Offshore Recruitment: The Often-Missed No-Brainer

In their blog posts here on The Staffing Stream, Allen Cash and Jeannine Parise described the proven benefit of offshore recruitment, a 24/7 solution that results in more candidate placements and costs about half that of internal staff. The formula leaves me wondering why this low-cost, highly effective candidate-sourcing strategy isn’t implemented by everyone. It seems to be a “no-brainer.”

But it’s not. In reality, the viability of offshore recruitment remains elusive to many in our industry.

As a CEO, I successfully utilized offshore relationships to find candidates in the professional sector. As a consultant I now advise an offshore recruitment services provider and have witnessed many firms incorporate an offshore component with great success. I’ve also seen failed attempts, after which firms are often quick to dismiss the option altogether, concluding: “We tried it, and it didn’t work.”

However, if these “unsuccessful” firms had embraced their offshore campaign as critical to their overall recruitment strategy, I believe they would have realized a very different outcome. I’ve seen too many firms enter the offshore relationship with an ad hoc approach that minimizes expectations for success and undermines the partner relationship.

Most companies “test” the offshore option with a small, noncritical pilot project. While logical from a capital investment standpoint, this strategy does not relieve the firm from investing the time and staff necessary to launch and grow the offshore initiative. Leaving the offshore partner to work in a vacuum with limited support predictably creates a challenging environment for success.

By implementing a few basic ideas from the outset, staffing firms can help their recruitment partner source, vet and place more candidates at a lower cost than they could do on their own:

  1. Employ due diligence before selecting your provider. Not all offshore companies are alike, and lowest cost may not be ideal in your sector.
  2. Clearly define intended outcomes so all involved know what measurements determine success.
  3. Position offshore team members as vital contributors to the group. Refrain from giving them “dog orders” with no feedback on submittals and instead include them in regular review sessions and team activities.
  4. Assign an internal, senior-level champion to manage and communicate the importance of the offshore effort.
  5. Be patient. A new recruiter working a challenging account is unlikely to generate immediate results. Incremental progress will accumulate into high-impact outcomes.

To compete in the ever-tightening staffing and VMS markets companies must evaluate every viable option. Firms should consider the obvious advantages of offshore recruitment. When managed as a vital talent-sourcing strategy — even during a pilot project — offshore recruitment can be a game changer for your business.

Jack Unroe
Jack Unroe is the founder of WorkPlaceTalent. Unroe serves as onshore advisor to Interactive Manpower Solutions (IMS), an India-based, worldwide provider of offshore recruitment services. He can be eached at jack (at) workplacetalent (dot) com.

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