7 strategies for effective international recruiting

Casual conversational job interview

With the competition for talent getting even tougher, more and more companies are seeing the need to open up their hiring strategies internationally. But there are subtle differences when it comes to hiring locally vs across the globe. Here are some helpful tips for incorporating an international hiring strategy for the first time.


1. Do your research

When it comes to hiring abroad vs hiring locally, it’s important to note that you shouldn't rely on the knowledge you have already built up and apply it everywhere. Ask yourself these questions as you research what hiring is like in other countries:

  • What’s the market like in the location you want to recruit in? You’ll want to know the current state of hiring before you move into that area.
  • Who are your main competitors in this market? This knowledge is key when making competitive hiring decisions, such as salary range and benefits offerings.
  • What’s the cultural attitude towards taking on a new role in this international market? You’ll need to take these cultural expectations into account when approaching candidates and bringing them through your hiring process.
  • Who do you know in the area? If you have connections who are located there, ask for their advice and knowledge of the market. They might be able to share valuable insights on where candidates go when seeking opportunities, interesting companies to hire from and the appropriate tone to use in your communications.


2. Use the right sourcing channels

LinkedIn is the go-to when looking for local talent and typically works well when hiring internationally too. However, it shouldn’t be the only tool in your belt, especially when looking to hire a diverse group of candidates. Many cities have local job boards, professional networks for underrepresented groups and/or Slack groups that can help give you a more well-rounded sense of the local candidate pool and job market.


3. Embrace cultural differences

It’s important to understand that demographics can differ quite a lot from region to region, so you may need to adjust your diversity sourcing strategies to accommodate this. It may sound obvious, but if you’re hiring internationally, you may need to avoid using certain colloquialisms or slang that you’re used to using in your local region. They may not translate to the audience you’re addressing.

Tone is also important to keep in mind, especially when reaching out to candidates for the first time. You may need to adopt a more formal tone with some cultures whereas you can keep it quite casual and conversational with others. In some cultures, it may not be the norm for candidates to speak confidently about their various accomplishments – you may need to adjust your interview questions to do a little further digging to assess if they match all the criteria/attributes.

If you are used to hiring in a country where English is the first language and are now hiring where it’s not, be aware that you may need to make accommodations for accents, grammar and fluency. Make sure to speak clearly and be patient with candidates throughout the process. Unless language fluency is a requirement of the role, you can be flexible here. Focus on the content of what the candidate is saying rather than how they’re saying it.



4. Understand local compensation expectations

In some countries, it’s legal to ask candidates about their past and current salary packages but in others, it’s not. The best advice is to do your research on local compensation expectations and how to approach this tricky topic before the interview process begins. Asking a candidate what their salary expectations would be for the role you are interviewing them for should be the default option, rather than asking them about their current salary.

It’s also helpful to be aware of the value of the local currency in the country you are hiring in so you can comfortably discuss salary range with candidates.



5. Keep compliance and GDPR top of mind

When it comes to data privacy regulations, regardless of the country, the most important rule is of course to always stay compliant. Different regions have different laws when it comes to hiring, so being aware of regulations when it comes to minimum wage, medical benefits, leave/vacation policy, notice periods and more is key.

If you’re hiring across multiple locations, it may not be logistically practical to learn about every set of regulations, so utilising outside counsel might be a good idea here!

You may need to consider different hiring solutions, depending on how many people you plan to hire in a certain location. If you only plan to hire a handful of employees, it might make sense to hire them as contractors, but if you have longer-term plans for growing the team in this location, you may want to consider establishing a professional employer organisation (PEO) or a local legal entity.

Each country will have their own regulations when it comes to the candidate’s legal right to work there. Be sure to verify whether the candidate is eligible to work and whether they’ll require visa sponsorship from your company.

If you’re hiring within the European Union (EU), you need to be aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of strict guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from people who live in the EU. The key things to note about GDPR with respect to candidates are:

  • You need legitimate interest to process candidate data
  • You need candidate consent to process sensitive data
  • Candidates have the right to request their information to be deleted
  • Candidates have the right to access any information related to their profile

We have more information about GDPR guidelines and hiring on our site to help you get started and stay compliant.



6. Utilise the benefits of structured hiring

Structured hiring will help you and your team make fair, unbiased decisions when hiring internationally. Simply define the attributes that the hire will need and then build your interview scorecards to reflect them. This will help guide the hiring process in a fair, objective and inclusive manner and help eliminate “gut-feeling” hiring decisions.

Hiring for a “culture fit” isn’t beneficial even when hiring locally and can be very ambiguous when hiring internationally. Candidates should be assessed as being a “values fit” instead, meaning they align with the values of your company rather than their personality matches the current team. Another great measure to consider is whether they would add to your company culture by bringing a new perspective to the team/culture.



7. Leverage the right tools and technology

Thankfully, we now live in a world where technology makes it easier to connect with people all over the globe. An effective ATS tool like Greenhouse allows for collaboration amongst the interview team even when they are globally dispersed. It also allows you to effectively communicate and schedule interviews with your candidates while being respectful of their time zones.

Lean into conferencing tools such as Zoom to conduct interviews with international candidates. This is especially useful for later stages of the interview process where you may want to replicate an in-person interview.

Overall, investing in the tech you need means reaping the rewards of a smoother, more transparent hiring process for candidates and a well-organised, effective hiring process for your company.


Learn more about how Greenhouse structured hiring can help your teams hire internationally at scale.

Seán Delea

Seán Delea

is a Senior Talent Acquisition Manager at Greenhouse. He has been hiring for a wide variety of roles within the Tech industry for over 7 years, previously at Gitlab and Zendesk. He is based in Dublin and is a graduate of University College Cork

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