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How to Build a Successful Global Talent Acquisition Strategy

March 18, 2024

global talent acquisition

What if you could fill open roles with the world’s best talent rather than whoever happens to live in your city?

The rise of remote work has shown us that physical distance is no longer a barrier to teamwork.

With talent shortages projected to cost $8.5 trillion in unrealized revenue by 2030, forward-thinking companies are starting to look beyond borders to find the talent they need.

A globally diverse team might even be a competitive advantage, boosting performance by bringing together a wider range of perspectives, skill sets, and problem-solving approaches.

For companies open to remote and distributed work, global talent acquisition represents an opportunity to access a larger and more diverse talent pool, break into new markets and territories, gain consumer insights from around the world, and understand global trends.

From overcoming local skills shortages to seizing new business opportunities, a global team could be instrumental to your company’s success.

If you want to expand your team across borders, below are some actionable tips to help you build a successful global talent acquisition strategy. We’ll discuss why and how to get started, how to ensure equity and fairness, and best practices for managing and retaining your international team.

The key benefits of a global talent acquisition strategy

If your company is considering global talent acquisition, below are some key benefits of hiring international employees.

Increased access to talent 

When you recruit globally, your talent pool is potentially as vast as the whole world. You can find the best employees anywhere.

When you recruit locally, you’re fishing in the same pond as everybody else. This is a common problem in big tech hubs like San Francisco, New York, and London. If you’re based in San Francisco and looking for engineers in the Bay Area, a lot of big companies are looking for the same ones, and they can pay more.

But if you’re open to hiring engineers in other countries, you find a much greater availability of talent because you’ve moved beyond that highly competitive and oversaturated market.

When you recruit globally, your talent pool is potentially as vast as the whole world.

Source: Oyster

Ability to scale talent quickly

By removing the geographical constraints, you can scale more quickly, thanks to increased access to talent. One surefire way to stop local labor shortages from stunting your growth is by recruiting globally for hard-to-fill roles that require highly specialized or in-demand skills.

International team members can also help you gain insights into markets and trends and take your brand presence to those regions. You’ll be better positioned to reach new audiences for your products or services.

Greater diversity

If you hire only within your city, you’re limited to who lives there and what that population looks like.

But when you have a global talent strategy, you can intentionally hire a diverse group of people. It allows you to bring in a diversity of race, gender, nationality, or disability – all of which enrich your company culture by offering new experiences and ways of thinking.

A varied set of perspectives and skill sets results in creative approaches to solving problems, driving innovation.

Cost-conscious growth

A company’s biggest expense is often its people.

If you hire only in expensive markets like the US or the UK, salaries are significantly higher than in other countries, so a great way to lower your headcount costs is to recruit talent around the world.

This also allows you to pay competitive, above-market rates in Tier 2 and 3 countries while still paying less than in a Tier 1 country. 

Time zone coverage

By recruiting globally, you can build a distributed team that spans multiple time zones. This means you can serve clients who need 24-hour coverage.

For instance, a customer service team might need to have continuous availability to address important consumer issues, or an IT support team might need to have staff available at all times to keep systems running smoothly or respond to critical incidents. In such cases, a globalized workforce seamlessly cares for customers around the world and the clock.

Setting a strong foundation for your global talent acquisition strategy

Acquiring global talent complicates the hiring process. There’s a lot to consider – regional job markets, time zones, tools and processes, compliance issues, payroll, benefits, and a lot of unexpected things.

Confirm that all is well internally, and make sure you have a global talent acquisition strategy in place. A thoughtful and intentional approach will set you up for success.

Align with company leadership

Make sure you’re clear about the company’s needs and objectives for recruiting global talent.

Below are some key questions you can ask to help figure those out.

  • What skills do you have on the team, and which ones do you need? Are there any skills that have been hard to find? You can conduct a skills gap and needs analysis to determine which roles you might want to recruit globally.
  • How global do you want to go? Do you want to have a fully distributed team? Or do you want to hire clusters of people in regional hubs? Are there specific time zones that you need to cover? Do you need your distributed team to have a certain amount of overlap in their working hours? 
  • How do you plan to pay your international hires? What about benefits? Time off and pension? Do you envision handling payroll and legal compliance by opening your own entities in those countries or by partnering with a company that can do it for you?

