In a 2022 survey on Workplace Communication Statistics, 86% of executives said that lack of effective collaboration and miscommunication were two major reasons for productivity losses and failures at workplaces. Another study found that about 46% of businesses have lost clients to poor communication.
Communication barriers can cause inefficiencies in workflow and negatively impact an organisation's brand image. Such situations can be averted by incorporating a language proficiency evaluation round into the recruitment cycle. Even though several companies follow this procedure, in its current format, this round is time-consuming and prone to judgment errors.
Thankfully, processes have significantly evolved and artificial intelligence has a potent use case in this scenario. AI-driven language proficiency assessment tools are increasingly being used across various industries and job roles to efficiently evaluate candidates while ensuring minimum time wastage and negligible errors.
In this article, we will discuss the challenges of evaluating language skills and how leveraging AI-powered solutions can enhance the new-age hiring process and improve the quality of hires.
Challenges of Evaluating Language Skills
The most common approach followed by the HR community to assess language proficiency while hiring is to evaluate the candidate’s fluency in speaking and comprehension during in-person interviews. While this process has been a mainstay of recruitment processes for several years, it has several shortcomings:
1. Delays in the Hiring Process: Interviewers may end up spending too much time assessing language skills, which can have a domino effect and lead to delays in the other steps of the hiring process, thereby deteriorating the overall candidate experience. 49% of candidates opt out of a hiring process due to poor experience, which clearly underscores how unproductive manual assessment can prove to be.
2. Interviewer’s Bias: Bias can never be ruled out in any manual process. Interviewer bias can lead to an unfair interviewing process, poor quality hiring, and may also result in the company losing out on talented professionals.
3. Limited Scope and Range: Manual language proficiency assessments may not showcase the full spectrum of a candidate's linguistic capabilities. Such assessments also have the limitation of being inefficient in mass hiring scenarios. The process of manually evaluating language skills can become even more complicated when dealing with non-native speakers with different accents and dialects or using different expressions and colloquialisms.
Leveraging AI to Evaluating Language Skills
Organisations can overcome these challenges by implementing AI-driven hiring solutions such as Versant by Pearson, a digital assessment platform designed for accurately evaluating candidates’ communication fitness.
When HirePro’s Chief Operating Officer S. Pasupathi realised the growing need for remotely monitored assessments, the organisation partnered with Pearson Versant.
“Incorporating AI-based assessment tools like Versant into HR processes is essential for companies that want to stay competitive in today's fast-paced business environment. These tools can help employers make better hiring decisions, reduce time-to-hire, and improve the quality of the talent pool. We are very excited about the partnership with Pearson for their Versant test which helps employers to conduct assessments remotely with precision, enable a convenient and faster hiring process and reduce operational costs,” Pasupathi said.
Versant’s automated language tests help recruiters identify candidates who have excellent command over the language. This cutting-edge hiring solution is already in use by many Fortune 500 companies to hire top talent and cater to their training and development requirements.
Incorporating AI-based assessment tools as a part of the recruitment process has a number of advantages:
Objective and Standardised Assessments: AI-based assessment tools employ algorithms to evaluate language skills, making the results objective and standardised. This means every candidate is evaluated against the same pre-defined parameters, with no room for human error or bias. As a result, HR and L&D professionals are able to receive an accurate assessment of a candidate's language skills that can contribute towards building a more efficient, productive workforce.
Cost-Effective: AI-driven solutions significantly reduce the resources required to evaluate the language skills of each candidate in the long run.
Scalability: Tools like Versant provide quick scalability potential based on an organisation’s fluctuating hiring needs. Such flexibility is extremely difficult to achieve with manual assessment and can lead to bottlenecks or inefficiencies that may negatively impact hiring ROI.
Faster Results: Employers can get instant results with AI-based talent assessment tools, allowing HR and L&D professionals more time to focus on other critical hiring tasks.
Upskilling and Reskilling: Organisations can also use AI-based solutions to develop existing employees' language skills. Additionally, the evaluation can facilitate promotion, learning, and development functions. Organisations can leverage these tools to gain customised feedback on their training programs, enabling them to bridge gaps in their learning and development frameworks and upskill their workforce.
Use Cases of AI-based Language Assessment Tools
One of the many advantages of AI-based language assessment tools such as Versant is that can be used for multiple purposes and across a wide cross section of industries:
BPOs: Language skills are critical in BPO organisations like call centers as they directly impact customer satisfaction. Versant can be used to evaluate the language proficiency of call center agents, ensuring that they have excellent communication skills and can provide high-quality services to customers.
Educational Institutions: The tool can be used to evaluate speaking, listening, and writing skills of students and monitor their progress and improvements in ESL/EFL programs. Another important application of the tool is in verifying English language skills of professors or teaching assistants.
BFSI: With the rise of globalisation and expansion of financial markets worldwide, financial institutions need to communicate with clients across different geographies. Additionally, the rise of omni-channel banking has also shifted focus on customer services even within retail banking. BFSI companies recognise the need for creating differentiated service standards in a tech-driven and highly regulated industry – And communication lies at the heart of it all. Versant’s digital assessment tool can be used to evaluate the language proficiency of sales and marketing personnel, underwriters, and other professionals who deal with clients and customers every day.
Start-Ups: Language testing has become an increasingly important step in the talent acquisition process of start-ups too due to the international scope of the ecosystem in general along with the rising trend of Indian startups targeting global audiences to sell their products.
How Asia’s Largest Media Company Leveraged AI-Based Language Testing Tool for English Testing and Training: A Case Study
To showcase the power and real-world utility of AI-Based Language Testing Tool, here is a small case study from Asia’s largest media company:
One of the largest media organisations in Asia faced the challenge of accurately measuring the true language proficiency of its employees and job applicants' English communication skills. Despite high TOEIC L&R scores, many tests could not effectively predict English proficiency. The company chose the Versant English Test (VET), a fully automated, 15-minute spoken English test that measures real communication skills. The AI tool offered actionable insights to recruiters and assisted in making an informed decision.
VET also measured the effectiveness of the language training program for high-potential employees. The personalized instruction based on VET score reports helped participants better understand their communicative capabilities and also helped them identify their improvement areas. As a result of this training approach, the organization achieved an average increase of 12% in the communicative abilities of its Global Talent cohorts over time. Furthermore, the average Versant score increased by +7, which is equivalent to CEFR B1.
Make Informed Decisions with a New-Age Hiring Solution
Evaluating language skills using conventional methods can be challenging, and prone to errors, besides requiring additional time and resources. Leveraging AI-based language assessment solutions like Versant by Pearson can help organizations streamline their talent assessment processes and identify the right talent while removing any bias from the hiring process.
HR teams and learning and development professionals can leverage the tool to make informed recruitment decisions, build better teams, and create a more productive and cost-efficient hiring workflow.