If your company is thinking of expanding internationally, then you’re probably already wondering how the hiring process will work overseas. Increasing globalization is opening up new markets for companies in all kinds of industries, and it’s becoming very lucrative to grow internationally. In other situations, your company may want to start looking internationally in response to a talent shortage for the open positions you’re looking to fill in the United States. If you’ll soon be in the position of international recruiting, you may be overwhelmed. How do you start? The good news is that there are about 7.4 billion people in the world, but you only have to hire a few! Here are some tips for kicking off your recruiting efforts—and finding the best candidates, whether you’re looking in Germany or India.
Get to Know the Culture
What attracts quality candidates? Well, that depends on what country you’re recruiting in. Culture has an enormous impact on recruiting efforts, so it’s important to get to know the culture where you’re recruiting before you advertise your open positions. How are other local businesses advertising, and on what sites? What are the most in-demand competitors doing to reach out to candidates? As an example, business professionals in Germany use a site known as Xing much more often than Linkedin (5 million users vs. 2 million). With that in mind, you’d want to focus your efforts on the most popular sites in your market. Expats with first-hand knowledge of the job market are a great resource for learning how to hire. These contacts may also be able to refer some promising candidates to you without you having to advertise.
Find a Good Translator
If your recruiting efforts are going to be translated into the local language, it is essential to hire a good translation service or freelance translator. You should not skimp on this investment, because poor quality translations can have massive negative consequences. Many words and phrases in English won’t have direct translations in another language. It takes a skilled translator to put the pieces together and convey your meaning to applicants. Mistranslations can be embarrassing, cause your company’s reputation to take a hit overseas. Mistranslations can also waste time by leading unqualified candidates to you.
Understand Applicable Laws
If you’re planning to hire abroad or bring international workers into the United States, you’ll need to become very familiar with the laws surrounding employment in your target market or international work visas. Employment laws are vastly different depending on where your company is located. They can also differ on where you are hiring, so do your research and seek legal advice.
If you’re trying to hire international candidates and bring them to the U.S., start the interview process by ensuring promising candidates are eligible. You’ll waste a lot of time interviewing if you leave this step until later in the hiring process.
Leverage Social Media & Remote Technology
It doesn’t have to be expensive to start recruiting overseas, thanks to the array of digital tools available to recruiters. Social media is a great way to get the word out about your open positions. This is especially true if you have done enough background research to leverage it properly. Again, it’s important to use the most popular local sites over Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. FC2 blog is popular in Japan, while Orkut is Brazil’s preferred platform.
You can also save money by using tools like Skype to conduct initial interviews. It’s possible to hire for a remote team without meeting anyone in person. But even if your company wants to bring the top candidates in for a live interview, a video chat interview is a great way to narrow the talent pool.
It can be a struggle to gain traction in a new area, even when you’re hiring. As a result, it can take some time to work out the kinks of international recruiting. Be patient, and expect that there will be a few hiccups along the way. One example is taking more time than you expect to find the right candidate. If possible, start hiring well before your launch. Many cultures expect employees to give notice up to 6 months in advance, so it’s important to keep these cultural differences in mind when planning your international hiring protocols. In the end, you’re doing the same thing internationally as domestically: finding the right person for the job. While the process may be a bit trickier, these tips and your own intuition can help make hiring overseas far easier than you might expect.
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.