Updated: Aug 15
You hear it all the time - keep your Linkedin relevant and updated and opportunities will come. And, it's finally happened. Your mind absolutely starts spinning and you get incredibly excited at the thought of being able to use your education and experience and pursue a career outside of your home country.
Here are some things I want you to do after you get excited about the potential opportunity:
1. Remember, you're one of many the recruiter reached out to.
Why this matters: Knowing that others were contacted also sets you in the frame of mind to respect the nature of the international recruitment process. Linkedin has over 700 million members, so understanding that it will be competitive helps you to frame your response and creates a framework in your mind to know that it's absolutely not personal if the opportunity does not materialize.
2. Understand what the opportunity is and the strings attached.
Why this matters: An international opportunity comes with many strings attached. For starters, you may need to enter in to a contract that states that you are required to stay the full duration of time with that company as they are responsible for sponsoring your work visa and/or if you leave the company before your contract is up, you will be required to pay back all expenses etc., So think of it this way - if you don't think you'll like the company you'll be working for, the type of work, the location, then is it really an opportunity that you want ?
3. Recruiters word EVERYTHING as an opportunity.
Why this matters: They need to attract you to the position. Their job is to attract you to the company in order to be interviewed and hopefully secure the position. Depending on if it is an internal recruiter to the company or an external recruiter, they get compensated based on whether you accept the role. It's in their best interest to get you to accept the opportunity. In fact some recruiters may even tell you not to negotiate the salary simply because they want to move the process along for their benefit. So, you need to evaluate whether this is truly an opportunity that serves YOUR best interest.
How to determine your best interest: (1) Will this opportunity provide me with upward mobility? (2) Is this opportunity in a field I want to pursue my career in? (3) Is this opportunity aligned with my financial goals? (4)Do I see myself living in this new country and finding support and opportunity?
The reality is in some instances individuals on work visas are placed on some of the hardest, most time consuming jobs because they know you are contractually obligated so don't be afraid to understand truly what you are walking in to. Ask questions about the attrition, about the leadership style and know yourself so well that you can determine if it's truly an opportunity you desire.
Also, if the opportunity does not interest you, don't be afraid to tell the recruiter what type of opportunity does- sometimes you can pivot / change careers using these opportunities - they are already interested in you, so why not ask for what you need?
4. Is the math 'mathing'?
Why this matters: You will need to consider the cost of living in your new location if you do decide to relocate, taking in to account taxes, cost of living and benefits. Most recruiters when they make contact with you provide you the salary range of the opportunity so be very wise about this.
5. Nailing the Interview
Why this matters: International recruitment is about your expertise but also about your personality. Do they want to work with you, moreover, do YOU want to leave your country and work with them? Take the time to really ask questions around work life balance, how they manage stress, ask about the diversity of the workforce, employee resource groups, etc., in other words, will you have the opportunity to enjoy life outside of work?.
6. Chat with individuals who work at / live in the country you are traveling to.
Why this matters: Recruiters and Hiring Managers want to attract you. Past employees know the deal and current employees give you a realistic picture. Don't be afraid to reach out to these individuals to better understand the landscape. Ask questions such as : (1) What is one thing you would change about the company? (2) Describe the work-life balance (3) Tell me about your worst boss and best boss (4) What percentage of good bosses do you think are at the company?
Work with someone who has been there before to prep for your interview.
At Island Advantage, we have coaches that have successfully navigated the international job market and have supported Caribbean nationals with landing roles in America, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and more.
They reached out to you - you have something they want, don't be afraid to be wise about it all and make sure it works for you.