See what it takes to attract qualified talent abroad

The key steps to get you started in international recruitment

Some organisations nowadays are forced to look for talent abroad and others are simply eager to strengthen their recruitment by adding international recruitment to the mix. Either way, to be successful with international recruitment you need to 1) run a  thorough assessment on whether your organisation has what it takes to engage in international recruitment and 2) to know the steps your in-house recruitment team needs to take in order to successfully adopt the international recruitment techniques. Let’s look at these, shall we?

Nowadays, a lot of small and medium-sized enterprises, organisations and institutions of various sorts, and respectively their recruitment departments struggle to successfully address their complex and ever-growing hiring needs. Their geographical location plays a big role, as well — where they are based can be either too competitive or can also be too small to offer a sufficient talent pool — so organisations are forced to look beyond their country borders for find new qualified hires, namely international recruitment.

International Recruitment

Nowadays, companies are becoming more and more aware of the fact that they won’t be able to accomplish their high-volume and complex recruitment needs by simply focussing on searching for candidates on a national level. Instead, they need to build solid employer brand awareness on an  international level and to have a well-thought-of relocation strategy in order to attract the talent they’re looking for.

In my daily job, I constantly deal with these type of organisations and the international recruitment challenges they face. What I notice is that companies that focus solely on recruiting in their close environment, e.g. own country or location, are very well aware of the available tactics to reach their audience (e.g. headhunt, generic job boards, local recruitment agencies, their own established network, referrals, etc.), but when it comes to  international recruitment they have no idea where to start.

Based on my experience, however, a company first needs to carefully assess their potential for international recruitment and only then start on implementation. Let’s look at the three (3) facts you need to assess before you decide whether your organisation has what it takes to start building your international recruitment strategy:

The three (3) facts you need to assess before you decide whether your organisation has what it takes to start building your international recruitment strategy:

  1. Assess the basics first

Does your organisation have the fundamentals (a relocation program and benefits, the necessary budget and corporate culture) to actually consider international recruitment as a viable strategy? If the answer is ‘I’m not sure.’, go back to the drawing board and make sure that you figure out what the fundamentals for hiring staff from abroad are, or alternatively decide that you are not ready for this step yet.

  1. Define your specific hiring objectives

Due to the high investment required, a strategic and effective planning is an absolute must before considering international recruitment as an option, so define your objectives, key target audiences and specific hiring needs, and do that preferably for the upcoming 12 months.

  1. Perform some due diligence

It’s time to do some research to get the basics straight: Which are the regions where you are likely to find an abundance of your desired candidates (e.g. IT professionals in Eastern Europe)? In which countries are unemployment rates the highest, meaning that talent would be willing to relocate?, among others.

Now that you’ve made your initial assessment, defined your objectives and have collected the labour market information you need (steps 1, 2 and 3), you can move onto drafting your strategy.

Define your strategy

Now you are facing a dilemma: Do you choose to A) rely on local recruitment agencies or would you rather B) prefer to empower your in-house recruitment team to implement your international recruitment strategy?

So, let’s look at the three (3) steps you’d need to take if you opt for empowering your in-house recruitment team to implement your international recruitment strategy, shall we?!

The three (3) steps you need to take for empowering your in-house recruitment team to implement your international recruitment strategy:

  1. Find out which are the media channels your audience uses?

First, you need to get a clear understanding of where is your audience online. Are they using social media on a regular basis? If so, which social media channels? So they prefer Facebook and Instagram over Linkedin? Which online hubs & communities they tend to use on a daily basis (e.g. StackOverflow, Reddit, GitHub, the Business Insider, etc.)? Or is the majority of them passive candidates (not actively searching for a job, but interested in new opportunities), which means that they can be reached with a well-thought-of retargeting campaign on the main ad networks (Google, Bing, etc.)?

  1. Establish how well-known is your organisation abroad?

You need to also assess the level of your organisation’s brand awareness abroad, and especially at the locations you decide to focus your international recruitment efforts on. In other words – is talent aware of what your organisation does and stands for?

If the answer is ‘No.’ or ‘I don’t know’, you need to also work on strengthening your brand awareness. This would eventually support your talent attraction efforts on the long run and failing to do so can significantly harm your international recruitment activities.

How to strengthen your brand awareness, you ask?

Potential candidates, especially when relocation abroad is involved, need to be persuaded by the WHY of your organisation, instead of only having a good feeling about their next job. So, focus on your messaging – your core values and overall messaging, and of course how and where are these being communicated.

  1. Develop an assessment methodology

You can’t improve what you can’t measure!

Once you have all of the above covered, you need to make sure that you have a proper assessment methodology in place. After all, you’d need an ROI estimation of your international recruitment efforts, wouldn’t you?

Ready, Set, Go!

You are now all set up and good to go ahead with implementing your international recruitment strategy!

Still not sure where to start, how to advance or simply prefer to have an international recruitment expert by your side?

Feel free to reach our experts and get a free advice They’d love to help!

Martin de Ruiter
Strategic Customer Success Manager - Team International at VONQ