How can my company use the CEFR levels?

A company can use the CEFR levels for benchmarking, recruitment, placement, promotion and training. The CEFR levels are a useful tool that every HR department should be familiar with.



You can use the CEFR levels to set benchmarks for language training and recruitment. For example, you may decide that all managers must have a CEFR level of C1.

In general, many companies feel that senior employees or employees who need a strong grasp of English who fulfil their job responsibilities (such as client servicing officers) should have a level of C1. A level of B2 is sufficient for more junior personnel or those who do not need a strong grasp of English.

In short, a person at C1 will be fully functional with English at the workplace and a person with B2 will ‘cope’.

The benchmarking process may look like this:

Step 1: Go through the CEFR levels and map the desired levels to job types. Use a language expert to help you, if possible.

Step 2: Select a sample group and test their CEFR levels.

Step 3: Analyse the sample group test results and adjust your mapping if necessary.

Step 4: Set benchmarks and test the wider group of employe


Once you have identified which level, you are looking for, you can test candidates during the recruitment process. There are several tests available for doing this, such as the BULATS test (see here for more details).

You may decide to hire someone who falls slightly short of the benchmark on the condition that they undergo training.


Perhaps some departments or positions in your company require better language skills than others. in this case, testing for CEFR level can help identify candidates who have strong language skills.


In some companies, the more senior staff need to communicate in English with colleagues and clients overseas, whereas the junior personnel do not. In this case, testing for CEFR level can help determine whether an employee is ready for promotion or not.


Testing for CEFR level can be carried out to determine which employees would benefit from language training. Further testing following the training can determine the effectiveness of the training and whether further training is necessary.