We’ve almost all dreamt of living and working abroad at some point, right? But as exciting as it can be for prospective candidates, hiring for multinational businesses brings a set of extra challenges, particularly when it comes to the legal aspects of job recruitment.
Mike Booker, International Sales Director at StepStone Group, shares his insight on how to overcome some of the difficulties that often go hand in hand with international recruitment…
Why do companies hire internationally?
There tend to be two reasons why businesses look overseas when hiring: because they’re looking to expand into a new market and require knowledge, information and understanding to allow them to do so, or because they’ve identified a domestic skills shortage within their organisation that would benefit from cross-border hiring.
What do businesses need to bear in mind when doing so?
There are several important factors: legal aspects, cultural differences and time.
Let’s start with the latter, which is also the easiest of the three to cover. Remember that international recruitment will almost undoubtedly take longer than one on home shores, so be sure to factor in this extra time to your planning.
Next up is knowledge of the employment laws of other countries. Obviously, an understanding of eligibility and visas is nothing short of crucial here but there are many more detailed factors to consider, for example notice periods, holiday allowance and maternity entitlement.
“Some of the nuances are fascinating. Take Belgium: there are 13.92 months in their pay calendar, as opposed to 12 in the UK. Also, if you have annual leave entitlement you’re allowed to transfer it between your current job and your new one.
In France it’s a legal requirement to advertise job vacancies in French, so you can’t just advertise only in English. A job advert running in Germany with spelling or grammar mistakes will put off candidates from applying at all, and applications will be along the lines of an individually written eight-page CV rather than a generic two-page version.
“It’s useful for recruiters to understand these employment legalities or to work with someone who can educate them on the important points.”
It also helps to understand the culture of the country and what the expectations of employers include, so work on understanding business norms such as management styles, candidate motivations and how varied some countries are when compared to others.
What typically attracts candidates to roles abroad?
“That’s an interesting question, as motivations and preferences are something that we work hard to understand,” Mike tells us. “For example, you would think that salary is a key driver for people who want to move abroad for work – but that has become far less important over the past decade.”
“There are many other factors. While some jobseekers are looking to broaden their work experience, others want a great working relationship with their colleagues and in some countries the relationship with their superior or even the opportunity to experience another culture is of most interest.”
Sounds incredibly tricky. Who can help, and how?
There’s no shortage of people and companies to aid you – not only will they have a pre-existing network of resources that they can tap into but they will also have a detailed understanding of the nuances of their specialist country.
Mike explains: “International media companies can offer convenience, honesty and transparency, which makes the whole process much easier. They can also deal with the traditional complexities around matters such as language translation, differences in technology and the most important aspects regarding process, which vary considerably between countries.”