International Recruitment: Could Global Talent Telework for You Too?
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that working remotely is a viable strategy. Yes, we’ve had to make adjustments, including finding ways to integrate work and family responsibilities when one’s “office” is one’s living room, but many of the unwritten assumptions which had traditionally kept many employers from offering telework options have been challenged.
97% of CEOs are allowing at least some degree of remote work moving forward, as reported by the Predictive Index's 2021 CEO Survey.
How is remote work impacting your talent acquisition strategy?
For starters, it can open a wide, new talent pool for your organization because that scarce talent you need for hard-to-fill positions may no longer have to live within commuting distance. Or, maybe your organization is thinking of expanding its presence overseas for the first time.
Does the thought of hiring people outside the US give you pause? Truthfully, it should as there are many factors to consider with this decision. Below are some of the major points I discuss with my clients when recruiting internationally for their business.
8 Factors to Review When Recruiting Internationally for the First Time
There are many factors to consider when looking to hire from a global marketplace, whether to fill US positions via remote work, or to hire locally in non-US countries for new overseas company locations.
1. Can we even hire from outside the US right now?
Recent turmoil on the regulatory front for hiring non-US candidates has left many employers wondering what’s feasible anymore. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently published an outlook for employment-based immigration under the new Biden Administration. If the talent you need is currently in another country and your company allows long-term teleworking, US immigration law may be changing at a slow pace, but that’s no reason not to consider the remote overseas candidate now.
2. Distinguish between short-term vs. permanent talent needs
With no end in sight for the pandemic until herd immunity/widespread vaccinations are reached, you might want to look abroad for the talent you need to fill urgent short-term needs, possibly as consultant or 1099 hires. Many organizations who have long been active in the international talent market keep a running database of such individuals, along with standard consultancy offer templates, so that they can hire quickly when the need arises.
3. Local labor and tax laws
Labor, tax and employment laws can vary significantly from country to country. For instance, required employee notice-to-quit, benefits packages, even lunch break rules can be quite different than what you might expect in the US.
First, have your recruiting team do some international sourcing on LinkedIn Recruiter, for instance, to get a general sense of which countries might be best to target for your unique needs. Keep time zone differences in mind if candidates will need to be accessible during your US work hours. Then, research local labor laws in those countries and enlist your legal department for up-to-date information on local employment laws before you launch a recruiting blitz.
4. Time zones, holidays, and travel
In addition to ensuring you’re targeting people who can work largely within your normal US business hours, time zone differences and non-US holidays will also affect phone and video interview scheduling. For example, did you know that in Ethiopia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th?
In my 20-plus years in international recruiting, I find this time zone calculator tends to be more reliable because it’s better at accounting for special holidays or unusual time zone difference across or within countries.
Finally, be sure you’ve determined any Covid-related travel restrictions – in the US and in your candidate’s country – if you intend to onboard your new international hire in person.
5. Posting and sourcing for non-US candidates
Not all popular job boards accept non-US job postings. Check out specialty job boards, especially those which post in your target country; here is a good starting point for finding specialty non-US posting sites. LinkedIn is a global platform and is particularly good for sourcing international candidates as well.
6. Can your applicant tracking system handle overseas candidates?
Certain applicant tracking systems (ATS) designed for US employers may require phone numbers or dates to be in US format, for example. If your need is time-sensitive and your ATS is US-oriented like this, consider a short-term solution to manage and track the progress of your global candidates. A simple Excel spreadsheet like the one I use when my clients are starting out in international recruiting can do the trick. Just be sure to keep good records.
7. Cross-cultural communication and work styles
Not only do international candidate resumes look different, simple cross-cultural communication and work style differences can arise when recruiting talent globally.
For example, if you as an American, prefer to communicate with a quick email that gets immediately to the point of what you need and by when, keep in mind that in some cultures that might be perceived as rude. A little social “warm-up” chit-chat, or a phone or video call rather than an email, might help bridge those differences in the beginning and build the trust you need for a strong working relationship going forward.
Also, don’t assume your international candidate or employee speaks the “same English” as you. Avoiding American slang and jargon can make communication smoother. Here is a helpful article on the subject.
8. For the longer term, an in-depth recruiting assessment might be helpful.
If remote work is here to stay (and 97% of surveyed CEOs say it is) and you see the value of opening up a vast new talent pool for your organization, some of the factors noted here, such as your ATS, sourcing and virtual interviewing strategies, might need adjustment. Helios HR can help with an in-depth recruiting assessment to identify roadblocks, opportunities and ideas for moving you forward to an international recruiting strategy.
It’s a big world out there, and it’s full of talent. Remote work has helped open channels to much bigger talent pools than ever before. Use it to your advantage!