Over the last five years, I’ve helped relatively many companies to find their first employees in different countries, especially here in Spain. Here are a few things to keep in mind when recruiting abroad, especially in case if recruiting for the first time:
Thorough market research
Of course, everything starts with a relatively thorough analysis of the destination country. Quite often, I see that companies are always expanding to the same countries. For example, Finnish companies are still going first to Sweden, Germany, or the UK. What unites these countries is the fact that they have quite a terrific amount of know-how and competition in almost any industry. The employment situation is also good, which at least doesn’t make it any easier to take the first steps. Maybe do some research and take a look at other countries as well?
Finding out the salary level
Then, as you move towards your first recruitment, it would be essential to find out the salary level of the target country.
From time to time, I see companies thinking that they will get a great person for really cheap, for example, here in Madrid. The fact is, however, that on the management and director positions, salaries here in the capital city of Spain are very close to any other big city in Central or Northern Europe, despite the country.
Reality check: Is it possible to find the profile you are looking for?
If, for example, in France, Spain, or Germany, you add fluent English to the list of requirements, the number of potential candidates will already fall dramatically. On top of that, if you add something very specific work or industry experience, you are already looking at a tiny pool of potential candidates. This is why it’s always a good idea to have at least a short discussion with a local recruitment or headhunting company and find out whether the person is realistic to find or not.
Keeping in mind that the new employee has all the risks
Especially when it comes to recruiting for the first time in a new country and opening the business there, it’s good to remember that the person who signs the job contract often has high risks. Therefore, the decision will not be made in a matter of days. Very often, companies have to work hard to create enough trust so that a person ultimately decides to sign the contract.
Forgetting what you might be in another country
Very often, you see companies highlighting what they are in some other country. However, its importance is not so significant when entering a new market. In another country, the company may also have a good employer brand that will automatically attract candidates, but this is not the case in the new country. Add to this the fact that in the beginning, the person will be alone, even in an office hotel; the starting situation is usually very different.
Finding a competent partner
Knowledgeable recruitment partner doesn’t only help you with the initial market research and finding the best candidates for the job, but it also helps you with practical things like creating a company, drafting the local employment contract, or for example, renting the office and finding the right accounting firm.
Very often, when I talk to companies myself, it is usually really easy to justify and sell the idea of why they should use outside help in their first recruitment. Whether it is us or some other player, the main thing is that they will ask for help. Often, once the first recruitment has been successfully completed, the recently recruited person will be able to continue with it and take care of at least some of the future recruitments.
Director, Co-Founder & Headhunter