I came across an article on Recruiter.com titled Recruiting Internationally? Think Local, which resonated with me in many ways. One of the most compelling points was the idea that so many recruiters think differently about international recruiting as compared to local recruiting. It seems that many recruiters somehow think the recruiting PROCESS is different because the geography is different. While there are legitimate reasons why international recruiting may be more difficult than local recruiting, I don’t believe it’s because the process is wildly different.
It’s no secret that globalization is here to stay, and has created huge shifts in how/where employees are located. You may wonder how to get started in international recruiting if you are part of a small, independent recruiting firm (as opposed to a large multinational). The author of the article referenced above, Marie Larsen, points out that it is too easy to succumb to an overly broad approach:
“For instance, if we are to recruit a team in China, we often think, ‘OK, how do I find a candidate in China?’ When we recruit locally, we ask much better questions, for example, ‘I wonder if Professor Joe at Trinity College would recommend any of his most outstanding computer grads?’ The fundamental problem with international recruitment is that we approach the challenge broadly and abstractly.”
I completely agree with this assessment. Instead of tackling an international recruiting assignment with the same approach used for local job openings, it seems some recruiters shy away from their normal recruiting processes, perhaps thinking those processes won’t work for a global search. To maximize success, international recruiters must think locally. Here are some suggestions:
- Develop a network. Make sure you are building relationships with people, not just a list of names. Ask for referrals of other candidates, but also ask for the names of local competitors and universities that could be sources of additional candidates.
- Reach out to other international recruiting contacts in the market. Not only can they help you find candidates, they can be an invaluable source of information about the local culture and the ‘real’ job market. Try to learn where “birds of a feather flock together.” This could include local clubs, professional organizations, or online communities.
- Broaden your social media efforts to country-specific sites. Obviously LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are hugely popular social media sites, but they aren’t the only ones. For example, have you checked out Orkut, which is quite popular in Brazil and India? There are other international social networks as well, so be sure you are considering a global audience with your social media messaging.
- Ask for help if you need to overcome a language barrier. Don’t rely on online translation services, which are notoriously inaccurate. If your international recruiting efforts lead you to a candidate population that speaks a different language, your best bet may be to strike up a partnership with a local recruiter. Working on a split-fee basis can help you find the candidates you need in a timely fashion, while overcoming cultural and linguistic obstacles.
Have you experienced success with international recruiting? Share your experiences below!