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More Corporations Base Employment Decisions on English Interviews

More Corporations Base Employment Decisions on English Interviews

Posted November. 14, 2007 08:15,   


A recent Dong-A survey found out that 9 out of 20 South Korean corporations will give more weight to applicants’ performance during their English interview than to their results on standardized tests such as the TOEIC.

Likewise, some groups such as Samsung are likely to require OPIC (Oral Proficiency Interview-computer) scores than those based on written English.

The Dong-A Ilbo surveyed the 20 South Korean corporations with most gross sales last year and asked them how they measured applicants’ English proficiency. According to the survey, SK Energy, Korea Gas Corporation, SK Telecom, and Hyundai Heavy Industries have modified their assessment methods to weigh applicant oral proficiency more heavily in hiring decisions.

Five other companies, including Samsung Electronics, S-Oil, Samsung Life, and Woori Bank, are considering similar measures. Korea Gas Corporation and SK Telecom are planning to change their test methods again next year.

In addition to standardized tests like the TOEIC and TOEFL, most corporations have used oral exams such as English interviews or presentations to accurately measure the English proficiency of an applicant in the past.

Thus, experts advise that applicants should not rely on their TOEIC or TOEFL scores when applying for jobs.

For example, all of the companies polled, except SK Telecom, SK Energy, and SK Networks that require G-Telp scores, used applicants’ TOEIC scores only in the first phase of the job screening process.

Moreover, 6 out of 17 companies, such as GS Caltex, KT, and Samsung Electronics used TOEIC scores as qualifiers for further examination only. Thus, an applicant with a certain level of TOEIC scores would be able to “move up” to the next screening stage if his or her scores were high enough.

On the other hand, 11 companies gave more weight to applicants with excellent TOEIC scores, and applicants with good TOEIC scores enjoyed, on average, a 10-40% advantage over the others.

Applicants for most of the 17 companies that looked at TOEIC scores had average scores of 824.3, while those for the other four companies recorded less than 800 scores.

larosa@donga.com parky@donga.com