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Blog 19.08.2021

Recruit from outside the Finland bubble! Which issues need your attention when recruiting international talents and what kind of support is available for your business?

Many Finnish companies currently have job vacancies, but it is difficult to find the right people with the right skills and experience. International talent is a significant future resource that businesses should now be investing in. But what factors do companies need to consider when recruiting international talent and what help is available from Business Finland's Talent Boost services?
Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä

Head of Talent Boost
Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä
ulla.hiekkanen-makela (at)
+358 50 5577 706

Companies' order books are filling up, reflecting the economic growth after the corona pandemic. A few software companies have already stated they are not even responding to requests for quotations because their current capacity is fully utilized, and there is no talent available. One solution proposed by the government is the promotion of work-based immigration, but there is still much to do in many areas related to this. The bureaucracy concerning work permits must be reduced, and Finland's attractiveness needs a boost. There are no prospects for reducing the skills shortage in other ways. The education system and career transitions are not sufficient to remedy the situation where more people are retiring every year compared to the number of people entering the labour market.

Why should companies take the strategic decision to open up recruitment outside their bubble?

As a company recruits from a broader range of candidates, its corporate culture and expertise grow and diversify, which has been proven to lead to more innovation and success. Companies that recruit international talent are more competitive and can expand their operations both domestically and abroad. It's worth remembering that an international talent can also be found in Finland.

Hiring an international talent brings different kinds of benefits for a company but also requires some internal changes. What are the issues that need to be addressed?

The recruitment process
The first change comes during the actual recruitment process. The job description and recruitment notice are produced in English so that the information reaches all potential candidates. Many talents already live in Finland, including thousands of international students who are eagerly looking for work. In this case, the costs related to interviews, relocation and settling in remain small. In some cases, the recruitment needs to be opened abroad, for example, in one's professional network or the international recruitment channels. This requires a different approach when preparing to review applications, verifying certificates and experience, and conducting interviews. Signing an employment contract and reviewing the terms and conditions of employment need careful attention because the desired employee may not be familiar with the Finnish employment contract practices.

For an international expert to become part of the work community, supervisors have a significant role in orienting the new employee and coaching the entire team. It is essential to ensure a good job orientation for the new employee, the functionality of the tools and a good understanding of different instructions – especially if a new language is being used. Often, the existing practices for weekly or monthly meetings need to be updated for the entire team. Care must also be taken to ensure that the new talent is not excluded even in informal discussions. This process simultaneously improves the international communication capacity of the whole team, which is especially useful as the company expands to the global markets.

Customer service
Many companies are thinking about how their customers or partners in Finland will view the new international employees. This may be a relevant concern in some jobs, but in most cases, expertise and know-how are the crucial factors that enable the trust to develop towards the new contact person. In international assignments, it is beneficial that the contact person has extensive language and cultural skills outside Finland. The company's growth in the international markets will be accelerated when the talents who have gained experience at the "home base" can be sent out to the world.

Long-term benefits and effects of cultural competence
Most importantly, management should see the long-term benefits of having expertise in multiple language and cultural areas. When the company is ready to invest in hiring international talents and the internationalization of its operations from the inside, the entire organization receives a boost for change and growth.

A master's thesis at the Aalto University School of Economics interviewed Finnish SMEs about their experiences in hiring international talents. According to the results, international teams contribute to a company's success, and, on the other hand, growth companies need international expertise. One company CEO stated: "Winning teams consist of the best experts in the world, not necessarily the best experts in Finland."

Does your company need help in finding and hiring international talents?

We help companies to internationalize by supporting the recruitment of top international experts. We organize events, recruitment campaigns and funding. You can also use the Jobs in Finland website for recruitment by announcing open positions for English-language experts. Find out more and use Talent Boost's services and the Talent Explorer funding for export companies.