4 Common Challenges of Hiring Internationally and How to Overcome Them

For decades, businesses have always tapped on the international talent pool to glean the best of the best that the global market has to offer. Now, with the global pandemic expediting the shift of the traditional work model to a hybrid or even remote one for good, businesses of all sizes are opening their eyes to this exciting new playing field of being able to hire internationally.

But before you jump onto the bandwagon, here are 4 common challenges of hiring internationally that you should be aware of.


The Top Challenges of International Hiring

Regulatory Challenges

Whether you are a company planning to enter a new market and hire talent locally, or a business looking to source for international remote talent, you need to be aware of the local employment regulations.

Unlike a simple local hire in your home market, with every hire of an international employee, you are now subject to a different suite of employment and tax laws. Depending on where they are based, your HR team might find themselves overwhelmed with navigating incredibly complex regulatory red tape from places like China or India.

Here are some key areas you should make sure to ensure full compliance to:

  • Country and even state-specific labour laws that protect employee rights – like termination notice periods, etc.
  • Provide the required statutory entitlements and benefits like paid maternity or paternity leave
  • Appropriate classification of your worker’s employment status (e.g., contractor or formal employee) to avoid fines
  • Have a separate payroll to ensure compliant contributions
  • Ensuring they have the necessary paperwork, permits, and visas

If you are exploring international hiring for the first time, it is highly recommended to either hire a specialist who can advise you on these issues or engage an employer of record who can ensure compliant employment for your new employees.

Recruitment Challenges

While international hiring opens a much larger playing field for talented candidates, you are also now competing with local and global businesses alike for the same talent pool.

At the same time, common recruitment challenges are still prevalent even on a global stage. From being able to filter the right talent from an even larger pool of candidates to being able to match their capabilities to internal company needs, HR managers must overcome these with the added challenge of language and even cultural differences.

Here are some helpful tips to overcome these challenges:

  • Focus on countries will have candidates with your required skillsets to narrow down the search.
  • Go the extra mile to conduct an international background check so you can verify the credentials and experience of the potential candidate
  • Have a structured hiring process in place – to ensure a smooth process and experience for the candidate (to compete effectively with other firms)
  • Incorporate a good mix of cognitive ability tests, competency tests, and behavioural interviews to evaluate them based on your needs
  • Avoid having the entire recruitment process online – in-person interviews are essential to building connections with candidates, helping evaluate them more effectively as well as represent the company better.

Consider having a HR representative on the ground or leveraging on local recruitment agencies who have their ears to the ground and can understand any local nuances that might come up in the interviewing process.

Financial Challenges

Depending on whether you are hiring an international expat or remote worker, the initial costs of hiring a non-local employee can be significant.

For international expats, companies are usually required to provide support for expenses relevant to the transition – be it logistics, accommodations, airfare, allowances, paperwork applications, and more.

For remote workers, there are potential savings since all the above expenses are usually not required. However, do keep in mind that companies may be expected to provide technical support to ensure a seamless remote working arrangement with the rest of the team.

And that’s not all there is to consider from a financial perspective. Other factors that could potentially impact the total employment costs include:

  • Location – employees from developed countries will be comparably expensive if you require specific skillsets
  • Market conditions – depending on the country’s employment condition, you may need to offer competitive packages to attract the right talent
  • Recruiting and on-boarding costs – as international hiring is a different process from local hiring, you can expect to incur more costs for a separate workflow
  • Pay-roll in a different currency – exchange rates and inflation rates in the employee’s country can impact your labour cost if left unchecked over time

On-Boarding & Team Dynamics Challenges

A successful international hire is just the beginning. Being able to onboard them and ensure that they settle in well and can function effectively with the rest of the team is yet another set of challenges.

Compared to local hires, assimilating international hires into the workplace is more challenging for the simple reason that they must adapt to a completely new culture, working environment, and in some cases living environment.

Here are some ways you can pre-emptively help ease them into the new workplace:

  • For expats, simple assistance to help set up basics to ease them into their new life like settling banking, accommodation, utilities, healthcare, or even education for their children goes a long way.
  • Provide them with resources to better communicate with their peers in the workplace – be it language classes, cultural immersion activities, and more.
  • Arranging for a “buddy” in the workplace to be their go-to-person for non-HR matters and to introduce them to the rest of the team
  • Schedule regular check-ins to keep yourself updated on any potential concerns or issues
  • Organize team-bonding activities to help them feel part of the family – whether they are in-person hires or remote workers


Expand Your Team Internationally with A Global Expert

Looking to tap on the world of talent and opportunities beyond your borders while avoiding the landmines of international hiring?

The answer is clear. Partner with a global EOR expert like TG to help you realize your international expansion plans.

With TG as your strategic HR partner, you no longer have to worry about all the challenges for international hiring.  With more than 100 years of experience in 50 + markets, we’ll get you the right talent up and running in no time – all in full compliance with local laws so you have peace of mind.