Kristina FinsethJune 14, 2017
Topics: Recruiter Experience

Recruiting Globally? It's Not Just About Speaking Their Language

Over the years, there have been several advertising mishaps from companies big and small. Most of these mishaps stemmed from language translation issues. Following in marketing’s footsteps, it’s very easy to get caught up in translation of messaging to a global recruiting target audience – forgetting some of the other priority areas of focus.

Here’s a look at ten epic marketing mishaps we can all hopefully learn from.

The most memorable mishaps for me include the Got Milk campaign and the translation to “Are you lactating?” in Spanish. Also, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and their “finger licking good” slogan translated to “eat your fingers off” in Chinese. Even more hilarious, Braniff International Airlines wanted to promote their leather seats with the slogan “fly in leather,” which can easily translate to “fly naked” in Spanish.

Just like consumer marketing, if you are recruiting globally (and if you are, I’m sure you are spending lots of dollars on it), it’s not just about speaking your candidate’s language. It’s more about recognizing, appreciating, and conveying a cultural identity that speaks to your audience.

Here are some tips if you want to successfully recruit on a global basis.

Do your research. It begins with researching, studying, and understanding what your candidates are most interested in. The nuances of a specific culture are important to distinguish between.

Taking the time to do a thorough intake of where your candidates live, how they act, what music they listen to, and what’s important to them is crucial to crafting a recruiting strategy that really speaks to the target candidates you want to recruit on a global scale.

Tap into the local life. If you have the budget to do so, take the time to send key stakeholders from your talent acquisition team to the areas you are recruiting in. This will allow them to see first-hand what the culture looks like, and get more familiar with the local life and geography of the area.

It may not be feasible to send a team to every place you are recruiting, and I get it. If you have hubs or offices in these areas, take the time to interview employees already working there. Tap into them for information you should know, nuances, restrictions, and get them involved in the recruiting process if it makes sense.

Develop messaging that makes sense. According to LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Recruiting Trends report, 37 percent of global employers believe recruiting more diverse candidates will be one key piece in shaping the recruiting industry over the next few years.

In order to attract diverse talent, you may need to craft different recruiting messaging depending on the areas of the world you are targeting candidates. Once you have a sense for the cultural identity of your audience, make sure your messaging authentically reflects the values and interests of the talent you are seeking.


Do you have any tips to add to the list?

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