Recruitment Tips for International Companies

A career with an international company is an attractive prospect for many potential employees. The chance to work in locations around the world, collaborate with colleagues from different cultures, and feel part of a bigger picture are often opportunities that only international companies can provide. So, how can global businesses harness their unique selling points and bring in the best candidates?

Cast the Net Internationally

Getting the right resumes and applicants is arguably the hardest part of recruitment, and knowing who you want is very different to getting them though the door. For almost all roles, it’s good to start at the beginning and build relationships with colleges, universities and business schools. Even though their students won’t necessarily be perfect for all positions, it’s a great opportunity to access their ‘talent pipe’ and become a credible and supportive employer.

international recruitmentFlickr/Hamptons International

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to leading global universities, the Times Higher Education (THE) table is a useful guide. This gives you an idea which institutions are producing the crème de la crème all over the globe. Specific subject-based tables, such as Forbes’ Best Business Schools for Career Prospects can drill the search down by specialist area.

A company presence at career fairs is a staple way of building those connections; but why not go one step further and consider bringing students into your company on internships? It’s a great sharing approach that not all companies take; in addition to giving the interns valuable experience in an area that they’re interested in, it shows a company’s passion to really develop and support an industry. And you never know, you may learn something new from their fresh perspective and enthusiasm.

Think Globally, Act Locally

While it’s great to think on a global scale, sometimes a more targeted approach can be just as effective. It’s worth breaking down each of the roles and examining which countries offer the best resources and talents for that particular position. Due to business investment or even schooling approaches, different countries can have completely different talent pools. Eastern European countries, for example, are renowned for their language skills, while the US and UK are great for research and sales. By tapping into this excess of talent in a targeted approach, you can often find the perfect candidate.

When establishing a new office, it’s important to assess how much of the new team can be found on a local versus international level. Investigate the local careers market when recruiting for specialist positions. In some cases, a company might choose to advertise for more senior positions on an international level, while recruiting the majority of the workforce at a local level. This is not only a more cost effective approach, but it can create a more established team, without the disruption associated with relocation.

When local recruitment is appropriate, the human resources team needs to establish a good understanding of the legal, fiscal and cultural practices in that particular country. This will ensure a smooth and professional hiring process. It’s also key to adapting any skills tests to reflect the various cultural or linguistic contexts; this will make sure you take a fair approach to assessing candidates company-wide.

Having the International Mindset

When it comes to hiring for a new office, it often pays to recruit internally before looking elsewhere—unless specific local knowledge is required. Internal transfers within a company can really boost morale and give employees the opportunity to develop their careers. They allow expertise to be taken from an existing office and dropped into a new one, demonstrating global leadership skills. Even if permanent transfers aren’t possible, short-term secondments between offices offer many of the same benefits. Employees will often jump at the chance to gain international experience and expand their horizons.

Encouraging communication between offices is also vital. Companies can save a lot of money by using online services to facilitate interactions for day-to-day tasks. But there’s sometimes no substitute for face-to-face communication and training, so allow for this in your budget.

Although not every experience will relate to every market, having the chance to talk through bigger ideas with counterparts can be very rewarding. Vary the meet-up location, and don’t forget to schedule in some time for colleagues to get to know each other. This way they can really experience the international side of the company. 

About the Author is the HR Director of Lingo24, Inc., a provider of translation services in San Francisco and all over the globe. Launched in 2001, Lingo24, Inc. now has more than 200 employees spanning four continents and clients in more than 60 countries. Follow TribeHR and Lingo24, Inc. on Twitter: @Lingo24 | @TribeHR

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