Successfully Hire International Job Candidates: How to Get the Best

international job hiring

Companies today have unprecedented access to talent across the globe. In fact, 56% of global companies are now hiring remotely, which means their international candidates don’t even need to be in the same place. By the same token, employees with the right in-demand skills can essentially “write their ticket” anywhere.

Today, there are 10.9 million “digital nomads” working their way through the world. I was an original nomad in that I was working out of Internet cafes around Asia before it was even a “thing.” I still got my work done, and the global perspective made me a more attractive candidate.

If you’re interested in attracting international job candidates, you’ll need to take a deeper look at your job listings, your positions, and what you have to offer. You have to consider where your talent is coming from and what would be attractive to them.

Onboarding international talent from different countries increases your competitiveness and builds teams with culturally broad job skills and perspectives. By using the right recruitment methods, your talent outreach efforts will not only alert international job seekers with in-demand skills to available openings but also appeal to forms and levels of talent that you might otherwise miss out on.

Building working relationships with people from other cultures brings with it the challenge of culture shock, miscommunication, and similar problems.

With that in mind, here’s how you can make your company look more desirable to an international job candidate.

Start by looking into your needs

Take a look at the position that you’re trying to fill. Be very specific about your “needs” and your “desires.” You might need five years of experience for a position. But you might want 10. You might need experience in, say, Salesforce CRM. Or you might just need general marketing experience. When you’re hiring internationally, education and certifications may not directly align. Look for universal certifications (for instance, in the tech community, this would be Cisco or Microsoft).

In many countries, to hire international candidates (and sponsor them), you do need to make the effort to hire internally (inside of your country) first. Consider this when posting your job profile.

Investigate your workplace culture

There are many differences in workplace culture internationally. In the United States, there is the expectation of long work weeks, compared to the rest of the globe.

In France, there’s the expectation of at least 5 weeks of paid vacation. Understanding the expectations of your future employees is important.

If you have international teams, they’re going to have different expectations. Your company may need to be very flexible to adapt to the cultural expectations of many different individuals while still retaining its own unique company culture.

When you hire international members, you might experience some pushback in terms of work-life balance, or some adjustment time as they get used to your culture.

The more that you can reasonably offer your employees, the more likely you are to get the best talent. And the best talent will perform the best and deliver the best product, even if that means that workplace culture may change.

Emphasize the local benefits

Do you expect your employees to relocate? If so, why would someone from somewhere else in the world want to leave everything behind to work with you?

Your listings and your interviews should emphasize the benefits of not only working with your company but also living where your company is located.

Work isn’t going to be your employee’s entire life. They’ll want to know what the amenities are around your offices, what the local culture is like, how they’ll meet people, and so forth.

Only about 18% of the employment market is interested in moving for a position.

But regardless of where you live, there can be some dramatic benefits.

You may have a great entertainment and meals industry.

You might have fantastic weather, like in Spain. Or you might just have an exceptional cost of living, like in Bangkok. Or favorable taxes, like Hong Kong.

You might have access to a great education and great healthcare, like in Singapore. Whatever it is, emphasize to your employees that this is a place where they can grow roots.

Make it easy to relocate

How will an employee find a home?

How will they pay for their move?

How will they travel once they first get there?

Who will help them settle in?

The cost of relocating a new employee internationally averages $70,000. It doesn’t have to cost that much, but if you want to save money, you’ll have to be prepared.

Having a plan for your international employees is frequently the best and easiest way to ensure that they’re interested in relocation.

Create a full program for employees, such as where they might live while they try to find a place (company housing) and how they can get a car (leased cars while waiting).

The easier you make it for employees to move, the more likely it is that they’ll be willing to do so. And making relocation easier also benefits you.

Not only will you be able to draw in the best talent, but your talent won’t be distracted trying to figure out their new lifestyle while they’re in training.

Many people are eager to relocate for greater opportunities and higher quality of living.

But these are far from the only benefits of traveling to relocate and work in another country. There are the enhanced perspectives that come with it, perhaps the chance to learn a new language, and much more.

When seeking to hire internationally, pointing out the specific benefits of relocating near to your business.

If you’re located in a metropolitan area, highlight the benefits of urban living, access to public transit, a plethora of art, shops, entertainment, and culture. If you’re located in a more rural or remote area, you might advertise the appeal of living closer to nature and living in a more closely knit community. And if they have a family, they’ll want to know how their children will fit in and what the schooling options are.

By focusing on the specific benefits of your part or the country you’ll attract more people who are looking for those exact types of benefits. It’s a good way to build loyalty and foster a happy workforce.

Go where the employees are

There are many international job fairs out there where prospective employees may be paying attention. You can also recruit from areas such as the international departments of schools; there may be students there who are about to finish their schooling and who are interested in staying in the country.

It all depends on what type of employee you’re trying to hire.

Fostering a relationship with the local colleges is an excellent way to get new employees into your organization’s pipeline. There are other advantages as well.

While you’ll be getting international talent, you won’t be asking anyone to move into your area; they’ll already be there. They’ll already be accustomed to the challenges of working within the community, and you’re more likely to find individuals who are interested in the area.

Show opportunities for growth with your company

An international job candidate is giving up quite a lot to work with your company. In addition to perks and benefits, you should show candidates that they’ll have a stable career that is poised for growth.

