Recruiting International Candidates: 4 Things You've Got to Know

One of the biggest challenges on everyone’s minds at the moment is this: How do you find highly-skilled candidates during a talent drought?

Recruiting internationally is one strategy that businesses are using in response to talent shortages, as it’s a great way to widen your talent pool and find candidates that other recruiters can’t.

Naturally, there are a few additional things you need to think about when you’re moving a candidate into a new job and a new country at the same time. Here’s what they are…

1. Narrowing your search is still important

Recruiter searching for candidates on a mapWhen the entire world is your hunting ground, you might assume finding the right candidate is going to be easy - but the larger your haystack, the harder it is to find that needle!

Instead of looking for candidates in every corner of the world, you need to focus on target markets with people who have the right skills and would like to move to the location of your vacancy.

You’ll find more candidates who want to relocate if your destination country offers them a higher quality of life, so do your research and source from countries with the right job skills and less opportunities available to them.

This way, you can offer candidates a great new job and a higher quality of life – two great incentives for a candidate to move.

2. You need to know your location better than a local

When you’re selling a job to a candidate, you’ll be focusing on promoting the company and position itself. But when you’re recruiting internationally, you need to think about how to sell the location too.

Listing the obvious perks of your location – such as great weather or a vibrant cultural scene – is always a nice idea, but to get the best results from your sourcing strategy, you’ll need to go the extra mile. A good first stop would be to research expat groups to see what people love about living there so you can give the candidate solid anecdotal examples, or send testimonials (video testimonials are most impactful) from previously-relocated candidates.

It’s a good idea to be as honest as possible with candidates about the practicalities of living in your location to promote trust. You could even give the candidate links to these expat groups so they can do their own independent research and ask any questions they have to get a realistic picture about what it’s like to live there.

Every location is different, but you can get started by swotting up on these basic topics:

  • Visa regulations
  • School systems
  • Public transport
  • Healthcare systems
  • Housing

These aren’t exactly glamorous selling points, but they’re practicalities that are important to candidates and it’s information that’ll be crucial to a candidate who’s deciding whether relocation is right for them.

If you’re focusing on a particular geographical area for your hiring strategy (for example, I used to specialise in relocating candidates to the Channel Islands), you could create a booklet containing all the necessary information that you know is important to candidates.

Having an information pack to hand is a great time-saving tool, and you can tweak each pack to suit each candidate’s individual needs so you’re still selling the location in a bespoke way.

3. There are some online tools you need to know about

International recruitment has a few more hurdles to it than domestic recruitment, but luckily there are loads of online tools that will help you jump them.

Here are three of the trickiest international challenges that can be solved using online tools:

recruitment sales emails toolsInternational Salaries:

You can’t directly compare a candidate’s current salary to an international salary. Differing exchange rates and costs of living have a huge affect on what companies offer, meaning candidates can be sceptical that you’re not offering a fair salary, and they’ll be hesitant to apply.

There’s a brilliant online tool called Numbeo that uses a candidate’s current salary and location to calculate what they’d need to earn in another city if they want to maintain the same lifestyle. This is a must-have for anyone recruiting internationally!

Time zones:

Scheduling calls and interviews with international candidates or companies can be tricky, especially when you’re dealing with different time zones.

Using an international meeting planner, you can create a diary that incorporates multiple time zones to plan calls and meetings that suit everyone, and avoid accidentally scheduling candidate interviews for 2.00am!


Most job boards are filled with local candidates, meaning these aren’t the best place to start when you’re looking for international candidates. Online social platforms like LinkedIn are often the best places to find candidates from all over the world.

But whilst LinkedIn is a good first choice, it’s worth doing your research into regional social platforms that are popular in your recruiting location. For example, Xing is a popular alternative to LinkedIn in German-speaking countries making it a great resource if your recruiting in this region.

If you struggle to source candidates on  professional networking sites because the they limit the number of searches you can perform for free, this eBook will show you how to get around search blocks.

4. Things will probably get a bit personal…

Recruiter looking embarrassed on the phone Moving countries is a huge decision that affects every aspect of a person’s life. Which is why it’s part of the job when you’re recruiting internationally to ask your candidates some pretty personal questions to figure out if relocating is the right choice for them.

From the very first phone call, you’ll have to jump into asking the candidates about things like their relationships, their children and extended family. It’s awkward, but these questions will help you and your candidate figure out if moving internationally is a realistic option for them. And as long as you approach these conversations well, this should create a situation where the candidate trusts you and will become loyal to you.

There are loads of personal reasons that might prevent a candidate from moving abroad. For example, if a candidate cares for their parents, moving away might be impossible because there’s no one to take over that responsibility. Or if they’ve recently bought a property, it could make their mortgage more expensive if they need to start renting it out to a tenant.

If you dig into a candidate’s personal life right at the start, you’ll identify anything that might stop them relocating so you don’t end up putting candidates forward who are likely to pull out at the final stages.

If you’re looking for more candidate sourcing tip to help with you international sourcing strategy, download our eBook below:

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Sophie Cunningham

Sophie is a Content Marketer here at Firefish! After working as a 360 Recruiter she found her perfect niche here at Firefish writing about recruitment.

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