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Old 06.06.2011, 16:25
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"Stilsichere Deutschkenntnisse" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

I'm being strongly encouraged to apply for a job in Zürich; it sounds pretty good except for one thing: I'm not sure I have the language skills they want. Would I be right in thinking that "stilsicheres Deutsch" is somewhere between C2 and Schiller?

If so, then why on earth I'm being asked to apply is more than I can see. I'm reasonably well qualified in other ways, but if they really want that level of German (and I assume they do, else why is it in the job description?) I don't see how my not having it would be anything but a deal-breaker.

Or do companies habitually overstate language requirements in the job description, in the expectation that candidates will overstate theirs too and it'll all cancel out?

Don't get me wrong, I have every intention of applying anyway and letting the hiring committee sort it out... mine is not to reason why etc. And the person who's pushing me to apply is on said hiring committee, so maybe she knows something I don't.
Just trying to make head or tail of the invitation, is all.

Anybody else got a job you weren't really linguistically qualified for? How'd you get on with it?

PS - of course the silver lining is that they want "stilsicheres Englisch" as well.
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Old 06.06.2011, 16:38
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Harsh. Go for it, you will regret it if you won't. Sometimes you just have to try and see. And, me even not being very fluent in German, stilsicheres Deutch sounds more that B1. Does not mean you can't get there, for what the specific job actually requires, in a couple of months, anyways. Summer nights are long...I will be cramming too
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Old 06.06.2011, 16:45
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

"Stilsicheres Deutsch" would also exclude about 98% of all Swiss.
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Old 06.06.2011, 16:46
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Stilsicheres Deutsch is definitely something above B1. However, it all depends what your future role is and if you really need it or not. Obviously, if you are going to face customers who speaks native German, than of course, the requirements are clear. On the other hand, if they want you to understand what you are required to deliver, than your level of German knowledge does not have to be that high and this requirement can be easy dropped or lowered.

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Old 06.06.2011, 16:51
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

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"Stilsicheres Deutsch" would also exclude about 98% of all Swiss.
You don't by any chance race cars for a hobby? Really remind me of someone I know and who considers himself just that little bit better than everybody else, especially the Swiss.

And I'd say 75% is about right.

Back on topic: Apply, who knows, your German is probably better than someone else's "stilsichere Englisch"...
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Old 06.06.2011, 16:52
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

I agree that it should be more than B1 but I also agree that you should try your luck. I was once told that one should only apply for a job if one does not meet more than 60% of the requirements, otherwise the job will get boring very soon...That might be a bit extreme but I think there is a certain amount of truth in it as well. Just like with many other things in life (apartments, relationships) there should be some requirements that are must's and others that are nice to have's :-). Therefore being fluent in English might be a "must" while being fluent in German could be a "nice to have". If that job is advertised in German, German might be important but then again the other people there might speak German fluently but not English...Try your luck, I am sure there is a reason as they even "asked" you to apply!

Last edited by irish_temptation; 06.06.2011 at 16:54. Reason: clarifications
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Old 06.06.2011, 17:00
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

I just pulled B1 out of a hat since that is the last course I took. My German has certainly improved in the three years since, but it's anybody's guess by how much. If I had to characterize its current level, I would say that I'm at the point where I can express myself nicely or extemporaneously, pick one.

Anyway the position wouldn't start until August. Maybe if I buy one of those "German for Business" books (you know the sort, 736 Form Letters for Every Conceivable Occasion) and start sleeping with it under my pillow...
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Old 06.06.2011, 17:14
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

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Anyway the position wouldn't start until August. Maybe if I buy one of those "German for Business" books (you know the sort, 736 Form Letters for Every Conceivable Occasion) and start sleeping with it under my pillow...
Well, if you're having sleepless nights over the German skills, I'm sure it would help with the nodding off...

I know it sounds clichéd but reading the occasional NZZ article and, yes, learning certain standard letters more or less off by heart would probably help.
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Old 06.06.2011, 17:16
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

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I just pulled B1 out of a hat since that is the last course I took. My German has certainly improved in the three years since, but it's anybody's guess by how much. If I had to characterize its current level, I would say that I'm at the point where I can express myself nicely or extemporaneously, pick one.

Anyway the position wouldn't start until August. Maybe if I buy one of those "German for Business" books (you know the sort, 736 Form Letters for Every Conceivable Occasion) and start sleeping with it under my pillow...
Reading books and radio is great help, look out for conversation exchanges, meet up regularly with neighbors, it all actually pushed me harder than books and courses. I am sure you are at least C1. See? So much closer to Stilsicheres. Just send that CV, so you don't have to think about it much any more.
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Old 06.06.2011, 17:25
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Basically what have you got to lose by applying anyway? What's the worst that could happen really?

I was barely out of B1 when I got a job in a strictly German speaking firm. Sure I don't have to write any lengthy reports, but I do have to deal with some complex problems face to face and over the phone, and the vast majority of the time I manage without any problems whatsoever.