Be prepared to show potential candidates that your company hires and trains from within. Emphasize training, certifications, and continuing education opportunities; they’ll want to grow their career and their employability stronger.

Your candidates shouldn’t feel that they’re giving up other opportunities for growth by working for your company. They should feel as though it’s an excellent opportunity even if it ends.

The more you can show job candidates that they can stay and grow with your company, the more likely they are to stay and grow with your company.

Leverage your social media

One way that people find jobs and companies today is through social media. It may be surprising, but from Twitter to LinkedIn, many individuals investigate a company’s social media accounts before they decide they want to work with it.

By projecting the right company image through your social media, you can attract more candidates and more talented individuals. You’ll also be able to gain access to more job candidates.

Social media recruiting is a tool that shouldn’t be ignored. More than half of younger candidates are looking for and finding jobs online.

Most people are submitting their applications online and investigating potential employers online. If you don’t have a social media presence, an international job candidate may not feel secure about applying with your company – you’re an unknown quantity.

Create an employee referral program

An employee referral program is very much like a customer referral program.

You can reward employees who find other employees – and employees who last beyond their probationary period at that.

Not only do employees want to do a good job, but if they really love their company, they want to bring people they care about in. Let other employees know about the listings that you have and you may very well get a list of candidates.

These candidates will be pre-vetted; no one knows the job that you’re doing better than your current employees.

Your employees will know whether the people they know are a good fit. They’ll be able to leverage their connections for the good of the company. And they’ll be able to reach back to their home countries if they’re international employees themselves.

Additionally, an employee referral program enhances company culture and reduces the chances of employees leaving – as they’ll be more comfortable with their colleagues.

Understand corporate cultural gaps

Many Western countries have a pretty standardized workweek consisting of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for a total of 40 hours (often quite a bit more).

While that’s changing due to the sharp uptick in people telecommuting, it remains fairly solid. We tend to consider those who work part-time or less than 40 hours/week to be underemployed.

This type of sentiment may need to be toned down through corporate cultural training sessions since an international job candidate may not see a strict 40-hour workweek as a standard. These days, you also need to consider how you may accommodate remote work.

This may also need to be communicated in your talent outreach efforts. Diverse workers may be dissuaded from bringing their valuable insights and talents to the table if they believe they’ll be expected to work hours that they see as arbitrary, and they may be right.

Describe your needs clearly and directly

When recruiting internationally, it’s important that your outreach materials, ads, job postings, job description, etc., be written and formatted to suit the language and dialects of the people in the areas you’re targeting.

This is important to help ensure that you convey the message you intend to convey.

Lack of diligence in this area can lead to embarrassing mistakes that can come back to haunt you years later.

It’s easy to see how your efforts to hire internationally might begin by hiring local language experts in the area where you wish to search for new talent. It may seem like a catch 22, but it’s actually an excellent way to avoid mistranslations and to access other worthwhile hires in a given location.

Discuss your onboarding process during talent outreach

Most people coming from a foreign country will understand that there will be some cultural differences not only in how everyday things are done but in general business practices as well. Surely, you’re not in the habit of hiring people that don’t understand such things.

Still, you can smooth out some of these types of difficulties by mentioning the manner and methods you use in your onboarding process.

If any requirements are unique to your organization, or any that are especially important for applicants to adhere to, mention those in your hiring campaign when possible.

For even better results, briefly mention any federal or local regulations regarding foreign workers immigrating to your area as early on in the process. You want the transition to go as smoothly as possible for your new hires so that there are fewer barriers to getting started.

Understand that language barriers exist

We mentioned the importance of making certain your hiring literature, outreach, and campaigning efforts are fully advised by linguistic experts in the native language of the people you’re addressing.

To this end, become as familiar as you can with the native language of any international workers you intend to bring on board. Once again, it may be necessary to hire translators, language experts, and/or to look for bilingual international hires.

All of this might seem like a lot of work, and a high bar to vault- but it’s well worth your efforts. For a start, having a group of workers who speak a language that none or few others speak can create some friction.

It’s better if everyone in the room understands each other. But beyond simple workplace dynamics, it’s a truism that in business, a person is worth as many people as languages they speak. That goes for upper management as well as for the crew.

Attend international job fairs

Have a significant presence at international job fairs to the extent possible. This will grant you access to the most ambitious potential hires. It will also help to spread brand awareness to that part of the world.

Attending international job fairs also helps alleviate the problem of not having met new hires before they commit to traveling and relocation.

It reduces the probability that international workers should make the trip and find living accommodations just to find out that the job isn’t a good fit for them, or vice-versa.

Conclusion on hiring globally, beyond borders

As you develop a multi-national workforce, it’ll become easier for you to attract international candidates. Presently, the situation is tumultuous across many areas of the globe, and it’s more difficult to acquire those who are willing to move internationally.

As the world continues to open up, more talent from across the world will become accessible.

Building a more international workforce is about leveraging the benefits of diverse perspectives. Doing so requires clearly communicating the benefits of working with your organization, and making it clear that you intend to support their cultural differences.

Onboarding language professionals may or may not be necessary as you move forward, and it’s recommended that foreign-born workers be asked to bring their valuable cultural perspectives to the fore.

If you’re looking for a job overseas or in a global setting, get a professional resume or CV and a convincing cover letter. If you’re hiring global talent, ask me what sorts of things you should be looking for.