As the popularity of remote work continues to spread, employers are seeing the benefits of hiring abroad and having access to a global talent pool. But, navigating a global talent pool is not easy. A bigger candidate pool also comes with a bigger pool of competitors and unknown markets.

How to start hiring abroad? Which country to hire from? How to find the right talent anywhere in the world?  

In this post, we’ll answer these questions and share advice from two recruitment experts - Piret Luts, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Nortal, and Dominic Rohde, Head of Talent at Minterest. Piret and Dominic were so kind to share a whole lot of international hiring advice in our recent webinar.

We’ll share the webinar highlights for a quick read, but I highly recommend watching the entire webinar here.

Why do companies seek talent abroad?

Sometimes you can’t find talent with a certain skill within the country’s borders. The natural step is to start looking in a larger talent pool - be it in a new country or the entire world. Many businesses of today, especially startups, are global from day one. They hire their top candidate no matter where in the world they’re located.

Dominic says that finding the right people should be a priority. The "right person" isn't necessarily the "best" candidate out there. They're someone who is the best fit for the company and is a good match with the team leader. This person could be outside of the country where the company has the HQ.

That needs to be the main focus - where is the right person? And they may be overseas.

The second reason is the cost. Some countries have higher employer costs and salaries. As Dominic notes, companies in such countries often consider where else they can look. The possibility of finding someone equally talented with lower cost is attractive for employers. Last but not least, for those of you setting up a branch overseas, you might want to look for local talent there.

How to choose which country to hire from?

When it comes to picking the country, Piret explains it needs to be an educated decision based on where the talent is present, which skills are needed, and what the company culture is like. Your budget will affect the decision but it should never be the only factor.

Your aim as an organization is to find like minded people who want to grow with you and who have some things to teach you as well.

If you are hiring abroad for the first time, the #1 thing to do is research. It’s absolutely ok to say: "I need these skills, this is my culture - where do I look?"
Piret suggests reaching out to your network, local agencies or Relancer to ask these questions and get to know new markets.

Finally, remember to be realistic about your expectations.
As Piret brilliantly points out:

Everyone says: "I want to go to countries where recruitment is easy and fast and cheap. But, these countries do not exist."

Preparation is crucial

With most business tasks, planning ahead is the key to success. Hiring is no different. When it comes to hiring in a new market, it is essential that you have all the information in place before you start sourcing.

Piret's advice is to research what candidates are asking from employers as well as what the competitors are offering. This will help you decide what your offer should be. But, it doesn’t end with finding the right candidate. What type of contract you’ll offer and how you’ll onboard new employees are also decisions to make in advance.

If you’re dealing with relocation, then it’s even more important that you give candidates as much information as possible. If you fail to explain what’s waiting for them across the border, this person might end up leaving the organization pretty fast, Piret says.

I would rather spend more time in explaining what's expecting them on the other side of the border than finishing the recruitment process really fast and closing the deal.

It's okay if you're not 100% sure who you need to hire

Most talent teams, recruiters and founders think that they have to know exactly who they are hiring. Contrary to the popular belief, Dominic says that it's okay to not know exactly who you need to hire. In reality, sometimes you just don’t know. In that case, his advice is to start with a top of the funnel approach and narrow it down as you go. Talk to candidates so you can learn more about what they’re good at and what’s happening in the market. The key here is to always be transparent about your process. Dominic explains:

Let’s say we’re 60-70% sure who we need and why we need somebody. But let’s actively tell people “Hey, we don’t exactly know. Can we just have a chat?” To understand what these people are doing, what they’re good at, what’s happening in the market. They can share knowledge with you and vice-versa. I think companies and recruiters need to do a better job in being honest about that process rather than pretending that they have a firm offer on the table or a firm role that is open because then you end up having to backtrack.

How can external recruitment partners help?

It can be beneficial to collaborate with an external partner when hiring abroad. First of all, working with someone who knows the local job market in and out can save you a lot of time. New to hiring? Collaborate with a partner experienced in navigating large talent pools. And, if you’ve already tried hiring abroad but haven’t found the right person, a recruiter can now jump in.

At Nortal, Piret has worked with both external recruiters and agencies. She says agencies brought in good results when dealing with bigger markets. But, what proved as the best solution at Nortal is embedding external recruiters into the team. Even though they’re external partners, they use company tools and processes. External recruiters are an extension of Nortal’s internal team.

Piret points out that she found value in using Relancer to access a wider network of recruiters to collaborate with. "During the critical times when your in-house team is overwhelmed, we have found our cooperations partners quite fast and also they have delivered", she says.

Would you like to learn more about hiring abroad from Piret and Dominic? Make sure to watch the webinar which also includes the recorded Q&A session!

drawing