We require that all employees meet our language proficiency requirements so we know they can skillfully work with customers across channels (phone, email, chat, sms, and social). This post will walk you through how we think about assessments, what our language standards are and some example audio and written samples so you can know what to expect.
The most common assessments that you’ll hear about in the world of outsourcing are EF SET, TOEFL, IELTS. Regardless of which test someone takes, their language proficiency will be rated on a scale from A1 (least proficient) to C2 (most proficient). This A1 to C2 scale is called the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The image below shows the scale from A1 to C2.
At PartnerHero we ask all applicants, regardless of their background, to take the EF SET test and submit their score as part of their application. We only accept applicants who meet C1 or C2 requirements. On a case by case basis in some locations, depending on the applicant's verbal and written samples we may accept someone at the B2 level for roles that are not customer-facing. Many applicants are turned down due to language proficiency. We provide feedback and tools on how to improve and are always happy when an otherwise great candidate continues to work on their english and reapplies with a better score.
While the standardized tests are a great baseline, we’ve found that it's important to have our own benchmark as well. In addition to the standardized language test, we also have applicants submit writing samples and we evaluate their verbal proficiency during phone screens and interviews.
In terms of evaluating language abilities, this is what the application flow looks like for PartnerHero employees:
If you are a potential partner and want to include some specific assessments as part of hiring for your team please let us know.
For Voice Support roles, we put extra emphasis on our evaluation of the candidates spoken english during phone screens and interviews.
Here are some examples of call recordings for associates in Honduras and Brazil who scored C1 or C2 on the assessment and now cover phone lines for our partners.