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For individuals looking to change up their career paths, the global job market can offer many employment opportunities. However, before rearranging life plans, individuals must proceed with caution when researching and evaluating potential jobs at a foreign company.
Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when vetting employers for an international career.
Foreign national job candidates interested in working abroad should start the process by obtaining employment-based visas from their target country. To verify that target companies can legally hire candidates from foreign countries, foreign job seekers can turn to Goinglobal and The Riley Guide, says Sandra Ingemansen, principal owner of RésuméStrategies in Leeds, U.K., and Chicago. These sites provide free online directories of employment and career resources in other countries. Ingemansen says the following resources may also be helpful when researching prospective employers:
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To gauge the reputation of the target foreign company, a foreign job seeker can also examine its annual report, which is a comprehensive audit of the company's activities throughout a given year. These reports can be found on companies' websites or on Yahoo! Finance.
Every company should be on a valid international business networking website - such as LinkedIn in countries like the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Since LinkedIn isn't as prominent in other countries, companies may be listed on other websites. "Job candidates must conduct research on the favored online employment networking sites within the geography or market they are targeting," Ingemansen says. "For instance, Viadeo is a leader in Europe and emerging countries and is the world's number two business-oriented professional social network. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Xing dominates in social networking among businesses."
A company's online profile on business networking sites is a great resource for connecting with human resources personnel and current employees of a target company. "Job seekers can engage in group forums and Q&A sessions with these HR personnel and current employees through these sites to find out more about the company and application process," Ingemansen says. "Job candidates can also use these sites to connect with recruiters."
Job seekers should also check up on what current and former employees say in an anonymous setting. In the U.S., U.K. and Canada, websites such as Glassdoor, provide a rating system for companies as employers - allowing workers to describe the best and worst parts of working for the business, along with average salaries.
Job seekers can use social networking sites to connect with international employees to learn about the company's culture and employee morale. If a job seeker has been offered a position from a prospective employer, he or she may want to get in touch with the people they are replacing to obtain a more accurate view of the position, what is expected from that role, and the values and goals of the foreign company.
Some questions to consider are: "What events led to the vacancy of this position?" and "Is the company expecting the same performance or a change?" Job seekers may also inquire about how the company runs its payroll system, and if they offer trusted foreign exchange solutions for international employees. This is particularly important for those individuals who will need to convert their money in order to take care of expenses back home. It's important to make sure one has a service in place that will handle currency conversion.
When evaluating potential online foreign exchange services, some features to consider are bank-to-bank transfers, customer service, transfer limits, availability of market alerts and recipient management for recurring payments.
To gain a clear understanding of its reputation, a foreign company should be evaluated from all angles. Job seekers can ask their contact at the target company for references from clients and vendors with whom it conducts business, Ingemansen says. Doing so can tell a job seeker how the company represents itself, and how it treats others on a regular basis.
The red flags for a less-than-ideal employer are endless, so it's important for foreign job seekers to pay attention to their instincts, and keep an eye out for circumstances that can be interpreted as warning signals in any industry.
For example, if a job seeker calls the target company and is only able to communicate with an automated voice system, that's a negative sign, says Nancy Mueller, founder and president of Seattle-based International Adaptations, which helps global professionals achieve leadership and career success through communication, speaking and social skills.
The interview process is another avenue through which job seekers can assess the company. A face-to-face interview - via Skype or in person - should occur before accepting any type of job offer, and job seekers should be able to schedule visits to their potential offices before making a decision, Mueller says.
In addition, credible employers should be placing new employees in specialized positions, rather than considering candidates for multiple roles and arbitrarily assigning them to whatever job needs to be filled at that time, she says.
After conducting ample research and speaking with varied contacts, individuals can smoothly shift their international careers without hindrance.
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