Hiring International Candidates

Someone recently asked about hiring international folks (do we do it, what do recruiters think, etc.). The fact that people ask this question at all makes me wonder if they are concerned about a bias in the staffing industry or if recruiters aren't doing a good enough job of explaining to candidates their hiring parameters. I believe it's the latter.  There are a few things recruiters generally think about when hiring people from other countries: 1) Is the person eligible for a visa and are there visas available? 2) Does the group that I am hiring into have a relocation budget? 3) Does the position require US experience (for example, in the marketing space, if the person is marketing to US-based customers, experience with US market segments may be required, or if it's an accounting position, principles vary by geography as well)? 4) And more broadly, is this the right person for the job (though I believe that goes without saying and applies to ALL candidates)?

If you are an international candidate, either living abroad or residing in the US, you might want to think of these things as well when interacting with recruiters. If you aren't being considered for a position, you should be asking why (everyone should be asking this). Hearing  "there are no visas available at the time" means something different than "we have no budgeted for relocation" and will help you understand how to follow-up with the recruiter in the future.

Hope that helps!

Comments (11)

  1. Kris says:

    Just wondering if NAFTA is an option for me as a Canadian?

  2. Tod says:

    My group (MSN Ops) recently hired a candidate from Australia. We flew him in for the interviews and everything. So it does happen… 🙂

  3. Mark Mullin says:

    Heather – I have a question …. what about the inverse of this situation, U.S. national developers looking to go somewhere else for a while ? I’ve found that more and more these days, I’ve been snuffling about looking for European opptys, but working for a financial firm in London isn’t quite motivating enough….

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Mark-I wish I knew more about the European market. Unfortunatley, my focus is US only. I know that for Microsoft specifically, each sub office does their own recruiting and they are not currently linked to our satabase. So if you wanted to apply to a Europe based position, you’d need to go to our international jobs site and pick your desired location.

    As far as relocation and visa stuff, I’m not really sure. I think the EU regulations just made it easier for people within Europe, not people coming to Europe. Any European recruiters out there want to take this question?

  5. Craig says:

    Hi Heather,

    Interesting take on the global recruitment situation. As everything, I believe it varies from person to person, country to country.

    An American may find it *relatively* simpler to look for positions outside of the US given the sheer clout of the economy or the *perceived* value of their experience in Asia and Europe.

    Some nationalities are plagued by the perception of their passports as procuring visas is the number 1 bottleneck — as it was, I guess unintentionally, in your post as well.

    There is nothing more depressing than hearing, "Wow your experience and caliver is astonishing, but we’re so, so sorry that we would prefer a somewhat lesser candidate simply because he works here." Especially for positions that don’t require experience in any specific national context.

    I am sure there are others like me who have had to try twice, thrice as hard as our counterparts from other larger economies to get to where we are today, but this is a fact of our professional lives. Some of us go to HBS or Stanford simply to bolster our desirability to big global corporations like Microsoft or Intel or Shell, who, if needed, really should not have any issues with visas for candidates they like.

    Guess it’s just a fleeting lapse of enthusiasm but thought I’d put that on the table.

    Again, I’m glad to see an awareness of these issues among recruiters. One hopes that caliber ought to account for something.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Craig-my point about the visas was that, at some point during the year, they run out. There’s nothing a company can do if there are no more visas available. And if a candidate is not eligible (for example, if they don’t have the required eduactional background), there’s also nothing that the company can do. It’s not open to the interpretation of the company, it’s just the law.

    If you have an MBA from a top school and companies are blaming visas, and you know that there are visas available and that you qualify, you may want to probe further with the company on the reason you are not being considered. Recruiters are employed to make hires. So if they aren’t hiring you, there must be a reason. I know that it’s really humbling to inquire what it is about your skill set that keeps you from getting the position, but that is what I would do.

  7. Craig says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Heather. Looks like visas are an issue as Mr. Gates expresses in this

    <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/27/AR2005042702241_pf.html">Washington Post article</a>.


  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Craigh-yeah I saw some quotes from Bill earlier in the day. Recruiters are goaled on making hires…the best hires. So it can be frustrating when visa limits impact our ability to do that. It just makes the job more difficult. Like I said, I am all about hiring the right people to do the right jobs!

  9. I want to get Hired.

    I am an Indian Citizen

    I have a Fresh passport.

    I have 15+Years Technical Experience in IT

    which includes a Job in Govt./Public/private/Education/Industry/Factory/Banks etc.

    as a Customer/Hardware/Pc/Desktop/Network/Technical Support Engineer.

    I am even good at Teaching.

    The things I positively act has

    Demonstrated ability to handle information of a confidential nature

    Demonstrated ability to complete tasks within tight timelines

    Demonstrated ability to work with minimum supervision

    Demonstrated problem-solving ability including consideration of alternative courses of action

    Demonstrated excellence in customer service including the ability to display a helpful and friendly attitude towards staff, students and members of the general public

    Demonstrated well-developed and effective communication skills (both Oral and written).

    mail me on mibrahimgazi@yahoo.co.in

  10. Mhammed Ryad says:

    i have worked as a local hired interpreter for th us army in my country ,iraq,due to all of death threats and other similar security problems i had to flee outside iraq,do you think now with all the talk of the lackness of arabic communicaters between us and native citizens,and all the new programms,do you think a person like me would be eligable for being hired by a company in us ,with the fact that this person is not a us citizen ,nor a green card holder?

    would you answer that if possible at this email


  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Mhammed Ryad – Sorry, I have no idea. I’m not sure what kind of opportunities exist in the interpreter field.

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