International employment - avoiding the pitfalls

September 2014

Planning your first overseas hire

Whenever you hire overseas you must take local differences into consideration. You can't just take a simple job description and make it fit every set of circumstances for the following reasons.

  • Different cultures present different challenges. Even when the language is the same there can be big differences in the way people communicate.
  • Legal requirements may differ from your home territory.
  • The after-hire process is just as important as the hiring process so that you prepare your new recruit for success.
  • You need to integrate the various teams in your organisation so they communicate with each other effectively

Employment status of staff and contractors in multiple countries

Understanding the local legal requirements is essential. Seeking the advice of experts in local employment law will help you avoid many traps by ensuring you are aware of such things as minimum wage requirements, overtime regulations, and employee benefit laws.

Networking with fellow managers in your industry who have a working knowledge of the country in which you are recruiting can also be helpful.

Expat satisfaction, productivity and safety

Relocating to a foreign country is a stressful experience. The more you can do to ease the transition for employees and their families, the sooner they will begin to repay your investment in them.

Communication is key right from the start. Use a questionnaire to find out as much information as possible about their needs, wants and circumstances. Once you have all the information don't just tell them where to look, help them find what they're looking for. There are specialists to whom you can outsource this work if you prefer.

And it doesn't end when they arrive as you must help them integrate into the local culture and community. Language lessons are a must, and training on the local culture and staying safe will all help them to acclimatise.

Challenges and best practices

There are many challenges that you will face when recruiting overseas and some tried and tested methods that you might use.

  • Conduct a screening process - depending on the business you are in and the role for which you are recruiting you may choose to screen potential candidates.
  • Understand the local culture - what is normal acceptable behaviour in one culture can, for example, be considered rude or arrogant in another.
  • Think about your brand - before you can recruit the right person you must first attract the right candidates. Present your company in such a way that you make it attractive to the right talent.


Author: Adriana Robles

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