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Recruiters on Foreign Resumes

The demand for talent and short supply has created a need to seek labor beyond the employer’s domestic borders. As a result some employers and staffing companies have actively solicited resumes from foreign talent. And this interest is reciprocated as many international workers continue to have an interest in jobs in Canada, US and so forth. But when we receive these resumes they are often not “North American” friendly. Despite the sound qualifications, many of these resumes are presented in a format and custom that simply does not sell the candidate.So how best should we handle these incoming resumes from candidates that have shown an interest in employment in our country? How can staffing professionals create am improved recruitment process to present their foreign candidates better?

A few weeks ago, we thought we would put out the question to recruitment and staffing professionals to get their thoughts on ways to improve the handling and presenting of foreign resumes. A few great suggestions came back including using a standardized process to capture the information (resume and application templates and so on). Implementing standards in data capture will make presenting and comparing candidates easier (in an apples to apples fashion). Each employer, especially if they have an internal HR department should (hopefully) have a standardized recruitment process. So it may be a good idea to ensure your foreign applicants follow this process for a particular job order.

Another thing you can do as a staffing professional is to spend sometime with your candidate and makes suggestions for improvement. There are many very qualified foreign applicants who just need a orientation on how resumes are presented in North America. So if you have a great candidate, it may be a good idea to roll up your shirtsleeves and spend some quality time with them. Doing so will not only improve their resume but your agent candidate relationship.

Recruiters on Foreign Resumes:

“The demands put upon a CV vary greatly from country to country. For example even as a professional I’m often stunned by the CV’s of US nationals. The language is not the issue here, an English CV is totally acceptable. But the format is such that if it came from a Dutch national would mean one thing…. Garbage can.”

“The same is true with CV’s even from most EU countries. And as far as I can see there are huge regional differences in the US as well.”

“So yes most of those CV’s have to be rewritten, as mentioned sitting down with a candidate to reformat the document is a good thing. I’m not a fan of copy/paste and reformat alone. A CV contains a lot of “hidden” information that I might miss, but are important indicators for insiders. ”

“I think you need to take two things into consideration:

1) English is often a second language for the candidate.
2) Expectations on resumes vary, sometimes *dramatically*, from country to country.

It would be a significant challenge for most foreign candidates to bring their resume to a US standard. Personally, I think it would be best if you were to require the candidate send their resume in a format that can easily be copied and pasted, so that you can use their information to populate a standard “candidate profile”.

Benefits to this are:

1) You get to know your candidate a little better, because you are forced to spend the 15-20 minutes required to transfer the information.

2) The hiring company now has a standard information template, making it easier for them to compare candidate attributes. Also, they are not distracted by things that are less relevant – such as resume layout and structure.”

“Because of the language challenge, you may want to go one step further and coach your candidate on better grammar & wording where needed.”

“Imagine what it would be like if you had to submit a resume in a foreign language. Wouldn’t you be grateful for the help?”

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