Offshore hiring and remote support teams are becoming increasingly common in modern business. More and more, mid-to-large size companies are electing to outsource their contact centers to countries like the Philippines, India or Vietnam for various roles such as tech support, customer service, lead generation or offshore bookkeeping services (among others). While outsourcing can give you access to a highly skilled and affordable workforce overseas, it can also, not surprisingly, present some challenges when it comes to recruiting.
In this article, we address 9 common hiring challenges in the global outsourcing industry and discuss possible solutions to each of them.
1. Recruiters Waste Considerable Amounts of Time Screening Applicants for Outsourced Remote Teams
When companies who outsource jobs to foreign countries are working with large applicant pools abroad, it is generally a waste of time for recruiters to interview each remote applicant individually, at least in the early screening stages of the hiring process. Not to mention, coordinating schedules to set up one-on-one interviews with everyone involved can be exasperating.
Solution Leverage Recruitment Software to Screen Overseas Candidates with One-Way Video Interviews
The solution to this problem is simple: include asynchronous video interviewing into your recruiter tool-kit to further screen and pre-qualify remote applicants before committing time out of your busy day to a one-on-one interview. Don’t bother meeting with someone until you know you actually have a qualified candidate.
2. High Volumes and Massive Employee Turnover
The offshoring and outsourcing industry is often characterized by a workforce that constantly needs to be renewed and replaced. In saying that, rarely is there a shortage of applications for remote jobs because they tend to be relatively well-remunerated positions. According to Martin Conboy, one of the leading voices in the global outsourcing industry, “while the number of applications for some of these positions can easily be in the thousands, only approximately 5% of applicants (the ones with the best English language and communication skills) get awarded jobs. For that reason, recruitment teams for outsourced projects are often quite large to accommodate the intense workload, yet they still seem to be routinely stretched thin in trying to manage the applicant pool.”
Solution Use Video Interview Software to Hire More Efficiently at a Distance
While recruiters in outsourcing (defined by Wikipedia) projects are often too busy managing applicants to research new technology (unfortunate but true), in a cut-throat hiring environment where employers are constantly competing to land the best talent, there is a significant competitive advantage to be had in adopting recruitment software to help process applicants faster (and make offers before your competition does). Even better, beyond streamlining the remote screening process and cutting time-to-fill in half, the right recruitment software will also enable you to build a bank of qualified remote candidates with accompanying video profiles to revisit when new vacancies come up.
3. Language Barriers and Communication Boundaries Can Be Problematic When It Comes to Recruiting Offshore Employees
Depending on where your clients are located, the level of language proficiency of prospects and certain cultural differences need to be considered when it comes to hiring overseas. “There are significant language, cultural and educational disparities between the U.S. and the developing countries where outsourcing projects are often sent. These disparities have a marked impact on the ability of many offshore teams to fully understand the nuances of a project and to execute effectively” explains tech entrepreneur and outsourcing expert, Volodymyr Berezhniy.
It’s important to remember that, in most cases, your remote team will be communicating with your customers in their second, third or even fourth language, so meticulously vetting communication skills is crucial before making hiring decisions. Contractors may not be familiar with the technical language used within your company. Even something as simple as using the same phrases and terms to describe things is critical to a successful operation, and therefore, it is imperative that recruiters and trainers take the time to ensure the entire team is on the same page when it comes to responsibilities, objectives, and milestones.
At the end of the day, your remote team’s communication skills are at the center of your customer experience and failing to recognize this could be detrimental. As author and entrepreneur Deep Patel explains, “Despite all the benefits of outsourcing, it is only a good thing if you’re receiving the quality you expect. Anything less will be a disappointment”.
Solution Evaluate Remote Agents’ Communication Skills Adequately with Video Interviews
On-demand and live video Interviews enable recruitment teams to get a complete understanding of remote agents before making a hiring decision. Step into your customer’s shoes and experience for yourself your remote team’s ability to communicate before they are hired. Video interviewing is a valuable tool when it comes to validating your remote team’s communication and interpersonal skills.
“There are significant language, cultural and educational disparities between the U.S. and the developing countries where outsourcing projects are often sent. These disparities have a marked impact on the ability of many offshore teams to fully understand the nuances of a project and to execute effectively.”
Volodymyr Berezhniy, groupq1.com
4. Offshore Applicants in Some Remote Locations Have Limited Access to the Required Technology
The reality is, when you’re hiring in all corners of the world, applicants don’t always have access to a computer and/or webcam with a reliable internet connection to complete online interviews or assessments.
Solution Mobile-Friendly Live Video Conferencing and On-Demand Interviews
With most video recruitment platforms, applicants can go through the entire process and complete their interviews from any device. This being said, while more advanced economies still have the highest rates of technology use, smartphone ownership and internet access/usage continues to climb steadily even in the most remote countries and emerging economies.
Backup Automated Audio Interviewing System When All Else Fails
In the event that an applicant cannot gain access to a device with video capabilities, a backup automated audio interviewing system is available to you to ensure everyone has a fair chance and you never miss an opportunity to explore potential talent.
Pro-Tip Overseas Digital Assessment Centers
To overcome the problem of limited access to technology in emerging economies, many companies who hire overseas are turning to digital assessment centers where applicants can come in-person to undergo online skills tests or virtual interviews utilizing computers that are provided for them by the employer.
The idea of a digital assessment center essentially consists of setting up an in-person interview room where groups can come in and perform various digital assessments in a supervised and secure online environment. With the right platform and tools working for you, this method can help you significantly cut down on overall recruiter costs. In fact, leveraging this kind of technology enables your team to potentially interview hundreds of candidates per hour with only one or two recruiters overseeing the entire process. This drastically reduces the amount of time needed to qualify and disqualify applicants and, if set up properly, can reduce time and cost-to-hire by up to 80%.
