Overseas Recruiter V's Home Based Recruiter

recently interviewed a Consultant for a position based in our Singapore
office, and that interview provided inspiration for this blog.

Recruitment is recruitment right? On the face of it, it’s as simple as finding the right person for the right job. However, it’s the person behind this
task who plays a vital role in either increasing or decreasing the
chances of that ‘right fit’ being made.

I have come to the conclusion that a Consultant who recruits for overseas markets, and/or is based in another country to which they were born
and/or trained within recruitment in, make a more competent all-round
Consultant, than those who stay at home unchallenged (note the word

Quite a bold assertion I know, but here are my top 10 reasons why:

1- Those who have taken a bold step to leave their friends and family behind and set up a new life in a foreign country, are likely to be more adaptable
than those who insist on visiting their local year in, year out.

2- On the same note, when you are placed into an environment where you have to start from the beginning and re-build your social and business
network once again, you are forced to exercise your social and
networking skills to a greater degree, than being in your home town,
where your social/business circles are already in place, perhaps for
some years.

3- By leaving their comfort zone behind, those who take the leap are arguably already displaying a proactive/go-getter mentality.

4- By working in a foreign country the overseas Consultant is likely to have more of a ‘global’ outlook.

5- By working with different nationalities, the overseas Consultant tends to become more culturally aware.

6- Usually those who are transferred to an overseas office, are bound to be strong producers in either revenue, or have excellent business development
skills, which the company wishes to transfer to the overseas office.
Quite simply, a company would not send their ‘C’ team into overseas
territory, when they have investments on the line. I’m talking
specifically about the expats who are sent overseas here, as opposed to
local hires.

7- Those who end up residing abroad, tend to make the most of their overseas placement, by traveling extensively throughout the region. It’s not
unusual for the Dubai based Consultant to visit clients in Abu Dhabi or
Bahrain, or the Hong Kong Based Consultant to nip over the border into
China and the Singapore Consultant to hop over to Malaysia or Vietnam
whether for business or pleasure. Again, the travel exposure only
intensifies their global knowledge about economies and politics in
other regions, and exposes them to different cultures and ways of life.

8- The work ethic in regions such as Asia and parts of Middle East, is such that often long hours are worked (no room for clock-watching), and it
is not uncommon for some companies to operate 6 day weeks, and
construction sites to operate 24 hours a day, over 2/3 shifts. The
overseas Consultant will normally find themselves thrown into the
thrust of local working culture, which usually involves working longer
than their home-based counter-part. One may argue that
this is not a positive point, however hard-work doesn’t seem to affect
China and India the rising super-powers, and at the end of the day, in
an industry which is remunerated by commission and where interviewing
candidates is easier in the evening, having a longer working day may
not be such a bad thing, as long as there is balance. Of course not many employers seem to mind that their staff working a few hours extra either.

9- The ‘calibre’ in terms of career achievements of the typical overseas expat (please note that when I refer to ‘expats’, I’m really referring to the
professional/technical end of the market), tends to be high. This means
that it is not unusual to find that the make-up of expats are
high-earners (as compared with their counterparts back home), efficient
producers, driven networkers etc. Overseas Consultants
form part of an expat community, where they are rubbing shoulders with
some of the best in the industry. Quite frankly, it’s unusual to find
plodders being sent overseas, hence the expat community tends to be
charged with a vibe which is different to that found back at home,
(unless you are mixing with entrepreneurs and business owners, who have
different motivations altogether)

10- Since the disposable income of the typical expat tends to be greater than their counter-part back home, they tend to enjoy the fruits of their
labour, by experiencing a better quality of life overall. Particularly
in places like Dubai or Hong Kong and Singapore, where there is no or
low tax, and it is not unusual for families to have ‘live-in’ maids to
help look after children (which naturally allows parents the
flexibility within their careers, ability to work longer hours for
example) etc. This in turn affects the general stress
levels of the individual. A less stressed person, is surely a happier
person? A happier person, is surely more productive at work?

Now I’m not saying that the home-based Consultant who has never left their home town, is not as ‘good’ as their overseas expat, however it may be
the case that they haven’t been challenged to exercise skills that may
possess in abundance. Certainly the downturn has shown that, but that’s
another blog in itself.

So here’s my summary of it all. Nowadays when I interview Consultants, I like to see signs of them breaking old habits, or trying something new, pushing boundaries, starting new
disciplines from scratch, traveling to foreign destinations etc. I
believe that these experiences ‘build’ the individual in such as way,
that they become more seasoned at particular activities which they can
apply to the work-place, than those who remain unchallenged.

I would be interested to hear any viewpoints on this.

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