International Recruitment


Internationales Recruiting ist für Unternehmen in Österreich oft herausfordernd. Neha Chatwani hat beim Meetup im Juni unseren Austausch mit ihren Inputs und ihren eigenen Erfahrungen – nicht nur als Recruiterin sondern auch als Bewerberin. Da waren schon einige wertvolle Insights dabei, hier kommen ihre Tipps als Gastautorin.

The evolving ‘world of work’ is at the brink of a new definition. The challenges and changes affecting it are as daunting and exciting as those of the fin de siècle and the emergence of industrialization. The 21st century is the age of digitalization and artificial intelligence or as I like to call it the revolution of mindboggling technologies.
Globalization and the curiosity of the ‘other’ has always existed in the history of humankind. The technology of cloud however lends a unique sense of ‘borderlessness’ to globalization. The access to information and to markets has significantly increased opening more possibilities for business and new ways of working. It has also stepped up competitive pressure so that companies realize that only those who are agile and have the best-suited talent will survive, remain competitive and prosper. Acquiring and engaging people at work i.e. nurturing the human asset has never been more important across all industries and irrespective of company size. I call this emerging phenomenon the war on talent 2.0, leaning on the original Steven Hankin’ McKinsey terminology in the 1990’s.

In the war on talent 2.0 international recruitment plays a pivotal role. On the one hand technology has enabled comparable education across the globe and therefore an enormous global talent pool. On the other hand, there is a growing number of highly-skilled professionals who are not only mobile but can be engaged to work virtually from any place in the world.

In addition, talent search is not the sole driver, for international recruitment. Companies are increasingly making a strategic decision to embrace diversity to foster innovation and business growth. The need for experienced global nomads, professionals who seamless move between cultures and not just speak different languages is indisputable.

Finally, international recruiting is a response to a global demographic shift. Aging populations and low birth rates are deniably pertinent in Western geographies and Japan and are being compensated for by the movement of labour.

Conclusively when we speak about international recruiting we are referring to team members (irrespective of the type of contract they may hold) of global teams or multi-national teams and we speak in terms of inclusiveness.

  • International recruitment has a variety of facets 1) recruiting from abroad; 2) recruiting a foreign national; 3) recruiting in a country different from your own.
  • Unfortunately, there is no recipe or template for international recruiting much of it is learning by doing and its particular challenge is that local legal labour frameworks are consistently changing. A number of parameters, however, can be shared:
  • Recruiting people from abroad can be legally complicated. It is usually a long(er) and more expensive process that local recruitment. Be prepared for long lead times and extensive administrative work.
  • Adjust your recruitment strategy according to the local market you are recruiting from. Use social media and external know-how. Tip: consider hiring from highly qualified marginalized groups who may be neglected in their own labour pools e.g. women and minorities.
  • One of the biggest mistakes that employers make is not respecting time zones when scheduling an interview. I know this from personal experience. I declined a job interview that was set for 2 am out of Korea!
  • During the interview process be curious and open to different skills and abilities, attitudes. Be aware of your own bias, remember different is also what you are looking for!
  • Keep your job interviews relevant to the job e.g. through behavioural interviewing. Avoid stereotypical language or culturally based humour. Although English is an international language we all speak it very differently. Don’t assume otherwise.
  • A long recruitment process requires that you keep the communication channels with chosen candidates open at all times.
  • International does not have to mean intercultural. Move over Hofstede! Many people have cross-cultural identities and multilateral experiences. Check your assumptions and be prepared to be surprised.
  • Rethink your C&B schemes. Make them flexible so that relevant benefits can be designed on a case by case basis. For example, services that might be needed to relocate or attract international recruits include relocation services, competitive wages, school allowances, language classes. An agile approach towards a C&B toolkit might even benefit for your local staff!
  • Make sure you have a good on-boarding scheme in place and perhaps a buddy system to welcome new international staff. It is difficult enough to move jobs without having to move countries. Support will be welcomed.
  • On the same note, foster an inclusive cooperate culture in your company.
  • All recruiters are aware that unsuccessful recruitments are not only expensive but can have business consequences. An important predicator for the success of your candidate is personal/family comfort. Support in spousal employment search can be fundamental.
  • Engage a transition coach if necessary. Even the most experienced global nomads will go through some culture shock. Moving to another country for work is not the same as spending a semester abroad in college.
  • Take the candidate perspective – it is called empathy. When I first moved abroad I wasn’t sure who I could give my second pair of house keys to in the case of emergencies. Sweat the small stuff and show you care.

The challenge of international recruiting means that HR experts and the companies they serve can explore different ways of working i.e. through a variety of contracts, reshaping of teams and redesigning jobs for greater agility.

Recruiting has to be strategic. It is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Neha Chatwani, Organisational Psychologist and Change facilitator,
Following an international career in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development, Neha founded the workplace atelier, an innovative space that focusses on providing people-oriented services in change management bricolage. Specifically, she focuses on work-place issues enabling staff at all levels to leverage their strengths and work together in meaningful and strategic co-hension to achieve organizational goals. She equally focuses her work on leadership development and career design underlining self-empowerment of professionals and executives, with a variety of profit and non-profit companies internationally. Neha is a graduate in Psychology from the University of Vienna and holds a prestigious Doctorate in Business Administration from the Grenoble Ecole de Management. She is a accomplished author, key note speaker and academic lecturer in her field.

Vielen Dank Neha! Wie geht es euch denn mit dem Thema?

Herzliche Grüße

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