Congratulations! You’re thinking about hiring internationally! At some point in a company’s life, they’re going to have to consider hiring someone from outside their own country, and there are many factors to consider.
- Are you willing (and able) to deal with the different kinds of visas necessary for someone from outside the United States to join your ranks?
- Are you going to relocate them, or are they better off working remotely?
- What can you gain from hiring someone from across the pond?
- What risks are you taking on?
And that’s not even the paperwork stuff. But first, let’s discuss the recruiting process. How do you source, engage, interview and hire someone from another country?
Widening Your Talent Pool
Perhaps the biggest benefit of hiring internationally is that you’re no longer constrained by your talent pool, and can look to hire purely on the basis of talent. German and French workers have been rated as more productive than American workers in the past, even though Americans have longer work weeks. Productive workers do more with less, and can complete more projects on time with better results.
Most companies that want to hire internationally are either adept at handling remote workers, or can splurge on relocation. And if you’re worried about these new remote hires slacking off, don’t; remote workers are happier, work better and are less likely to quit. So now you’re getting better workers, more retention, and the advantage of someone who can expand an untapped marketplace for your organization. Are they bilingual? Then you have an even bigger advantage, because while the need for bilingual workers continues to rise, the number of job seekers planning to study a second language in America is quite low. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of translators and interpreters in the US is expected to jump by 22% between 2008 and 2018, the International Business Times noted.
But as with most remote hiring situations, the biggest problem is one of communication. If you’re not keeping employees in the loop, they may not know what they should be doing. Companies take this for granted when everyone’s local, since lost employees are feet away from the person who can answer their questions. But when that’s not an option, it’s more important than ever to keep everyone up to date. Patrick Linton, Co-Founder of Bolton Remote, emphasizes how communication problems often lead to performance problems when it comes to international hiring.
"Hiring and managing talent overseas can work if both sides are willing to work together to make it a success. Too often, communication-style differences can be perceived as performance issues, when the root issue is that both sides aren't on the same page yet. When hiring a remote employee internationally, try to figure out upfront what those key cultural differences might be, write them down and then bring them out in the open."
The Red Tape
Of course, hiring internationally isn’t the same as hiring remotely. There are lots of regulations to deal with, since you have to abide by more than one country’s tax code. Larry Harding (@HardingLarry), advises that while it’s important to have someone to navigate the legal intricacies of hiring globally, having someone on the ground can be just as useful.
“An accountant with international experience is useful, but it’s also a good idea to get help from someone who’s handled hiring in that area, such as a consultant . . . Many consulting firms who work in particular regions have a network of resources they can tap to help you.”
The red tape can make it difficult to validate hiring someone from outside your country. But if you can afford relocation, or have figured out how to avoid the pitfalls of remote work, hiring international employees is more than worth it.