How to recruit in a global talent market


Technology has made the world a much smaller place, offering recruiters the ability to gain instant access to almost anyone, anywhere.

And it appears that many employers are thinking about using this to their advantage. In its recent 2018 Immigration Trends Report Envoy found that 70% of employers say sourcing foreign workers is very or extremely important to their talent acquisition strategy. But when recruiting globally, issues from culture to cost require careful planning for businesses of all types.

Planning ahead

The first step in establishing a pipeline of top talent is to ensure leadership is open to hiring globally, Richard Burke, Envoy’s CEO, told HR Dive. He suggests providing the C-suite with data that examines market trends to see how existing practices stack up against the competition. “Recruitment teams should audit their hiring strategy and use data to address any concerns they may encounter from leadership regarding budget, visa applications, compliance or skills needs,” he said via email.

Pay special attention to how other businesses attract and retain foreign talent and use that information to form policies and procedures, Burke added. “Awareness of typical perks, benefits and hiring practices, as well as how competitors manage foreign talent, gives a framework on how to attract top talent from anywhere in the world.”

Rachel Russell, Allegis Group’s executive director of corporate strategy told HR Dive there are several steps that American companies can take during the planning stage to boost global talent acquisition. Employers should: streamline job requirements to attract talent with transferable skills from outside their industry; tap into talent from across multiple, digital sourcing channels; and embrace flexible workforce models that include contractors, contingent workers and freelancers, she suggested.

Employers also should make sure they understand the areas from which they’re hiring, Burke said. Current employees may be able to share expert insights into key locations; “If a company learns how foreign talent works in their home country, they can use this knowledge to make a smoother transition for incoming employees.”

The competition
A recent study from Mercer suggested that “the cities of the future and the future of work depend upon one vital element: people.” As American companies look to expand their employee base around the world, these emerging markets will offer an additional level of competition for talent. Still another Mercer study, Global Talent Trends 2018, says that businesses will need to incorporate “permanent flexibility.”

“Flexibility isn’t just about working wherever/whenever,” the study said. “It’s also about rethinking what work is done, how it is done, and by whom.”

“Competition for top talent is fierce everywhere,” Joana Silva, principal at Mercer, told HR Dive via email. And according to Mercer’s Talent Trends study, 89% of companies around the world expect competition to increase further. “In emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and South Africa, the competition is even more cut-throat. It’s a talent-demand market, which means that companies need to up their game in order to attract (and keep) the best and brightest.”

“Today, the question of recruitment is not just about what the worker can do for the employer,” Russell explained. “It’s about employers looking internally to deliver an enriching candidate and employee experience that aligns with the desires of the worker.”

Understanding the needs of global job seekers
A business’s employee value proposition (EVP) cannot be one-size-fits-all, so companies are beginning to identify “personas” of ideal candidates to understand specific needs. And this is a key component of a global recruiting strategy.

“Personas are a segmentation strategy that goes beyond traditional demographics, like age or gender,” Silva said, “instead focusing on dimensions, such as life stage, desired level of financial security and/or risk taking, predisposition to lifelong learning, career interests, and other dimensions.” In identifying different segments of candidates, employers can provide a unique EVP for each population.

“Companies can’t just hope for skilled foreign workers to appear,” Burke said. “They have to make an active effort to make it part of their culture that will ultimately grow and support that population.”

Offering benefits that make your company attractive to talent is a critical part of that; Envoy’s Immigration Trends Report revealed that 41% of employers offer relocation expenses, and 39% subsidize housing costs. Other perks like travel, transportation, spousal aid and more can draw in foreign nationals.

Understand market variations
“When entering a new market,” Silva said, “it is easy to fall back on requirements such as a degree from a top university.”

But that approach can limit your candidate pool in the U.S. and globally. It’s important to understand local trends and norms to assure you’re not limiting your search when hiring abroad.

Unexpected bonuses
In addition to an expanded talent pool, employers may find that hiring globally speaks to a company’s willingness or ability to send workers to international destinations. Burke cited a PwC study that revealed 71% of millennials expect or want an overseas assignment at some point in their career. He suggested companies that source talent globally will attract this demographic, looking for opportunities to grow domestically and abroad.

“Recruiting and hiring global talent gives a company’s brand a huge boost because it demonstrates a company’s commitment to diversity, not only in culture or race, but in perspective,” Burke said. Employees that value an inclusive workplace will be more attracted to a company that hires globally. And once hired, the varied perspectives foreign national employees bring makes room for continued learning opportunities, which increases engagement.


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