6 tools for busy HR professionals

Pearson Languages
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More and more organizations have shifted to hiring remote employees, giving candidates the opportunity to apply for jobs from anywhere in the country and across the world. In turn, this wider net has enabled HR professionals to bring in giant pools of qualified candidates – and of course, more great hires.

But with more job applications coming in, HR professionals know they need to work faster and more efficiently. And the right HR tools can help teams save time and standardize hiring across the board – especially when assessing candidates’ English skills or personality traits from afar.

Need help choosing the best HR software? We’ve got you covered. Here are 6 tools for busy HR professionals – including a number of HR tests for measuring sought-after soft skills:

1. Versant

How it helps you: Test candidates’ English language abilities with AI

Need a fair way to test candidates’ English skills? Versant is an HR test that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to score language assessments instantly. Made by Pearson, the world’s leading education company, the tool tests candidates’ speaking, listening, reading and writing skills to help HR professionals evaluate how easily someone can handle different workplace tasks – like speaking with customers over the phone or writing clear emails to co-workers.

Versant also provides an Intelligibility Index score, which objectively measures how well someone pronounces words or expresses their thoughts – both things that are important for effective workplace communication, but easily overlooked.

The test is available 24/7, with no appointment required, in more than 100 countries around the world.

Learn more about how Versant works

2. Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal

How it helps you: Measure important critical thinking skills

The Watson-Glaser test is a popular critical thinking assessment. In fact, it’s been around for more than a century, helping organizations and institutions measure the decision-making and rational thinking skills of employees, job applicants, and students alike.

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal tool makes it easy to administer the test on a larger scale. The assessment is timed (it takes 30 minutes) and includes a large bank of questions to help make sure no one ends up writing the same test. The scores are also given as a percentile, based around the following three criteria: whether someone can recognize assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions.

Overall, it’s a great tool to use with current employees wanting to move up in the organization. But best of all? It can help HR professionals screen out candidates whose critical thinking skills aren’t up to par – and save time interviewing people who might be qualified on paper, but not necessarily in practice.

3. Golden Personality Profiler

How it helps you: Assess a candidate’s personality type and how it will affect their behavior at work.

Golden Personality Profiler is one of the most in-depth personality assessments on the market. It allows HR professionals to understand what makes an individual unique. In turn, this leads to greater self-acceptance among employees and the ability to value differences in others—key factors impacting team performance.

So, how does it work? Powered by Jung’s Theory of Type as well as the Five-Factor Model of personality, Golden identifies the most detailed aspects of an individual’s personality. The program presents findings in a clear and concise report to make it easy to understand.

Of course, this is all good information to have in mind. But how can personality tests be helpful for HR? Not only does this test help predict how well candidates will perform at work, but it also helps to quickly identify a team’s strengths and resources and its potential weaknesses and blind spots. Furthermore, this tool can help HR professionals hire people who will match, or help shape, the company culture.

4. Acsendo

How it helps you: Run assessments and improve employee performance

For many workplaces, it can be difficult to keep morale up. Many people have reported feeling overwhelmed, isolated and unproductive working from home. Acsendo, on the other hand, can help HR professionals push employee engagement and measure how everyone’s performing.

Within the tool, HR teams can run company assessments to measure employee satisfaction and how they view their work environment, among other things.

It also enables HR to see if workers’ objectives align with company-wide goals, for example, and helps teams create development plans for employees. Even more, Acscendo advertises that their platform only takes a few days for teams to implement.

5. Odoo

How it helps you: Manage employees and recruit from one place

Odoo is a pretty popular HR platform; they say they have more than 5 million users worldwide. The tool lets users keep track of things like employee leaves, hours worked, expenses and evaluations all in one place – as well as recruit and manage new job applications, for example.

We also like that they’re open source and that more than 20,000 developers contribute to it globally.

6. Raven’s

How it helps you: Assess the skills needed for leadership positions and reduce bias

Raven’s is another HR test to assess an employee’s soft skills. But it takes into special account the unique skills needed for leadership or management positions. These skills include abstract reasoning, complex problem-solving, and observation skills, among others.

HR professionals get a report with the results. It shows how the candidate compares to others in the same role. The test isn’t influenced by language differences, and overall, it gives HR professionals a better understanding of who’s actually best for the job.

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    Six of the most famous British stories for English teachers

    By Anna Roslaniec

    Sometimes, it’s nice to share cultural insights with our students so they can get a deeper understanding of the context of the language they are learning. However, without lots of time and money, it can be tough to travel to an English-speaking country yourself and experience what life is like first-hand.

    But what if you could learn about British history, customs and culture from the comfort of your sofa?

    That’s right - in an instant you could be transported back to the dark cobbled streets of 19th century London, to an industrial town in northern England or a rural village in Surrey.

