Recruiting Fail Could Easily be Avoided

Photo: Geoff Pegler

Global Mobility Managers are increasingly involved in recruiting international talent. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that we have the knowledge and skills to deal with most of the challenges that hiring people from other countries brings. However, since we are not officially responsible in most organizations, we don’t get the necessary resources to handle recruiting professionally. Hence, we can consult but not support. So, dear recruiters, I hope this is helpful.

The Search for the Right International Talent

“Lifestyle Expats” are an essential factor in today’s global force, and the actual circumstances suggest that the phenomenon is on the rise (Habti & Elo, 2019). Thanks to technological changes, such as online recruiting, the labor market has become more international and more fluid, making filling jobs internationally (internally or externally the organization) much more straightforward. Consequently, an increasing number of professionals consider working abroad a realistic career option, and there are growing opportunities to identify and eventually find a job abroad. We are in the middle of an unprecedented global crisis, which is bound to create a more substantial recession than the 2008 financial crisis, and the war for talent is as heated as ever. 

Specialized Subject Matter Experts are increasingly complex to find. When you turn to places rich in talent, such as Singapore and certain areas of the US like Boston and Silicon Valley, that’s where competition is already extremely high. Moreover, stealing from the competition is no real point if you aim to bring innovation. 

The Need for More Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our global workforce is as varied as ever, with five generations working side by side and companies striving to fulfill all their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals (gender/religion/ethnicity/sexual orientation). 

“Despite a rapidly changing business landscape, the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) not only holds but grows even stronger. In our research, we continue to explore the link between diversity and holistic impact.” 

Diversity matters even more: The case for holistic impact | McKinsey

The Development from Global Mobility Policy to individual, Customized Offer Letters

Global Mobility policies have historically been a one-size-fits-all model. They are often still struggling to include points such as religion, ethnicity, age, disability status, working mothers, non-traditional family units, etc. Make sure your Global Mobility policies acknowledge and support your employees’ varying needs to make them feel more encouraged to accept International Assignment. The point is to ensure that deserving and promising talent does not experience barriers to success. I would even go as far as ditching your policy and working with individual “Box of Chocolates” models (where you select service from a budgeted bundle).

Demographic changes will require highly skilled migrants to fill positions as the turnout of university graduates declines in developed countries. Also, at the EU level and among the Member States, there is consensus on the need to address labor market shortages, worsened by the deepening demographic crisis and skill mismatch (Platonova & Urso, 2012).

Even rich countries like  Liechtenstein (Beck et al., 2018; Hauri et al., 2016) may have difficulty attracting talent. Other more traditional expat hubs, like Singapore, London, New York City, the UAE, Hong Kong, and Switzerland, continue leading the ranking despite the high living costs. What makes the difference is their socio-economic policies, which state that talent growth and management are central priorities.

The Need for Nomadic Flexibility

Perhaps even more important to acknowledge is that the world of work has already changed. With new technology enabling employees to work almost anywhere and anytime, the classic ‘nine to five’ is outdated. In an article published by Sage People, even before the pandemic changed companies’ approach, figures speak for themselves:  not only do 50% of the US interviewees say they’d like to be more mobile at work, but a good 54% would change jobs if it meant more flexibility.

In Global Mobility, Virtual Assignments are an opportunity to give employees the much-longed-for flexibility they seek. Despite being on the rise since the widespread implementation of the internet, it’s easier to see how they will be even more numerous in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. Never before have so many employees worked remotely to guarantee essential business continuity. 

However, another side of the medal is the portion of talent seeking international experience as part of their decision to join a company.  In particular, overseas assignments are becoming more appealing among Millennials, who often see the opportunity to live and work abroad as more rewarding than a pay rise. They are called Digital Nomads or Telecommuters. According to Smart Gear, 90% of digital nomads plan on working remotely for the rest of their careers, while 94% encourage others to try Digital Nomadism themselves.

Whether or not you’re having trouble attracting talent, here are six basics to add to your recruiting suite that you should consider during and after the recruiting process. 

