How to hire international employees

Written by Milena Alexandrova
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Talent knows no boundaries, and this is even more true in the age of globalization and Industry 4.0. 

Today, recruitment and HR managers have easy access to top talent from around the globe and aren’t confined to fulfilling their requirements with local candidates. With remote work becoming the new norm, the barriers between global talent and businesses have been reduced, making it the perfect time to build a high-performing team of international employees.

When employing an international workforce, companies reap several benefits. A culturally diverse team brings new energy to the table and tends to be more productive and inclusive. Team members will bring out new ideas and insights, helping to create a more dynamic and sustainable organization.

Discover all you need to know about hiring international employees in this detailed guide and learn key strategies that’ll help you hire the best employees without bias.

Benefits of hiring international employees

There are two ways of hiring international employees: 

  • Hire from abroad. If you hire from abroad, employees either have to relocate from their country to your work site or they have to work from a specific location chosen by your organization in your own country.

  • Hire remotely. Alternatively, you can hire from any country and give the freedom to the employee to work from any location they want, without any compulsion to move to a new location or go to a physical office.

Regardless of the path you take, international employees possess a unique set of qualities and insights that contribute to the growth of your organization. 

They not only bring cultural diversity (which has many benefits), but their varied experience enables the organization to find new, innovative ways of tackling complex problems. By hiring international employees, you can tap into a broader talent pool and foster a more inclusive work environment.

Figuring out how to hire someone from another country is the first step towards building a global team of talented people who can make a difference in your company — and unlock growth opportunities you previously wouldn’t have known existed.

Today you’re also primed with the right technology to reduce friction in international recruitment, including skills testing platforms (like TestGorilla), ATS systems (like Greenhouse, Personio, and more), and immigration case-management platforms (like Envoy Global). 

International employee skills (and how to test them)

When hiring international employees, it’s essential to consider both their hard and soft skills. 

Hard skills refer to specific technical competencies required for different jobs. You can assess suitable candidates and shortlist them through a series of tests provided by TestGorilla. Some of the technical tests you can use in your skills assessment include:

Soft skills, on the other hand, encompass the interpersonal, communication, and cultural adaptability abilities of the employee. 

There are a few soft skills every employee must possess, irrespective of which technical role they’re being considered. Some of the core soft skills that you should look for in international candidates include:

  • Language proficiency. The most basic soft skill for an international employee to have is fluency in the language they’ll be using when working for you. If they are not able to communicate properly with their teammates and managers, then their ability to deliver results will be hindered. Assess their language proficiency to evaluate if they’re a good fit for your organization.

  • Cultural adaptability. Adapting to new environments, work styles, and cultural norms is crucial for international employees, especially if they’re relocating to another country or region. Candidates should demonstrate flexibility, have an open mind, and be willing to embrace change in their lifestyle and working conditions — and add value to your team. You can assess applicants’ culture-add potential to see whether they can navigate unfamiliar situations, work efficiently in diverse teams, and find innovative solutions to challenges.

  • Global mindset. Hiring international employees for the sake of hiring them is not beneficial for anyone. Look for candidates who possess a global mindset and have a broad understanding of global issues, trends, cultural differences, and are experienced in working across communities. They’ll make the work environment feel more inclusive, bring a unique perspective to problem solving, and promote creative thinking and innovation.

  • Collaboration and teamwork. One of the most important skills for an international employee is the ability to work in a team and collaborate with others. An international team will have colleagues from diverse backgrounds and your hire must be able to work harmoniously in multicultural teams, leveraging the strengths and ideas of each team member to achieve common goals. Use our Communication skills test to make sure you’re hiring people who know how to communicate clearly and effectively.

  • Problem solving. Problem solving is a crucial skill for employees. It allows them to not only tackle challenges with the project they’re working on but also with cultural differences, language barriers, and unfamiliar business practices. Effective problem solving involves identifying issues, analyzing them from different perspectives, and deciding which team member is best suited to develop creative solutions for each issue at hand.

  • Critical thinking. Critical thinking is a core skill for many positions. It enables employees to be autonomous and independent in their work and analyze complex information correctly. This, in turn, helps them come up with new approaches to problems, which is essential for global businesses looking to innovate, create new products, and conquer new markets. To make sure your applicants have what it takes, you can assess their skills with our Critical thinking test before you interview them. 

Where to find international employees

If you’re interested in employing international workers, you need to know where to look for them. In this section, we’ll explain how to hire employees from other countries.

where to find international employees graphic

Here are some of the options you have:

Open a local entity

Opening a local entity in another country is one of the most common ways of finding and hiring international employees. A local entity allows companies to establish a presence in that country and makes it easier to hire talent and run payroll as per the labor law and taxes of that country. 

Local entities are a good option for established enterprises that have a large budget and can employ a large number of employees.

For smaller companies and startups, this can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Apart from building or renting office space in that country, you need to have a thorough understanding of the regulations followed in that country for labor, corporations, and payroll. You’ll also need to register your business with local tax authorities and social security offices along with several other bureaucratic processes.

If you’re a small business that is looking to hire just a few employees from a particular country, there are several other options rather than starting a long-term commitment.

Work with an employer of record (EOR) in a foreign country

One way to hire employees quickly without opening a local office is through an EOR or an Employer of Record. EORs make the task of hiring and managing an employee quite simple.

A representative from the EOR will not only hire a suitable candidate as per your needs and requirements, but will also take care of the tax, contract, payroll, benefits, employment issues, or any other compliances required in that country. 

Companies can control the day-to-day responsibilities of the local team member and manage them as part of the organization while everything else related to regulations and compliances will be handled by the EOR. This method saves a lot of money as compared to opening a foreign subsidiary and also ensures that every local law is followed diligently.

