This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Global recruiting is becoming a vital strategy for businesses to expand their talent pool and seize new opportunities. Recruiting international workers can help your company access new markets, increase diversity and inclusion, and gain a competitive advantage. You might pursue this path for growth if you are looking for certain skills or just expanding rapidly.
Our guide takes a closer look at when you should consider global recruiting and the types of workers you can hire. It also covers international recruitment strategies—such as tailoring recruitment to specific regions, strengthening your remote collaboration capabilities, and working with a global recruitment firm—and the pros and cons of hiring internationally.
When to Consider Global Recruitment
Hiring of any kind—including internationally—is a commitment of time, energy, and financial resources. You want to make sure your business is ready to hire. So, how do you know when global recruitment might be a good option?
1. Your Team Lacks Specific, In-demand Skills
You should consider international recruitment if you have trouble finding the necessary skills for your business locally, and no single individual can fill that gap within the team. Recruiting talent abroad can provide a more diverse talent pool with the right set of skills.
Example: A software development firm in Tulsa has difficulty finding qualified engineers with experience in artificial intelligence (AI). It must bring in engineers from across the world with expertise in the field.
2. You Operate in a Highly Specialized Niche
Similar to the example above, you may need to recruit globally if your business specializes in a specific niche sector or type of service and needs professionals with specialized experience. Otherwise, your recruitment pool would be limited, making the recruitment process time-consuming and possibly impacting business growth.
Example: A financial consulting firm operating in San Jose that specializes in advising clients on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) with an emphasis on oil and gas operates in such a specialized market space that finding qualified workers locally is extremely challenging. The company may have to turn to international recruitment to find employees with a wealth of industry knowledge and experience.
3. You Are Undergoing Rapid Expansion
If your company is experiencing rapid growth, its significant recruitment needs may require you to look beyond the local market. Massively expanding the pool of available talent can keep your hiring process on the fast track, limiting delays in filling key positions that could slow your momentum.
Example: A fast-growing mobile video game maker based in Atlanta with an expanding portfolio of titles has an ambitious 18-month release schedule. It needs to double the number of developers and QA testers to meet its goals and has made global recruitment a key element of its hiring strategy.
4. You Serve International Customers
If your business serves or wants to serve clients in a specific region or country, hiring workers from that area of the world can be a big help. They not only speak the language but better understand the people, culture, and overall market.
Example: A Las Vegas consultancy is experiencing significant growth in demand for its services from clients in Asia. As a result, the company has to bring in people who are knowledgeable about the local market to expand its operations rapidly without diminishing the value they provide to clients.
Types of International Employees
As with local hiring, international hiring offers two general types of worker classification: employees and independent contractors.
International employees work directly for your company, and you may have to provide them with certain benefits, depending on where they live. International independent contractors are similar to domestic independent contractors, in that you pay them a flat hourly or project rate. However, some countries require you to provide contractors with certain benefits, adding to the overhead and compliance requirements.
Beyond that base level, here are some other types of international workers to know.
Strategies for Successful International Recruitment
There are several international recruitment strategies you can take to increase the success of finding global talent. It starts before you even speak with candidates, making sure you are targeting the right skills and locations, plus setting up the necessary tools to make communication and collaboration across time zones work.
To attract the best talent worldwide, it is essential for small businesses to invest time in defining their ideal candidate. This crucial step will help you source well-suited candidates and save valuable time and resources in the global recruiting process.
Here are some factors to consider when defining your ideal candidate on a global scale:
- Skills and experience: Specify the essential skills and experience required for the position, considering the global talent pool.
- Communication style: Identify a communication style that aligns with your small business’s global work culture, considering the diversity of communication styles worldwide.
- Language proficiencies: Consider the languages necessary for the job to meet operational and strategic goals around the world.
- Corporate values fit: Determine whether the potential employee will fit your company culture and values, considering cultural differences for a global workforce.
Small businesses today have access to technology and platforms that make sourcing international candidates easier. Here are some creative ways to source international candidates:
- Diverse job postings: Go beyond typical job boards and post jobs on platforms geared toward specific professions’ audiences. For example, look for engineering-specific or nursing-specific job boards when hiring these specific types of workers.
- Virtual recruitment events: Participate in virtual recruitment events that target candidates in different countries without spending on travel costs.
- Alumni relations: Tap into alumni networks of schools and universities in target countries to source highly skilled candidates with relevant language proficiency.
Small businesses should ensure multilanguage accessibility in all stages of recruitment, from job postings and applications to email communications and interviews.
- Job descriptions: Translate job descriptions with cultural context and tailor them for specific countries or regions.
- Website accessibility: Provide language options on your website to cater to potential applicants who do not speak English.
Small businesses should tailor their recruitment efforts to specific regions based on the availability of talent, cultural fit, and language proficiency. Here are ways to narrow down recruitment to specific regions:
- Location: Define regions based on their market potential, labor pool, talent availability, cost of living, or the concentration of universities.
- Culture: Research, analyze and understand cultural similarities and differences when dealing with candidates from varying regions.
- Language: Consider the language needs of regional candidates and ensure your team can communicate effectively.
An employer brand is essential when recruiting internationally. Small businesses should aim to establish their brand as reputable and appealing to potential international employees and contractors.
