It’s no secret that today’s HR leaders face unprecedented recruiting challenges. The skills gap is starting to seem more like a canyon. More and more organizations are watching their jobs go unfilled, which means they’re losing tens of thousands of dollars a year per open position. Productivity is stretched thin in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. HR pros and recruiters face big, empty spaces in their companies’ talent pipelines. This skills gap has only made the war for talent more fierce as competitors try to lure top talent away from one another by offering hefty incentives.

Talent acquisition teams are now tasked with finding exceptional candidates who may not even be readily available in their domestic labor pools.

That’s why many U.S. companies are bridging the skills gap by recruiting from abroad. The global labor pool offers a diverse mix of candidates with a variety of competencies. It can be the perfect way to solve the perennial problem of finding the right employees for hard-to-fill positions.

However, sourcing and screening foreign talent can seem daunting. So, how do you seamlessly kick off a new, global-focused talent acquisition strategy at your organization? Here are six tactics to help you:

1. Partner With an Economic Modeling Firm

Before you post a requisition on an international job board, seek data to validate your assumptions. Contact economic modeling specialists who can help you understand in-country labor markets.

2. Invest in Local Relationships

Get yourself over to your targeted country. Learn about the culture. Speak to communications experts at local universities. Don’t assume that your traditional methods of recruiting top talent will apply in foreign markets. 

3. Up Your Interviewing Skills

The stakes are so much higher with foreign workers. A new job often means a completely new life. So take your time reading a CV. Formulate thoughtful questions that will help you select the best candidate for the role based on knowledge, skills, and organizational fit.

4. Be Mindful of Cultural Differences

BootsResearch the cultural norms for the foreign national you’re interviewing and use that information to contextualize your interactions with the candidate. Don’t draw immediate conclusions about your candidate’s competence based on their accent, eye contact, dress, or deferential body language.

5. Become Proficient in the Language of STEM

No one is asking you to learn C#, XAML, or any other programming language before you hire technical talent. However, the most successful recruiters and HR professionals invest time in learning more than just industry jargon. There are continuing education opportunities that can help non-technical people to become proficient in the language of STEM. Opt for industry-specific training over traditional HR training classes.

6. Get Others Involved in the Recruiting Process

Build internal bridges and engage in knowledge-sharing by asking non-HR colleagues to help you source and screen foreign nationals. Teach a programmer or developer how to screen candidates and you will have an extra pair of hands on your next recruiting project.

Each day at work, foreign nationals bring their education, passion, and unique perspectives to U.S. companies. In return, organizations receive innovation, higher levels of productivity, and globally competitive edges. While the long-term fixes of training current and future workforces are certainly critical, as the skills gap and rising wage pressures persist, foreign national workers will be the only immediate way to build a sustainable talent pipeline.

It’s time for more organizations to start thinking strategically about what immigrant workers can do for their workforce now and in the future.

Jamie Gilpin is the CMO and workforce trends analyst at VISANOW.

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