How to Recruit and Hire Overseas Talent

Searching for new hires across the globe? Here's how to manage compliance with local labor laws, figure out payroll and benefits, and recruit with confidence.

Stefana Zaric
Written by Stefana Zaric
May 5, 2022
Contents
Need help onboarding international talent?
Try Deel

The rise of remote work sparked discussion of work from home, Zoom fatigue, and sweatpants. But more importantly, remote work ushered in a new era of overseas recruitment. Our 2021 State of Global Hiring Report showed a spike in international hiring—over 200% from regions like Latin America and Asia Pacific.

But effective (and legally compliant) overseas hiring carries unique challenges, requiring some additional processes from domestic hiring. Here are our top tips for enhancing your global recruitment strategy.

Understand the challenges of overseas recruitment

Searching for new hires across the globe ensures you find the best talent. But before diving into the international market, it’s essential to understand a few unique challenges:

  • Compliance with local labor laws
  • Global payroll and taxes
  • Global benefits administration

Compliance with local labor laws

Your international employees are subject to their home country’s labor laws, not the country where your company operates. To be a truly global company, you must generate contracts and conduct work that complies with each country’s labor laws like:

  • Minimum wage
  • Annual leave
  • Termination requirements
  • Tax and employment documentation

The bulleted list is just the tip of the iceberg. Each country’s labor laws are complex and constantly evolve, and non-compliance has severe consequences. If you choose to hire abroad, we recommend seeking local legal counsel or partnering with an employer of record to remain compliant.

Explore four common global compliance mistakes.

Global payroll and taxes

Hiring international candidates requires finessing your global payroll system. Global payroll is the centralized process of calculating employee wages with any necessary exchange rates, withholding relevant taxes, and delivering payments across borders in compliance with local laws.

The complexities of global payroll may mean you need to find new solutions since most in-house payroll managers cannot learn and manage multinational payroll. Your options are to:

Global benefits administration

In addition to different labor and payroll regulations, you can expect different countries to come with other benefits requirements. For example:

  • Most European countries require employers to offer paid vacation days, health insurance, retirement contributions, long-term disability coverage, paid parental leave, and spouse’s pensions
  • Most Asian countries guarantee employees pension insurance, parental insurance, unemployment insurance, medical insurance, and work-related injury insurance
  • Many African countries ensure employees have paid time off, parental leave, long service leave, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance
  • Australia promises employees paid time off, parental leave, long service leave, paid sick leave, and superannuation
  • Some countries in Latin America mandate that employees have access to dental care, retirement plans, paid time off, medical care, and 13th-month salary

Learn more about different global benefits requirements.

Sell potential candidates on your remote company culture

Branching out to new markets isn’t just about legal compliance. Your international talent strategy must include developing a strong employer brand and selling candidates on your company culture.

Job seekers have the opportunity to be pickier about where they work, thanks to the plethora of unfilled roles. You need to sell candidates on your company’s package, like compensation and perks and your day-to-day company culture.

Your international outreach will be significantly more effective if you can easily demonstrate how your company empowers remote team members.

Learn how to build an inclusive company culture for your remote team.

Hire employees abroad, without setting up an entity

Get access to the world’s best talent. Hire full-time employees in 150 countries without having to set up a legal entity in a new country.

Learn more

Calculate locally competitive salaries

Expanding your talent pools to include international candidates requires understanding local economies to offer the right candidate competitive compensation. When you throw in a different country’s labor laws, you’ll need to make sure you can afford the salary plus the required benefits package.

For example, Portugal recently introduced new labor regulations, including a statute that employers must reimburse remote work expenses like higher electricity and internet bills. So if you wanted to hire a candidate working from Portugal, you’d have to offer them a competitive salary AND ensure you have enough capital to reimburse their remote work expenses.

Simplify your salary research and let us help you calculate competitive offers for your new hires with Deel Salary Insights

Expand your international recruitment channels to new job boards

If you want to expand your talent acquisition efforts to a global scale successfully, you need to consider new sourcing strategies. Of course, LinkedIn is a great place to start collecting resumes, but there are so many other options for identifying phenomenal international candidates.

Each country will have different success rates for different sourcing channels. While you may get the most responses from a newspaper ad in some countries, others rely more heavily on social networks and social media to discover job opportunities. If you have a target country in mind, you can research the most popular job boards in the region. For example, Near is popular in Argentina, while Workana is more popular in Brazil.

Another option is to have your hiring managers explore professional networks for specific types of professionals or underrepresented groups, such as Slack groups like Women in Sales or Superpath for content marketing.

Implement training and systems to reduce bias during the hiring process

One of the best things about hiring international candidates is that you have an unprecedented opportunity to diversify your workplace. McKinsey statistics show that businesses with a diverse workforce outperform their non-diverse competitors by 35%. Reducing bias in your recruitment process improves the quality of your company’s work, leading to increased revenue.

