Thinking of Recruiting Someone from Overseas?
Expert Tips for Ensuring your
International Recruitment Goes Smoothly
By Abigail Stevens, international recruiter for 20 years
Recruiting internationally is essential for so many roles now. With the economy picking up, post the longest and deepest worldwide recession we have seen, many new jobs are coming onto a market that is exceedingly candidate short. For those that have not recruited internationally before, and those that have, but not always successfully, it can cause concerns. However, these concerns are easy to overcome and should not put you off.
In the 20 years that I have been moving professionals around the globe I have, as you would imagine, picked up many tips on best practice to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are my top 10:
1. Market Testing – Do your research, make sure you will be able to get a visa for the ideal candidate to make the move from overseas for the role you have in mind. As a rule of thumb, if the person you need has to have a professional qualification and you can’t find someone suitable within the country of the recruiting firm, it is probable that you will have an immigration case to sponsor someone to take the role. This is likely to involve “Market Testing”, which means advertising the vacancy for a certain number of days, prior to offering someone who will need sponsorship. Don’t leave this until after you have found the person because you could lose that person again during the testing time.
2. Keep Momentum Going – When someone applies for a job they are generally most excited about the prospect during the early stages of the application. It is a big move for them to relocate overseas and they need to feel comfortable with the process and their choice. As time goes on, they may start to have concerns about the efficiency of an organisation, doubts about making a move, a change in personal circumstances and a whole range of other issues that make them pull out of the process. Statistics show that you are 53% more likely to get a positive answer to an offer made in writing within 21 days of the recruitment process starting, than one made 30 days plus. Even higher odds if made within 2 weeks.
3. Help the Individual Visualise the Opportunity – Often, it is not practical to meet someone face to face or show them around your offices when recruiting from overseas. However, individuals need to feel comfortable that they are making the right move when it is such a big one. Providing information such as number and backgrounds of people they will be working with, what the office looks like, what people do socially, values and culture of the organisation, what it is like living and working and cost of living in the location, will go a long way towards helping the person visualise themselves working there.
4. Disclose Likely Salary Package Early – Whilst the best recruits will put career ahead of money motivations, there is no point on holding back on this information until an offer is made, it is a waste of everyone’s time.
5. Do Not Think You Can Pay Staff From Overseas Less – If you are hiring them to do the same job as others they are likely to do as good and in many cases a better job than your local staff. They will find out if you are paying them less than others and they will become unhappy, unproductive employees, or even leave. Or if a competitor offers them more money you will lose them.
6. Offering a Relocation Package Will Save You Money! – Research shows, if you provide an allowance for moving, initial flights and other assistance such as immigration agents, information of the area they are moving to etc., the individual is more likely to ‘hit the ground running’ and be far more productive from the start. They are also more likely to be loyal to the company and stay longer.
7. Include a Clawback Clause – It is more the norm now for international employers to include a clause in contracts that allows them to reclaim back a proportion of relocation costs, in line with how long they have stayed with the company, for the first 2 years. I.e. if someone hands their notice in after 1 year and hasn’t really met expectations, then the company is able to claim back 50% of the relocation costs. This helps towards replacing the individual. It can be used at discretion if say someone has to leave to return home due to close family illness.
8. Keep in Touch Post-Acceptance, Pre-Start – If someone has a long notice period, or a visa is being applied for, a lot of time can elapse between the person accepting the role and actually starting. It is normal for that individual to be really excited when they first secure the role. However, as time goes on, the individual can sometimes start to lose that initial enthusiasm. After all, they are going to be surrounded by their colleagues, friends and family who will start to say things such as ‘we are really going to miss you’. Keeping in touch with the individual will really help with this. Maybe through sharing internal communications, announcements, exciting news in the media, giving them a buddy pre-start date or introducing them to others who are about to join the company and moving from the same area. Whichever way, it is nice for them to receive written and verbal communication from their new employer during this period.
9. Help Them Settle In – Provide them with information on areas to live, how to set up a bank account, how to get a mobile phone, interesting places to explore in their new location and anything else that they may not be culturally aware of.
10. Catch Up Regularly Post-Start – You have spent a long time building a relationship with this person and helping them make one of the biggest moves of their life. It’s great to meet informally and sometimes formally to ensure they are settling well and help with any hiccups there may be. It is also rewarding to hear, first hand, how you have improved someones life!
This is a topic that I have grown to know a lot about over the last 20 years. I will be covering all areas of international recruitment on Periscope moving forward. Please follow me on Twitter @AbigailStevens
to find out more about dates and times!