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The Challenges ESL Job Candidates Face

A group of overlooked job candidates that have a tough time securing work are those who speak English as a second language. I’m talking here about candidates who have worked painstakingly at building an impressive work history and refused to limit themselves to low-paying jobs or a spotty career path.

The economy is doing great lately. Jobs are still available, unemployment is still low considering the inflationary period we’re still experiencing, but don’t tell that to ESL candidates. As far as they’re concerned, the job market still sucks.

I’ve had a few ESL clients head to interviews with a spotless resume, proud of the jobs they’ve held, only to face one rejection after another because they speak with an accent or they’re English language is limited in some way. It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that they fled their homeland, and left behind loved ones and possessions for a better life, only to realize that they would have to struggle in their new home because they speak different than everyone else.

The clients I’ve had the privilege to work with have an education, mainly earned from their home countries, and worked hard to deserve a qualified degree. That all changed when they had to make their way abroad for better possibilities, only to realize that they may have to spend the rest of their lives playing visitors who have to hustle hard just to end up with scraps.

I’m not even talking about anyone who arrives to the US undocumented. I’m talking about people who made their way to the US legally, who share common dreams, potential, and goals as everyone else they must compete with for jobs. Instead of giving them a chance to live up to the promises the country lured them with, they are having to make due with whatever is thrown their way, from sub-standard living arrangements, to low-paying jobs, and even part-time jobs somewhere in the back of the office or behind a wall of some sort just to make enough to pay their bills if they’re lucky.

Recruiters can benefit from hiring ESL candidates. They’re more hardworking because there’s so much at stake for them, such as being forced to return to whatever conflict or danger they faced back home. Educated ESL candidates can also offer a broader view to workplace issues, and are eager to work right alongside their colleagues to improve their English fluency and to better assimilate to American culture.. It is this type of cooperation and eagerness that will help prepare companies for a continually growing future.

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