Building a global company starts with sourcing top international talent. However, recruiting challenges are inevitable for managers and HR teams when hiring across international borders.
To gain a competitive edge in foreign markets and ensure seamless growth, companies must comply with local labor laws and consider cultural norms in every market where they hire talent.
Read on to learn how to easily recruit the right talent for your organization’s unique hiring goals—no matter where they’re located.
Global talent acquisition refers to an organization’s strategy for hiring talent in multiple countries while scaling business operations across borders.
A global talent acquisition strategy helps a business identify its hiring needs, navigate labor laws, and understand cultural norms across a global marketplace to effectively and compliantly build a distributed team.
Each business is unique, with its own hiring needs and goals, so no two global talent acquisition strategies are the same. However, global businesses can follow several basic guidelines to ensure they meet their individual goals.
Below we outline the key factors you should consider when preparing a global talent acquisition strategy and recruiting an international workforce—from conducting market research and assessing cultural norms to preparing locally tailored offers and maintaining compliance.
1. Create a Strategic Workforce Plan
Creating a strategic workforce plan is an essential part of global expansion.
This plan takes your long-term business goals into account, anticipates future hiring needs, and works to ensure the right people enter the company at the right time to facilitate seamless growth.
Below we list the key considerations for preparing a strategic workforce plan:
- Set long-term business goals. Set specific, realistic, and relevant long-term goals to create a vision for growth, and identify particular roles you need to open and fill.
- Analyze your current workforce. Identify your team’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall ability to achieve your long-term business goals.
- Anticipate roadblocks. Identify the talent and resources you need to meet current deadlines and create a plan for pivoting if growth is slower or faster than expected.
- Fill in the gaps. Once you know where you are now, what your long-term goals are, and what resources you need to achieve them, start filling in gaps, opening new roles, and hiring the talent you need to implement your plan.
- Implement and adapt. Implement your plan, monitor your progress, and make adjustments as you scale.
Establishing a workforce strategy that accounts for your team’s capabilities, long-term goals, and potential roadblocks allows you to minimize setbacks and streamline growth.
2. Conduct Market Research
Consider the legal and economic factors in the locations you want to hire in and how they might impact recruiting efforts there. Start by asking the following questions:
- What is the economic outlook in your target markets?
- Are the economies growing, or are they stagnant?
- Are there any political events on the horizon, such as major elections, that could impact the market?
- What can the local talent pool offer for specific roles you need to fill?
At this stage, many companies partner with a third-party expert, such as an employer of record (EOR), to relieve their HR team of the added burden and get accurate, country-specific assessments across multiple markets.
3. Assess Cultural Differences and Values
More than 75% of U.S. companies that expand internationally fail because they don’t do their homework on the markets they enter. Understanding the local laws and culture of the locations you want to hire in significantly impacts your likelihood of success.
Moreover, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to global expansion. Certain aspects of your global talent acquisition strategy depend on the customs and values of your target markets.
Practicing patience and keeping an open mind to cultural differences when conducting international business results in better communication and fewer misunderstandings, which leads to greater success over time.
Additionally, accommodating differences between teammates regarding communication style, etiquette, concept of time, tastes, and other cultural norms helps you build a productive and diverse workforce.
4. Start Searching for the Right Recruits
First, decide if you should use internal personnel to recruit foreign talent or outsource recruitment to a local partner.
Ask yourself the following questions to help decide which option is best for you:
- Are language barriers an issue?
- What are the cultural norms in your target markets?
- How will you promote the job opening?
- Are there local professional networks that you can use to source talent?
If recruitment feels overwhelming, consider outsourcing it to a local partner who can handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on finding the perfect candidate without the added burden.
5. Evaluate Your Candidates
Be patient throughout the hiring process and plan for multiple interviews to thoroughly assess a candidate’s skillset and ensure they are a cultural fit for your company.
Ask the following questions to develop an effective evaluation process:
- How many stages should the interview consist of?
- What tools or technology do you need to conduct interviews?
- What criteria should you use for shortlisting candidates?
- What evaluation criteria should you use?
- Which skills do you need to test?
- How should you gauge a candidate’s cultural fit?
Being strategic with candidate evaluation streamlines the recruitment process while ensuring you don’t overlook qualified candidates.
