Job Interview Question & Answer: Do You Have Any Language Abilities That Might Assist You In Performing This Job?

How Much To Divulge

Applicants should respond with care when answering questions about language abilities relevant to jobs. Bilingual candidates who speak languages with immediate relation to work performance should highlight said skills prominently. Even if aspirants know foreign languages indirectly applicable to jobs, mentioning fluency in other languages shows ability to learn new dialects and some understanding of world culture beyond the local level. Disclose information about fluency accurately. Misleading employers as to how personal speaking, reading, and writing abilities regarding languages almost always causes problems after hire and may lead to termination. Job seekers with little-to-no background on the subject should relate answers to willingness to learn new skills and any previous familiarity with other languages.

Things To Consider

Though candidates should reply honestly to interview questions, not all language inquiries prove pertinent or even legal for employers to ask. Remain wary of giving too much information with replies, as questions relating to personal background, ethnicity, ancestry, birthplace, and national origin violate the equal opportunity provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Hiring managers may not lawfully ask questions about linguistic proficiency unrelated to job performance, such as questions about first or second language. Employers also remain barred from inquiring how applicants gained language skills. Job seekers may focus answers on employment qualifications and relevant abilities to avoid answering inappropriate questions.

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