Finding the right person for the job isn’t easy. So as the need for expert hires continues to grow, is it time to look across the water to recruit?
In their Adapt to Survive study, PricewaterhouseCoopers and LinkedIn found that 43 per cent of CEOs wanted to increase their headcount over the next year, but 72 per cent were worried about the availability of key skills.
In the search for these skills, Linda Simonsen, CEO of recruitment firm Future People, says that “we’re seeing much more of a focus on bringing international talent into Australia – and to get access to best practice globally.”
What are the advantages of hiring foreign workers?
1. They bring valuable cultural insights
Hiring people from different backgrounds has more benefits than simply gaining a skill set. You’re also increasing the range of experiences and outlooks within your workplace. This has positive outcomes for business, suggests Michael Haywood, founder and growth director of LiveHire. “The more diversity you have in the business, the more creativity and innovation and fresh ideas you bring to the business,” he says.
And it’s not just diversity and innovation where businesses in Australia can benefit. “When you bring someone in from the Asian region, for example, you get valuable cultural insight into how to do business in those different countries, in a way that reflects their culture and is more likely to get traction in negotiations.”
Another thing to bear in mind? Anyone who is willing to shift their whole life to another country for a job is highly likely to be open to, and adaptable at, working in unfamiliar situations. Overseas recruits are often more receptive to new challenges – a valuable trait in the current corporate landscape, where change is fairly constant.
2. They’re an untapped resource
There are a number of countries where women are not afforded the opportunities available to them in Australia. But the world’s loss can be a gain for local businesses. Anecdotal evidence suggests that talented and qualified women are often overlooked for high-level positions, simply because of their gender, say recruiters.
Advice from international talent searchers is to keep a lookout for experienced women living overseas who might be seeking to progress their career and have the skills. Research where they congregate on social media. There is a golden opportunity to find female workers who aren’t being given the challenges and roles they are seeking at home.
Rethinking your recruitment strategy
Haywood believes that when recruiting in specific overseas markets, different approaches must be applied.
For example, in much of Asia, social media is a popular way to recruit people. It’s worth researching the market before choosing the method. Simonsen agrees. “A lot of businesses are moving to strategic sourcing channels such as social media and trying to build a strong employer brand online,” she says.
Tapping into international networks through specialised recruitment companies and individual connections is also key to securing overseas recruits.“There’s nothing more powerful than the network. It’s about building a network of global recruiters that have the industry specialisation you are looking for and have real depth of knowledge about talent within the region.”
How to recruit using social media
Facebook’s search engine, Graph Search, enables you to search more than just people’s names. You can filter by their company, position, gender, interests, languages spoken and location. For example, you may search “People who work at Google in Singapore and speak Mandarin”. Be as explicit as possible, and try a variety of methods. Search from multiple Facebook accounts if possible, because the results will vary for individuals. Ideally, you want to find someone with a mutual contact, and leverage that relationship.
Having a company Twitter profile, or even a specific profile to use to recruit, is a great way to connect with potential recruits. To utilise Twitter effectively, make sure you’re connected to other key players in the industry, especially in the geographical area where you’re targeting recruits. Post and re-tweet regularly, and use relevant hashtags to advertise job openings or show that you’re hiring. Twitter is especially popular in the Middle East.
Having a large group of professionals in one place is always helpful for successful recruitment. LinkedIn provides the ability to search for people based on past and present job positions, companies and referrals from your contacts. The biggest benefit is the network it creates. This includes its groups feature, which allow groups of professionals to connect based on certain job types. If you pay, LinkedIn has targeted advertising technology which displays the jobs you’re offering to the people you want to see them.
In China, many Western social media sites are not available. Instead, there are a variety of popular domestic social media apps including WeChat, Qzone, Renren and Weibo. While Chinese job seekers don’t use social media to recruit to the same degree as other Asian countries, it is growing. These apps enable users to display information about themselves and connect with others. If you’re sourcing in China, getting information about your company onto Chinese platforms is crucial.
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