“If you talk to a person in a language they understand, that goes to their head. If you talk to them in their own language, that goes to their heart” ‒ Nelson Mandela
Even though my mother told me not to, I speak to strangers all the time. I’m a recruiter, it’s what I do but sometimes it’s a little tricky to hit things off right away. And at times it’s even harder when our native languages differ. Whether a recruiter is hiring for one location or many, as the world is truly global, you will speak to people from many countries who speak many languages.
It’s the ability to break the ice fast and to form a connection quickly that sets apart a great recruiter from the rest. Over the years I’ve picked up lots of different ways to start up conversations, and in this article I want to discuss my favourite one (which also happens to be the most simple).
Learn “hello, how are you?” in your candidate’s native language. I started doing this when I was working in a recruitment agency and, though I got some strange looks from those sat closest to me, I couldn’t ignore the positive response. Candidates always appreciate the effort to welcome them in their native tongue. It’s a bit unnerving at first but don’t worry, if you fumble the phrase just ask for a correction and nail it next time.
And if you’re still not convinced, according to The Eton Institute there are 10 benefits of learning a foreign language, including memory improvement, sharpening of the mind and enhanced decision making.
To help you get started, here is “hello, how are you?” in some of the world’s top languages:
- Mandarin: Nǐ hǎo ma (pronounced “nee how ma”)
- Spanish: Hola, ¿cómo estás? (pronounced “oh la, com o ess tas”)
- Hindi: Namaste. Kya haal hai? (pronounced “na mass tay. Keeya harl hey”)
- Arabic: As-salam alaykom (pronounced how it reads. It means “peace be upon you”)
- Portuguese: Olá, tudo bem? (pronounced “olla, toodoo baym”)
- Russian: Privet kak dela (pronounced “preev yet kark di la”)
- Japanese: Kon’nichiwa, ogenkidesuka (pronounced “kon each ee wa, o genkee desu ka”)
- German: Gutentag, wie gehts? (pronounced “goot en targ, vee gates?”)
- French: Bonjour, ca va? (pronounced “bon jore, sa va?”)
- Italian: Ciao, come stai? (pronounced “chow, com ess sty?”)
If I made any mistakes, or perhaps you know of some better phrases, just comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
[also posted to my LinkedIn profile]