Hiring remote talent is an exciting time for a company. It means new opportunities and potential for growth. Yet, entering a global market isn’t an easy task. To make the most out of your expansion, you must hire the right people first.
Before we get into the strategic side of making your first remote hire abroad a success, let’s first look at the benefits and challenges of international recruitment.
The benefits of remote hiring
Access to a wider talent pool
Depending on the market you’re looking to expand to, you’ll have a wider range of talent at your disposal. This is especially relevant if you have a talent shortage in your country. High-level roles can take a long time to fill, and you might find yourself stuck. Yet, if you expand the pool of your candidates, you’re more likely to find a hire sooner rather than later.
Hiring remote talent from abroad is a chance for you to increase diversity within your team. According to research by Glassdoor, 76% of job seekers and employees consider a diverse workforce an important factor. By hiring people from different cultural backgrounds, you’ll increase your chances of attracting and retaining more diverse talent. Research by Gartner also shows that diverse teams perform up to 30% better than non-inclusive counterparts.
Hiring remotely means you can be closer to your client base. Your business may operate in multiple markets, and it’s best to have team members in all locations. This also means you don’t have all of your team in the same place.
What challenges can you expect to face?
Communication online and across different time zones takes time to adjust, especially if you’re used to having face-to-face meetings with your team. Also, you need to consider that the person you’re hiring abroad won’t be able to join all team events. You’ll have to find a way to create a sense of community within your company and engage employees you can only meet virtually.
Accepting your own biases
You’re probably used to the hiring you do in your local market. You know which companies have the best talent and where to hire talent from. But that doesn’t mean the same hiring process will work abroad. Your recruitment process, from the job description to job offer negotiations, has to be clear. There will be cultural differences along the way, and you must acknowledge them.
Low brand awareness
Unless you’re a global company with a strong employer brand, you’re likely going to start from zero. You’ll notice that passive candidates don’t care about your company when approaching them with reach-out letters. Because of this, you have to invest in building your employer brand outside of your main market. Start by coming up with action steps, such as creating blogs, vlogs, and other content around your company and team, so that candidates are more likely to recognize you.
Laws, salary, and payroll
Another challenge you’re going to face has to do with regulations, especially when recruiting remotely in a foreign market. Below are some of the jurisdictional questions you must answer before publishing a job opening:
How are you planning to pay the salary to the person?
What type of contract will they sign?
Can you offer the same benefits to the employee as you do in your local market?
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What’s the best strategy to hire remote talent abroad?
Now that we’ve gone through the benefits and the potential challenges of remote hiring, it’s time to go through the recruitment strategy, step-by-step.
STEP 1: Research and analyze
Before expanding your team to a new market, you must research and analyze the situation within your company. Below are some questions that will help you decide whether you’re ready for global hiring.
- Does your team mostly work remotely or from the office?
- Will your team be comfortable communicating virtually?
- Is your company ready to take on a person from another cultural background?
- Do you have the necessary materials ready for the new person? (e.g. a virtual onboarding program)
- How are you going to create an engaging workplace for the new employee?
- Is the person going to be fully remote or hybrid?
- Can you offer a competitive salary?
- What type of benefits can you offer to the employee?
STEP 2: Map out the budget and business goals
Your recruitment and business goals have to align. So, before publishing a job opening, think about what you hope to achieve in that market. Setting quarterly and yearly OKRs is an effective way to stay on track, and bring clarity to the newly hired person about what’s expected of them.
Chances are your first hire in a foreign market will be for a senior position. Your budget will likely influence the markets from which you can hire. For instance, you’re unlikely to attract high-level talent from the UK with an Estonian-level salary. So, it’s best to know that in some economies, people will likely have higher salary expectations.
STEP 3: Map out the candidate profile and hiring process
You must establish a hiring process before you start interviewing candidates. This involves coming up with a job description, a list of interview questions to ask candidates, knowing how to assess their skills and cultural fit, and which channels to target candidates from.
When mapping out the candidate profile, think about the must-have skills of that person, and nice-to-have skills. Also, what personality should they have to fit in with the team virtually?
STEP 4: Think about remote employee engagement
The person you’re hiring will likely spend most of their time away from the team. It’s up to you to create an engaging work environment for them, starting with employee onboarding.
Prepare personalized videos and reading materials so the new team member can understand the company and its mission. Make sure they have a to-do list of tasks/goals for the first week, first month, and 90-days. Having a to-do list of quick wins and long-term goals takes the pressure off because they’ll know what’s expected of them.
Pro tip: assign them a “buddy” within the company. Someone with whom they can share their worries and successes. Make sure they have weekly or at least biweekly check-ins with each other.
When all of your team members can’t make it to team socials, you have to find alternative ways to keep everyone engaged. Instead of having physical get-togethers, host events where people can join virtually. Below are a few ideas for virtual team events, some of which we also practice at TalentHub:
- A game night
- Virtual team lunches
- Virtual donut dates – every week, team members get automatically matched with each other, encouraging them to spend 30-minutes with each other catching up.
- After-work virtual pub – bring the pub online, encourage people to bring drinks, and chat over a video call.
- Monthly team challenges – create a challenge where team members are encouraged to form healthy habits around meditation, walking, running, and drinking water.
Be prepared to fail
Making your first remote hire can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. It means new opportunities for the company but also many challenges along the way.
Usually, successfully expanding your team to a new market comes down to preparation. If you fail to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.
Remember, you can’t just rely on your gut to make hiring decisions. You must have a strategic approach. Do your research, analyze your unique situation, and then move forward with mapping out the role itself.