    Today, we want to share six English stories set in Britain that provide cultural, historical and social aspects of British life, both past and present.

    So sit back, relax and let us take you on an adventure.

    1. Emma

    Written by Jane Austen (1775-1817)

    This story about the intelligent and beautiful Emma was first published at the end of 1815. The book, which takes place in a fictional village called Highbury (located in the charming county of Surrey), covers themes such as romance, social class and female empowerment.

    Emma is a social person who enjoys seeing people happy and contented. She spends her time arranging marriages between her friends but sometimes makes mistakes. Will the problems she causes upset people? And can she find love herself?

    2. The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Written by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

    This philosophical yet supernatural thriller, first published in 1890, is full of lies, secrets and mystery. The tale revolves around the main character, Dorian Gray, who after inheriting a property from his grandfather, travels to London and soon makes new friends. One of his new acquaintances paints a portrait of Dorian, who makes a dangerous wish that he would give anything - even his soul - to stay as young and good-looking as he appears in the painting.

    Soon, things start to go wrong and his life gets out of control. But he doesn’t seem to get older. Why? The terrible secret he’s hiding in his attic is the answer. What could it be? Allow yourself to travel back to Victorian times and see London through the eyes of this handsome and hedonistic young man.

    3. Middlemarch

    Written by Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880)

    Written under Mary’s pen name,George Elliott, this work of realism was first published in eight installments during 1871 and 1872. The story, set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch from 1829-1832, tells a tale of science and discovery. It follows Dorothea, a young woman determined to change the world and Dr. Lydgate, an ambitious man who wants to be a leader in science. Dorothea and Dr. Lydgate are both married, but soon their marriages go wrong.

    Can they ever be happy? Will they achieve their dreams? Although the central theme of the book revolves around the marriage of the two main characters, with many historical references such as the 1832 Reform Act, the beginnings of the railways and the death of King George IV, Middlemarch is great for those who are interested in history as well as provincial life. 

    4. Four Weddings and a Funeral

    Written by Richard Curtis (born 1956)

    Those looking for a more modern look at British life can learn plenty about customs and cultures in this contemporary book, which has been adapted from one of Britain’s funniest and most popular films. Released in 1994, Four Weddings and a Funeral is about Charles (played by Hugh Grant in the film), a charming man who is very unlucky in love.

    One day, during his friend’s wedding, he meets a beautiful girl called Carrie. Unfortunately, she does not plan to stay in England, and travels back to the United States. But they keep meeting each other, so maybe things can work out for the couple. Laugh while discovering the ins and outs of the British social scene in this romantic comedy.

    5. North and South

    Written by Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

    North and South, published in 1855, is about a young woman named Margaret Hale who moves with her parents from rural southern England to an industrial town called Milton in the north. There, she meets a wealthy mill owner named Mr. Thornton, and though she dislikes him, he immediately falls in love with her.

    During her time in Milton, she witnesses what it’s like to work in the mills where employers and workers constantly clash. As his workers go on strike, will Mr. Thornton be able to charm Margaret? This complex and provoking story follows the working class struggle during the Industrial Revolution.

    6. Oliver Twist

    Written by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

    Published in 1832, Oliver Twist was Dickens’ second novel. The story tells the tale of a young orphan we can all feel for. Oliver is brought up in a workhouse where he is beaten, starved and poorly treated. With no parents to look after him, he decides to run away to London, where he joins a gang of thieves.

    His new friends look out for him, but can they protect him from a life of danger and crime? An interesting look at the darker side of Britain’s capital, Oliver Twist is still popular today with film, musical and TV adaptations.

    Want some more reading inspiration for your English lessons?

    Discover graded Readers featuring some of the world’s best-loved authors.

    Pearson has Readers adapted from classic English novels with audio files and a comprehensive teacher resources section, meaning you can use them in class with your students too. 

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    Back to school: 5 team building activities to help break down boundaries

    By Anna Roslaniec

    At the beginning of term adolescent learners are often shy, embarrassed and awkward. They are reluctant to speak English in front of their peers or show enthusiasm in class, often suffering from social pressure and lack of self-confidence. It can take weeks or months for students to get to know each other and form bonds. However, don’t despair if your teen learners are like this. There are plenty of team-building games and activities you can do to help students build relationships that will allow them to feel comfortable and relaxed in the classroom.

  • A teacher stood in front of a classroom of students sat at their desks

    5 ways to deal with mixed ability students in secondary classes

    By Anna Roslaniec

    No two teenagers are the same. Within all of our classes there tends to be not only a range of English proficiency levels, but also general learning styles, maturity, motivation, and personalities. This diversity can bring some challenges, but also opportunities to vary your classroom activities and teaching methodology.

    Here are some ways to help deal with mixed-ability classes and ensure all your students experience success in their language learning journeys.