Hiring International Employees: Here’s How to Get Started
The idea of hiring international employees might seem off-putting. There are so many challenges when hiring abroad, such as work visas, cultural barriers, and simply finding suitable candidates.
However, international hiring can be a great way to grow your team, especially if you’re recruiting for hard-to-fill positions. Since the pandemic, I’ve seen more and more of my clients begin to look beyond these shores for their next recruit. Here’s how you can make international recruitment part of your hiring strategy.
Why are companies hiring international employees?
Overseas recruitment has surged recently. In 2022, the federal government issued over 27,000 EB-3 visas, which is more than double the amount issued before the pandemic. That figure only includes workers who have relocated to the United States—many other overseas recruits are working fully remotely from their home country.
This surge is happening for many reasons, including:
Better access to talent: The recruitment market is very tight in certain fields, and sometimes the candidates just aren’t there. Hiring international employees gives you access to a much bigger talent pool.
Flexible working environments: Remote working allows us to hire people from anywhere, including international employees. Some companies might start with a remote international hire, and then talk about relocation if things work out.
New knowledge and fresh perspectives: Overseas workers can give you a new way of looking at your processes, your business, and your customers. They can also provide valuable insights into local markets, which is essential if you’re operating overseas.
Hiring international employees offers many benefits if you approach it in the right way. Here’s how.
9 tips for hiring foreign workers
These are some of the methods that my clients and I use when sourcing talent from abroad.
1. Figure out where to look
First, it’s important to know where candidates look for opportunities. Across the world, different platforms and social networks are popular. The most common job boards among foreign employees that I tend to come across are Indeed Worldwide, CareerBuilder Worldwide, Monster Worldwide, Jooble, and CareerJet.
2. Build local awareness of your employer brand
Word-of-mouth is the most powerful recruitment tool. If you have a network overseas, make sure that they know about opportunities, and ask them to recommend suitable candidates. If you don’t have an overseas network, consider investing in an internationalized job portal. This will help communicate your employer value proposition and company culture to an audience that might have different priorities when job seeking.
3. Find an international recruitment partner
Partnering with a recruiting services firm with global expertise to help funnel qualified candidates to your opportunity. Global recruiters who specialize in finding international workers will also know how to read and interpret candidates’ resumes, as the information might appear in an unfamiliar format. You’ll also find major differences in things like education history, as other countries using different grading formats.
4. Prepare for language and cultural barriers
Language barriers and cross-cultural communications can add difficulty to hiring international candidates. Preparation is key here: make sure that you have translator support if you need it, and take time to familiarize yourself with any major cultural differences. It also helps to communicate every step of your hiring process clearly. Overseas candidates might not be familiar with the typical American interviewing schedule.
5. Engage with the candidate’s culture
International hiring works best when people meet halfway. It’s ok if you don’t know everything about the host culture, but having respect and a healthy curiosity can go a long way. Educating yourself beforehand is also helpful. It can be as simple as checking out some new articles, researching public holidays, and being aware of major events in local news. It’s also helpful to be aware of cultural norms related to time. For instance, in some countries it’s common for businesses to slow or shut down for a few hours around lunch to allow full-time employees a break.
6. Adapt to the candidate’s technology
Technology will play a huge part in the hiring process, so it’s vital that you find the best mutual way to communicate. For example, Facetime is the most popular videochat app in the U.S., but other regions prefer tools like WhatsApp. Also, some people may not have access to high-speed internet in their region, which makes video conferencing difficult. If so, you might look for alternative solutions, like a voice call.
7. Prepare your onboarding strategy in good time
Once you’ve identified talent from abroad, it’s important to onboard the new employee in a smooth and welcoming manner. Having an expert onboarding specialist with experience in international recruitment will relieve a lot of headaches. Documentation such as visas and visa applications for both the employee and dependents, green cards, and fringe expenses for relocation and housing are all items that need to be addressed if the candidate is relocating to your organization’s country of operation. New hires might also need additional training and support, such as language classes.
8. Think about tax codes for overseas workers
Even without relocation, there are still important laws and tax codes that must be taken into account if offering international telework. The employees’ local labor laws may also come into play, which could affect their salary—or possibly have an impact on you. Make sure to talk to an international tax expert before offering remote roles to international employees.
9. Include international employees in your DE&I strategy
It’s also important to lay the groundwork for hiring from the global workforce by developing culturally competent leaders, effective employee orientations, and DE&I strategies to help all workers feel welcome. The point of DE&I is to create an environment where people can thrive, so this is a crucial part of retaining and engaging your overseas recruits.
Start building your dream team
Whether you’re tapping into the global talent market or recruiting closer to home, you’ll need an excellent hiring process.
Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is one way to ensure you always get the right candidate. RPO consultants will help you manage the entire process end-to-end, even when you’re hiring remote workers.
Want to see if RPO is a good fit for your business? Book a call with Helios HR and let’s talk about how RPO can take the hard work out of hiring.