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I was called by a recruiter about a good opportunity in a company that is very close to my house.

So I updated my CV and sent it over to the recruiter, who he forwarded to the company and on Tuesday I have a phone interview.

Now, as a context, I migrated from a non-English speaking country to the UK.

While I was discussing something different with a friend of mine he pointed out about a certificate I had on my CV, more specifically Certificate of Proficiency in English.

By mistake, I mixed up Certificate of Competency in English which is the one I am certified, with Certificate of Proficiency in English. Why did this happen?

Probably because they are called slightly differently informally in my country, therefore, when I searched them for the first time in English, I thought that this is my certificate.

Please bear in mind that I got this certificate 8 years ago, therefore can't recall the exact title and don't have access to it as it is back in my home country probably hidden somewhere.

The interview I have is not so much related to English, as it's in the IT field rather than let's say, Sales, practicing Law or Medicine were using the wrong word can make a huge difference.

Also, I don't believe that this mistake adds anything to my CV, is just there to certify that I can speak, write and understand English. Most jobs don't even ask for it as usually, you are being tested for you English competency during the interview.

Moreover, the interviewer has a video of mine, which was sent by the recruiter, where I speak English. I want to point out it was an honest mistake, rather than a mistake to get the job.

Now my question is, do I notify the interviewer or not?

  • Will it give a bad impression?
  • Will they start questions my other certificates as well?
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    So all that happened is that you discovered you put a slightly inaccurate title for a largely meaningless certificate on your CV? The hiring company didn't call you out on it or ask about it at all? And to be clear the original certificate title isn't in English? Would people outside your home country have heard about either of these certificates or know that they're different in scope? (I ask because I suspect you are massively overthinking this.) – Lilienthal Jun 17 '18 at 8:53
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    I wouldn't say slightly, it's a totally different level of certificate. None of them asked about it and actually, it has been on my CV for the last 3 years and it always passed my mind and never seen that it's the wrong title. The original certificate title is in Enligh but unofficially it's called differently in my country. Yes, people from my home country would understand the difference easily. – Papous13 Jun 17 '18 at 9:07
  • @Papous13 - Oops - I was writing my answer as you commented. I'll edit. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Jun 17 '18 at 9:50
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Please update your answer so we can discuss further :) Thanks – Papous13 Jun 17 '18 at 9:52
  • @Papous13 - I'd edited within 5 minutes of posting, so it's not showing as an edit - the first version was full of conditional statements about whether there were two certificates and which was considered greater, now removed. One further thought - if you don't know that you'll be able to supply a copy, it might be worth mentioning that too. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Jun 18 '18 at 7:00
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If you are applying for a job in the UK, where you will be interviewed by an English speaking person, they will find out whether you can understand questions asked in English, and whether you can reply in English that is understood by the interviewer. In most companies nobody will care what English speaking certificate you have or whether you have one at all. If you speak the language it's fine, if you don't speak the language no certificate will help you.

There would be rare exceptions, where for some legal reason they are required to check your certification. In that case if you didn't have the certification but get the job because they only checked your CV, you will lose your job instantly if they find out. But that would be a very rare situation.

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Where there are two possible certificates and the different word designates a different level, it's worth mentioning. At worst the discussion about an obscure translation difference will show both proficiency and competence, and if you're the one to bring it up it's more likely to be recognised as an honest mistake.

English is weird and, as you've said, you're aware of the difference being context dependent. You can be competent at ordering a sandwich without being proficient, and proficient but still not competent if the task involves a high level of nuance.

If the certificates are different, proficiency is higher than competency, and you don't mention it - that could look like you were claiming something you didn't have. Avoid that one by mentioning it.

But if you can't produce a copy of the certificate - and particularly if you're not sure you would be able to produce one if asked - I would remove any reference to it from future versions of your CV.

[A bit more context : I'm a Hiring Manager in the U.K. I would regard a certificate with either word as being a nice formal declaration, but would base my judgment of your use of English and whether you have an honest approach on the interview discussion and any correspondence. Based on this question and the way you've written it, I would have no concerns about either and (all other things being equal) would move you to the next stage of the interview process.]

  • The "bit of context" actually hits the point with surgical precision. Typically, there will be an interview, conducted in the language the employer is interested in, and this impression will count. To get you into that job interview, I'd consider a suitable self-assessment about your proficiency in the language in question sufficient. I will find out whether this self-assessment is real or fake when I call you. Some companies will want to see some certificate - but that's just to get your foot into the door, and no one will care about this after that (at least in the EU & UK, I'd say). – Klaws Jan 20 at 19:33

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