Do my candidate’s English skills really matter?

It’s not uncommon for recruitment consultants to screen out potential job candidates based on a single email in which they’ve made some noticeable spelling or grammatical errors.

This practice of filtering down your short list based on English-language proficiency can be a useful approach, especially if you know your client values it. However, it may also cause you to miss the occasional placement if they get picked up by a competitor and the position sought does not require complete fluency in English.

We are naturally inclined to favour those who can speak English well.

English is important to Australians

As Australians, we are naturally inclined to favour those who can speak English well.

According to a recent poll of 1,200 people conducted by researchers at the Australian National University (ANU), the vast majority (92 per cent) said they viewed English-speaking ability as an important indicator of national identity and what it means to be an Australian.

The poll also found that a comparable proportion (92 per cent) were proud of Australia and that there was strong support for the idea that immigration can bring societal (86 per cent) and economic (83 per cent) benefits to the country.

Australians in general place a great deal of importance on the ability to speak English.

Dr Jill Sheppard, lead investigator from the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods, said the survey reveals a lot about Australians’ perceptions of national identity.

“We found Australians are largely welcoming of those born overseas,” said Dr Sheppard.

“Australians identify more strongly with their country than with their local town or state, and are feeling increasingly close to the Asia-Oceanic region.”

The research also highlights the importance of English language-speaking ability to those wishing to immigrate or work here. As in many other nations around the world where English is the main language spoken, it is an integral part of everyday life in Australia.

“We found Australians are largely welcoming of those born overseas.”

What if you have a highly qualified candidate with poor English?

Currently, there are certain sectors of the Australian economy that are crying out for talent that is not available domestically. Those working to fill tech roles, for example, will know how difficult it is to source the right candidates from within the country, and many are casting their nets wider – to regional technology hubs such as Singapore and Bangalore.

However, while the skills and career experience of potential candidates in these places may be a good fit for your client, their English may be limited. The question is though – if they can code or design infrastructure like the best, does it really matter if they can’t write beautifully crafted emails in English?

How FastTrack can help

As more advanced recruitment recruitment software tools become available, consultants will be ever more capable of predicting which candidates will be the best match for the roles they are applying. FastTrack360 is a cloud-based end-to-end recruitment software tool providing agencies with new-found efficiencies, shortening their recruiters’ average time-to-hire. And as a tool, it can certainly provide a means for identifying where candidates, for whom English isn’t their native language, excel.

For more information about FastTrack360, please contact us today.

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