Against the Odds: How to Achieve International Recruiting Success

October 21, 20169:00 am376 views

A recent study undertaken by CEMS, an international body of management education, found that nearly 50% of HRs struggle with international recruitment.  This is unwelcome news.

Economies around the globe are expanding, ushering in a new age of prosperity for many hailed by the interconnected, digital age. Part of the prosperity experienced by top-flight businesses can be attributed to international talent.

Employing foreign workers can provide a plethora of benefits, from international links and diversity, to filling skill gaps and capitalising on the potential of individuals. However, this key to prosperity looks to be on shaky ground, as HRs from around the world struggle to secure valuable international talent.

If you are struggling or plan to soon enter into the world of international recruitment, here are some facts you should know.

How to Find the Best Candidates

The key to identifying your ideal match is to analyse the requirements of the open position. What do you need and what are you looking for:

  • Somebody well versed in specific trade practices?
  • To fill a skills gap?
  • Expand the company mindset?
  • Diversify culture?

For example, when seeking a US trade expert, your first thoughts are likely to turn to the United States itself. However, such a narrow search isn’t necessary.

Consider neighbouring nations like Canada and Mexico, where you will also find savvy business minds who have spent years trading across the border. Similarly, China is the largest national trading partner of the US, meaning plenty of Chinese trading experts have a deep understanding of the US market. Although, wider recruiting nets isn’t always necessary.

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If your goal is oriented towards filling skill gaps, for example, you could find the employees you need in a very finite area. Countries often have varying levels of under and oversaturated job markets, depending on educational standards and culture; markets you can capitalise on.

Mechanical engineering, for example, is a skilled job market that has seen shortages in much of the world. Yet, thanks to cultural aspirations, it is a highly prevalent career choice in India.  Likewise, while many countries lack a high volume of software developers, Poland has seen an influx of skilled workers, thanks to a growing number of successful and respected universities.

By looking in the right places, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for your international recruitment campaign.

Running an Effective Recruitment Process

Once you’ve settled on your target recruitment nations, it’s time to start hiring. An effective international recruitment process requires a number of interlinking components:

  • Hands-on approach: In the digital age, it is all too easy to run a recruitment campaign half-way across the world. However, there is a reason face-to-face interviews are still prevalent in modern domestic recruiting. They allow recruiters to gauge a person by their mannerisms, body language and more. The face-to-face process is also better for prospective employees, who can form a better connection to your business through genuine interaction. On-site recruiters can help you find the best recruits for your business, so it’s well worth the extra cost.
  • Utilize local recruitment agencies: Outsourcing recruitment when you already have a solid HR department may seem counterintuitive, but think about it. Local agencies have in-depth knowledge, connections, cultural understanding and infrastructure. Utilize local recruitment agencies together with on-site HR representatives to create a powerful recruitment platform.
  • Present the benefits: Asking a person to move across the world is asking an awful lot. Present the unique benefits of your business clearly to candidates in job adverts and interviews. Place a focus on future opportunities for candidates and how a move abroad will benefit them in ways, working domestically won’t. This is the perfect opportunity to advertise the positive aspects of moving abroad: excitement, adventure, culture, and change of pace.

Securing Prospects Post-Recruitment

Finding your perfect international recruit doesn’t mean your job is done. Most HRs have found that problems came up, after an agreement is made, and that securing the recruit post-relocation was the toughest part of the recruiting process.

So, what are the problems faced by HR professionals? And how can you stop them from occurring or recurring?

  • Settling in: 46% of HRs involved in the CEMS survey reported having issues with recruits adapting to life in a new country. The solution is simple: support. Recruits need a pillar of stability when they move — somebody to help them adjust to life abroad. To help secure candidates, do all you can to help them settle in. Offer to find schools and accommodation, ease pressures like insurances and utilities, and help them become orientated with the local area. You can offer this support structure yourself, or you can outsource it to a corporate relocation company.
  • Culture shock: 24% of those involved in the survey found that they had issues with culture shock: a stressful situation where the culture and customs feel so alien that a person is unable to function properly. The key to avoiding culture shock is pre-emptive action and post-relocation support. Offer employees guidance in local culture, courses in language, and offer them direct advice and resources on how to live as an expat before they move. After a move, provide tailored support. Have them meet regularly with the HR to discuss their progress and pay close attention to their unique issues, combating them accordingly.
  • Communication issues: 16% of HRs believe language and communication issues are a threat to international recruitment. The solution might seem simple — offer recruits language courses — but to ensure your prospects remain on your roster, there is more you can do. Offer to ease employees into their role by committing to the communication process yourself. Discuss with the recruit on what and how they believe, you could communicate better during the initial process as they adapt to the company. This might include having a team member learn the basics of their native language or regular meetings to clearly define objectives.


Author credit: Content by Heather Darby, of Momentous Relocation. Over her time at Momentous, Heather has worked to relocate many international recruits, which makes her possess a wealth of first-hand experience.


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