TestGorilla LogoTestGorilla Logo

When should you give candidates an Elementary/A2 English test?

Written by Rhiân Davies

Picture this: You’ve decided to move a candidate with a great resume to the interview stage. They tick all of the boxes – they have the required level of experience, their skills match your candidate profile perfectly, and they possess the right level of English for the role.

Only when you begin the interview does it become clear that although they’ve listed “elementary English” on their resume, they’re struggling to understand common expressions and respond to basic questions.

Although they’re a great candidate in many other ways, you can’t move them on to the next stage of the hiring process because they don’t meet your language requirements. 

To avoid wasting time and resources interviewing unsuitable candidates, you can simply administer an A2 English test to them. This is the most efficient way of identifying applicants with your desired level of English expertise.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what an A2 English test is, the scenarios in which you should give candidates this test, and how the test reveals the most qualified candidates for your open role.

What is an A2 English test?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) categorizes language proficiency into six levels that range from A1 (beginner) to C2 (native-level proficiency). According to this scale, a person at an A2 level has an elementary understanding of a given language. 

An A2 English test helps you evaluate candidates’ understanding of basic grammar and vocabulary, how well they can speak in English, and their listening and reading comprehension.

Applicants who do well on this test can: 

  • Respond to and understand simple statements, questions, and commands

  • Use basic grammar correctly to form sentences 

  • Speak and communicate in short, simple sentences 

  • Read and write brief, simple sentences 

When should you give candidates an A2 English test?

when to give candidates an A2 English test

When deciding if you should use an A2 English test for hiring, you’ll need to consider the scenarios in which the test will be useful for assessing candidates’ English skills. 

The results of the tests will help you not only determine who your best candidates are in terms of language proficiency but also quickly identify which applicants are unqualified for the position. 

Here are just a few reasons to use an elementary English test in your hiring process. 

1. You’re hiring for roles in a workplace with high-level English speakers

Even if the role you’re hiring for doesn’t require English fluency, if the successful candidate will be working in an environment with many English-speaking employees, it’s a good idea to test applicants’ basic English skills.

To boost workplace cohesion and create an innovative culture, you’ll want the person you eventually hire to be able to communicate with your existing employees on at least a basic level.

2. You’re hiring for a position in an international office

If you’re recruiting for a role in an international office where English is the primary workplace language, you’ll again need to ensure that your chosen candidate can communicate with your existing employees.

3. You’re hiring for a client-facing role that involves work in international markets 

There are many client and customer-facing roles – for example, sales representative and technical support roles – that involve work in international markets where basic English is a necessity. 

Even if only a minority of customers are English speakers, you’ll need to determine if your chosen candidate will be able to communicate with them effectively. 

4. You’re hiring for remote roles or talent from overseas

Given the rise in remote recruiting, you might be hiring candidates from abroad. For example, if you’re based in the US and have applicants from Romania, it’s a good idea to ask them to complete a basic American English skills test to ensure their language level matches your requirements.

5. When members of your hiring team aren’t fluent in English

If you or members of your hiring team aren’t fluent in English, you can rely on an A2 English test as a useful method of accurately assessing your candidates’ basic English skills. 

At what point during the hiring process should you ask candidates to take an A2 English test?

Pre-employment tests are the best way of streamlining the candidate assessment process. This means you should ask applicants to complete an A2 English test during your initial screening process and before you begin inviting candidates to interview.

Recruitment costs are on the rise, so screening applicants by giving them a basic English test for employment in advance will significantly reduce your time to hire, keep recruiting costs low, and help you identify suitable candidates from the get-go. 

How an A2 English test helps you evaluate candidates’ elementary English skills

Evaluate candidate proficiency with these tasks

TestGorilla’s A2 English language test evaluates the four key language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

The test evaluates each candidate’s proficiency by assigning them the following types of tasks:

  • Listening comprehension: The test asks candidates to listen to a short recording and provide the correct response. You can also create your own custom video questions to test candidates’ knowledge of language concepts relevant to your open role.

  • Speaking: To test candidates’ English-speaking skills, you can ask candidates to record a video response to multiple questions. 

  • Reading and writing: You can use the test to evaluate candidates’ reading and writing skills and create your own custom questions. 

Ultimately, TestGorilla’s exhaustive A2 English test helps you ascertain which candidates have an elementary understanding of the English language. Those who do well on this test are most qualified to move on to the next stage of your hiring process.

Optimize your hiring process with an A2 English test for candidates

If an A2 level of English proficiency is a requirement for your open role, it’s vital to assess candidates before you begin the interview process. Since the A2 English test evaluates candidates for all four language skills, you can be certain that those who succeed on the test can communicate at the desired level.

You can also combine the elementary English test with other pre-employment skills tests to gain more insight into candidate profiles as a whole, ensuring you hire only the best talent. 

Sign up for TestGorilla’s free plan today and start using our A2 English test to find the perfect candidate for your open position.


Hire the best candidates with TestGorilla

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

TestGorilla Logo

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Free resources

Anti-cheating checklist

This checklist covers key features you should look for when choosing a skills testing platform

Onboarding checklist

This resource will help you develop an onboarding checklist for new hires.

How to find candidates with strong attention to detail

How to assess your candidates' attention to detail.

How to get HR certified

Learn how to get human resources certified through HRCI or SHRM.

Improve quality of hire

Learn how you can improve the level of talent at your company.

Case study
Case study: How CapitalT reduces hiring bias

Learn how CapitalT reduced hiring bias with online skills assessments.

Resume screening guide

Learn how to make the resume process more efficient and more effective.

Recruiting metrics
Important recruitment metrics

Improve your hiring strategy with these 7 critical recruitment metrics.

Case study
Case study: How Sukhi reduces shortlisting time

Learn how Sukhi decreased time spent reviewing resumes by 83%!

12 pre-employment testing hacks

Hire more efficiently with these hacks that 99% of recruiters aren't using.

The benefits of diversity

Make a business case for diversity and inclusion initiatives with this data.