By Bruce Powell, Founder & Executive RecruiterA job isn’t just a job.  It’s a place where we spend most of our A Guide to Hiring Around the World 1time, and in many cases, a job can relocate an entire family across the world.  As a headhunter specialized in international search, part of my job is making sure I make the right match not only between employer and employee but also between employee and location.  Here is what you should consider when hiring an ex-pat.

Do Your Research

I work out of IQ PARTNERShead office in Toronto, but the bulk of my work involves relocating mining experts from Latin America and North America to Mexico or vice versa.  I’ve also relocated people within the US – for example, Nevada or Chicago to Tucson, AZ.  In order to do right by everyone involved, the first thing you need to do is brush up on everything there is to know about the destination country or city.  You need to be able to answer in-depth questions about:

  • Cost of living
  • Labour laws
  • School system
  • Taxes
  • Weather / climate
  • Security / safety
  • Cultural differences


Consider Cultural Differences

In addition to being able to answer any questions, you need to be aware and make everyone else aware of cultural and language gaps.  I don’t mean you should stereotype or say that “everyone in X country is Y” – there are all types of people in every city and country in the world – BUT there are cultural differences to consider.

I’ll give you an example.  Mexico and Argentina both have large mining industries, so I often relocate candidates between these countries.  What I’ve found is that Argentinians tend to be more systematic and efficient in their approach to work as compared to Mexican mine workers.  When you bring in an Argentinian to lead a mining team in Mexico, it can cause friction.  This doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t happen, but there needs to be a conversation.

Gain First-Hand Experience

No description or set of statistics can compare to actually visiting the area.  I would recommend visiting the destination city yourself, or at the very least, having the potential candidate visit before signing their employment contract.  That way, their potential boss can show them around, they can meet the team, and get a taste of what daily life will be like.A Guide to Hiring Around the World 2

The majority of my clients, before providing an offer, will invite the top candidate and their spouse to visit.  While the job candidate is meeting the team, a company representative will escort their spouse around the city and help them explore the best areas to live, schools, local shopping, and so on.

So if you’re looking to hire an ex-pat, either as a hiring manager or headhunter, remember that you’re helping someone make a major change in their life, and often in the lives of their family.  The more information you know, and the more you can provide to all parties, the better off the “fit” and long-term business relationship will be.


For more posts like this, check out our Headhunter Insights blog categories.

IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have teams of specialist recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations, Mining & Engineering, Life Sciences, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell Executive Search

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.

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