“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Looking overseas for untapped talent is not a new concept within the transport & infrastructure sectors. The ever ominous skills shortage has always made finding appropriately qualified candidates for hard to fill roles a challenging task.
However, with Brexit in the mix, some companies are relocating parts of their UK operations overseas or looking to grow their business internationally.
The Institute of Directors reported that nearly a third of British businesses are planning to move some of their operations abroad or have already shifted them to cope with a hard Brexit.*
Hiring the best people at the right times is rarely straight forward, so how do you go about finding the very best candidates in foreign markets?
Recruiters and HR professionals are having to develop a new set of skills to enable them to effectively tap in to international talent markets.
Whether you are recruiting international candidates for UK based roles, setting up a team abroad or recruiting UK nationals to relocate, here are our top 10 tips for recruiting internationally:
The best candidates for international roles will have an open minded, flexible outlook and they will be respectful of cultural differences. Someone who is set in their ways and not open to change probably won’t last long working and living in a completely different environment. After all, it isn’t just their work life that will be different, they will have to get used to a whole new way of living outside of the office.
2. Personal situations
Family dynamics play a much bigger part when approaching people to relocate for a new role. While some candidates will be open to moving their whole family across the globe, it is complicated for those with children at school age.
It is also good to look out for individuals who have ties to the country you are recruiting for, maybe they studied abroad or have worked there previously.
3. Buoyancy of the market
If their industry is suffering a dip and there are limited employment opportunities in the candidate’s home country, they are more likely to move overseas. The nuclear, water and transport sectors are particularly susceptible to political changes which may cause dips in activity and a corresponding opportunity to recruit sought after talent with the experience you need.
4. Exchange rates
The collapse in the value of the pound since Brexit has not helped the UK recruit from overseas. If you are trying to attract candidates from countries with a rising currency against your own then you will have to offer an attractive remuneration package to make it worth their while. Vice versa, countries where there is a dip in the exchange rate are a prime opportunity to snap up top talent who could make more elsewhere.
Equally, you will need to consider what the best currency is to pay your new international employees in. US dollars are seen as a safe currency and used by lots of international firms, particularly if you are setting up a new office in a country with an exchange rate susceptible to fluctuations.
5. Project Life-cycles
A good time to source candidates is as big projects are coming to a close. As Crossrail reaches it’s final stretch, for example, metro projects across the globe will be looking to recruit the specialised staff who delivered it.
Candidates who work on major projects will most likely understand that in order to work on more big, meaty schemes, they may need be open to options overseas.
6. Understand legislation
Employment law varies significantly from country to country. Ensure that you understand the local hiring processes and customs, employment contracts and visa application process.
7. Office location
If you are setting up a new office, then you need to establish a base that is attractive for people to live and work.
Look at where your competitors have large offices and where the talent market is. Reach out to past employees of your competitors for advice on building a local team.
If you are recruiting for a new position in a different country, then you need to conduct at least the first interviews in that country. You can invite them over to the head office for a second or third interview but you shouldn’t expect a candidate to travel overseas in the first instance. The quality of the various video link apps are improving all the time and this does enable a cost effective and quick way to interview overseas candidates for some stages of the hiring process.
9. Visa & work permits
Before you start looking to recruit internationally, you should understand what the visa and work permit process is; who are you able to employ, how long the visa process takes and do you have the facility to sponsor international employees.
Regarding UK based employees who are European nationals it is important to provide guidance and reassurance around any Brexit related changes that come in to affect, such as how to apply for settled status.
Most importantly when recruiting internationally, you need to provide clear and regular communication. Changing jobs is a stressful time for anybody, but add relocating to the other side of the world in to the mix and you have a momentous decision.
It is critical that you provide continuous updates and information to the candidate so that they can plan accordingly.
Recruiting internationally poses a unique set of challenges that many HR or recruitment teams won’t have come up against before.
Almost half our searches currently have an international element to them, so we are familiar with many of the pitfalls.
If you are struggling to source candidates for overseas roles, or are looking to attract international candidates to the UK, please do get in touch to discuss the best plan of action.