Wednesday, May 8, 2024

“Bilingual Preferred”

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 26, 2006

By Astrid Rial, president, Arial International

Astrid Rial

Astrid Rial, president, Arial International

Photo: Arial International

Companies who are hiring bilingual talent to service U.S. Hispanic customers are seeking employees who are able to effectively communicate in “Business Spanish” so that they can deliver products and services to Spanish-speaking customers. However, confirming that job candidates are fluent in verbal and/or written English and Spanish is a challenge if the recruiter is not fully bilingual.

Many Spanish speakers in the U.S. speak colloquial Spanish. They are able to converse across the dinner table, but they lack the vocabulary or knowledge of grammar, syntax or verb conjugation rules to conduct a business conversation in Spanish. Unless the interviewer is fully fluent in both languages, recruiters find it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between casual and business Spanish-speakers. For companies who offer differential pay for bilingual language skills, the recruiter has the additional responsibility of ensuring the candidate’s verbal communication and/or writing skills are professional and appropriate for a business environment.

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