International recruitment / talent acquisition is a vital part of the hiring process for countless HRs across the globe. The diversification of an employee roster can provide a wide range of business-boosting benefits.
Reasons to hire international talent include acquiring specialist skills unavailable or in short supply nationally, facilitating the development of overseas work assignments or trade, enriching workplace culture and encouraging new platforms of thinking, and simply finding the highest-quality talent available.
However, the international recruitment process is not always simple. Nearly 50% of global HRs involved in international talent acquisition claim to struggle with onboarding high-quality candidates.
This makes sense.
The process of acquiring international talent is immensely complicated and consists of a lot of moving pieces. However, there are a number of actions you can take to improve your chances of a good recruiting campaign.
Tips for Designing a Process
International recruitment needs an increased level of care and attention. To get the best out of the process, it’s important to utilise all the resources on offer:
- Boots on the ground: Don’t rely on the internet to run your recruitment campaign. Face-to-face interviews are still prevalent in domestic processes for a reason. Even though web-based interviews would cut costs, to ensure you are acquiring the finest candidates, send an HR representative to manage the process locally and meet all potential recruits.
- Locals know best: Do use local recruitment agencies to help increase your engagement and quality of candidates. Their expert knowledge of the local job market is invaluable and ensures you don’t have to sink extra costs into setting up an entire drive.
Finding the Right Talent
Having a solid recruitment strategy is important, but so is looking in the right place. Here are some tips for locating the best candidates, based on the most common reasons for international relocation:
- Skill gaps: Search in countries where your skill gap has an over-saturated job market, or where educational systems are producing workers in that field. For example, the Next 11 are strong places to seek employees as their rising educational systems and working world are producing skilled employees looking for best prospects.
- Diversifying culture: Identify specific cultural elements you’d like to integrate into your business. For example, Chinese business culture is famed for its interpersonal relationships, boosting brand loyalty and prosperity. If this is the type of culture you want to introduce, hire people with experience in Chinese business culture.
- Trade development: Simple enough. Locate your target trade country, acquire talent from inside said country. Right? HRs should think about casting a wider net, though, including countries with strong trade ties to the region. For example, if you seek increased trade with Japan, consider a drive in China or South Korea. Many business experts in these countries with have strong ties to Japan and will understand how their trade works. This includes the added benefit of then having an expert in another country’s trade, should you choose to expand further.
- Talent acquisition: If you are simply looking for the best talent from across the globe. Identify countries where your industry is booming and offer candidates incentives beyond what they currently receive.
Dealing with Major Challenges
Acquiring talent is challenging, but not the most challenging thing HRs face when recruiting internationally. The process of employee relocation and workplace integration was actually what stumped most HRs.
Let’s look at the biggest issues they faced and what actions to take to avoid them:
- Settling In: Settling into the work and home environment is important. An unsettled employee is not your most productive employee. If unsettlement is not dealt with, it can lead to repatriation. Offer recruits a support structure for home and work life. Ease them into work processes while keeping pressure off. At home, help them set up the basics like schools, insurances, cars, utilities, and the like to make them feel like residents, not visitors. It is also helpful to provide orientation so they are familiar with the local area.
- Culture Shock: Defined as a distressing reaction to sudden cultural change, culture shock can have a severely damaging impact on a person’s ability to cope with life abroad. Most will overcome culture shock in their own time, but some might simply become overwhelmed and unable to continue in their position. To minimise culture shock, offer educational materials on language, culture, and going about day-to-day tasks like shopping. Encourage recruits to visit the country ahead of their move and provide support after relocation.
- Communication: Poor work can destroy morale and undermine the point in hiring overseas talent. Commit to communication between recruits and international employees. Provide education materials on how to communicate in the office, including language training, how processes are done, and office culture, while learning how to better communicate with your new employee. This could include basic language education of your own, or regular meetings to ensure all information is being passed on and neither party is confused about anything.
- Repatriation: One major concern recruits have is the “after” phase. What will happen to them after their assignment at your business is done? To ensure you attract the best talent, make assurances in writing that you will support the candidate both during their time working with you and in the circumstance that they relocate back to their home nation.
Author: Heather Darby
Heather Darby is an expert in employee relocation. Through her international relocation company, Momentous Relocation, Heather has helped move countless employees and knows what pitfalls to look out for. Contact Heather at Marketing@momentousrelocation.com.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.