“I want an international career – at home”

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It’s a paradox: internationality is attractive to candidates, but leaving home is not. Plus: 5 tips for a meaningful global career website

Many global employers are familiar with this problem: While heading towards a global employer branding strategy, recruiting still happens locally. How to align one with the other? And how to build a global career website that deserves its name?

In the end, the worm is for the fish, not the fisherman, so let’s hand the microphone to the candidates. In the global OTaC 2015 Study (Online Talent Communication), Potentialpark surveyed students and graduates in the US, Europe and Asia, among others on internationality. These are their answers:

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While only one out of five have done it, most students consider working abroad during or after their studies. Not surprisingly, they prefer to go where they can speak one of their foreign languages.

Now, what can internationality mean?

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Most candidates fancy an international label on their CV, and exposure to different facets of internationality. It is clearly attractive.

In the long run, however, more candidates look for internationality in their employer and work environment, rather than actually leaving home, traveling and relocating. Especially in the US and Asia. You could say: “global from an armchair”.

Also, some degrees demand or promote international internships, increasing career traffic across borders.

What are Potentialpark’s conclusions on global career websites? Most candidates go there for one of two reasons:

Reason 1: Information about the company. Even if someone is from France and will apply in France, or from Hong Kong and will stay in Hong Kong, they might fancy a peak at the company’s global appearance. It can be an interesting perspective and part of their decision-making process when choosing between different global companies. There is such a thing as a global image and employer brand that candidates like to capture.

The OTaC Study also indicates: candidates expect different content on a global career site than on a local one. Details about the recruitment process, for example, should be as specific as possible, so why not leave that up for the local sites to explain.

Reason 2: Guidance for going abroad. Candidates who are international want to understand where they could go, and often hope to get immediate access to jobs. This goes for many types of career opportunities: international trainee programs as well as internships abroad and entry positions.

Let’s face it: most candidates see positions abroad as a stop-over and end up back home. Only very few will become expats for longer. Still, those are some of the most valuable and competed-for candidates.

Conclusion: internationality is a big plus for the employer brand, but to leverage on it, companies need to be clearer about what it means.

We have identified two different target groups: “Tourists” and “Truffles”. Tourists: candidates with limited interest in internationality, who enjoy a short stay abroad, a diverse team or a weekly call with “the colleagues in London”. While the Truffles are those few candidates who will engage in a truly borderless career. The candidate experience needs to be optimized for both, and the global career website is an excellent place to show insights, stories, opportunities and requirements for both groups.

What to take home from this? Here are five tips for a candidate-friendly global career website:

  1. Leverage on your global career website as a first-class shop window for why you are an attractive employer. It should be a corner pillar of any global employer branding strategy.
  2. Help candidates to understand what internationality can mean for them when they join you: your company’s operations, the candidate’s future tasks, their team, their travels or the chances to relocate across borders?
  3. Requirements to work abroad: Surprisingly few global career websites say anything about language, work permits or other requirements to work in a country outside one’s home. Putting this information on each country career site leaves the task to the candidates to visit them all – which they won’t, for sure. Why not explain on the global career website?
  4. Most global career websites link to the local sites, which is a key reason for having one in the first place. However, something that candidates miss: information about who you look for in which countries. Where can I work as a marketing student, a finance MBA or a seasoned civil engineer? So you are in 100 countries – great, but do you have factories, labs or offices in them?
  5. Last but not least, the crown jewel of a high-end global career website: you will get extra brownie points and lots of gratitude (and be ahead of many of your competitors) if you can offer all job openings and the online application system in one place, easily accessible from your global career website.

A global employer branding strategy, supporting local recruiting? A truly helpful and engaging global career website? It’s not impossible – and one of the hot topics of the future of Online Talent Communications, for sure.

Julian Ziesing, Berlin

Julian Ziesing, Berlin

About the blogger:

Julian Ziesing is blogging about his view and experience from over 10 years of working with employer branding and the candidate experience. He is responsible for business development at international market research institute Potentialpark.

julian@potentialpark.com
Connect with me on Xing and LinkedIn

One thought on ““I want an international career – at home”

  1. Pingback: The birth of a new global player: “The craziest year I ever had” | Applying Online & Loving It

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