It is imperative for a company or business to have some multilingual staff in place, if needed. In this day and age, many people around the world are becoming bilingual and/or multilingual as a way to communicate with multiple people, in different regions as well as countries. Here in the United States, the melting pot of the world, once a country where English was the only language considered as a main, required language, this is not necessarily the case anymore. Although still somewhat true, we are seeing more and more languages being used in homes, as well as needed in the workplace for communication with potential clients and customers that may not speak English.
Many times a company and/or business may need one or more multilingual employees. This may be for several reasons, but ensuring the employee is fluent may prove to be a difficult process. It is imperative in many situations that the employee hired, is indeed proficient as well as fluent in the language needed. If the employee has exaggerated their fluency on an application or in an interview, or may have had a different idea of what fluency means, this could be potentially dangerous as well as financially devastating for a company. Many companies have suffered financial hardships due to the hiring of an employee, thought of as fluent, but was not actually at the level needed for employment.
At one time, there were no tools or options to assist the hiring manager with their multilingual candidates. This was a difficult process because many times the hiring manager is not fluent in the language needed to fill the position, making hiring extremely difficult as well as expensive on the company. This is why many are turning to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. They provide multiple testing of proficiency options, as well as for many languages.
There have been uncountable situations in which hiring the wrong person who lacked the needed linguistic proficiency has been turned into a disastrous situation, and depending on the services you are offering, could potentially cost someone their life. Recognizing the potential for these mistakes, many are relying on not just hiring managers, but also utilizing the languages tests available through the ACTFL Guidelines as a hiring tool to ensure their employee is actually fluent in the language or languages need for the position.
This article gives a practical overview of the pitfalls that hiring an unqualified employee can pose for employers. Using a thoughtful and cogent argument, the piece reminds readers of how important it is for language skills to be certified and demonstrated by something more than a candidate’s claims, just like any other specialized skillset.