You'll pick up the jargon, and the specialist words required for the job in no time. Also the chances are that you probably already speak far better German than you think.
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Old 06.06.2011, 17:40
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Stilsicheres Deutsch usually indicates that your written German should be good enough to write concise, clear e-mails, and that indeed isn't an easy task in German. Not only would about 75% of the Swiss not qualify, most Germans wouldn't either. Taking a course in business German or similar should help a lot, my written English isn't up to par either, but google be thanked I usually manage just fine in business mails.
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Old 06.06.2011, 17:56
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

I'd say that this requirement actually leaves it open for you. I see it as meaning you should be able to interpret and respond to all the German language necessary to perform your role.

It could have required a "mother tongue" German speaker, but doesn't.

Good luck, and update us on how you get on please!
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Old 06.06.2011, 19:14
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Mathnut,

I would honestly and directly ask the person who encouraged you to apply. Once, I came across a job position which required excellent written and verbal English skills, and fluent German preferred and a differentiating factor (which didn't really mean anything to me the way it was written - could have been anything from "you won't be able to perform your job if you don't speak German" to "if you know it, cool, otherwise no biggie").

While discussing with the person, I found out that, in reality, all that was needed was English for the job, and German was really only an added benefit, but not critical. What was critical were other factors related to the technical skills necessary to perform the job. This was true for that particular position, but it may be different for others.

So my conclusion is: ask the person what they mean exactly (what level of fluency in plain terms - B1, B2, etc.), and how critical it is, given all other requirements are met. I would think that, having been encouraged to apply - and especially if they already know you're not German or Swiss - they already see you as a potentially suitable match for what they are looking for, regardless of the language.

Good luck!
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Old 06.06.2011, 19:26
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Swiss advertisements regularly overstate their day to day requirements, and list the ideal qualifications.

Unless the job is selling to the Swiss government, I would think that above B2 would be acceptable.

Stilsicher means not making any mistakes! Go for it, the interview experience alone would be worth taking the day off.
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Old 06.06.2011, 21:50
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

I will also try... unfortunately my experience is that is more important what is called "Vitamin B"
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Old 10.06.2011, 15:28
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

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I'd say that this requirement actually leaves it open for you. I see it as meaning you should be able to interpret and respond to all the German language necessary to perform your role.

It could have required a "mother tongue" German speaker, but doesn't.

Good luck, and update us on how you get on please!
Exactly my thoughts, Stilsicher is a very vague definition. I think the general opinion is that you should be able to communicate with customers without making too many (obvious) mistakes. And if you have to do something really important, there are always native speakers out there to check your work.
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Old 15.06.2011, 20:43
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Hi,
'Stilsicher' is not vague i would say. It requires a certain good level of German. That code often appears in job ads for secretary or assistant jobs. And I would also think that your written German skills should lie above B1 which is Intermediate. Probably, they want you to interact well with customer related issues. 'Stilsicher' means to me a good command (specifically written) of the language - involves very often business correspondence in German. Why not take a chance and ask them if B2 or C1 is meant? C2 usually is quite the same level as mothertongue speakers.
Someone else already said...depends entirely what they're looking for in the first place...
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Old 15.06.2011, 21:58
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Essentially the employer is looking for,say, 10 skills/characteristics.

Of this, the German language skills are but one.

Modesty is over-rated in the employment world.

What you don't know, you can learn...
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Old 15.06.2011, 22:27
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

Hei, I applied to everything it moved

The first job I got in Switzerland demanded a "very good knowledge on German" and I could barely say Entschuldigung without biting my tongue. But my other credentials were good enough to cover that "little problem"
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Old 15.06.2011, 22:45
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Re: "Stilsicheres Deutsch" - er, that's higher than B1, isn't it?

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I'm being strongly encouraged to apply for a job in Zürich; it sounds pretty good except for one thing: I'm not sure I have the language skills they want. Would I be right in thinking that "stilsicheres Deutsch" is somewhere between C2 and Schiller?

If so, then why on earth I'm being asked to apply is more than I can see. I'm reasonably well qualified in other ways, but if they really want that level of German (and I assume they do, else why is it in the job description?) I don't see how my not having it would be anything but a deal-breaker.

Or do companies habitually overstate language requirements in the job description, in the expectation that candidates will overstate theirs too and it'll all cancel out?

Don't get me wrong, I have every intention of applying anyway and letting the hiring committee sort it out... mine is not to reason why etc. And the person who's pushing me to apply is on said hiring committee, so maybe she knows something I don't.
Just trying to make head or tail of the invitation, is all.

Anybody else got a job you weren't really linguistically qualified for? How'd you get on with it?

PS - of course the silver lining is that they want "stilsicheres Englisch" as well.
*Stilsicheres Deutsch" generally means to be able to WRITE in a decent German, and usually has NOT to do much with the spoken language.
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