How to Hire Internationally


The job market isn’t limited to your local area any more. There are talented people in all sorts of different fields, spanning the globe, just waiting for you to see their potential and offer them a job.

Hiring internationally is a little more challenging than giving a job to someone who lives and works in your home country. If you want to tap into the international talent pool, here are some tips and tricks to make sure you’re going about it the right way.

Consider Remote Work vs. Immigration

When you’re hiring internationally, you’ve generally got two options to choose from — remote work or in-person hires.

The former is fairly straightforward. Your new hire remains in their home country and works for you remotely. With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, remote work is more common now than ever. You may need to learn local tax or payment laws, depending on the location of your new employee, but it’s the simpler choice of the two.

The latter takes a lot more work. If that’s your plan for hiring internationally, read on.

Be Ready for Red Tape

If you’re planning to hire a new employee and sponsor them for a work visa so they can live and work in the United States, start working toward that goal long before you start headhunting.

Cutting through all the red tape to help you bring a new hire to the U.S. can take months or years depending on which program you choose to use. If you’re going to start branching out into international hires, start early and be ready for lots of delays.

Don’t Forget to Sign

One of the biggest mistakes you can make on immigration or sponsorship paperwork is forgetting to sign your name. It sounds simple, but without every page signed, every “T” crossed and every “I” dotted, the chances are high that your applications get rejected. Make sure that everything is signed or initialed as needed and don’t overlook anything.

If you’re concerned, have someone go over the paperwork after you to ensure that you haven’t missed anything important.

Collect All Necessary Certifications

If you’re planning to hire an international employee, you’ll need to obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to ensure that you’re allowed to do so. The Department of Labor requires these certifications to keep international hires from damaging job opportunities or wages for U.S. workers.

It might sound discriminatory, but it is an essential part of hiring internationally. Make sure you have your DOL certification before you start headhunting.

Learn the Language

If you’re hiring people who have the ultimate goal of working in the United States, they probably already know at least a bit of English. It’s still always a good idea to have someone who knows the language.

English, especially, is a complicated language — and having the ability to switch back to their native tongue to obtain clarification can be beneficial. You don’t need to be fluent, but having someone around who has at least a conversational knowledge of the language can be helpful.

Interview Thoroughly

Interviewing is challenging enough without worrying about traveling around the world, but that’no excuse to cut corners or skip steps when you’re bringing a new employee onto your team. You might be interviewing over Skype or Zoom, but make sure all your “T”s are crossed and your “I”s are dotted. You can check international references or job histories nearly as easily as domestic ones, after all.

Learn Local Labor Laws

If you’re hiring a remote worker, you need to be aware of the labor laws and policies of your country. Your rules might conflict with another countries’ laws. If you find a candidate that you just can’t live without, consider consulting a local labor lawyer in that country to determine if there is anything you need to know before you sign on the dotted lines.

Ask for Help

When it comes down to hiring international employees, you don’t need to have all the answers. The rules can change dramatically from country to country, and you might find yourself overwhelmed by trying to keep up with all of the rules you need to learn.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find someone well-versed in international labor laws and add them to your team. Network with professionals in the country where you’re looking to hire. Make those connections and then use them to your advantage.

Hiring for the Future

The global talent pool is getting larger and more capable every year, and it can be a valuable resource for any business regardless of size. If you’re planning to hire internationally, make sure you‘re covering all your bases. Learn the rules. Be extremely selective and, above all, be careful to do all of your paperwork correctly.


Scott Huntington is a writer who lives in Vermont and covers the world of business, tech, and more. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

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