Old Tram in Zurich

1 – Make Sure International Hires Have a Realistic Picture

Try to put yourself in the mind of a candidate contacted by a company in a foreign location. What’s the first thing that you would like to know? Salary? Job title? The direction of the company? Probably none of these things, but rather: “Why would I want to move there?” Moving continents, or even “just” countries, isn’t a decision that can only be taken on the potential of a great office view. Instead, candidates need to know what the place looks like, what language is spoken, where they (and maybe their families) would live, and whether they would fit in.

Including this information on your careers page is helpful to make it more of a relocation portal and less of a job listing. Not only will candidates benefit from this information, but so will your company: showing what candidates want to know during the overseas job hiring process builds your credibility from the beginning.


2 – Help with the Move of Household Goods

Among Expats and Expat Spouses, the phase of moving abroad is often cited as the most stressful one. Moving out doesn’t take one day only: there are farewells, usually a party, and especially when small kids are involved, the family needs to stay with friends or in a hotel room. While Expats are still busy handing their work over and finalizing conversations with clients, Expat Spouses are often alone in coordinating all the logistics behind the move. That’s why they must be connected with a moving company. Having someone who takes care of their house goods until they are settled in the new location spares the Expat family from stress. If you are looking for a global relocation company, consider Keller Swiss Group. They offer relocation services, household removals, business relocation, and household storage services in Switzerland and worldwide.



3 – Take the Anxiety out of Immigration by Working with a Pro

Organizing support with immigration is another helpful and efficient way of helping the expat family during the stressful pre-assignment phase. In recent years, obtaining work permits and visas has become more complex. Letting Expats and Expat Spouses navigate this sea of bureaucracy all alone would put them under an incredible and unnecessary amount of stress. Regarding immigration compliance, each case is different and needs to be examined thoroughly. Some relocation companies, like BecomeLocal in Switzerland, specialize in this field. They can help you handle the permit process, write applications, and submit them to the authorities. Instruct professionals and executives to obtain visas, sparing your organization and the expat family a lot of hustle. If you need immigration support in other countries, please get in touch with me, and I will refer you to a global network. Also, I can highly recommend the RelocateYou App.



4 – Provide Spouse Career Support and A Pre-Hire Assessment for the Spouse

The effects that International Assignments have on the Expat Spouse’s well-being and state of mind are often underestimated. For some Expat Spouses, the sudden change from independent career person to stay-at-home parent has a strong psychological impact, even more so if getting a working visa is impossible. Coaching is a potent tool that companies can use to support expat spouses with the help of a Career Coach, some Expat Spouses manage to start their businesses while living abroad, thus finding deeper fulfillment in the experience. It is also very fair to the Expat Spouse to have a realistic idea of whether their profile leads to potential employment in the host market or their chances of finding work are slim. An Expat Spouse Coach can also help with a pre-hire assessment for the Expat Spouse. Also, clarify and be honest about their entitlement to a work permit to avoid disappointment at arrival.

Expat Spouse Career Program HireMeExpress – From Frustrated to Fantastic in 90 Days in Zurich, Switzerland

Spouse Adjust
You shall not neglect the Expat Spouse

5 – Consult them on Technical Issues

Once again try to put yourself in the mind of your future employees. They now have a clearer idea of what it means to live in your expat hub, and they are considering relocating there. Perhaps their spouses and children are coming along. In this preparatory phase, Expats are inevitably very busy with what needs to be handled back at home in their professional and private lives. But they also need to be ready for what’s coming next. Handling both “back home” and “in the host country” can be extremely overwhelming, especially if this means going through important technical issues of a country with a different system and in a language they don’t understand. This is the right time to step in and consult them on important decisions such as which type of health insurance to get and how to do it, but also on how to handle their taxes. If you can’t deliver this in-house, we’re happy to help.


RockMeApp for Human Touch
RockMeApp for Human Touch

6 – Sprinkle Everything with Human Touch

As I said earlier and many times, HUMAN TOUCH is my MISSION and the key to enhancing the Expat Experience. Deloitte (2019) proved to be on board with that when stating that today’s global workforce is attracted and motivated by a more personalized, agile, and holistic experience than before. This is why you must find your way to unlock the HUMAN TOUCH. For example, you can start by welcoming new team members with a hand-written card. You will make their first day a celebration. 



Enhancing the Expat Experience


Ten Tips for Writing Inclusive Job Postings in Switzerland

Our Ten Commandments for the Global Mobility Manager


The Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Please email for a proposal. 





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