As the size of the global community, both in the social and business spheres, continues to shrink, it is becoming increasingly clear that companies with international connections need to have multilingual employees on their payrolls. The problem is, though, that if the English-speaking company’s human resources department (in old fashioned English read personnel department) is staffed by monolingual recruiters, how are they to know if the level of the foreign language spoken by applicants is of a high enough degree to achieve the company’s aims.

There are two main ways the target can be achieved. Get the applicant to write a short article on something related to the type of business being conducted on a specific topic; and then send it off to a translation company to have it translated back to English. What you received back from the translation company will enable you to see what your foreign colleagues would have to deal with. This is an excellent way of seeing if your meaning and intent would be lost in translation.

The second method may be used if you have the luxury of being able to use your overseas colleagues, to ask them to evaluate a short article or even do part of the interview by Skype or telephone. Ah, the value – yet again – of today’s easy cyberspace communication systems.

Employing foreign language speakers for your company is a tricky business and it is therefore imperative that the successful applicant be au fait with not only the nuances of the language, but of the general customs of successfully doing business on the other side of the world, in order to keep your company at the top of the pile.

Having multilingual members of staff in this day and age cannot be more highly stressed – but it is the quality, not the quantity, of such employees which will prove to be an asset to be nurtured.

Some may think that the very importance of multilingualism in the business world we now live in means that they need to employ recruiters with foreign language skills, but this is just not the case. Having a strong unilingual human resources team which knows your business and the type of employee it needs in order to climb up the ladder of success is an asset of untold worth.