Implementing a digital structured interview process to keep score also helps reduce bias and increase the quality of the people you are hiring. As covered in section 9 of this article, oftentimes in these settings, local recruiters or consultants may not have the company’s best interest in mind. They sometimes favor friends or family members with little regard for the applicant’s actual qualifications. Using in-person digital assessments and competency-based rating scales removes these factors which produces better quality hires on top of a notable increase in efficiency.
5. Free Virtual Conferencing Services Offer Inconsistent Video Quality, Especially in Locations Where Internet Connectivity Is Limited
Have you ever had connectivity or video quality issues while in the middle of a Skype Interview with a candidate in a remote location? Well, you’re not alone, free video conferencing tools like Skype, Google Hangouts or Facebook’s video chat feature, while convenient, offer inconsistent video quality, and when used for job interviews the applicant experience is often negatively affected as a result.
Solution Interview Remote Agents with a Dedicated Video Hiring Platform
To make it even easier for offshore applicants, they don’t even need to create an account in order to access the platform. This makes for an easy and seamless user experience. They simply register within the platform by entering their name and email and move on to complete their application form or video interview.
6. Scheduling Interviews Across Numerous Time Zones Is Complex and Time-Consuming
Coordinating schedules with applicants in remote locations can be complicated, inconvenient and very time-consuming. Multiple phone calls and/or long email threads are often necessary just to set up an interview time that suits both the recruiter and the applicant.
Solution Overcome Time Zone Differences For Offshore Hiring with Automated Scheduling
With an automatic scheduling tool, it doesn’t matter which time zone your applicants are located in, simply pre-set your availability in your own time zone and have respondents from anywhere in the world schedule themselves in for an online interview when it’s most convenient for them. Stop playing long-distance phone tag with your applicants and struggling to coordinate schedules across multiple time zones, whether it’s a live video conference, a group interview or a panel interview, a self-scheduling tool makes it easy for you to meet your applicants no matter how far away they are.
“Despite all the benefits of outsourcing, it is only a good thing if you’re receiving the quality you expect. Anything less will be a disappointment.”
Deep Patel, deeppatel.com
7. Skills Testing at a Distance for Offshore Candidates is No Easy Feat
Without the proper tools, it can be difficult to evaluate an applicant’s technical skill set in a timely and cost-effective manner when they are located in a foreign country.
Solution Use Custom Skills Tests to Evaluate Offshore Applicants’ Expertise and Guarantee the Perfect Hire
Accurately gauge your candidate’s linguistic skills or computer literacy with typing tests, excel proficiency tests or work samples. Better yet, get a broader understanding of an applicant’s personality, level of professionalism, and work ethic with psychometric or behavioral assessments. Whatever the aptitudes you want to measure, tools like VidCruiter can help implement your custom skills tests seamlessly throughout your recruitment process to help you get a total assessment of what your remote applicants are capable of.
Want to take it one step further? Get an even better feel for what your remote applicants have to offer by getting them to complete short time-sensitive projects so you can rate their overall efficiency and quality of work all at once.
8. Not Enough Collaboration Between Recruiters, Hiring Managers and Overseas Consultants
When it comes to hiring offshore teams that will be working with little-to-no supervision, it’s important to screen and qualify these individuals thoroughly. One way to do that is to have multiple people weigh in on the interview process. Having said this, unless several people at an organization take time out of their day to interview remote agents themselves, there is not a lot of room in the traditional recruitment process for collaboration between recruiters, hiring managers and overseas consultants.
Solution Involve as Many Reviewers as You Wish With Shareable Applicant Profiles and Position Links
To facilitate collaboration within your hiring team, certain recruitment software will enable you to have as many decision-makers as you want and weigh in on an offshore applicant’s interview, no matter what country they are located in. Simply share a single candidate’s profile, or have multiple hiring managers review and score all offshore applicants for a particular position. In either case, a collaboration between your international team members can be much easier than you think.
9. Overseas Consultants Don’t Always Have Your Best Interest in Mind
In some cases, when dealing with external recruiting consultants in foreign countries, hiring decisions are made without the company’s best interest in mind. As mentioned above, some overseas recruitment consultants will recommend employees based solely on their relationships with the applicants rather than their actual skills and qualifications. In these instances, the overall quality of hires is compromised and the company is often left to deal with the aftermath of sub-par hiring decisions.
Solution Live and Pre-Recorded Interviewing Tools Allow Hiring Managers to Be More Hands on When Hiring Overseas
Video hiring tools enable you to save video logs for future reference as well as sharing and collaboration between local consultants and hiring managers, allowing you to efficiently monitor and weigh in on the entire recruitment process from a distance.
For many reasons, outsourcing is rapidly becoming a standard in certain industries. The good news is, with HR technology like virtual interviewing, companies can effectively cut down on long-distance recruiting costs by meeting with remote applicants easily and efficiently in a secure online environment. Think about it, if your candidates are located in a different country and time zone, short of getting on a plane, how can you see and talk with them? Cloud-based recruitment software can help recruiting teams save considerable amounts of time and money.
Outsourcing is Here to Stay!
“The jobs of the future will have very little to do with processing words or numbers (the Internet can do that now). Nor will we need many people to act as placeholders, errand runners or receptionists. Instead, there’s going to be a huge focus on finding the essential people and outsourcing the rest.”
Martin Conboy, FooBooOnline.com