How to Hire International Tech Talent

January 30, 2014 at 10:00 PM by Jordan Taylor

diversity-detailAmerica is a complicated place. It (still) has the best university system on the planet, and the computer science programs here are so impressive they eclipse the rest of the world. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities in Computer Science – 2013, 17 out of the top 20 universities are in the United States.

Yet all the startups, and established big fish, still can’t find enough talented people to satisfy their technical needs even when they expand their search from sea to shining sea. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have taken action—they’ve jumped continents to help solve the skills gap crisis. Maybe it’s time you do the same?

There are three main tech solutions, and one human solution, to help you begin your international recruiting campaign:

  • Social Media
  • Mobile Recruiting
  • Video Interviewing
  • Incentivize with culture, compensation benefits, and relocation support

Before looking at some strategies for recruiting without borders, what are some of the best reasons for hiring international candidates beyond acquiring the skill sets your organization desperately needs?

  • You’re capitalizing on an ever globalizing marketplace
  • Bringing together international teams means creating a workplace with a strong global mindset: international employees usher in global perspectives, multilingual fluency, and cross-cultural savvy
  • You may not realize it, but international candidates not only have the technical expertise you’re after—but they’re exceptional cultural fits too

Why is hiring international candidates so hard?

  • It’s tedious work. Regardless of your opinion on H1-B Visas here’s what they entail: on average they cost $1,500-$2,500 per employee; the employer is responsible for filing the H1-B with the Department of Labor and USCIS; the Visa is granted for a three year period with a onetime renewal of an additional three years.
  • Spending time and money engaging with international candidates doesn’t ensure they’ll make the big move
  • You have positions to fill immediately, so attracting and acquiring international candidates boils down to planning ahead and taking big risks

Social Media

The benefits of social media continue to expand as people continually refine their approach and presence on an array of platforms. Job boards, corporate career sites, referrals, and job fairs continue to be some of the most relevant approaches to hiring international talent. But consider this: social medial provides a more personal employer brand experience, and its reach is global.

The first step in your social media strategy involves researching global social networks. Pay attention to how each country of interest utilizes social media platforms. For example, Facebook is popular world-wide but LinkedIn is more business-minded. You can also spend time researching popular local channels:

  • China: QZone
  • Europe & East Asia: XING
  • Russia: VKontakte
  • India: Orkur (popular in Brazil as well)

Lastly, use LinkedIn to find international groups that focus on computer science; you can also use LinkedIn to research international universities that might have pages for their computer science department.

Mobile Recruiting

Youth demographics continue to change around the world—and it goes without saying that they’re helping to drive the increased usage of mobile devices. This future work generation is going to lean toward mobile being their primary channel. For business looking to engage the best possible candidates, they’ll need to reach them on the go.

More and more people will conduct their job hunt form the palm of their hand. So you need to optimize your job ads and career site for mobile browsing. The last thing you want is for candidates to immediately leave your site because it’s not mobile friendly.

Video Interviewing

Why video interviewing is important to the process doesn’t really need much elaboration here. It’s simply awesome how much money and time it saves; video interviewing is the most essential step after you’ve done your sourcing campaigns and got great candidates to apply.

Doing research on the best video software available will go a long way. Keep in mind that Google Hangouts are free, and you can also acquire free tools to record the interview session—making it easy to share with others involved in the decision-making process.

Incentivize with Culture, Compensation Benefits, and Relocation Support

Create provocative job descriptions that not only display your company culture—but also draw international candidates in by demonstrating cross-cultural values. Remember to treat candidates like valuable strategic assets, not commodities.

The best candidates will consider pulling up their roots for both monetary and work-life balance perks. Just be upfront about everything from the start.

Help them feel at ease with the relocation process by providing them with information, financial support, and answering even questions they’re not asking. If they’re bringing their family with them—provide resources that cover local neighborhoods, school systems, and child-care options.


Think big: strengthen your global brand so you can source top talent across a wider market range. If you have multilingual or international team members, let their voices and experiences be heard across your social platforms (and if your company is able, consider engaging in multilingual customer service or creating posts in the native languages of the countries you’re interested in).

Nothing about this process is easy, but at least you have technology on your side.

What technology do you use to connect with international talent? Please share in the comments!
New Call-to-Action