I’ve heard it said that Ireland is among the most ‘networked’ countries in the world. People tend to know lots of people, and keep in touch with them. As someone who deals with multi-lingual job candidates here every day, I can apply the same thought to them. They themselves form highly networked communities, who are forever sharing their experiences of the recruitment market. That’s something employers need to be aware of.
Demand for multi-lingual staff in Ireland is strong, as the country’s position as an international hub remains healthy. German and Nordic speakers in particular are much sought after, especially for entry level customer service and tech support roles. Simply because their domestic economies are so stable, there are fewer of them out there on the market.
In this environment, attracting the right staff can be challenging. In my opinion, the recruitment process itself is key. It’s not unusual to hear of job candidates getting frustrated at being kept hanging or not being informed about the status of their application to the point that they opt out and go for something else. If your recruitment process is a lengthy one, it is important to make sure your communication with the candidate is frequent and timely. Remember, word gets around, and people will always talk to their peers about their experiences, good and bad.
It often strikes me that some companies don’t always take the time to show themselves in the best light. The huge investment which firms make in creating an exceptional working environment for staff, for example, isn’t always conveyed to job candidates. It’s often only late on in the process that they get to see those really cool offices for themselves. In the meantime the employer may well have missed out on the very talent they were seeking. This effort takes up resources, sure, but showing candidates around at an early stage can be a real point of differentiation in a tight talent market. I think employers should use this asset more. Again, it is something sure to get talked about in the peer networks of multi-lingual candidates.
Of course, the job itself is most important. Feedback from call centres is often that roles are too repetitive and not challenging enough. Even if the core task is not very varied, it is important to involve staff in different projects, maybe CSR activities, and to let them represent the firm at seminars and so on – it makes them feel appreciated and part of the team. That in turn keeps them motivated. Once again, if a particular role is dull and unchallenging, candidates are likely to get wind of this through their peers.
When you are targeting the non-native multi-lingual community, take it as given that they’ll be talking about you amongst themselves. Just make sure they’re saying good things!
Daniel Michalewicz is Multilingual & Customer Service Division Manager at Eden Recruitment.