Conducting business internationally can be a great opportunity for a company’s bottom line, and also for creating a company culture rich with diversity and new ideas. In order to be successful while hiring in other cultures it’s important to be mindful that motivating factors, gender norms, body language, and values, differ worldwide. When looking for the perfect candidate in Asia, you need to come to the table with a different game plan than the hiring strategy you use in the United States.

1. What are the cultural norms?
In the U.S. certain behaviors are considered acceptable and customary in the workplace, for instance, managing up your own accomplishments so your superiors are aware of your successes. This type of behavior, however, is not considered appropriate in many cultures. Embrace cultural differences, and be cognizant that this translates into different senses of humor, different social norms, different ways of working, different national holidays, and possibly different things that can be considered offensive. It’s important to read up on customary practices of other countries you work with and be aware of what the social norms are in business. In some countries candidates will not look you in the eye out of respect in an interview; valuable information to you as the interviewer, so do your research. 

2. What is your reputation?
Google your brand name and see what people are saying about your company in other countries. You can quickly and easily review professional sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, or look at more social sites like Twitter and Facebook. When looking to recruit, it’s invaluable to know what the local perceptions are of your company and brand. If you need to do any damage control some sites allow you to comment for free, on others you may need a paid subscription, but responding to concerns online helps manage your brand image, which can help raise public opinion. Once you are aware what the local culture considers the positives and negatives of your brand, you can cater your recruiting approach to what candidates value and desire in a position, and directly address any concerns that may be prevalent in that culture.

3. What do the local’s value?
When looking for a new position, candidates search jobs based on key terms and words that they value. Knowing this, update job descriptions targeting local audiences based on their wants and needs in a position. If your candidate values a healthy work/life balance, then highlight this match within your company. If the primary motivator is benefits, be competitive in the marketplace. For instance, in India transportation to and from work, as well as a daily food stipend is commonplace, so make sure you update your benefits package to include this regional perk. Once you have identified the motivating factors in each target culture, you can highlight the corresponding benefits of working at your company, or change your comp package to meet the needs of the culture.  The goal is to meet (and ideally exceed) the wants and needs of your desired candidate, creating a connection with your company so that the candidate wants to work for you.

4. What language do your desired candidates speak?
Although this may seem obvious, if your website is in English and the target country speaks another language, you’re missing out on your desired candidate.  Localize your website and online application in the native language of the country you are recruiting in, and make sure things aren’t lost in translation. In order to avoid a mistake like Kentucky Fried Chicken's slogan, "Finger lickin' good" translating in Chinese to "Eat your fingers off," have someone fluent in the local language proofread your website before going live. 

Remember, you need to adapt to your audience in order to be successful at recruiting across cultures. Don’t expect that U.S. customs and values will translate and be effective in other countries, because often they will fall flat, or worse, be offensive. When done well, recruiting a diverse workforce will result in a collaborative, innovative and desirable business model and culture, and all it takes is a little research and foresight to accomplish.

Have a question on how to brand your company? E-mail Carol at, follow her on Twitter @CarolEichengrun or Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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