By Benjamin Guth, Director of Operations, Diamond Global Recruitment Group
So you have made the decision to hire workers from abroad. Now comes the tricky part. How can you be sure that you are choosing candidates who will be loyal to your company? How do you know they have integrity and a passion for their work? Will they integrate well into your existing workforce? How will you evaluate whether they have the language or technical skills necessary for the job that you expect them to do? How sure can you be that the candidate you select will meet the criteria for a work permit?
Recruiting and screening candidates abroad on your own is like navigating a cave without a headlamp. You never know if you are going to find the exit, and you will surely bump into many walls before doing so. If you choose to do this on your own, you must first become familiar with the source country’s recruitment laws. For example, the government of the Philippines requires that you use a local licensed agency to represent you in order for the workers to obtain exit clearances. Selecting an agency abroad is risky. Many overseas recruitment firms charge workers exorbitant fees for jobs. With the new Canadian laws protecting foreign workers, you will be liable for all fees the worker has paid to a foreign recruiter. Candidates have been known to pay up to $10,000 for opportunities to work in Canada. This traditionally happens behind an employer’s back, with candidates that have been sworn to secrecy. Top recruitment firms find talent that is currently employed. Their recruits have experience in your specific industry and position. Most companies in Canada do not have access to these candidates. Canadian companies tend to rely on personal referrals from existing staff to source foreign workers. While this seems like a cost effective way to hire, this does not usually yield great results. Business owners want to show their employees that they care by helping their family, but this is not always what is best for the company. Ask yourself this question – would you hire all of your siblings? Cousins? In-laws? One can not judge a candidate strictly by the friends and family they possess. Without the expertise in immigration needed to evaluate the candidates’ eligibility (ie: legal status, marital status, education requirements, work history), business owners cannot determine if these family members meet work permit criteria. Imagine going through the entire LMO process, waiting months for the staff you desperately need, only to find out that the candidate did not have proper documentation necessary to leave their own country!
Evaluating your candidates’ motivation is key to choosing the right candidate. Are they coming for an adventure? Are they desperate for any opportunity to work in Canada? What do they know about your company? Do they fully understand the location, working conditions, housing and job expectations? Are they prepared to work the shift hours and weekends you need? How can you be certain that they will be loyal? Do they understand what payroll deductions will be made and how much money they will have left to send home? These are difficult things for business owners in Canada to evaluate. Assessing a foreign worker’s attitude and buy-in to your company culture is very different from hiring a Canadian employee. All potential foreign workers should be interviewed by their future manager via Skype. A thorough behavioural interview inclusive of questions to evaluate future behaviour based on past performance should be included. During this interview, you will be able to assess language comprehension and their ability to communicate effectively. The big question, will they fit in, is one that should be answered before you ever sign a contract.
The moral of the story is to select an experienced foreign recruitment agency. Whether you are starting from scratch or you would like to use their services to evaluate your own candidates, it will save you aggravation, time and money. This is definitely a job for the experts.