What is the role played by a Communication Coach for English in the selection and recruitment process


Many of my LinkedIn contacts have asked me what is the role played by a Communication Coach for English in the selection and recruitment process. This post aims at giving a clear answer through a tangible example.

The case in point

Laura, not her real name, is a talented professional in her 40s. She is a clever woman and has an excellent resumé. She gets to know that a very well-known American multinational enterprise is looking for a managerial profile that would suit her and that she would love: an international job where the candidate is supposed to operate globally, mainly in English. The selection criteria are very stringent and there might be a high number of applicants.

Laura has a good level of English, a language that she studied at school and during some courses abroad: she can write it correctly and speak it fluently and with an appropriate vocabulary, especially when it comes to her sector. Being a highly self-aware person, as soon as she reads the requirements, the corporate core principles and the list of interviews in English, Laura realises that she has some gaps, even though they are not clearly defined. She has the feeling that she would greatly benefit from some specialised support in order to prepare a series of professional cases to submit in response to the numerous questions and, more generally, to brush up her English and remedy any possible errors.

Our level of English (generally speaking...)

Unfortunately, English teaching is generally poor in Italy, not all teachers are competent and in most cases they are not native speakers. Younger students benefit from a higher exposure to media, courses in the US or UK and more frequent trips, but those who devoted themselves to other subjects or followed different paths do not master the language as expected in an international environment, where virtually all communications, both written and oral are conveyed in English: from daily emails to formal presentations of projects and results.

It is to be noted that learning a language as such is not enough: you need to be deeply familiar with all its expressive codes, as well as all customs and practices that are normally applied in an multicultural setting. I am insisting on these concepts because I often talk to people who do not have a clear idea of the criteria used by interviewers to assess language proficiency, which is often a key skill. If your performance is up to their standards they will consider you more competent, efficient and fit for the position.

The support of the Communication Coach for English

Lucky enough, Laura is a self-aware person.

She contacted me and we had a first video call aimed at identifying her gaps and the work to be done, either together or on her own. We tentatively planned the following meetings in line with her deadlines for the submission of a written text and for the interviews. Time was limited and the schedule was intense, but our commitment resulted in a very constructive process.

My approach is extremely practical: we basically simulated the interviews in order to identify any room for improvement.

A coach is, by definition, a trainer.

As is often the case, at the beginning Laura automatically applied some communication strategies generally used in Italian and tended to be too wordy, sometimes even redundant. In some instances, her presentation was not as rigorously logical as is expected to be when speaking in English.

Beyond grammar, syntax and vocabulary, there are some tacit rules that must be complied with if you want to speak the same language as your interviewer. We reviewed most of them while improving and streamlining her answers to any potential questions.

This exercise brought to the fore some linguistic criticalities, mainly engrained mistakes that nobody corrected in the past, but Laura very promptly remedied them. I also had the opportunity to share some standard formats and a number of “tricks of the trade” that she skilfully applied to her other answers. The learning process was smooth and incremental: in a few hours she acquired self-confidence and familiarity with numerous communication tools.

These simulations pursue a triple goal:

  • helping candidates to assimilate contents,
  • identifying their residual gaps and
  • strengthening their sense of self-efficacy.

A coach can challenge the interviewees with further questions and distracting interruptions so as to enable them to be trained to overcome these difficulties. The final result is a better performance during the real interview. This is what happened with Laura, who successfully proceeded through the selection process and was assigned the job. A great professional achievement for her and a huge satisfaction for me!

No need to say that, even if you decide to resort to a coach, you have to do the bulk of the preparation work. It is essentially your past experience that determines your success. However, if the recruitment process is entirely or partially in English, you should ask yourself whether you master the rules of the game. You may greatly profit from some targeting training. Don’t give anything for granted!

Continuous learning and updating is another asset which should not be underestimated. In my posts you will find useful suggestions to improve your communication skills in English. It is my pleasure to share my knowledge and contribute to your professional development. Keep yourself posted! and cpontact us at info@goodgoing.it.

About the author
Cristina Moretti
Cristina Moretti owns a peculiar combination of two complementary skills. For over 25 years she has been working as a conference interpreter in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese for top institutions (EU, UNO) and major companies and multinational organisations. Since 2006 she has been offering my services as a trainer and ICF Professional Certified Coach specialised in Communication Coaching, especially for English. Her career allowed her to work in international settings and live abroad, in particular in Belgium, France, United Kingdom and Brazil.

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