Proficiency at English is Vital Even for Developers

October 23, 2014

in Engineering, Team Building

At ArrayFire, we seek to hire some of the world’s best parallel computing developers. Due to the highly specialized nature of this expertise, our search includes the entire world. We have hired people from many different nations, either as remote contractors (not our favorite) or as full-time employees through the H1-B immigration process.

One big aspect that differentiates applicants is their proficiency at English. We previously did not care much about English skills. We learned through tough experience that the ability to communicate proficiently, in both oral and written form, is vital for any position within our company no matter how technical.

Therefore we now include written essay tests. We include verbal tests. We look for ability to communicate. Any single person within the company has the ability to veto an incoming job applicant.

Today I received an email from someone looking for a job. The grammar was off. I didn’t even have to look at the name or the resume to know that English was not the first language of this applicant. The lack of proficiency in English ruined this otherwise potentially technically brilliant applicant’s chances.

What are your thoughts on the important of proficiency at English for job applicants?


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