– Stevie Nicks is the Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine – a website that covers the topics many care about. One will find articles about lifestyle, travel, fashion, trends and relationships – each of which is written in their unique style.
Hiring processes are complicated and ever-changing.
In normal times, it can be difficult for companies to find the applicants they’re looking for. The shortage of work and desire to change during the pandemic has made this even more difficult. From writing the perfect job specifications to filtering out inappropriate candidates, it’s hard to land the right person at the right time.
There are other ways of doing this, though. You might not realize it, but your business is probably heavily limiting its talent pool. One of the main ways businesses across the world are doing just this is by failing to harness the power of international hires.
For the purposes of this article, international hires are both:
- Applicants currently based overseas
- Applicants with experience working internationally
Whether it’s for logistical reasons or a lack of faith in hiring from certain sectors, businesses make this same mistake over and over again. Here is why you should break the mold and hire applicants with international experience.
Great international employees, and those with experience working overseas, don’t just bring their own personality and expertise to a role, but valuable contacts too.
Whatever industry you’re in, you’re going to have an itch to expand abroad. You might not have plans to do it any time soon, but you’re eager to ship products overseas and win clients in key international markets.
Bringing someone in who has experience living, working, and buying within those markets is a key asset. Not only do they offer a fresh customer perspective, but likely professional contacts who could help your business establish a foothold there. This is a key asset when competing within a tight industry. If an ecommerce store can secure cheaper shipping abroad, for example, it puts them at a significant advantage against a competitor forced to charge higher rates.
Making international hires a key part of your business plan tells potential international clients, partners, and customers you’re serious about expansion. Overnight you don’t just have a great new employee, but an asset who can speak the language and inform company direction.
A fresh creative perspective
It’s true of any industry that bringing in someone from a difficult background is a quick way to introduce a culture shock to your creative department and inject some new perspectives.
It might not always work, but when it does, it makes creative roles much more exciting and easier for your entire team.
Sometimes, a fresh perspective, based on different experiences, can be just what a creative team needs, whether they’re working on innovative new marketing campaigns or developing consumer products.
By employing someone with knowledge of unique international markets, you get a broader idea of the problems people are dealing with and the stylistic elements they enjoy. This could give you insight into emerging trends that tools such as Google Trends might not show.
This is not to say anyone who’s ever traveled to Spain knows exactly what a Spanish consumer is looking for on their shelves. But, applicants with international experience will have subconsciously picked up branding, copywriting, and design skills during their time outside of the United States. They’ll notice what their colleagues were buying, how major brands presented themselves, and how to be unique. That perspective is invaluable.
Modernises your company culture
International representation within your workforce doesn’t just open doors to expansion and creativity, but a richer and more fulfilling workplace culture for all.
Up and down the company, the sharing of global perspectives and ideas can benefit both immigrant, non-immigrant, and previously expatriate employees alike. It can lead to a better understanding of the differences in culture and expose people to new interests, foods, and lifestyles, all of which can improve their work and personal lives.
As Bamboo HR suggests, company culture is not just about making people happy now, but setting your business up for a more successful and sustainable future.
The very best modern workforces have a sense of diversity and creativity about them. This is spurred on by a clash of traditional cultures against new ideas. Don’t be afraid of introducing new elements to modernize how your company approaches collaboration.
Allows you to develop a global brand and customer service
These days, it’s not enough to be a business. You need to be a brand.
Want to take it one step further? Aim to become a global brand.
While social media activity and great customer service can help you develop a strong brand name, one of the best ways to get people all over the world talking about you is to hire people who understand those markets and the consumers within them.
Much like how international hires offer a fresh perspective, they also offer inroads to cut through the chaff of customer research and building relationships. Having employees strategically placed in foreign markets allows you to strike during down periods for competitors and build up your brand name more organically.
Likewise, customer service is much easier to manage with an international workforce. A range of languages on your team allows you to provide a more personalized service, while the comfort of someone with a similar background and name to your consumers cannot be understated.
Best applicants with international experience
Now that we know what applicants with international experience can bring to the table, let’s take a look at some of the international roles you should be keeping an eye out for on resumes.
Whether they’ve volunteered to teach English in developing countries or traveled to the United States to cover their own language and history, applicants with experience in international education often offer a unique perspective and skillset all businesses should jump on.
According to Edvectus these teachers are not just happier, but growing in numbers. This presents an opening for companies looking to hire in unique places.
While they might lack experience studying foreign markets or building contacts, teachers who have worked abroad have built unique connections with communities and spent time developing their people skills. Whether it’s as HR representatives or client managers, these people skills come to the forefront when it comes to international relations.
The military is one of the toughest industries to find a new purpose after. Whether you were based overseas or involved in delicate, complex operations, most businesses don’t see a lot of real-world value in what you’ve accomplished, but they should.
Veteran unemployment is a steadily growing issue, with many members of the armed forces returning home with little knowledge of how to put their unique skills to use and how they can progress outside of the regimented nature of military life.
This has manifested itself in the form of many veterans relying on VA benefits, or using consultancies such as VA Claim Pros to fight for benefits to cover the cost of injuries and disabilities developed while serving.
While this might paint a negative picture of the ex-military workforce, they are a diverse and highly skilled group with significant experience integrating into foreign communities and thinking on their feet in high-pressure situations — skills that are hard to train and would benefit any business looking to expand.
Overcoming the challenges
As beneficial as hiring applicants with international experience and those living in other countries can be, it also comes with a number of challenges you must overcome.
- Settling new applicants into new homes and environments
- Crossing potential language barriers
- Acclimatizing them to more conventional work/life balances
- Communicating across time barriers
These challenges can slow productivity and lead to potential issues with communication and morale. However, investing time and energy into personalized HR and tools that allow for overseas/over-time zone communication can immediately make international staff feel more at home with your business and contribute to a greater degree.
In today’s modern, interconnected globalist economy, there’s no reason to keep your employee register restricted.
Hiring from abroad and looking for ex-expats ready for a new challenge can transform your business, both in terms of output and ambition.