Recruiting and Remunerating Spanish Speakers
Posted by Elena del Valle on April 28, 2010
By Astrid Rial
President, Arial International
Astrid Rial, president, Arial International
Photo: Arial International
Companies who recruit bilingual talent to service Spanish-speaking customers seek associates who can effectively communicate in both English and Spanish. In the last few years we have observed that many more companies in the U.S. are providing additional compensation in the form of a bilingual premium or differential to bilingual associates.
Many Spanish speakers in the US speak colloquial or familiar Spanish, so the challenge for recruiters is to objectively verify that bilingual job candidates are able to competently communicate in professional and appropriate Spanish for business situations. Unless an interviewer is fully fluent in both languages, it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between casual and business Spanish.
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In the middle 80´s, in Pennsylvania, it took me a few discussions with Human Resources to develop and implement a fair scale when recruiting bilingual employees. They knew how har it was to find qualified people who could write, speak and understand Spanish correctly.
Nowadays, I am assuming it is a no brainer. It is a business skill required for many positions asn as such, that must be compensated.
Also, If I may add, not only the Interviewer needs to be fully fluent in both languages, but such person should have business experience in one or more Spanish speaking countries. That should give him or her a broader perspective to the whole experience.
This a very important element for businesses to consider as they make they businesses more Spanish friendly.
Many bilingual applicants grew up in the United States and spoke Spanish at home but only had exposure to conversational and informal Spanish. To effectively and professional communicate with native Spanish speaking customers it is important to have representatives with the required level of fluency.
I’m glad you point out that many US Spanish speakers may not have the language skills needed in a business environment. They need to have had some education or prior professional experience in Spanish to have the grammar and writing skills needed to succeed in business.