Educate your recruiting team on hiring bias

Your human resources team is the nucleus of your recruitment strategy, meaning reducing hiring bias begins with them. Your HR professionals may not even realize they hold biases when considering candidates. Many hiring biases stem from affinity, when the interviewer connects with someone who graduated from the same school, reminds them of their younger self, or shares interests.

Unfortunately, wanting to be friends with a candidate doesn't necessarily mean that they’re the right person for the job.

Take the time to educate your recruitment team on eliminating hiring bias. This could mean having your employees independently complete an online module, bringing in a professional for a seminar, or having a team pow-wow where you brainstorm bias-free hiring strategies.

Rethink your job descriptions

Check your copy for unintentional biases before publishing your job description on any job board. For example, you might have described your ideal candidate by saying, “He possesses...” instead of “this person will...” It’s crucial to be specific about what the role requires while using gender and race-neutral words. It might also mean loosening the requirements to attract candidates with non-traditional backgrounds.

Although it’s unrelated to bias, some companies choose to include a statement encouraging people to apply even if they don’t fit 100% of the requirements. This evens the gender playing field since men are more likely to apply to a role even if they don’t fit the requirements.

Understand the culture

Before you begin an international hiring process, you’ll need to understand the target country's traditional customs and workplace culture.

You need to be conscious of your tone in both your job descriptions and interviews, as some cultures expect a more formal tone with employers while others prefer a more laid-back approach. In job descriptions, as with all international communication, it’s best to reduce the use of idioms and references since these can be culturally specific.

One last thing to consider with cultural differences is that it may not be the norm for candidates to open up about their accomplishments or skills because their country values humility. In these cases, you may need to restructure your interview questions to ensure you get the answers you need about whether they’d be a good fit for the role.

Consider a collaborative interview process

Instead of having one person take care of the entire interview process, using a collaborative hiring strategy can help reduce bias. When global recruitment is a team project, you have multiple people offering their insights about why a given candidate would be right for the role.

Enlisting a variety of team members for the different stages of the interview process helps you avoid confirmation bias by offering a well-rounded approach to identifying top talent.

Explore new talent pools

We touched on this a bit earlier, but one way to reduce hiring bias is to post your job listing on more than one site. For example, you can explore Slack channels for marginalized groups in specific industries (like “women in engineering”) to discover potential diverse candidates.

Focus on what a candidate brings to the table

Yes, diversity is the goal. However, hiring solely for diversity may not yield the results you’re hoping for. The right candidate will bring a different viewpoint, but they will still possess the necessary skills to perform the role.

Think about your team like clockwork. Hiring a diverse employee means looking for a cog that you don’t already have. But you still need that cog to work with the rest of the machinery already in place.

In the interview, discuss the skillsets and qualities that make the candidate unique, such as past performances, problem-solving skills, communication strategies, and more. This gives your team greater insight into how this person would work with the rest of your team.

In some cases, you may find it beneficial to have candidates complete a sample project. For example, if you’re hiring a content writer, you may give them an outline and have them write a blog article or outline. Once the candidate completes their sample assignment, you can meet with them to discuss why they took the approach they did. These small projects eliminate bias because they concentrate on the quality of the candidate’s work, not who the candidate is as a person.

Consider hiring independent contractors from different countries

In some cases, it may be more beneficial to hire international independent contractors instead of international employees.

You don’t have to worry about various payroll taxes, employment laws, and benefits with contractors like you do with employees because independent contractors are technically self-employed.

Be careful about worker misclassification

Given that international contractors receive fewer protections and benefits, governments put protections in place to keep businesses from calling every worker a contractor. Worker misclassification refers to hiring (and compensating) someone as an independent contractor when they perform the work of an employee. Worker classification can lead to hefty fines and possible jail time.

Explore the differences between employees and independent contractors.

Use remote interview and onboarding technology

Setting up an interview with someone halfway around the world can be difficult, so it’s best to use technology to your advantage. Use a digital scheduling platform to let candidates choose interview times that will work for them.

When confirming a video interview via a platform like Zoom or Skype, be sure that you acknowledge the meeting time in both your and the candidate’s time zones. Remote interviews can feel awkward, but addressing the limitations of the platform can put the candidate at ease.

Once you’ve identified your perfect candidate, you’ll want to have a seamless onboarding strategy in place to make their transition to your company as easy as possible.

Level up (and simplify) your global recruiting strategy with Deel

Building an international team can be time-consuming, especially when compliance is involved. Luckily, Deel keeps up with the various employment regulations for you.

Deel lets you hire anyone, anywhere in the world, within minutes. Plus, you can rest assured legal experts vet your contracts to be completely compliant, so your new hires are set up to work correctly in no time.

Want to learn how it all works? Book a demo today to find out.

Deel makes growing remote and international teams effortless. Ready to get started?

+

Countries

+

Customers

+

Legal experts

+

Currencies