Here’s how to build a strong employer brand:
- Create an attractive career page on the website: A visually appealing website that provides detailed information about the company and work culture can go a long way in attracting international talent. Even if you don’t have a career page on your own website, use the ones available to you on job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn.
- Use social media strategically: Small businesses need to maintain a strong and positive social media presence. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are vital social media platforms for businesses to showcase their brand and engage with potential candidates.
Working across time zones can present various operational and communication challenges. Small businesses should consider the following to mitigate these challenges:
- Team communication: Set up a reliable communication channel that allows remote employees and contractors to work effectively and collaborate with other team members, regardless of their physical location.
- Time management: Use time management tools to manage different time zones and schedule meetings according to agreed-upon time frames.
- Flexibility: Flexibility allows international employees and contractors to live in different locations and work on a schedule that accommodates their time zone, even if you require certain core hours for live team meetings.
Small businesses should provide the necessary support to make the transition smooth for incoming international employees and contractors. Here are some ways to support relocation and culture adaptation:
- Assistance with visas and work permits: Small businesses should provide the necessary support to employees through the visa application and work permit process.
- Cultural and language training: Providing support for improving communication can help alleviate any barriers that arise from cultural differences.
- Assistance with housing and transportation: Small businesses should provide the necessary support for employees with housing and transportation during and after the relocation period.
Small businesses can leverage global talent agencies and recruitment firms to streamline the process of international recruitment. This approach can be useful for small businesses without the resources to develop internal international recruitment strategies.
Global talent agencies and recruitment firms specialize in providing complete recruitment services and support. They can help businesses source international talent, facilitate support for visa processing and relocation, and provide consultation services to assist businesses in adapting to new markets.
Here are some reasons small businesses may choose to work with global talent agencies and recruitment firms:
- Saves time: Recruitment agencies and firms have established networks and sophisticated recruiting tools, which enable them to source pre-screened and qualified candidates, thus saving time.
- Provides access to a broader pool of candidates: Working with a global recruitment firm or agency can expand the pool of candidates beyond the business’s current reach, giving small businesses access to candidates who may not be aware of the job opportunities.
- Offers expert knowledge of the local market: Recruitment firms and agencies have specialized knowledge of the local markets, culture, and labor laws, which can be particularly useful for small businesses that lack prior experience in international recruitment.
To find the right recruitment firm or agency, small businesses will need to consider:
- Expertise: Look for a recruitment firm or agency that has expertise in the specific area of recruitment that the business needs.
- Availability of Talent Pool: Small businesses should ask about the recruitment firm or agency’s talent pool and how they assess candidates’ skills and qualifications.
- Pricing: The recruitment firm or agency’s pricing model should be transparent and aligned with your budget.
- Reliability: Look for a reputable company with a record of successful placements and satisfied clients.
Small businesses can improve recruitment efforts by using data to inform decision-making. Here’s how to use a data-driven approach to recruitment:
- Analyze data on hiring outcomes: Small businesses can use data to track key performance metrics over time and make data-driven decisions to improve their recruitment process. An applicant tracking system can automate this data collection.
- Design data-based job postings: Small businesses can use relevant and specific data to create job postings, which can help attract the right talent. Including industry and job specific keywords will help get your job ad in front of the right candidates.
- Use predictive analytics: Predictive analytics can help small businesses identify critical attributes that are needed for a particular role, and thus target their search for candidates that possess them.
Benefits & Challenges of Hiring Internationally
Your business can benefit significantly from hiring international employees and contractors. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Access to an expanded talent pool: Hiring international employees and contractors can provide access to a broader pool of talent with unique skills, experiences, and perspectives.
- Opportunity to tap into new markets: Employees and contractors with knowledge of international markets and languages can be instrumental in helping businesses expand globally.
- Competitive advantage in specialized industries: Businesses in specialized industries can benefit from hiring international talent with expertise in their niche.
- Enhanced workplace culture: Hiring international employees enriches your company’s culture by increasing diversity and injecting your business with fresh and innovative ideas.
- Enable round-the-clock operations: Employing workers from different regions of the world allows you to maintain round-the-clock productivity.
Although hiring international employees and contractors can be beneficial, there are also various challenges that businesses face. Here are some key challenges:
- Cost of sponsorships and visas: Your business may need to sponsor work visas and provide support for employees’ relocation if moving an international employee to the US. This can be expensive, so it’s essential to carefully calculate the financial resources required before committing to the process.
- Immigration and international labor laws: Navigating the legal requirements for visas and work permits can be difficult, especially for businesses without previous experience with international recruiting. Businesses also need to be aware of international labor laws, such as minimum wage requirements and working hours. To help with this, you may consider international payroll services.
- Cultural and language barriers: Cultural differences and language barriers can make communication and integration challenging. This can also lead to misunderstandings and inefficiencies in the workplace. International employees and contractors may also find adjusting to a your business’s work culture challenging.
- Logistical and administrative issues: Relocating employees and contractors can pose logistical and administrative challenges, such as arranging housing and transportation.
Learn how to pay international employees by following our step-by-step guide.
By tapping into the global talent pool, businesses can gain access to a more diverse talent base, increase competitiveness and innovation, and expand their operations into new markets. When recruiting internationally, your business should carefully consider its ideal candidate, tailor recruitment efforts to specific regions, and ensure multilanguage accessibility.
With the right approach and mindset, a business’s global recruitment strategy can help build a team of talented employees and contractors that will help it expand and grow.