Analyze the local markets

Once you’ve identified where you want to look for talent, research to understand local employment laws and hiring practices so you comply with legal and tax regulations.

Beyond the legal requirements, cultural norms and expectations differ from yours, so learn about local customs and cultural differences to appreciate and respect the worlds your candidates come from.

If you’re new to recruiting globally, start in markets where you know the talent exists and then widen out. Some countries are known for their customer support talent, and others are emerging hubs for engineers. The more you explore local markets, the more you’ll notice patterns.

Choose the right tools

You need to equip your global recruiting team with the right tools to pave the way for success.

Three of the most important tools you need are:

  • An applicant tracking system to help you manage applications, review candidates, and move them through the funnel.
  • A scheduling tool to plan interviews and manage time zones.
  • An interview intelligence tool to record interviews and create AI summaries to share with the hiring team for async review and feedback.

In addition to the recruiting tools above, you also need other tools in place so you’re ready to hire and employ the talent you find. Make sure you make use of an employer of record or a global employment platform to handle compliance, payroll, and benefits.

Set yourself up to scale

The more you put systems and processes in place early on, the easier it’ll be to scale later.

First, give hiring managers simple workflows, processes, and templates so they’re empowered to move candidates forward without having to rely on talent acquisition leadership at every step. This speeds things up, which makes a difference if your business needs to scale quickly or candidates have other opportunities.

Then, you set up solid procedures and automation to help pare down the work. Record everything so everyone has access to the references they need. Particularly for remote and distributed environments, clear and thorough documentation helps maintain consistent, efficient, and scalable processes.

Ensuring fairness and equity in your global talent acquisition process

When you’re hiring around the world, you have to work harder than usual to make certain all candidates are treated the same regardless of where they’re located.

This can be challenging since cultural norms and expectations vary widely, and you also need to comply with local regulations. Still, these concerns shouldn’t stop you from designing a hiring process that’s as fair and equitable as possible.

Fairness and equity in global talent acquisition.

Source: Oyster

Create a consistent candidate experience

Prepare a structured interview process so that every single applicant meets the same people who ask them the same questions and rate them on the same criteria.

Plan the interview process at the very beginning before you even post the job. Create a recruitment playbook that outlines for every interviewer, the purpose of each interview, 5-7 questions that they will ask every candidate, and a list of the skills and competencies required for the job.

Defining and standardizing the process ahead of time guarantees that every candidate goes through the same experience.

Another critical aspect of the candidate's experience is communication.

Decide how to communicate with candidates, what information to share with them, and how to prepare them for their interviews. Create email templates for every step of the process to keep communications both consistent and efficient, which contributes to a good candidate experience.

Reduce bias in the hiring process

In addition to treating everyone the same, a structured interview process allows you to compare candidates based on the same set of questions and competencies, which minimizes the potential for bias and gives everyone an equal chance at success.

Keep in mind that when recruiting across geographies, you can’t possibly know the norms and expectations around the interview process in every single country.

Approach the process with an open mind. Instead of imposing your cultural biases based on where you live, be curious about differences without being intrusive. Cultivating curiosity helps nip preconceived notions in the bud when evaluating global talent.

Focus on skills and potential

Another way to ensure fairness and equity in the global talent acquisition process is to focus on the candidate’s skills and competencies rather than where they went to college or what companies they worked for in the past.

This gives everyone a level playing field since global candidates may not have had the opportunity to attend institutions you recognize or work for well-known companies.

Skills testing and skills assessments (such as projects or take-home assignments) allow you to assess a candidate’s performance objectively. For the candidate, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate what they’re capable of, ensuring a fair and inclusive evaluation process for diverse talent. Ultimately, skills-based hiring leads to better hiring decisions since it lets you find the best candidate for the role. 

Finally, consider hiring for potential if you can. You might have the opportunity to help develop talent in certain regions. By giving people a great work environment and opportunities for growth and development, you can contribute to building the next generation of leaders in that part of the world.

