Hiring via the Global Talent Stream? Here’s what we’ve learned relocating 500-plus tech professionals


Tech companies are hiring left, right, and centre; and if my predictions are right, it’s a trend that will continue in 2020. As US tech firms, from startups to FAANG giants, set up shop up here, local talent will be scooped up fast.

The Global Talent Stream helps Canadian companies find the talent they need from overseas. If you want to find the best people, your company has to go swimming in the biggest pool.

There are ways to ensure your hire is a success over the long term, which we present to all of the tech companies we work with. So, here’s a little professional advice about how to ensure your investment in a new employee pays off for both sides.

But, before we get into all of these tips, here’s literally the first thing we send to our partners: the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) professional development program website. This has a ton of resources, including brochures and web-based instructors, to help your team.

Welcoming your new hire to the team (before they arrive)

Onboarding doesn’t begin the day new employees show up at your office. It starts the day they accept your job offer.

A mentor can help fill new hires in on company-related policies, but they can also provide invaluable, practical information.

When I hire abroad for my own tech recruiting company, VanHack, I give new employees access to our company Slack and Company Handbook on the day they sign. I know many clients who do the same thing, like Vendasta, for their new hires from abroad (apparently, this is actually common enough that Slack itself wrote up a guide on how to do it). It allows your team the ability to give them a warm welcome. Even more importantly, the new hire can monitor various channels relating to their team, so they can hit the ground running.

Make sure you also assign a mentor for your new hire. Ideally, this is someone who is also from their part of the world (obviously, this gets easier as you build your team from abroad). If someone from the new hire’s intended team isn’t available, grab someone from HR for this role.

There’s a Bamboo HR study that states that 15 percent of new hires who were thinking of quitting said the lack of any onboarding contributed to their decision.

A mentor can help fill new hires in on company-related policies, but they can also provide invaluable, practical information. Providing a heads-up on how to use public transit, the harsh realities of Canadian winters, and local food and entertainment recommendations can go a long way.

Relocating families

That care and attention must extend beyond the needs of your new employee. Up to 80 percent of the expats coming to staff your tech company will be bringing a partner or other family members.

You’re not hiring the whole family, obviously (well, most likely). But ensuring they all have the information they need will lower the stress of the move. That bodes well for longer-term retention and since the cost of replacing a role can be 2.5 times what you were going to spend on someone in the first place, it’s critical to give your new hires the best chance at success.

Before they arrive, you might send a guide to the questions border agents will ask them. This can be a stressful moment for immigrant families, but it doesn’t need to be.

Door-to-door service

When your new hire and their family clears customs, you’re there, at the airport. One great example: when Jobber welcomed their new senior developers, they made a big sign, so their newcomers knew exactly where to go, and greeted them with a welcome basket of ‘Canadian stuff’ (including Tim Hortons coffee, of course).

Housing, of course, is the most important thing. Help them understand the realities of the local markets.

As you’re driving your new employee to their accommodations (most likely an AirBnB or hotel to start, until they get a chance to look for a longer-term solution), put on your tour guide hat. If it’s practical, drive them by their new office.

Another pro tip: buy some basic groceries for your new hire so they have food in the fridge when they arrive. We’ve had clients do this and their new hires are always bowled over. Little things make a big impression.

But even better, point out practical necessities (“As you can see, this supermarket is walking distance from your place”) and amenities (“Great restaurant! I just took my family there last week”).

Housing, of course, is the most important thing. Help them understand the realities of the local rent and housing markets and help them steer clear of scams. Once your new employees literally feel at home in their new situation, that’s a lot less stress to worry about.

Extending your new tech employee’s welcome

Six months in, the culture shock has faded, your new staffer has grasped the full scope of work, and their family has begun to adjust to Canadian life. But there’s still some assistance you can and should provide, to keep your staffer happy and productive. Acculturation is a lengthy process.

It’s important to walk them through what they need to know, as they settle in. Give them a sense of what makes sense in terms of rent and other housing costs. Maybe set them up with a leasing agent. Show them how to get important documents, how to open a bank account, get health insurance, how to enroll kids in school and where to find a list of schools.

What are the best neighbourhoods to live in? Where can they go for a family doctor, dentist, recreation, etc.? What’s the local job market like for their newly relocated spouse? Sure, they can Google all this information. But hearing it from someone at the company will help reassure them.

RELATED: Four predictions for Canadian tech hiring in 2020

Most importantly: perform regular HR check-ins, not just for performance, but for cultural fit. What’s their relationship like with their peers or manager? Are they showing signs that they’re on the same page with your company values?

Inevitably, even the most well-adapted employee gets homesick. If it’s practical to let them work remotely for extended periods of time, consider letting them go back to their home country and working from there for a month, or more.

Now that you’ve got a happy, productive tech professional on your team, you’ve got a process for building out your team even more with a world of talent.

VanHack has the biggest global tech talent pool of any tech recruiter, at over 100,000 plus and counting. Canadian companies can post a job on VanHack for free and get qualified candidates within minutes. Sign up for VanHack today.

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst


Ilya Brotzky

Ilya Brotzky is the CEO and Co-Founder of VanHack, which helps Canadian companies hire from a world of tech talent.

0 replies on “Hiring via the Global Talent Stream? Here’s what we’ve learned relocating 500-plus tech professionals”