Companies are increasingly looking for international profiles. Along with academic credentials and outside interests, having international experience is often a key factor that recruiters are looking for when screening for new candidates. If you’re wondering what’s so special about having international experience, here are recruiters’ top five reasons why.
1. Autonomy and confidence
Recruiters recognise that the decision to go abroad requires courage. Leaving your home, friends, and family behind can be a daunting concept.
Far from family and friends, you have only yourself to rely on, so you learn to be autonomous: one of the top skills that employers are looking for especially now during these times of social distancing and home working. This autonomy is also frequently coupled with a higher level of confidence, which makes international profiles even more interesting to recruiters.
2. Language skills
Another advantage of international profiles is their language skills. Whether or not you’re a native English speaker, speaking two or more languages is a highly valuable asset in our globalised world. In many countries, companies are looking for candidates who speak both the local language and English.
There is no doubt that living abroad is the best way to learn a new language and to get a native-sounding accent. Living in a country where people speak a different language, you get to spend a large part of your day interacting with,native speakers. This is a lot more efficient than taking private lessons back home.
3. Cross-cultural communication skills
Communication is not just about speaking different languages. Having international experience is among the best ways to improve one’s cross-cultural communication skills.
People who live abroad tend to meet more foreigners than they would in their own countries. Being around people who come from very diverse cultures is a great way to reflect on your own culture and improve your interpersonal communication skills. Needless to say, communication skills are among the most important skills to have in almost any job.
To access new talent, multi-national organisations recruit culturally-diverse people who will bring new insights to their teams. Diversity is also great at fostering innovation within a company, and recruiters know that.
For the same reasons, people with international experience tend to be more empathetic and better team players in culturally-diverse work environments. They embrace diversity and do their best to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.
4. Adaptability, open-mindedness and resilience
Having worked or studied with people from different backgrounds, candidates with an international profile are said to be more adaptable and open-minded than other people.
Living in a place that is culturally very different from what they are used to forces them to adapt if they want to fit into their new environment. This includes anything from getting used to their new routines to making new friends and getting accustomed to eating local food.
The qualities of resilience, flexibility and open-mindedness that are built through these experiences are what attract recruiters to prefer these profiles. They are able to adapt to several circumstances and are a great fit for an international, globally-connected VUCA world.
5. International network and knowledge of local markets
People who have international experience generally have a wider network of people to whom they can reach out. This can be particularly interesting for companies who work with international providers or are in the process of expanding internationally.
Recruiters are also frequently looking for people who have in-depth knowledge of a local market, which again favors international candidates.
This last point highlights the fact that international profiles are not all valued in the same way. The number of countries and the amount of time people have lived in them makes a huge difference to recruiters.
Internationally-experienced candidates are typically resilient, adaptable, confident, and autonomous, which makes them very attractive to recruiters. Many of them also speak several languages, have an international network of people that they can reach out to, and make great team players.