Where is all this global talent? And why are they hiding?
This is a question I recently received from a recruiter friend who has a rather difficult open role to fill – one that requires cross-cultural knowledge and international poise as well as a bevy of connections throughout Asia.
I racked my head, trolled my LinkedIn, and reached into my network for a person with this profile.
But his question has me thinking, where does global talent hang out?
This query is certainly top of mind for companies competing in today’s global economy and looking for key talent to drive international business success.
Furthermore, in an unpredictable economy, the speed and agility to which organizations can secure the right people, in the right location, at the right time is crucial to capitalize on opportunities.
This is why the typical expat assignment of sending a headquartered employee to a foreign market for experience over the long-term can lack the mobility nimbleness needed in this new global world. (It’s still a good strategy and development technique – just longer term).
Today there is a “growing demand for self-propelled, global mobile professionals – or ‘global citizens’” as Mercer describes them in a global mobility report.
Yet, like my recruiter friend and Mercer suggest, “[businesses] don’t know how to look for these global citizens. They don’t fit classic HR processes, and even headhunters aren’t that good at finding them.”
I define a global citizen as having:
- Proven ability to do business in another country or region like working within the local economy, negotiating, entertaining, making business contacts, etc.
- Boundary spanning skills and builds relationships across all sectors and hierarchies as well as translates business norms across cultures.
- Lived internationally or currently lives abroad (maybe on their own accord).
There are traditional arenas where global citizens congregate – business school and international degree programs being big feeders as well as inside existing businesses.
In addition, my experience interacting with global millennials through She Works Abroad provides a view into those lesser known global citizens and where they are hanging out.
Here are 6 places I discovered:
- Expat Entrepreneurs: Expat entrepreneurs – or individuals in the process of launching a business internationally – offer real potential to help other businesses abroad in non-full time opportunities. Typically expat entrepreneurs have done their homework on where and how to set-up this venture, and know the local market. Unsurprisingly these folks can be found at WeWork spaces or an equivalent.
- Third Culture Kids (TCKs): TCKs are the masters at effortlessly bridging cultures because that’s all they know. Plus they have robust built in networks from growing up abroad. Find them at TCK meet-ups and on Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
- Self-Initiated Expats: These are people, like me, who have worked abroad for both long and short segments of time for different organizations. They have experience in the field with regional projects, and depending on if their employer was global, more global projects as well. A bit harder to find, but most are easily identifiable on LinkedIn as having international experience within their first 10 years of work.
- Peace Corps: Peace Corps people are tasked with hands-on projects inside local communities and are privy to many cultural nuances that can be hard to learn otherwise. Many Peace Corps volunteers look to stay in the region after their project is complete but struggle to find good use of their newly developed soft skills – including language capabilities. This is a real opportunity if a business can translate a meaningful mission for these do-gooders. They are easy to find by location on LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Interculturalists: I was recently introduced to an entire batch of people with the most incredible international credentials and experience. Intercultural work brings awareness to and appreciation for cultural differences – values, rules, norms, and expectations. Many Interculturalists teach and train on this topic, and some are highly versed in how to positively impact and grow businesses. Find them attending the Intercultural Communication Institute or SIETAR Conference.
- Digital Nomads: Digital nomads work wherever they have a wifi signal. Some digital nomads have full-time telecommute jobs while others are freelancing or consulting for business back home or abroad. Depending on their involvement in the local community, business background, and time spent in an abroad location, there are opportunities for businesses to leverage their skills. Find them trolling Nomadlist.com, coming off of Remote Year or The Remote Experience, or staying in a Roam.Co.
What is clear is that the majority of global citizens are using social media to connect and stay connected. Therefore, for recruiters and hiring managers, leveraging social media for advertising and recruiting is critical in not only identifying global citizens but creating a warm talent pool as well.
Another differentiator for businesses to consider is how they can easily contract with global citizens as free agents.
Not every talent is looking for full-time employment so having flexibility for part-time, contract, or time bound projects is an advantage and can help the business keep pace.
In all, as global citizens become more and more in demand, so will the need to locate and recruit these internationally skilled talents. Those businesses that recognize the shift in mobility from typically expatriates to global citizens have a better chance at leveraging this pool for their competitive advantage.