If we look thirty years into the past, when employers were looking for new employees, they usually did so through either word of mouth or by placing a classified ad in the newspaper. While both those methods are still used today, and are still just as effective, they are not the always the best method for acquiring talent.
For our MiBooks kids books, we had the resources in-house to author the books, structure the books, and illustrate the books. The problem was that we didn’t have the resources to get those books onto the iOS platform, so that people with iPhones and iPads could download the book to their device. Now, we could’ve quite easily placed an ad on a job board or in a newspaper along the lines of “iPhone developer wanted for coding, awesomeness”, and it would’ve got us a bunch of responses. However, as a small business, we weren’t looking to hire someone full time for this position, and looking back now, the resource pool for iPhone developers locally in Australia is actually quite shallow.
So, we asked ourselves the question: what’s stopping us from recruiting someone in another country? More specifically, what’s stopping us from recruiting someone in another country on a temporary, or freelance, basis? Well, nothing. We ended up placing a job request on a large freelance job board, and received roughly 30-50 responses. After doing the requisite sorting and shortlisting, and contacting the freelancers themselves individually, we came to a decision and selected a freelance developer.
Now, this process may not suit everyone, and it does have some drawbacks. For small or start-up businesses, freelancers or ‘temps’ are a worthwhile investment, but for larger businesses, it may be better to hire someone on a more permanent basis, simply because the workload may warrant it. There’s also the issue of communication, because despite how good your English skills are, the freelancer’s may not be as polished and your idioms and colloquialisms may be misunderstood. Then there’s the physical distance and time distance between you and the freelancer, which may lead to some late night or early morning conference calls.
However, despite all that, we’ve found that hiring outside our own national borders, with freelancers, is a fantastic way to keep costs down and maintain quality for a small business. As the title of this post says, talent acquisition is a global concept. That is because the best person for the job may not be in your city, or your state, or even the same country as you. And if you’re willing to look, and make a few sacrifices to ensure it’s a success, the result can be overwhelmingly positive.