7 Questions You’ll Want to Ask International Candidates

Josh Tolan

Hiring an international candidate comes with its own set of unique challenges. There are the work visa legal hurdles, but what’s most important is finding a candidate who is both qualified and excited for the opportunity to embark on an international adventure.

Thanks to the skills gap, the war for talent is raging — and employers, recruiters, and staffing companies are starting to consider expanding hiring borders in order to find the best people. The video interview can be a great way to connect with foreign or far-flung talent earlier than in the traditional recruiting process. But it’s still important to ask the right questions, whether interested candidates are sitting across your desk or across an ocean.

Since international candidates have to move for the job, there are some questions you’ll need to ask before making an offer. Here are just seven questions to ask in the interview in order to ensure the talent you see on the other side of the webcam will be willing to relocate to the other side of the world.

Why are you willing to relocate?

Relocating for a new job is a big deal. Not only is the candidate changing workplaces, but he or she is also uprooting a life. The candidate is leaving behind family and friends and home country. For some, this also means uprooting spouses and children to start over again in a new place. It’s not a decision anyone takes lightly.

This question gets to the root of why the candidate is willing to leave it all behind for your opportunity. Make sure to watch the candidate’s nonverbal cues in the video interview and see if they seem nervous to make the leap or excited at the prospect of a new challenge.

What languages do you speak?

Depending on the international candidate and the realities of relocation, this might be an important question to ask. Employees fluent in the language of a new country will be more likely to fit into the culture and enjoy their time. It can be overwhelming to add learning a new language to the stresses of uprooting a candidate’s life for a new job. If the job has a language requirement, it’s important to find out this information early in the hiring process.

Why are you excited for this opportunity?

The kind of international candidates who will make great hires are the people who see change and challenge as opportunities. These are the people looking for adventure and truly passionate about the opportunity.

If the candidate seems like they’re desperate for a job, any job, they might be willing to consider moving just for the paycheck. Eventually, these people might drop out of the process at the last minute or move back home once the allure wears off. Make sure you’re hiring people with a sincere passion for the position and for the adventure of relocating somewhere new.

What do you know about the company?

Once again, when it comes to international candidates, passion is key. You want someone who really wants to work for the company and feels passionately about adding value to the organization.

Finding out what the candidate knows about the company is a great way to evaluate the sincerity of their enthusiasm. Do they only know what’s on your company webpage or did they do extensive research before your video interview? What’s your ideal company culture look like? Company culture fit plays a massive part in whether a great candidate will also make a great employee. In fact a recent study found most small businesses new hires fail within 18 months, and the reason is 89 percent because of a lack of company culture fit. The importance of company culture fit is just as true in large corporations as it is for small businesses.

Find out your candidate’s ideal company culture and then compare how well it matches up with the culture of your organization. If it’s not a good fit, the candidate probably isn’t a good fit for your open position either.

Are you a good team player?

You always need good team players in your organization, but this is especially true of international talent. These newbies will have to take direction from their more established peers and will need help adjusting to life in a new city, as well as a new company. Lone wolves might have a harder time making the change.

Tell me about a challenge you experienced in your professional life and how you overcame it.

Moving to a new place is full of challenges. Taking on a new job also comes with its own set of hurdles. You need someone who looks at challenges as opportunities and has resilience in the face of hard times.

By asking this situational question, you can find out more about the candidate’s history, as well. How does this person tackle hardship and how do they bounce back from mistakes? Candidates who look at troubles as opportunities to grow will be the kind of international candidates your company needs to thrive.

Interviewing an international candidate or far-flung superstar comes with different challenges than connecting with the candidate next door. But if you ask the right questions in the video interview, you can jump the skills gap and find the candidate your company needs to thrive.

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring solution that allows staffing professionals to collaborate with their clients around video interviews. Read Spark Hire’s staffing ebook and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Previous Article
Forcing Fun in the Workplace? Funny How It Can Fail
Forcing Fun in the Workplace? Funny How It Can Fail

If you’re like me, you’re laughing while cringing at most scenes of the hit show “The Office.” That’s becau...

Next Article
How to Build An Effective HR Business Case in 4 Steps
How to Build An Effective HR Business Case in 4 Steps

Recently, I delivered a workshop at an event attended by senior human resources and talent acquisition lead...

Get inside the minds of 2,800 job seekers and what they want

Download Now