English Language Test

English language tests are designed to help evaluate a candidate's level of proficiency in English.

  • What is an English language test?

    An English language test is one of the best-known and most commonly used language proficiency tests. The purpose of the test is to assess a test-taker's level in reading and writing English.

    The assessment will typically cover topics such as comprehension, grammar, sentence composition, and the ability to comprehend everyday and business language.

    There are a variety of contexts the test might include, such as work-place scenarios, formal and informal language, and precise translation.

    Those who do well at the English test demonstrate the potential to understand non-complex professional copy that might be typically used in a professional business environment, and communicate their ideas in English at an intermediate level with colleagues or clients.

About the English Language Test

English is spoken by almost 1 billion people around the world – it is the number one most-spoken language. English is considered an essential business language and the ability to speak English on the international job market is crucial.

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  • Why should you use an English language test for recruiting?

    Assessing an applicant's English can be challenging for recruiters who don't speak English fluently, or who do speak it but might not know how to assess what level of English an applicant can understand, in a fair and accurate way.

    A candidate might state on their resume that they have intermediate fluency in English – but without using a test it may be very difficult to measure. An English language test solves that problem and can be easily shared with a large pool of candidates to provide comparative data.

    The test evaluates their ability and understanding of basic grammar, reading comprehension, and formal idioms. A recruiter can then see which of the applicants has the highest level of fluency in English overall.

    Those who best meet the English language requirement can move forward in the hiring process, with the applicants who didn't possess the required level eliminated. This makes for a much more efficient hiring process, saving the need to interview numerous candidates in English by phone or face-to-face.

    Job roles for which English proficiency might be a prerequisite include:

    • Translators
    • Teachers
    • Pilots and flight attendants
    • Editors or proofreaders
    • Salespeople
    • Business roles
    • Tour guides or travel agents
    • Journalists and content creators
    • Customer support staff
    • Jobs in English-speaking countries

    Proficiency in English could also be helpful for any business with operations in the European market, or with clients from English-speaking countries. Over 60 countries recognise English as their official language, including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.

Sample English Language Test question

There ____ thousands of people attending a protest in London tomorrow.

  • 1) is

  • 2) are

  • 3) was

  • 4) weren’t

Picked Sample Report

View a sample report

Results for the English Language Test along with other assessments the candidate takes will be compiled to produce a candidate report. The report is automatically generated and available both online and as a downloadable pdf so they can be shared with other team members and employees alike.

How our test assesses English language skills

In Picked's English language test, candidates will need to answer a range of questions covering grammar, spelling, vocabulary, common phrases, and reading comprehension. With a varying degree of difficulty around the Common European Framework B2 (upper-intermediate) level, the test questions are designed to indicate how well a candidate comprehends English.

The test avoids requiring any irrelevant knowledge from the candidate aside from language proficiency; thus it is general enough to be used for any job requiring English. All questions are multiple-choice: a format familiar to most candidates that allows for immediate, objective scoring.

The response options aside from the correct answer, called distractors, are mostly common mistakes or misconceptions, which enhances the question's ability to accurately measure a candidate's proficiency.

During the development process, this test was rigorously analysed to maximise reliability and validity in line with industry best practices. It was written, examined and revised by English language and psychometric experts, and field-tested with a representative sample of job applicants.

In other words, this test empirically demonstrates consistency and measures the language knowledge as intended. Raw scores are provided for each candidate to indicate how they perform relative to one another.

Regarding the candidate's experience, this test has been reviewed by a panel of individuals representing diverse backgrounds to check for any sensitivity, fairness, face validity and accessibility issues. This ensures each candidate has a fair chance of demonstrating their true level of English proficiency and feels the test is reasonable.

This test is also monitored on an ongoing basis to optimise performance and is analysed regularly for fairness issues.


Predictor of job success

Picked provides evidence-based recommendations for tests to use for over 750 jobs. Our recommendation engine leverages data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).


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    Fully accredited

    All our English Language tests are written by accredited psychologists and fully validated.

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    For all levels

    We offer English Language tests for all levels so you can assess all roles within your organisation.


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    Smart automations

    Automated actions such as alerts and reminders ensure a smooth candidate experience.

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    Instant results

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Make better hires

Improve hiring with bias-free, data-driven decisions.

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    Analytics dashboard

    Our full array of candidate performance metrics will provide actionable data on each of your candidates.

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    Candidate comparison

    Simple, easy-to-use candidate comparison reports mean you don’t need to be a psychologist to interpret them.

“We used Picked as part of our Finance Graduate Scheme recruitment and it was just what we needed – really simple to send candidates the link to complete and clear to see how they all compared. And great value for money!”
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
English Language Test expert

Written by an English Language Test expert

Cathy Poole has worked in ESL for over 25 years. She is an experienced Cambridge CELTA trainer and assessor, as well as a former examiner for both IELTS and Cambridge. She has designed a wide variety of ESL curricula, courses and materials.

“Personality profiling allowed us to perform lookalike modelling of our most successful employees and use this as a blueprint for new hires.”
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain

English Language Test FAQs

What are the different levels of an English language proficiency test?

Generally speaking, candidates are graded from B1, B2, C1 and C2 in language tests. B represents an independent user and C represents a proficient user.

  • B1 = Threshold or intermediate
  • B2 = Vantage or upper intermediate
  • C1 = Effective operational proficiency or advanced
  • C2 = Mastery or proficiency

The English language test is based on an intermediate level proficiency.

How do you test an applicant's English language competency?

By taking a language test, candidates can demonstrate to a potential employer or educational institution at what level their current competency in English lies. This will often be broken down by categories such as reading, writing, listening and speaking.

What is the cost for Picked's English language test?

We believe in simple, transparent pricing. We operate monthly and annual subscriptions so you can pick the perfect plan for you. Don't worry if you're not sure: you can always upgrade or downgrade later, or speak to us to discuss the option of a custom made plan to fit your needs. This is all you ever pay: no set-up or hidden fees.

Can I get a free trial?

Yes, sign up (no credit card required) and we'll give you a 7 day trial completely free. You'll get unlimited access to create as many jobs and test as many candidates as you like. You can cancel any time and you won't be charged anything.

“Focusing on data reduced the subjective decision making from our hiring process and allowed us to reduce bias and make better hiring decisions.”
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden

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