Make use of international job boards and online platforms

There are several job boards and online platforms that enable you to hire international talent quickly and easily. Candidates searching for a job on such platforms are aware that they might be relocating to another country and hence don’t require much assistance.

This targeted approach is a cost-effective way to reach a global audience of job seekers and access a wide range of talent. You can create job postings, list out requirements, search for candidates, and engage in direct communication to facilitate the international employees hiring process. 

This is a convenient way of connecting with candidates from around the world and offers the flexibility to create a diverse team.

Hire remote employees

Hiring a remote employee or an individual contractor is quite easy and can help the company save resources. Remote employees are not like regular employees, because they aren’t entitled to health insurance, paid time off, vacation leaves, insurance, and other benefits. They are self-employed and hired to perform specific duties.

While companies have access to a wider pool of talent and get to save resources, they don’t have complete control over the employee. 

With remote workers, there often isn’t a specific working schedule, visibility on how the work gets done, or a guarantee of the work being submitted on time. Sometimes the employee might be unavailable or busy with other work, forcing you to find another temporary solution.

Internal transfer

International hiring doesn’t necessarily entail looking for talent elsewhere: One of the easiest ways of finding international talent is by looking within the organization. Companies with a global presence have the option of transferring an excellent-performing employee from one location to another to fit the company’s needs. 

The employee, already accustomed to your company culture and practices, wouldn’t need much time settling into the new role. Internal transfers also help in developing a cohesive global workforce and leveraging existing talent within your company.

International employee sample job description

The job description for an international employee will largely depend on the specific job, but be sure to mention that you’re open to hiring someone from abroad (or remotely).

Below, you’ll find a sample job description for a sales manager.

Job Title: Sales Manager (International/Remote)

Company Overview:

Our company is a leading global provider of cutting-edge technology solutions in the telecommunications industry. With a presence in over 20 countries, we are committed to delivering innovative products and exceptional service to our diverse customer base. We are currently seeking an experienced Sales Manager to drive sales growth and expand our market share in international markets. 

Our team is distributed across the globe. This position is location-independent and we’re open to hiring internationally or remotely.

Job Description:

As a Sales Manager, you will be responsible for developing and executing sales strategies to achieve revenue targets in assigned markets. 

You will work closely with cross-functional teams, distributors, and channel partners to build strong customer relationships and drive business growth. This position will report to the Global Sales Director and will require frequent international travel.

Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement comprehensive sales plans to penetrate new markets and expand our customer base in assigned international territories.

  • Identify and pursue new business opportunities through proactive lead generation, market research, and relationship building with prospective clients.

  • Manage and nurture relationships with key accounts, distributors, and channel partners to drive sales growth and achieve revenue targets.

  • Conduct regular market analysis and stay updated on industry trends, competitor activities, and customer needs in international markets.

  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including product development, marketing, and customer support, to ensure alignment and effective execution of sales strategies.

  • Prepare and deliver persuasive sales presentations and product demonstrations to potential clients, effectively communicating the value proposition of our solutions.

  • Negotiate and close sales agreements, contracts, and pricing terms with customers, ensuring profitability and adherence to company policies and guidelines.

  • Provide accurate sales forecasts, reports, and analyses to the management team, highlighting market insights, sales performance, and recommendations for improvement.

  • Stay informed about international trade regulations, compliance requirements, and legal considerations in target markets, ensuring adherence to applicable laws and regulations.

  • Represent the company at industry events, trade shows, and conferences to promote our solutions and enhance brand visibility in international markets.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing, or a related field. MBA is a plus.

  • Proven track record of success in sales, preferably in the technology industry.

  • The capability to work remotely and cooperate with global teams. 

  • Strong understanding of global markets, cultural nuances, and international business practices.

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to build rapport and negotiate effectively with diverse stakeholders.

  • Demonstrated ability to drive sales growth and meet or exceed revenue targets in international markets.

  • Solid project management skills, with the ability to prioritize tasks, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and meet deadlines.

  • Analytical mindset with the ability to interpret market data and insights to identify trends, opportunities, and challenges.

  • Proficiency using CRM systems and sales analytics tools to track and measure sales performance.

  • Ability to work independently and travel internationally as required.

  • Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in additional languages relevant to target markets is highly desirable.

Application Instructions:

To be considered for this position, please submit an application form at [URL]. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for further evaluation.

Note: This job description is a general outline of the key responsibilities and qualifications required for a sales manager role. The job description, responsibilities, and qualifications will depend on the role, specific needs, and dynamics of the company.

How much does an international employee cost?

The average salary for international employees varies significantly based on factors such as the country of employment, the level of expertise, and the specific industry. That’s why it’s crucial to research industry standards, consider cost-of-living differences, and offer competitive compensation packages in order to attract top talent. 

Consult local labor laws and seek advice from global HR experts to ensure compliance with regulations and maintain equity within your organization.

Hire international employees efficiently with TestGorilla

Hiring remotely or internationally can have overarching benefits for your organization. Workers from other countries can help you build a diverse workforce and expand your global reach. 

However, as companies go out of their local area to find employees, it becomes harder to evaluate hundreds of resumes and shortlist qualified candidates.

With pre-employment skills testing from TestGorilla, you can easily discard candidates without the necessary skills to be successful. By narrowing down your candidate pool, you can not only save valuable time and effort in sifting through resumes but also have a higher chance of landing a qualified applicant. 

In this article, we’ve covered the basics of how to hire overseas employees — now you simply need to get started. Try out our platform for free today to find the best international talent faster and more efficiently.

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