J. Gifford, Inc.
In my role as chair of the International Development Committee for NPA, occasionally I hear comments from US members that lead one to think that doing international placements is hard work requiring a different skill set than is used in the US, or that the international placement activity has relatively little bearing on what the majority of our US members are doing. Both statements are incorrect.
Doing business internationally starts first with the understanding that we work in a global marketplace. Those myopic members who feel their clients are doing business only in their little burg are simply out of date with today’s business world. A recognition that your oil client in Tulsa, Oklahoma has business activities outside the Tulsa city limits and outside the US, or that your business contacts with Caterpillar in Iowa are also operating in many other parts of the world is an essential basic understanding. And an opportunity for increased business and revenue.
The biggest mistake we all make is in seeing our clients as only local providers of business. The second biggest mistake is in not letting our clients know we have the capabilities to assist them beyond being their local provider. Shame on all of us who don’t include our international contacts and abilities to staff internationally on either our company letterhead, marketing brochures, business cards, Web sites, or in our in-person marketing calls to clients.
By simply asking your current client companies one additional question, “What is your company doing internationally?” in your presentations you immediately set yourself out as someone who is more than just a local provider for their local staffing assignments. Until you tell your clients how you can help them in these markets they will never view you as more than a “bit” player in the local economy. Thanks to the Internet, email, and SplitZone, doing business with a member in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Melbourne is just as easy and convenient as doing business with the NPA member in your same city. The tyrannies of time and distance are easily conquered with these tools.
The convenience of video-conferencing removes the hassles of scheduling international interviews or expensive plane rides to bring candidates in to interview. And the fact that English is the language of business in all the markets represented within NPA removes that recruiter or client fear as well. Visa issues are a bit intimidating and troublesome at first blush, but most companies are well equipped to deal with these issues themselves and don’t look to the recruiter to handle the details of those items. It should also be remembered that most of your clients will be asking you to help them find candidates already living in the countries where they do business, so visa issues don’t even apply to those situations where your clients want an in-country national for their assignment.
On the subject of fees, US members often comment on a lower fee schedule from many of their international partners than what they are accustomed to in the States. In many cases that fee schedule is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the total fee will be since in Australia, for example, it is common to include bonuses, automobiles, and superannuation (i.e. Social Security tax) plus advertising costs as part of the fee package. In other countries the fees are quite similar to those found in the US.
Finally, one last point, members will do better with international placement work if they change their mind set from one of supplying CANDIDATES to clients to one of supplying JOB ORDERS from clients to affiliates. The pool of candidates who want to work internationally is immense but the job orders are the real opportunity to make money. Remember what those people in the real estate industry in the US always tell their agents, “It’s better to have the listing than to have the house hunter.”
Doing business internationally shouldn’t be viewed as something “nice” or ego-enhancing but not having any application to your business stateside, or just within your countrybe that Canada, the UK, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, or Australia. It is another of the wonderful business tools provided with your membership in NPA, The Worldwide Recruiting Network. Don’t forget to use it!