What is the best second language to have or learn in the recruitment market

Published: 03 Mar 2014 By DeeDee Doke

Do you parlez a second or third language? If so, a number of leading recruitment companies in the UK and abroad need your skills to successfully hurdle the ‘tower of babble’ that can hold back their overseas operations.

Here’s what some knowledgeable recruiters had to say about current requirements for recruiters who can build businesses and tap into talent in languages other than English:

Alex Fujino

Alex Fujino, senior consultant, Pacific Associates:

“Our company provides professionals mainly to foreign capital companies in Japan. In many cases English is necessary for the positions we try to fill, so we communicate with the candidates in English. Having said that, the positions that do not require English means that we have to speak Japanese with our candidates, and in some cases our clients. Having both English and Japanese can benefit the Recruitment Professional so the demand in having an additional language is indeed growing.

“It’s important to our business, as communication is the most important part of our job. If our consultants have both Japanese and English it gives our business the flexibility to not just work with the foreign companies here in Japan, but the domestic companies too.” 

Tara Lescott

Tara Lescott, managing director, Recruiter Republic:

“Demand for Recruitment Consultants with second or third languages is definitely rising.

“As more firms take a global approach to their client relationships the need for Consultants with fluency in German and French are in particular demand, followed closely by Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Italian.

“We have seen this demand increase particularly with major RPO firms looking for European Account Managers/Directors as well as specialist recruitment firms operating in Oil & Gas, IT and Pharma/Scientific markets at Consultant to Director level.

“Many Recruiters have these skills but currently work in roles where their language skills are not needed and as such are often losing out on the enhanced package that is often available. Quite often, roles for people with these skills are not easy to find, as many employers don’t believe they can fill them but many do have the opportunity – we would urge any Consultants with fluency in any of these languages to get in touch with us.”

Julie O'Neill [square]

Julie O’Neill, joint managing director, McCall:

“As the global recruitment marketplace expands there is more demand for additional languages – German is one that is prevalent, as is Spanish (useful for Latin American countries in growth mode also – having just returned from an Empresaria conference in Chile last week I know only too well how limiting only speaking English can be in this geography!)

“Overall of course there is a strong need for the super power languages, e.g. we are working a director role in China currently and that requires a local language. Similarly I am working a role based in the CIS region and not surprisingly, they want Russian!  Our Singapore office places in Japan, Malaysia and so forth – so clearly the Asian languages are advantageous.

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