Q&A: International Hiring with Vikash Chandra

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This week we’re in conversation with Vikash Chandra, COO, Cutshort. We talk about International Hiring.

The interview is edited for clarity.

Q- You've been here for a while, right? Have you seen a change in hiring from abroad increase over the last couple of years?

Indian talent, especially in the tech space, is highly regarded worldwide. With each passing year, its value continues to increase, and people appreciate the contributions of the Indian diaspora. Previously, companies like Infosys, Wipro, and TCS facilitated talent outsourcing through various business models, allowing Indian talent to reach the global market. However, the onset of the pandemic and changing behaviours have led to a significant shift in hiring practices, with a greater emphasis on remote work.

As a result, hiring has become borderless, and individuals in India are now able to secure remote jobs in the US and other countries, often receiving better pay. This shift initially occurred due to a talent shortage in developed countries, which prompted them to seek talent from developing nations. While other developing countries like Pakistan, Ukraine, Nepal, and Bangladesh also possess talent, the opportunities available there are relatively limited. In contrast, India offers a combination of ample opportunities and a high density of talent, allowing for both professional growth and improved quality.

Considering these factors, companies are increasingly willing to engage in international hiring and embrace remote work. However, before embarking on this path, it is essential to be aware of the necessary laws, regulations, and compliances. Understanding the legal framework and compliance requirements of the target countries is crucial. Companies should ensure they comply with immigration laws, tax regulations, and employment contracts specific to each jurisdiction. By adhering to these guidelines, companies can navigate international hiring successfully.

Q- Where can companies start with international hiring, what are the essentials?

When companies engage in international hiring, ensuring a fair and inclusive hiring process is crucial. Here are some considerations to achieve this:

1. Transparency in Compensation: In the US and some other countries, it is common to be transparent about compensation in job postings. To maintain fairness, companies should disclose salary ranges or at least provide clarity during the recruitment process. However, in countries like India, where it is not customary to disclose compensation upfront, companies can adopt a balanced approach by providing clear salary expectations during interviews or at later stages.

2. Adapting to Local Practices: Companies should familiarize themselves with local hiring practices and adapt accordingly. Understanding cultural norms, local job market dynamics, and legal requirements will help companies design their hiring process to be inclusive and aligned with local expectations.

3. Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination: Companies should ensure that their hiring practices are free from discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, or any other particular characteristics. Following equal opportunity principles and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives can help foster a fair hiring process.

4. Tailored Job Descriptions: Job descriptions should focus on essential job requirements and avoid unnecessary biases or language that could discourage certain candidates. Using inclusive language and highlighting the company's commitment to diversity and equal opportunity can attract a broader pool of applicants.

5. Objective Evaluation Criteria: Establishing clear and objective evaluation criteria is essential to assess candidates fairly. Companies should design their selection process to identify the necessary skills, qualifications, and cultural fit based on job-related factors rather than personal biases.

6. Cultural Sensitivity and Training: Companies should provide cultural sensitivity training to their hiring managers and teams involved in the recruitment process. This training helps increase awareness and understanding of different cultural perspectives, ensuring fair treatment of candidates from diverse backgrounds.

7. Collaboration with Local Partners: Partnering with local recruitment agencies, professional networks, or local experts can provide valuable insights into local hiring practices and help navigate legal requirements and compliance. Collaborating with local partners can enhance the inclusivity and effectiveness of the hiring process.

By considering these factors and tailoring their approach to each country's specific requirements and practices, companies can ensure a fair and inclusive hiring process when hiring abroad.

Q- How to ensure inclusive and diverse hiring when hiring from abroad?

Ensuring a fair and inclusive hiring process is crucial, particularly for companies under public scrutiny. When hiring abroad, consider the following:

1. Craft inclusive and unbiased job descriptions to attract diverse talent.

2. Be mindful of the sourcing channels to promote diversity in candidate selection.

3. Use blind screening techniques that hide personal information to avoid biases based on gender or nationality.

4. Recognize that cultural lenses can influence perceptions of talent, so focus on skills and qualifications rather than personal characteristics.

5. Enhance diversity by utilizing a diverse and structured interview process.

Remember, diversity and inclusion are increasingly valued, even if they may have been overlooked in some regions. Adopting these practices will contribute to a more equitable hiring process.

Q- What strategies can companies actually employ to attract and retain talent when hiring internationally? Because Indians want to work abroad, but do people from abroad want to work in India?

As India evolved from being a hub for standard outsourcing to being a global powerhouse driving tech innovation and contributing in technological advancements, there has been a significant shift in the tech capability perception of India. Many companies now recognize the value of the work being done in India. Expats from different countries, such as Korea, Japan, and the US, are living and working in India, bringing a diverse perspective and professional expertise.

This diversity adds tremendous value to Indian companies, enabling them to extract higher value and compensate for the unique talents these individuals bring. The pandemic has also played a role in the reverse brain drain, with many people who have worked in the Western world for 15-20 years now returning to India. They see the potential and opportunities in starting something new in India, especially in light of recent layoffs in larger companies. The evolving landscape presents exciting possibilities for growth and innovation in the country.

The potential benefits of hiring from abroad are numerous. Firstly, it allows companies to access a diverse talent pool and tap into a wide range of skills and expertise. Hiring internationally can bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and cultural diversity to the organization. It also enables companies to expand their global footprint and establish a presence in different markets. Additionally, hiring from abroad can help address talent shortages in specific industries or regions.

Q- What are some challenges faced while hiring abroad?

Hiring from abroad results in both benefits and drawbacks. Challenges include navigating international laws, compliance, and immigration policies. Cultural and communication barriers can arise, along with time zone and remote management issues. Cost considerations and hidden expenses should be factored in. However, the advantages of accessing diverse talent, and expanding market reach outweigh the drawbacks with careful planning and compliance.

One major challenge is navigating the complexities of international laws, regulations, and compliance requirements. Each country has its own employment laws and immigration policies that must be followed, which can be time-consuming and costly to navigate. Language and cultural barriers may also arise, requiring effective communication strategies and cultural sensitivity training. Managing remote teams across different time zones can present logistical and coordination challenges. Moreover, there may be differences in work practices, expectations, and professional norms that need to be addressed.

Before expanding and hiring from abroad, it is crucial for companies to conduct thorough research and planning. They should assess the legal and regulatory landscape, identify any potential risks or challenges, and develop strategies to mitigate them. Building a strong support system, including legal counsel and HR professionals with international expertise, can be beneficial. Establishing clear communication channels, setting expectations, and fostering cultural understanding within the organization is essential for successful cross-border hiring.

The evolving models of onsite-offshore and remote work have changed the landscape. Salary disparities are being balanced as global competition increases. As geographical boundaries dissolve, the global marketplaces are evolving and they are increasingly driven by value rather than location. Compensation structures, thus will adapt to this shift and result in a harmonious equilibrium.

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