Hiring internationals



Photograph: iStock

Text: Carman Chan


Carman Chan from Moving Talent shares her Nordic recruitment expertise.


Increasing numbers of studies have shown the positive correlation between the presence of an international workforce and the company’s productivity and competitiveness. “Diversity and inclusion” become part of many companies’ development strategy. The Danish authorities launch several incentives and recruitment campaigns to attract internationals from abroad.


Yet more than half of international students leave Denmark after graduation due to lack of job opportunities. Many internationals spouses or partners of expats, who currently live in Denmark, struggle to find a job matching their skills. Why are internationals not being hired? A paradigm shift in the entire employment process is required.


Having internationals can be challenging, but resourceful

The human tendency is to affiliate with those sharing similarities with us, cultural or linguistic ones, and similarities in thought and educational background, etc. A homogeneous team gives the impression of making work easy. Adding someone different into the team can be challenging, as it takes resource and effort to deal with the differences.


“The pandemic magnifies the need for agile and innovative business decisions to cope with the ever-changing world.”

The pandemic magnifies the need for agile and innovative business decisions to cope with the ever-changing world. The virtual business world enabled many companies to penetrate the international market. Having a diversified team can be beneficial to bring a broader perspective of ideas, knowledge and skills. However, it is learning by doing the process. Companies could start with a project work position or work trial with an international talent on a limited time and assess the benefits and challenges along the way. Thus, building a diverse team is made easier.


Enable a common language environment

One of the foremost adjustments to integrate an international would be, to enable a familiar language work environment, where everyone can interact.


When we discuss some openings with our clients' job requirements, “fluent danish” often appears as one of them. Even large international companies, the official working language of English, require fluent Danish speakers in many job openings. Nonetheless, Denmark has always been ranked among one of the world’s best non-native English-speaking countries, and it should have a strong advantage to facilitate an English-speaking environment.


We keep reflecting with our clients throughout the team-building process over the language requirement. Instead of a fluent Danish speaker, could we consider an international with a B1-B2 level in Danish? One of our clients gradually changed their mindset from “Danish is mandatory” to “Internationals are welcome”, which enabled them to attract a larger talent pool locally and abroad.


Adjust organisation culture and practices to facilitate integration

How to help your international teammates to integrate quickly? Engage them in both work and social conversations. Listen to their ideas and rationale in decision making. Diversity in culture and beliefs can sometimes pose challenges. It takes time to accommodate, but showing acceptance and respect can facilitate understanding and creativity.


One of our clients embedded a social time during the recruitment process, when the candidates spend a couple of hours to get along with the team. It helps the hiring manager and the team know if there is a compatible social match for teamwork.


Creating a diverse team takes time. Having the first international in the group is the most difficult, yet it will become easier as the team grows.


At Moving Talent, we are an international team, sharing different ways of thinking regarding problems and solutions. We understand the challenges, but also the benefits of having a diverse team. Therefore, we are ready to advise our clients and candidates in seeing the potentials of diversity and adjust recruitment and job search strategies to help them find the best fit.


1 https://cbswire.dk/brain-drain-56-international-students-leave-denmark-graduate-cbs/

2 https://ceoworld.biz/2019/11/05/revealed-the-worlds-best-non-native-english-speaking-countries-2019/

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