What Recruiters Must Consider When Finding International Talent

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In an increasingly globalized economy, companies are facing challenges brought about by international business. Understanding the culture in which one is recruiting, hiring, or partnering is imperative to building successful relationships and choosing productive candidates.

In order to commit to success abroad, companies must be prepared for varying cultural dynamics and keep a few key factors in mind:

Individualist vs. Collectivist

While American and Western European cultures tend to promote individuality, personal goals, and personal responsibility, many parts of the world tend to place stronger emphasis on family, societal goals, and overall communal responsibility. Therefore, the priorities of an Asian or Latin American candidate might differ from that of an American, French, or British candidate.

Recruiting Tip:
Work to gain a full understanding of the priorities of a candidate in both personal and professional life to cater roles toward these needs.


The ways in which cultures communicate often causes misunderstanding among various groups. For example, according to InterNations’ “Cultural Differences in Business,” the ways in which one addresses someone in authority might differ based on country of origin. Gestures that are considered a sign of respect and politeness in one region might be considered rude in another region.

Recruiting Tip:
Read up on differences in language, slang, and lingo when communicating with international candidates.

The Brand

With the rise of social media, promoting an international brand has become a main priority for recruitment firms. Marketing teams must recognize the variety within their international audience. Branding techniques that appeal to one culture might appear abrupt or even offensive to others.

Recruiting Tip:
Recruiters and businesses must have a basic understanding of their entire audience so that they do not negatively impact their international brand.


While Western cultures tend to view schedules as concrete, other cultures tend to view them more loosely. In India, for instance, it has become common practice for candidates to not show up to scheduled interviews. InterNations' "Cultural Differences in Business" provides a prime example: “Everyone would agree that Germans are well-known for their punctuality. In many African and South American countries, however, scheduled appointments are often treated like a general guideline rather than something one has to strictly abide by.”

Recruiting Tip: Work directly with the candidate to have a streamlined interviewing process that both parties can conveniently abide by. Communicate to establish the definition of this timeline.

Evaluating the Candidate

It is important to recognize that while a candidate might not be the perfect fit in your own culture based solely on cultural differences, they might have the potential to be extremely successful in their own. Consider the culture of the client in relation to the candidate to determine a match based on these qualities.

Recruiting Tip: It is imperative to judge a candidate based on their abilities rather than on cultural differences.


By keeping these issues in mind while recruiting, hiring, and partnering, American and Western European businesses can begin to understand the cultures and candidates with whom they are increasingly coming into contact.

Success within certain markets often depends on the ability to promote understanding and cultural competence, as well as the ability to detect cultural motivations. A one-size-fits-all cultural model has thus become outdated, causing businesses to consider more modern approaches.

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