Estonian companies share experiences on foreign recruitment

Sander Nõmmik
Author Sander Nõmmik

Hiring international specialists is indeed different comparison to hiring locals from Estonia, but how different? To clarify this, Work in Estonia and the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry organize monthly visits since 2018 to companies in Estonia where HR professionals and recruiting enthusiasts learn the do’s and don’ts in foreign recruitment.

From January 2018 until March 2019, 9 different companies have shared their experiences – here are the highlights! And, if you are not fond of reading, you can quickly check the videos we have made for you here.

Specific knowledge might be hiding abroad

The first thing to notice about Estonian companies hiring from abroad is that the reasons to do this are not exactly financial, but more related to limited workforce and the growing need of specialists with a very specific knowledge. Companies mention that it is also an opportunity to create an added value for themselves. Diversity enriches both the team and the environment of the company. Recruiters add that is also a chance to access much bigger market from where to choose applicants from.

I think it is a growing trend,” says Mariana Mutso, recruiter at Helmes. “We have more and more applications to choose from.”

“We wanted to expand in Europe and recruitment from abroad has been a part of our expansion strategy. In addition to great talent, we have also found potential investors, new clients and partners during the process, and have become better known on our target markets,” says Liise Valme, HR manager at VitalFields.

Not to give up before you start

Recruiters admit that getting started with international recruitment might be the biggest challenge in the whole process. The paperwork and constant changes in the law during the year are some of the challenges at the onset of foreign recruitment companies face. “The quota being full does not mean that people cannot be recruited to Estonia anymore. There are actually many areas and person to whom the quita does not apply, such as ICT specialists, senior specialists and startup entrepreneurs,” explains Siret Saks, attorney-at-law at RASK.

Recruiters also mention that the process takes more time and money. The company has to be prepared to contribute a bit more, if compared to the local recruiting process. In some cases, the paperwork can look as the biggest difficulty to face. “How to get the person to us? To the country and the to office?” might be some of the questions appearing up during the process.

“Perhaps the most complicated part of bringing leading specialists to Estonia is finding rea talent, people who fit it culturally and want to come here. Ensuring that they are happy and satisfied here has been the biggest challenge in the process,” says Sandra Vaks, project manager at Malwarebytes.

Sharing experiences and best practices

“Recruiting from abroad entail experimenting, creative activities, and looking for interesting and smart solutions,” says  Liise Valme, HR manager at VitalFields. Contacting other companies which are recruiting from abroad can be helpful over the whole process, as well as communication with public institutions, for instance, the Police and Bored Guard Board.

Companies mention that special attention should be given in regards of support to help foreigners settling in. This could also mean support at several stages both when the person is still abroad and when he or she arrives in Estonia.

“Our onboarding starts with the relocation process when the person accepts the job,” says Agne Sokolov, Head of People and Culture at Bolt.

“Today we know more how to support foreigners and help them get settled here. We know what kind of information to give them,” says Kart Kinnas, HR manager at Estonian National Opera. “You should think about necessary stages before recruitment, how you can help, and what kind of information you should give, and then get this information from various channels. Work in Estonia has a good website for this, as well as the Police and Border Guard Board.”

“Foreign recruitment is a good idea if you have previously thought trough how to do it, who you need and why you even want to hire from abroad,” reminds Marils Aasa, HR specialist at Derivco Estonia.

Work in Estonia team works towards simplifying the process for local companies to employ overseas experts. To learn more about services for employers, please click here.