3 Things To Consider When Hiring Internationals

3 Things To Consider When Hiring Internationals

Marieke van Iperen
CEO and Co-Founder
min read
February 19, 2020

Unemployment rates are dropping and there is not enough local talent to match the skill demand of the rapidly changing world of work. It’s no longer just developers and engineers who are scarce. Nowadays, talent from abroad is attracted at all levels, from nurses and teachers to accountants and sales representatives (See here for the world’s most in-demand professions)

When hiring internationally, it’s best to carefully prepare and not rush into things. Though the upside can be clear and substantial, the initial investment and the potential costs of a failed hire are significantly more significant than when hiring locally. That’s why it’s important to consider the following three things before you start your hiring process:

  • Do we have what it takes to attract international talent? (EVP)
  • Integrate intercultural competencies into your hiring process
  • Ensure your talent hits the ground running

1. Do we have what it takes to attract international talent?

Hiring top international talent is not like finding a needle in a haystack. There are a lot of players out there and most likely, there will be other companies that offer better compensation, more room to grow and develop or great office culture. But do not get discouraged by this. Statistics underline that having a strong EVP directly impacts your bottom line. It improves the ratio of qualified candidates and reduces the cost per hire, turnover, and time to hire. Also, it’s good to point out that it’s not about being the best or the biggest to most people. It’s the unique combination that is true to what you stand for and something that resonates with your ideal hire(s).

That is why defining your value proposition as an employer is essential. What do you have to offer potential new international hires, and even more importantly, what unique combination of benefits, work-life balance, personal development, culture, perks, compensation and relocation support (your total reward strategy) do you offer? Clearly defining that upfront will be the first step.

Communicating this in your job ad, on your website, social media and integrating it into your recruitment process will be the next step and is as essential as defining the EVP.

Here’s some examples of companies that are great EVP communicators through their career pages:




2. Integrate intercultural competencies into your hiring process.

Attracting top talent is one part of the equation. Your EVP can be great and the potential hire can look perfect on paper. The difference, however, between a successful international hire and an unsuccessful hire lies not only in the job fit or qualifications, but making sure your new hire can fit in and perform well in a new culture is just as important. We see this is an element often overlooked by many recruiters and hiring managers; intercultural competencies.

Intercultural competence is a range of cognitive, affective and behavioural skills, knowledge and attitudes that lead to effective and appropriate communication with people of other cultures. In other words, whether your new hire possesses these competencies can predict their success in a new culture and in a multicultural office environment. The below chart shows the constituent elements of intercultural competencies that make intercultural competence. Integrating the assessment of these competencies into your hiring process is important when hiring from abroad (also when hiring locally and you have a multicultural business),

3. Ensure your talent can hit the ground running.

When your talent moves from abroad they will have a lot on their plate from the moment they sign their job offer. They need to wrap everything up at home, obtain a visa, organise travel, and get to know your company, their new role, new colleagues, new culture, new country, new language and city whilst finding a home, understanding the healthcare system, making friends, learning how to ride a bike and much, much more. In short, it can be daunting. Even more so, if they bring a partner or an entire family. Some new hires may be globetrotters and know what to do. The statistics show that most new hires will not fall into this category. They will be first-time movers, either just out of uni or their first job and super eager to relocate to start a new adventure. This, in combination with a rapidly increasing number of movers coming from emerging economies, brings its own new set of challenges.

These tasks, side activities, and more can heavily impact your new hire’s level of engagement, productivity, well-being, and sense of belonging. They will not have the time to focus on what matters; their job and enjoying their new home. Making sure that they don’t have to worry about all of the above by ensuring a smooth relocation and onboarding experience can set them up for success and improve their engagement, time to productivity and sense of belonging. Therefore, clearly defining what you will do to support them during their move and what the onboarding experience will look like once they sign their job offer will help you build a strong EVP and have your new hire hit the ground running.

What kind of employer do you want to be, and what do you expect from your new hires? Will you be offering them a full relocation service? A lump sum package, or do you require them to manage the process themselves? One of the most important questions is how you will ensure your employee is up to speed on the job and understands and feels part of your company and their team. We’ve listed some good reads on employee onboarding below:

Employee Onboarding

Wow Your New Hires

Onboarding Trends

Onboarding Guide

Consider the three elements we’ve mentioned above and you’ll be off to a good start. There are plenty of other elements that can help you in the process of hiring internationals, but we’d love to get your opinion and experiences on this. Please don’t hesitate to drop us an e-mail at to join in on the conversation.

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