“Hungarians Don’t Change Their Jobs For Ten Years & Latin Americans Can Attend Interviews In Pairs”: Non-Obvious Tips for Overseas Hiring
The shortage of IT specialists is becoming a real problem. In Europe, almost 70% of all companies with 10 or more employees had enormous difficulties in filling positions. For comparison, in 2017 about 64% of the companies surveyed had difficulty filling positions. What should business owners and recruiters do? Search for candidates in foreign markets!
We’ve shared the key thoughts on the difference in the mentality of IT specialists in different countries, what difficulties and challenges can be encountered while hiring abroad, and what is most important for candidates in other markets when choosing an employer.
Below are the IT recruiters who took part in the conversation:
- Anna Paraskeyeva — Tech Recruiter at ITExpert. Searched for IT professionals in the UK, as well as Romania, Poland, and other EU countries.
- Maryna Olenichenko — Recruiting Team Lead at ITExpert. She has got experience in recruiting IT experts in the EU, Central Asia, Mexico, and Brazil.
- Vladyslava Bogashova — Tech Recruiter at ITExpert. Searched for IT specialists in the US and Canada.
- Vitalina Shykhova — Tech Recruiter at Revolut. Searches for IT experts in the EU and Brazil.
- Daria Ryazantseva — Tech Recruiter at Sigma Software. She has got experience in searching for IT experts in different markets: from Latin America and Southeast Asia to EU countries.
Things to Know Before Hiring Software Developers Abroad (Comparing to Ukrainian IT Experts)
I noticed when looking for candidates in Romania that they often have a “broad experience”. In Ukraine, we rarely meet a specialist regularly “jumping” between different programming languages or working simultaneously with 2–3 backend languages. Therefore, a candidate for, for example, a Senior Python position can be considered if they have 2–3 years with Python, given the technical background with other languages. I noticed the same trend while hiring specialists from Poland.
There is a real shortage of DevOps engineers in Romania, and this is reflected in the salary expectations of specialists in this field. With the outbreak of a full-scale war in Ukraine, the lack of qualified developers in Romania became even more obvious, because many companies began to hire specialists there. So there will be enough vacancies for them shortly.
IT experts in Romania also usually know the theory worse than the Ukrainians, for example. They have “superficial knowledge” in theory and understanding of technology. It is better to give live coding or more practical questions during a technical interview for them.
In my opinion, the features and differences when hiring abroad are:
- in temperament — somewhere there is great openness, and somewhere on the contrary, excessive restraint;
- in the speed of communication — Europe is slower in this regard, while Latin America and the US are faster;
- in life priorities, parameters that are important in a new job.
Foreigners, much less than Ukrainians, “grow” to the stack they work with. In their resumes, you can often see “jumping” from one technology to another. However, you should not regard such a specialist as frivolous. They are still software engineers, but the language is just a tool for them and can vary.
Each location is unique in its way, but the first difference from our IT market is the profiles of candidates on LinkedIn. For Europeans, a page on LinkedIn is often a “hodgepodge”. Here you can meet Python, PHP, Node.js, and JS in one profile. In an interview, as a rule, a person also talks about the various experiences of a “jack of all trades”, but there is not enough deep knowledge in the subject area or the desired programming language.
The second is a sensitive attitude to all sorts of private information and social networks. The story about “dm in the messenger” won’t work here. It is also not always possible to text an IT expert to the email.
Finally, a harsh work-life balance — much fewer candidates are ready to answer the recruiter late in the evening compared to tech specialists from Ukraine.
In my experience, applicants in the EU and Latin America respond much better to follow-ups. If in Ukraine the response to them is rather low, candidates from those countries most often can answer that they are in search and are ready to consider the offer after the second or third follow-up.
Another interesting feature of candidates from Latin America is that they sometimes artificially inflate salary expectations quite strongly. At the same time, they are ready to discuss salary questions, dwelling on the amount that satisfies both parties.
Common Challenges Recruiters Face When Hiring Abroad
One of the main factors is salary expectations: specialists from Poland and Romania mostly ask for more than, for example, candidates from Ukraine.
In Romania, companies that have entered this market can hire specialists through B2B contracts, SRL. At the same time, companies do not cover taxes; the contract and offer indicate the gross amount. The taxes can range from 1–3 to 16%. Therefore, you should indicate to the candidate that the company draws up a B2B contract through a B2B contract so that he names his expectations in gross. They also often say wages per hour (with full-time, 160–168 working hours per month).
Usually, there is no social package when applying for B2B (paid holidays, medical insurance, employee training budget) abroad, all candidates include it in their salary expectations. If your company offers this, you can discuss with the candidate a reduction in his salary expectations.
Europeans are in no hurry, sometimes you can wait a week for an answer. They don’t like it when recruiters text them to a source other than where the communication started (usually it’s on LinkedIn).
Romanians are distinguished by very high salary expectations, especially if they are in a passive search. By setting a high starting price for their services, they hope that someone might be willing to consider such a rate. In this case, I recommend finding what does not satisfy the candidate in the current job, highlighting the advantages of your vacancy, and then discussing the amount acceptable to you and the specialist.
In the countries of Central Asia, there is a low level of English, and it is also difficult to find narrowly focused specialists. For example, if there are relatively few Vue.js specialists in Ukraine, but enough to choose from someone and hire the right candidate, then in Georgia, for example, there will be a critically low number of them.
