International Recruiting: How to Evaluate International Candidates

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International Recruiting: How to Evaluate International Candidates

In 2013, GlobalEnglish conducted a study of non-native English speakers around the world to find out who were the best at business English. The Philippines, Norway, and the Netherlands came in the top three spots, ahead of Canada, Australia, and even the United Kingdom.

In the first six months of HubSpot’s inbound marketing course, they certified marketing professionals from 74 different countries. PWC predicts that by 2020, global mobility will continue to grow and we will have information technology that can identify and connect talent across the world. These results show us that places we may least expect could be hiding a wealth of professional talent.

Talent isn’t confined by borders, and your business shouldn’t be either. The team members who could grow your business to new heights may not be in the same city, or even same country as you. To give your business its best chance for success, you need to know how to find your future star employees, evaluate candidates, and navigate the hiring process.

This article will cover how to select your ideal candidates around the world, because your best team could be anywhere.

International recruiting considerations

International recruiting considerations | International Recruiting

Although recruiting across borders has great potential, it isn’t for everyone. Consider the pros and cons before you commit.

Pros of international recruiting

  • Access to a wider pool of talent
  • A more diversified workforce
  • Different cultural perspectives on your team
  • Various language skills within the business
  • Could open a door to your business in their home country

Cons of international recruiting

  • Longer and potentially more expensive hiring process
  • Salaries of international candidates are generally higher
  • Paperwork and red tape could cause delays
  • Your new hires may get homesick or experience burnout

How to start your search

How to start your search | International Recruiting

You can begin your job search through an agency or organization, or on your own through various job sites and social media. For the purposes of this article, we’ll discuss direct hires that don’t pass through a recruitment agency.

International job sites

Job boards like Jobbatical and GoAbroad can connect you with potential hires online. Learn how to write a job description that appeals to top candidates, and post openings for job seekers around the world to see.

Online communities

Recruiting on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, online communities like Inbound, and even personal websites of professionals around the world (much like this one) can help you connect directly with potential candidates.

Look at their qualifications, professionalism, and writing skills. Note how they interact with their followers, and whether they can market their own personal brand. Each of these sites should provide a way to reach out and contact them directly, so you can invite them to apply.

What qualities to look for

What qualities to look for | International Recruiting

The cost of a bad hire goes beyond a salary. If you’re hiring internationally, making a poor decision will cost relocation expenses, your team’s time, and potentially even the morale of the company. Hiring internationally can pay off, but it requires a big investment up front, so be sure to hire the right candidate the first time. Here are the qualities to look for in your international candidates.

Experience and technical skills

These candidates must have the right skills and experience to deliver high-quality work, consistently. Make a list of the required and nice-to-have skills for the role you’re hiring for, and make sure your candidates have what it takes.

Culture fit

Hire someone who will deliver quality work and get along with your team. This is especially important if you’re hiring someone in management. To be a great teammate and leader, they will need to understand the company culture and make it work to their benefit.

Initiative and innovation

You don’t look overseas to hire someone who will follow orders like a robot. The people who make the most impact on your business are willing to take initiative. They should offer innovative ways to solve problems, manage processes, and otherwise improve your business.


Great employees take ownership for their role and responsibilities. That means that they know what needs to get done, and if something goes wrong, they don’t pass the blame–they solve the problem.


Organization is a vital skill for all good employees. Every business has systems in place for file organization, employee and project management, and product delivery. No matter where a role falls in the spectrum of your business, good organization skills will help everything else run more smoothly.

Desire to learn and grow

A desire for continuous improvement means your employees will stay up-to-date on industry best practices, and keep your company updated as well. Your ideal candidate should continuously deliver results, which requires regular skill updates.


Your new hire will not only be starting a new job, but also acclimating to a new community (and possibly culture). S/he needs to be adaptable to succeed in your company, the new position, and a new lifestyle.

Willingness to relocate

This one seems like it should be obvious, but it is crucial. Be sure to highlight the need to relocate in your job application, and clarify it in the first interview to make sure they’re willing to make a move.

Making your selection

Making your selection | International Recruiting

Processing the finalists

If you’ve found someone who meets your technical needs and all of the qualifications above, congratulations! Reach out to each one and do a remote interview as a first step to getting to know them. You may even want to give them a test task that can be done virtually, to get an initial idea of their skill level.

In-person interview

Select your top two or three candidates and fly them in so your team can meet them and gauge culture fit in-person. Take them out to lunch or dinner beforehand and observe how they interact with others, including those not on your team.

Paid trial period

Consider starting with a contract to stem any losses and gauge fit in practice. Before hiring him or her, have your best candidate do a 6-month trial. You may have to cover relocation costs and 6 months of salary, but you were going to do that anyway. The trial period will protect your business from any headaches if you find out later on that it isn’t a good fit.

Bonus: Consider remote work

Consider remote work | International Recruiting

International recruiting might be right for you, but if you don’t have the resources to relocate team members right now, consider offering remote work. This is when an employee works with your team virtually, following the examples of successful remote companies like Buffer, Zapier, and Basecamp.

Learn more about remote work on my blog.