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Success in Hiring Abroad Takes Knowing Your Audience

Tips from a recruiter on how to recruit around the globe.

Over the past seven years, Nicole Guiet, talent acquisition director for engineering firm CH2M Hill has learned a number of recruiting techniques that work in different countries.

Old school in Argentina: Print ads still work in Argentina, and professional associations are a great way to tap into highly skilled talent pools, Guiet says. CH2M Hill runs banner ads linked to their career page on the websites of engineering associations with ties to local universities. “We’ve had a lot of success in Argentina doing this,” she says.

Job boards in the Middle East. Industry-specific job boards in the Middle East are the best source of passive talent. Instead of posting job ads, which generate hundreds of underqualified leads, her team searches for candidates in the rèsumè databases. “We find a lot of good people that way.”

Not all Spanish is alike: The Spanish translation of a job ad in Mexico won’t necessarily work in Argentina or Peru. “It’s like the difference between the Queen’s English and American English,” she says. She relies on local recruiters to hone the style and verbiage of postings to customize ads for local market.

There’s a fine line between eager and offensive: In every market, local recruiters review global messaging to make sure it’s engaging—not insulting. In the European Union for example, the company’s “Now let’s get to work!” tagline was considered offensive because it suggested that they hadn’t been working before, she says. “It’s about making the global brand localized for that audience.”

The right and wrong way to use LinkedIn: Latin America has the highest growth rate of LinkedIn users in the world, but recruiters have to be more subtle in how they use the site. Recruiters want to avoid offending potential hires by being too forward or aggressive, Guiet says. Her recruiters engage potential candidates on LinkedIn by asking if they know someone who’s looking rather than recruiting them outright. “It’s a more gentle approach.”

Sarah Fister Gale is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.