Due to globalization, English has become the official language of the business world. However, this also means that many companies with overseas operations that lacked a unified communication strategy lost millions of dollars. There are too many stories of enterprises that couldn’t close important deals due to a language barrier.
This is why English must be a significant part of a company’s communication strategy, and recruiters must screen for these skills before providing offer letters to candidates.
The challenge is that many traditional recruitment methods, such as interviews and manual language skill tests, can fall short in assessing a candidate’s language ability. This is true especially in the face of cultural differences and unconscious bias. And when companies receive thousands, if not millions, of applications yearly, it’s a certainty.
In this article, we’ll explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can help human recruiters overcome these challenges and accurately assess a candidate’s English language skills, enabling organizations to hire the best candidates.
Why traditional English language assessment methods don’t work anymore
With conventional methods, assessing a candidate’s English language skills during hiring can be difficult for a few reasons:
1. Limited capacity to test candidates’ spoken and written language skills
Written tests can be limited in their capacity to test the candidate’s language skills. For instance, you can’t assess the candidate’s oral skills like pronunciation and intonation.
On the contrary, interviews only provide a snapshot of the candidate’s speaking ability. You can’t test their written language skills and ultimately hire candidates who aren’t as fluent as you expected. Or you may end up rejecting candidates who would be a good fit.
2. Time-consuming and tedious process
Recruiters receive hundreds of applications for each role. And the larger the company, the higher the number of applications. When you consider this and the amount of time it takes to assess one application, the entire process can become time-consuming and tedious. Eventually, it brings inaccuracies and bias into the process.
3. Subjectivity and bias
Traditional assessments are also subject to the recruiter’s personal biases. For instance, during spoken interviews, there’s a chance that the recruiter might perceive the candidate’s dialect differently—leading to an inaccurate assessment. There are other unconscious biases like accent and conscious biases like discrimination that can come into play too.
Benefits of using AI for English language assessment during recruitment
1. Improves accuracy and consistency of assessment
In the State of People Strategy report, 27% of human resources (HR) leaders say they’re implementing software to reduce review bias. And with the rise in adoption and use of AI in businesses, this number is expected to grow with time.
Tools powered by advanced technologies like AI can provide an accurate and consistent evaluation of a candidate’s skills across the board for recruitment. As these tools use algorithms that can efficiently analyze speech patterns, syntax, grammar, and vocabulary, it improves the process.
2. Lowers costs associated with recruitment
The longer a job remains open, the more it costs the company.
For instance, the cost to run job ads, hire recruiters to assess the applications, and administrative costs stack up over time. In the US, the average cost per hire is $4683.
Considering how AI tools can reduce hiring time, the benefit is too clear to ignore. AI can help automate the entire hiring workflow, reducing the need for human evaluators to spend precious time on mundane tasks that can introduce errors into the process.
3. Recruiters can focus on candidates who are the best fit
AI-powered language assessment tools can also help recruiters quickly identify candidates with the highest language proficiency.
Instead of waiting for weeks or months to find the right fit, AI tools can cut that time down, making it easier to qualify candidates for technical rounds. Plus, it keeps the process objective, ensuring no favoritism or bias is present.
4. Gives more time for face-to-face screening for other skills
Finally, automating many tasks with AI allows recruiters to have more time to spend with candidates answering questions, discussing job requirements, and assessing cultural fit, face-to-face. It can improve the overall recruitment experience for candidates and lead to more successful hiring outcomes.
How to use AI to assess language skills in candidates
Many companies and recruiters hesitate to use AI because they don’t understand how it works. But with the right solution, you can optimize existing processes that have a significant impact down the line.
In any given year, the IT company receives ~1.2 million applications to various positions within the company. It puts heavy pressure on its recruiters, who sift through these applications and personally interview individuals to identify the right fit.
With these antiquated processes, assessments were imprecise and inconsistent, resulting in the loss of excellent talent.
ELSA’s English Assessment API can be integrated within existing systems to automate the process.
All candidates now have to send a voice sample of them speaking in English, and the application tests their level of fluency (A1 to C2). Then, recruiters can make decisions based on specific business rules set up by the company. For instance, candidates with a B1 level of fluency and below may be rejected, while the others are moved to the next stage of the hiring process.
Ultimately, this approach has improved the candidate’s experience and minimized the risk of hiring the wrong candidates.
Note: This is just one way in which ELSA streamlines the process; to learn more about our other solutions, check out ELSA for Business.
Leverage AI-based solutions to improve the hiring process
The integration of AI for assessing a candidate’s language-speaking skills has tightened and shortened the recruitment process to a great extent.
By improving accuracy, removing bias, and automating many manual tasks, recruiters can focus more on what matters: building a talent pool that fits the company’s culture and mission.
Additionally, candidates receive prompt and in-depth feedback on what they need to improve—creating a valuable experience for them, too.
By investing in AI, companies can take advantage of the efficiency and cost gains over time, improving their bottom line.
Are you ready to invest in AI that accelerates the language assessment process during recruitment?
Learn more about ELSA’s Speech Recognition API and ELSA for Business