their employees or candidates’ English level:
- a local teacher (or a specialist with a proper English level);
- international language certificates;
- language assessment organized by a third party.
Let’s have a closer look at each of the options and their pros and cons.
A local teacher (specialist)
The survey showed this option as the most commonly used. This person might be either an English teacher or an expert with sufficient knowledge of the language.
Mostly, they use two ways of language assessment:
- Candidates usually make small talk in English during a job interview.
- Teachers develop a grammar-vocabulary test on a Google form.
Job interviews in English
In the interview, questions may vary from ‘Tell me about yourself and your previous experience’ to more specific technical questions.
- You understand the approximate level (Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-intermediate), fluency, accent, and pronunciation.
- You see the level of stress a candidate can experience during the communication.
- You can have the English testing result directly from the first interaction with an applicant.
- The assessors might not be qualified specialists. The reviews can differ from each other and be subjective.
- The advanced cases need a further, more detailed assessment.
- Involving a local specialist in the English assessment process is cheaper than working with external providers.
Google form tests
Such tests mostly consist of grammar and vocabulary tasks. It is possible to include some open-ended questions and writing assignments such as emails.
- Candidates can take the test at any time.
- Google form files are saved and attached to the candidates’ profiles, which might be helpful for future use.
- The results of the grammar-vocabulary test can be inaccurate if applicants use external help to take it.
- Google form test does not have the option to check the speaking skills of the candidates
- The testing criteria of a few local teachers might differ from each other. This can lead to a subjective review process.
International language certificates
We are all likely familiar with abbreviations like IELTS, CAE, or TOEFL. These international testing systems are designed to provide detailed criteria for language assessment that can be used for working, studying, or migration. The survey shows that taking international tests to prove your language skills is more common in Europe than in Ukraine.
- Certified native teachers assess the testing. So, such kind of testing is considered the most objective one.
- The testing includes analyses of speaking abilities and soft skills.
- The reviews are saved on the testing providers’ services and can be proven by an unbiased and trustworthy source.
- The price of the testing is relatively high.
- Preparation takes a long time and might be stressful.
Language assessment organized by a third party
Second language schools or L&D companies develop various language reviews and testing processes. This assessment may range from a written skill test to spoken communication with candidates and company employees.
- Qualified specialists develop the tests and their instructions.
- Candidates and company staff can take a test online at any time.
- Advanced testing providers can use their online platforms for a better user experience. Such platforms have integrated audio recorders to check speaking skills.
- L&D companies provide a unified form of the testing review with detailed feedback.
- Tests and review forms can be customized.
- Such a testing process includes communication with an external team.
- Third-party language testing is more expensive than having a local teacher in a company.
- Assessments can be stressful.
- Not all providers have online speaking assessments. It takes time to organize calls between candidates and language assessors in such cases.
In sum, here are three options and their associated pros and cons, approaches, and outcomes. The choice of the English assessment system might depend on a company’s current needs and opportunities.
If your primary consideration is cost, you may be interested in a local specialist. If you want to be sure about the objectiveness, then international testing is a great choice. If customization is your priority, L&D companies might best suit your needs.
We conducted the survey and prepared this article to help you find the most appropriate way to analyze the English language skills of your teams and potential candidates.
We would appreciate it if you help us continue increasing our knowledge of this topic by leaving your comments or contacting our Team and Candidate Assessment representatives.