Key Tips to Acquiring Multilingual Talent

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The world we live in just keeps getting smaller and smaller every day. We’ve talked a lot about many trends that are actively shaping the modern workplace and talent acquisition, but nothing comes close to globalization.

One of the major aspects that comes with a company’s global growth is the need for a workforce capable of communicating effectively in more than just one language. But hiring bilingual people can be a tricky business, especially when you’re doing it for the first time.

Find the Right Sources

When looking for bilingual talent, you need to know where to look. There are plenty of platforms and job boards that are specifically designed for bilingual people. Nevertheless, most job posting sites will do, since multilingualism is an increasingly sought-after skill in many sectors.

Now, here are some of the things you should do when sourcing bilingual talent:

• Write the job post in both languages. Here’s where you let your creativity fly with the job description. You can either write part of it in one language and then the other, or you can write the entire thing in both languages. The good thing about this is to stimulate code switching, which is something we’ll get into later on.

Just make sure that the description is grammatically correct and coherent in both languages, as if they were written by a native speaker. Nothing scares bilinguals away like seeing errors in either of the languages they dominate.

If you do not speak the other language that you’re in which you are posting the job offer, you should partner up with a colleague that does. That person will not only help you draft the perfect job description, but also be a crucial asset in all stages of the recruitment process, especially when evaluating the candidates’ level of proficiency in the other language.

• Create special templates for all written communications: Once you start receiving applications you should always respond in a mix of the two languages. Focus on the second language you’re looking for since it’s important to verify that the candidate is as skillful as they claim.

Always make sure that you sound like you’re fluent in that language and also avoid using idioms or phrases specific to a particular region. Keep it neutral!

Know How and What to Evaluate

Now that you have found a pool of applicants, you need to do some screening and interviewing to see which one is the best fit for your company. This is also the moment when you get to evaluate their level of proficiency in other languages. Nevertheless, you need to make sure that you don’t overlook the other skills that are necessary for the position that you’re offering.

There are three methods that are frequently used to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency in a language. Let’s go over them:

• Interview them. This is the first and most basic form of language assessing: just talking. Try to start off the interview by speaking in the regional language where you are, so as to not put the candidate on the spotlight right away. This can make people nervous and it can cause them to stumble and throw the interview.

• Use code-switching. In linguistics, code switching refers to changing from one language to another on a moment’s notice. True bilingual people are capable of this feat without even noticing. During an interview this is what can really tell you how fluent a person is in both languages. For example:

Interviewer: So, can you tell me a little bit about your educational background?
Applicant: (Answers).
Interviewer: ¿Qué responsabilidades tenías en tu trabajo anterior? (What responsibilities did you have on your previous job?)
Applicant: (Answers in Spanish)

After establishing a good atmosphere in the conversation then you can switch languages. You can choose to ask them about themselves in one language and then proceed to inquire about their past experiences in another. Try to keep the conversation fluid, comfortable, and casual.

• Use written tests. If you look around the internet, you will find thousands of standardized tests that you can use to evaluate a person’s writing and reading skills in almost any language. These are particularly useful to evaluate grammar and proper spelling.


Acquiring multilingual talent doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all about preparing yourself for the task. Source your candidates from the right places, learn how to reach them and capture their interests, and know how to evaluate their level of proficiency. Bonne chance, amigos!

Edu Rojas
Content Marketing Editor at neuvoo