Global talent management and retention

Once you’ve built a global team, the next step is to think about how to manage and retain a distributed workforce spread across countries and time zones.

How can you foster a consistent and unified company culture when your team is all over the world? How do you encourage community and promote well-being in a virtual workplace?

For global teams to thrive, consistency and intentionality for every aspect of the employee experience, especially when it comes to how you welcome new team members, how you work together, and how you reward your team.

Create a comprehensive onboarding process

A well-designed and well-documented onboarding process helps establish a good working relationship with your new international hires. It starts everyone off on the same foot and aligns their expectations with the company’s mission and values.

The onboarding process adjusts the newbies to your organization’s culture, tools, and procedures. It should also include introductory calls with teammates and cross-functional colleagues so that they can start building strong relationships. You could form onboarding cohorts to go through the process together, which promotes a sense of community and camaraderie.

In a remote setting, the onboarding process should be async and self-serve, with reading material, training videos, and other useful information easily accessible Provide a checklist that people can work through at their own pace. Make sure you document the process, ask for feedback, and iterate as needed.

Build a strong team culture

Building and maintaining culture takes thought and intention, especially in a remote environment. A well-structured onboarding sets the foundation, but you’ve got a lot more to think about beyond that.

In a globally distributed workplace, the work culture should be designed to be inclusive of time zones. This might mean favoring async communication and collaboration and giving people the flexibility to set their working hours.

To promote a sense of community within async rules, come up with team rituals, such as starting meetings with an ice-breaker or check-in. Remote work feels isolating at times so take every opportunity for social interaction and fun activities.

Company culture starts at the top, but leadership should provide chances for everyone to maintain and shape the environment as a whole. Employee success teams can help define and record cultural expectations, educate people about them, and then work to reinforce them.

Take care of your team

Your organization is only as good as your people. Design your total rewards, benefits, and workplace policies in a way that supports and rewards your team.

Create the conditions for people to be productive as remote workers. This might mean providing a work-from-home office stipend to pay for a good setup, from software tools to ergonomic keyboards to standing desks. Ask your team what they need to feel supported. 

Make sure that the perks and benefits you offer are either accessible to everyone or tailored to country-specific laws and expectations. Try to offer flexible benefits if possible.

For example, if you have a monthly wellness stipend, allow people to use it however works for them, whether it’s to take a yoga class, get a manicure, pay their electric bill, or save up for a new bicycle.

When you set your workplace policies, keep in mind that requirements vary around the world, so always aim for inclusiveness. For instance, try to make your PTO policy and parental leave policy as equitable and employee-centric as possible. Managers should promote work-life balance and encourage people everywhere to take time off.

Building the global teams of the future

There’s never been a more exciting time for talent acquisition professionals to be in this business. We’re witnessing and facilitating a major transformation as the workforce becomes international and geographical boundaries dissolve.

In the years ahead, companies that embrace remote and global teams will perform better, thanks to the diversity of their workforce. They’ll also be economically and operationally resilient thanks to having a distributed organization that isn’t limited to a single city or country.

It’s the time for human resources to start thinking about not only global talent acquisition, but also management and retention of distributed teams. Set yourself up now for future success by designing a global talent acquisition strategy that is thoughtful, equitable, and flexible.

Learn more about applicant tracking systems and how they benefit hiring managers during recruitment processes. 

Edited by Aisha West

Global Employment Platforms (GEP) Go global with GEP!

User-friendly software solutions that empower companies to source, filter, and hire talent worldwide with ease.

Global Employment Platforms (GEP) Go global with GEP!

User-friendly software solutions that empower companies to source, filter, and hire talent worldwide with ease.

How to Build a Successful Global Talent Acquisition Strategy Here's how you can build a successful global talent acquisition strategy. Learn about the benefits of global talent acquisition and how to expand your team across borders.
Eryn Marshall Eryn Marshall is the VP of People at Oyster. With over 15 years of recruiting experience, she has helped companies like Culture Amp and Cisco Meraki develop and deploy global recruiting strategies for exponential growth. She has led Oyster through hyper-growth, hiring 500+ people in 70+ countries.

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