6. Make a Competitive Offer
Competition for top global candidates is fierce. Research talent expectations and cultural norms in the target country to ensure your offer is competitive.
Start by asking the following questions:
- What are the wage expectations for this region and position?
- What are the required benefits in this jurisdiction?
- What supplementary benefits do employees in this market expect from their employers?
- What additional benefits would employees in this market value?
For example, employees in Germany generally expect a 13th-month salary, even though it’s not a statutory requirement.
Familiarizing yourself with talent expectations and values helps you craft more attractive offers and gives your company a competitive advantage.
7. Compliantly Hire Top Candidates
Once you have chosen the ideal candidate, familiarize yourself with the labor laws in their country of residence to ensure compliance when hiring them.
This involves navigating various local regulations, including the following:
- Minimum wage requirements
- Payroll taxes
- Statutory benefits
- Permanent establishment
- Worker classification
- Collective bargaining agreements
The specific compliance risks you face when hiring foreign talent depend on the country where you hire and how you engage talent.
Employers usually hire remote, global talent in one of three ways: establishing a legal entity, engaging contractors, or partnering with an employer of record (EOR). We outline each of these methods and their associated risks below.
Establish a Foreign Legal Entity
Entity establishment is the traditional route for global hiring and expansion. This option insulates the parent company from foreign tax liability and ensures compliance.
However, entity establishment is a time-consuming process that requires a large budget. Therefore, it only makes sense for organizations that are ready to make long-term investments in a foreign location.
For example, entity establishment in Japan takes more than three months, from applying for the necessary permits and approvals to the moment you can legally engage talent and do business in the local market.
For companies interested in testing the waters of a new market before making long-term commitments, entity establishment is more trouble than it’s worth.
Learn more: The Hidden Costs of Entity Establishment
Engage and Pay Contractors
An alternative to entity establishment is to engage international contractors instead. Many foreign employers who need to hire talent for short-term projects in foreign markets choose this route because it entails fewer commitments and offers greater flexibility.
However, creating work contracts and classifying contractors abroad without professional guidance exposes you to misclassification risks that can lead to fines, reputational damage, and other penalties.
For instance, if local authorities classify your contractors as employees under local labor legislation, you are subject to fines, back wages, tax arrears, and possibly jail time.
Partner With an Employer of Record
Partnering with an employer of record (EOR) is the leanest and quickest way to expand to new markets and compliantly build global teams.
An EOR is a third-party entity that supports international organizations at every stage of their global expansion, from hiring and onboarding to running global payroll, benefits administration, and providing ongoing HR support.
A vetted EOR is well-versed in employment law worldwide, can craft locally tailored offers, and guarantees quick and compliant onboarding in any market so you can avoid the pitfalls of international hiring.
By partnering with an EOR, you unlock the benefits of global expansion without increasing your workload.
Learn more: What Is an Employer of Record (EOR)?
Building a global company starts with sourcing top international talent. Recruit the right workers for your needs, screen and interview candidates to find the best fit, and develop competitive job offers anywhere in the world—with help from Velocity Global.
We have your success in mind and structure talent delivery solutions based on your business goals. Once you find your ideal candidate, we become an extension of your internal HR department to tackle every aspect of the employee lifecycle with ease, speed, and compliance.
As a part of our Employer of Record (EOR) solution, our team handles onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, and risk mitigation on your behalf so you can focus on recruiting and retaining the best person for the job—regardless of their location.
Contact Velocity Global today to learn how we help build and support global teams in 185+ countries.
Below are answers to common questions related to global talent acquisition and strategy.
Are Recruitment and Talent Acquisition the Same?
Recruitment refers to filling vacancies, while talent acquisition refers to a business’s ongoing strategy for finding candidates for positions that require unique skill sets.
Is Talent Acquisition Part of HR?
Talent acquisition is usually a function of the human resources (HR) department. However, some companies work with a third-party organization, such as a global employer of record (EOR), to expedite the process through a customizable, global solution.
What Does a Global Talent Acquisition Manager Do?
Global talent acquisition managers find, recruit, hire, and retain qualified individuals for various specialist and upper management roles. This process requires familiarity with international HR laws and involves developing and implementing strategies to avoid failed recruitments.