Your To-Do List to Hiring Employees in a Foreign Country

You have decided it is time to expand to a new country and you need to hire your first local employees. First – congratulations! It’s an important step for your company.

Now how do you start? Whether you are hiring local sales, support or any other role, it can be a daunting task. We have compiled for you a short “to-do” list of the steps you need to take:

The job description

40% of job search assignments to recruiting agencies result in failure to place the position. Many recruiters cite having unclear assignment parameters as the driver for failure. Make sure your job description is detailed and matches the titles/names/levels of the country you are trying to recruit in.  For example, A Director in the UK is the equivalent of a Vice President in the USA.

The employment type

Contractor or employee? Full time or part-time? Just because you call them a “contractor” does not mean they are. It is key to check the local employment laws and definitions to ensure compliance.

Local recruiting agencies

Local recruiting agencies and headhunters have the advantage of knowing the local market well. To achieve broad market coverage and competitive rates, it is advised to contact at least 3 agencies and share with them the assignment before committing. Where can you find them and how do you know if they are any good? Always ask for customer recommendations and question them on their method of sourcing. And don’t forget to get their feedback on the assignment before they set out on the search.

The employment contract

We cannot stress this one enough – get the advice of a local employment counsel/lawyer. The last thing you want is to find perfect talent, agree terms, and then have to forgo the contract or expose your company to a lawsuit because you have not complied with the local laws or regulation.


This one is a tough one. Asking your chosen recruiting agency makes sense, but many recruiters earn their commission as % of the candidate’s annual salary, and are therefore incentivized to quote salaries on the higher end.

Each country has its own industry standard salary databases. Ask other companies/local HR leaders/recruiting agencies about these databases and use these to benchmark salary and benefits before informing your recruiting agency.


Research what are the minimum and standard benefits in the target country. Are you required to pay into a pension fund by law? Do you need to provide healthcare coverage only to the candidate or his whole family?


You now need to consider how you are going to pay your new employee. Some countries require the setup of local subsidiaries. In other countries you can get away with simply paying from an international account (although this does not mean you should….). There are even companies providing global PEO services. Make sure you consider together with your finance department the full implications of all these options.

Looks scary? Contact Emeraldo® for further information on how to automate and streamline global expansion!

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