I find it easier to work with candidates from Latin America. There are a lot of IT experts there, they know English well, they actively communicate with recruiters and are open to changing jobs. Sometimes too open, judging by their CVs and how often they change jobs. This is explained by the fact that the projects were not large-scale.
The first challenge when hiring abroad is the speed of response of candidates. The story about “hiring in two weeks” is not for the EU, for example. Hiring takes mainly three months there. If you need an expert ASAP — this is a real problem.
High taxes should also be taken into consideration. After deducting taxes, IT specialists abroad receive amounts equivalent to salaries in Ukrainian IT, sometimes even lower.
Last but not least is the visa. There are a lot of emigrants abroad, and they often expect visa support from the company. Mostly they dream of relocating to London. And there are many more specialists who have a contract with the company. If it is broken earlier than the agreed time, they are obliged to pay a fine, which they often want to cover with the money of the hiring company.
One of the key difficulties when moving to another recruitment market is the need to adjust to new communication patterns: where and how it is more convenient for candidates to communicate, and so on. For example, for the EU market, it is more convenient to communicate by email, and not by messengers, on LinkedIn, and not on social networks like Facebook.
And, of course, the big challenge is the difference in time zones: it happens that recruiters need to conduct interviews at 10 PM or 5 AM now.
MUST READ: Why is Betting on the Developers in Eastern Europe the Way to Go?
Key Differences In Mentality: A Few Recruitment Cases You Might Not Have Guessed About
In my opinion, Europeans always have restraint and conciseness in conversation. The Spaniards and the Portuguese are somewhat different from the rest of the candidates from Europe. They are more open, make better contact, and empathize nicely.
As for Central Asia, I was hoping to feel how the fiery Georgian temperament breaks through the ice of analyticity and restraint inherent in the developer. But it turned out that they are not much different from Ukrainians, there are more sociable people, and there are more closed ones.
Latin America is my pure love. I have never met more open, positive, and friendly candidates. They are happy to answer all your questions, even if there are many of them. If you agree on a short introductory call, they always connect with a video, even if you don’t ask for it in advance.
It is easiest for me to work with Americans. They are always very loyal, they can say in the process of communication something like: “Call me on my mobile, I just went out for lunch.” They openly say what they want, when they can communicate, and when they can’t.
The closest in terms of mentality to Ukrainians are the Poles. There is a striking difference with the Hungarians and Romanians. Hungarians, for example, can often not change jobs for ten years, and it was a shock to me. They are reluctant to make contact and smile just a little. Romanians demand from the recruiter to earn their favor. The Spaniards are very cheerful and easy to communicate with, and they also smile a lot. And of course, they are very expressive.
For me, a completely different world in terms of mentality is Latin America. First, they are very (too?) friendly. But there are also interesting cases: in general, they are not very responsible. They may not show up for interviews at all. And there were cases when candidates disconnected without warning during an online conversation and then ignored the recruiter.
In our country and the EU, this rarely happens, but in Latin America, candidates can lie during the interview. They may attend technical interviews in pairs, and the person sitting next to them may assist the candidate. Or, if they don’t know the answer to a question, they pretend to have internet issues, disconnect and come back with a ready solution.
The Most Important Criteria for Candidates Abroad When Choosing an Employer
Candidates abroad usually do not pay much attention to the social package at work. As in Ukraine, the stack used and the team where they will have to work are the most important for IT specialists.
Europeans value their time very much and keep a work-life balance, so they are unlikely to like a work schedule that is very different from the standard one. They may pay attention to the reputation of the company or the social mission of the business.
Europeans from larger countries and cities are rarely ready to relocate. But Albanians are often dissatisfied with the situation on the domestic market and they can be tried to relocate to another EU country. I have repeatedly heard from candidates from Mexico and Brazil that they like to change their location within the country (to live in a larger or smaller city, in the mountains, or by the sea). Therefore, remote work is always to their liking. Also, they are not too inclined to work for domestic IT, they often choose offers in the US market.
In general, everyone is interested in registration at work and salary. What is more important: it will be very unprofessional if a recruiter gives an American or Canadian a monthly rate. For the USA and Canada, name the salary per hour or year. But it’s quite normal in Europe.
Evaluating Candidates and Communicating Tips
Pay attention to the reasons for changing jobs, if the CV contains short projects — specify why they were chosen, and clarify the motivation. Prepare clear information about the schedule, and social package — sometimes this is very important. It is also a must to “adapt” to the mentality of the candidate.
Before writing the first message to the candidate, check where he worked before. This will help you choose the ToV (style of communication). If it’s a startup, you can write more friendly. If a person has worked exclusively in financial institutions, it’s better to write more officially.
Be sure to start a conversation with Americans with small talk. Going straight to the point, as we are used to in Ukraine, is bad form in the USA.
Revolut, for example, has very high selection standards and a difficult recruitment process. In addition to the prescreen and soft skills check, the recruiter also conducts a technical screening. But there is a minus: we are not flexible. My advice is to make your process as flexible as possible, and replace the standard test or/and technical interview with live coding test case as necessary, e.g.
I recommend using psycholinguistics in an interview: look not at what the candidate says, but how he does it. It’s better to pay attention to gestures too. This allows you to determine where the candidate is telling the truth and where he’s not.
If a company is just entering a foreign market, I recommend conducting opinion polls to understand what is most important for candidates in their work. This will help to collect valuable insights, communicate correctly about the vacancy, and “sell” it to the right specialist.