We all have our prejudices and fears. It does not help in our relations, and it does not in our recruiting tasks. The main reason why I am writing this article is to help some of you to face them better, or even to liberate yourself from prejudices and fears completely. .
I usually do not write about specific recruiting experiences, but now I have to make an exemption. You know why?
1. I have a feeling I owe it to Iranian people.
2. Some of you may find an inspiration to make some move in your recruiting although you are afraid, or have not done yet so because of some prejudice.
Note: To do not break
one of my main values – confidentiality, I will neither write about an industry or country I recruited for, nor about the particular positions. It’s not the point anyway.
So, in one project, I was asked to identify, attract, and choose few important employees in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Firstly I was very excited about that, as always when I shall do something somewhere I have done nothing before.
What I did the following days was what I always do in such situation (and you probably also): I tried to learn something about the country and the people, related to my task. What do you think, what I have found about Iran and people there?
Basically, the main information was the following:
- Neither in my networks, nor in networks of my colleagues/friends were people from Iran. In that time, I did not know why. Later I found out that is it because on most networking sites, Iran is not in the list of countries, so in fact, Iranians are blocked there.(Because of fear from some terrorism networking or what? :)) Note: Iranians are there, but use another country, so you can not identify them..
- I checked several videos, articles and news archives. What I saw and read? I saw a country where foreigners are not in love, where stones are time to time thrown on Americans (or anyone who looks like American), where you can not find a good internet connection, where nobody speaks English, where you can be taken to jail when police stops you and you do not have a passport with you, where you can hardly get Visa etc.. Plus, few sites mentioning Iran as one of ten most dangerous places in the world. Simply nothing very pleasant, except of quite positive reviews on local hotels on TripadvisorJ.
This created some fears (if I can complete the task) and prejudices in my head, and I really did
not sleep very well those days.
But, as I already knew that the news are bullshit, especially those created in the US, and that with skill in using all features of Google, you can find anything and anyone (I hope you agree), I just forgot on what I have read and saw, and started to work.
And the results came. In quite a short time, I was sitting in front of my Laptop, doing Skype interviews with 10 Iranians.
Few things may surprise you regarding the online interviews, based on what you have heard before and what you can find on the web:
- The Iranian I met online actually spoke English on a satisfactory level for interview purposes. One man, who did not, took an interpreter with him to Skype meeting. (All the candidates were identified on sites with purely Persian content.)
- The internet connection was always perfect, and there were absolutely no problems with this issue.
- Nearly everyone was very positive, and I could not feel any negative emotions to me from their side, although I was a foreigner.
Some prejudices were gone, some fears stayed in my head. The biggest one was visa arrangement.
The so problematic visa, as they wrote everywhere online… You know what? I arranged the visa for 7 days without traveling anywhere, or visit the embassy. Can it be any easier to arrange them? (It cost something to do it this way, but it’s 100% legal.) If you wonder how I did so, just write me.
So, few weeks later I was in one of Tehran’s hotels meeting with chosen people for case studies, tests and deeper interviews. Let me write my impressions, regarding recruiting there, people and the country. It’s quite opposite to what I have heard before:
- Recruiting in such way we know it in US or Europe does not exist in Iran. People are chosen there
based on their skills, education and experience, and are not used to undertake some tests or do some case studies. If you go there to recruit, you shall except that they’ll be surprised with such things.
- Everyone in Iran (really everyone), has a strong desire to leave the country for some time (not forever), to go to study or work to Europe, New Zealand, Canada or US. They also believe strongly, that working for the foreign company will help them to gain knowledge and skills they can not gain working for Iranian companies. Their desire to work for a foreign company or to travel abroad is something very strong, and they are able to do anything to reach this goal.
- Iranians honestly appreciate when a foreigner comes to Iran, especially when a foreigner comes to make something for their country – like do some business, recruit someone, etc..Iran! Everyone appreciate that, and so if you go there, do not be surprised if they give you a free night in 5* hotel, or if they always find for you a free table in restaurants, although everything is reserved. Such things just happen to foreigners in Iran.
- The country is very safe. There is really a lot of police in the streets, but nobody from them ever checked my passport (I have not seen them checking any passport) or even spoke to me. Also there were no incidents (except of car crash, as traffic is horrible there). I would say that London or Paris
is much more dangerous in both day and night compared to Tehran.
- If you need to arrange something (something official), there can occur a problem, especially with the language (quite surprising when you come to travel agency and nobody speaks English). But, Iranians are so friendly and helpful to foreigners that if you know just one person who speaks relatively good English, he/she will take the day off in his/her job anytime to be your interpreter
- Americans are very popular in Iran by normal people. People have their idols like everywhere – many are from US, and in every taxi driven be young taxi driver, you will listen to CD consisting of different hits of American music (Metallica and Madonna are especially popular).
- People have their qualities there. For example, a level of emotional intelligence and self-confidence of local people was better than Western Europe average, regarding my experiences.
As a conclusion, based on my experience, Iran is a safe country full of nice people with good potential, where foreigners are welcomed. What a difference to what people in general think and what you can mostly find
online or see in media. It’s nearly the opposite.
Note: Who knows, what people in the US think about my country - Slovakia, and its human potential?
I do not want to speak here about some practices, rules and barriers for doing business in Iran, as it’s not the topic for the blog. Anyway, if you want to know it, you can always write me.
“Throw away your prejudices and fears, and new worlds will open to you.” (Who said that? :))
Good luck in your recruiting, and do not watch/read news too much – it’s just setting your head incorrect way. .