How to avoid pitfalls during international recruitment

March 3, 2023

international recruitment pitfalls

International recruitment involves identifying, attracting, interviewing, selecting, hiring and onboarding qualified candidates from overseas, and it’s becoming increasingly common in today's globalized workforce. There are numerous benefits to hiring international talent, such as bringing diverse perspectives and experiences to the workplace. Additionally, it expands the company's reach and access to new markets and fills skill gaps with access to a global talent pool. 

However, there are pitfalls HR professionals should avoid when going for international recruitment. Here are five to consider: 

  • Overlooking qualification equivalency 

  • Lack of cultural awareness 

  • Ignoring language barriers 

  • Not providing adequate compensation and benefits 

  • Not providing equal opportunities for international candidates 


Overlooking qualification equivalency 

The recruitment process for hiring international employees should include a background check for verifying educational qualifications, especially if you’re not familiar with the terminology for equivalent qualifications. 

In some countries, hiring candidates who don’t meet all qualifications for a role could be a lead to compliance issues with local employment requirements. By hiring a candidate who does not meet the minimum educational requirements for a job, employers could be subject to penalties. This also raises questions about the credibility of the recruitment process. 

Recruitment processes become smoother if companies verify potential hires’ educational and professional qualifications. Working with educational credential evaluation services, job boards, recruitment agencies, or seeking guidance from industry-specific organizations can help ensure all qualifications are met, no matter where the candidate is based. 

Lack of cultural awareness 

Cultural awareness is an essential factor to consider in the international recruitment process. Developing a cultural understanding can help employers to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for international hires. 

The fact that people from diverse cultural groups address challenges and problems in different ways makes the team more creative and innovative. But a lack of cultural awareness can also lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation. Here, open communication is the key. 

To develop cultural awareness in the recruitment process, employers can conduct training sessions or partner with local cultural organizations to understand and develop strategies to communicate effectively with candidates from different cultures. 

Ignoring language barriers 

Ignoring language barriers in the recruitment process makes it difficult to assess candidates’ skills and qualifications. This leads to potential misunderstandings and confusion during the interview and, in the future, between team members. 

To overcome this, employers can implement a range of strategies. One approach is to provide language classes for employees, while another is to hire a translator or interpreter to clarify communication between team members. Providing resources and tools, like translation software or multilingual signage, helps employees feel more comfortable and supported in the workplace. 

Not providing adequate compensation and benefits 

Offering competitive compensation and benefits is crucial for international recruitment, especially if you’re hiring abroad to find top talent with specific skills. A compensation package that takes into account benefits and cultural considerations of the local market demonstrates that their skills and contributions are valued and makes you stand out as an employer. 

Related: International salary benchmarking: A how-to guide 

One of the challenges that international hires may face is the cost of living in a new country if relocating from a country with a lower cost of living to one with a higher cost of living. Hence, a competitive salary is essential considering the employee's new location. 

Employers can also customize benefits packages based on the employee's needs, such as offering housing assistance and healthcare coverage. 

Not providing equal opportunities for international candidates 

Providing equal opportunities for all qualified candidates, regardless of their country of origin, is crucial for building a diverse and inclusive workplace.  

Bias can lead to a lack of diversification in the workplace. Unconscious bias in job descriptions, limited outreach, stereotyping during screening, and lack of diverse interviewers can all affect the recruitment process. 

To ensure equal opportunities, employers can implement blind hiring practices and conduct skills assessments before reviewing the candidate's background information. This helps reduce recruitment bias and focuses solely on the candidate's qualifications and skills. 

Overcoming challenges in international recruiting 

Partnering with a global recruitment services provider with local expertise not only can help you avoid these pitfalls, but also help connect you to the best candidates for your needs, no matter where in the world they are. At Safeguard Global, we have extensive networks of pre-qualified candidates around the world, and we can match you with top talent—quickly—even for the hardest to fill roles. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help meet your international recruitment needs. 

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