International vs Offshore Recruiting: 5 Differences

International vs Offshore Recruiting: 5 Important Differences

International vs Offshore Recruiting: 5 Important Differences

November 28, 2023


Picture of INS Global



Picture of INS Global



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Key Takeaways

  1. Offshore recruiting involves a company hiring workers outside of its home country without operating in the worker’s country
  2. Those using it may prioritize quicker and more streamlined processes
  3. International recruiting broadens the available talent pool in specific areas by tapping into diverse skill sets from different countries


With more and more interconnected economies, and a globalized workforce now made simple by remote working options, companies are increasingly looking to new horizons in order to tap into talent pools beyond. However, complex regulations and unfamiliar practices demand a strategic approach to hiring, meaning organizations will need to weigh the benefits of traditional international recruiting against specifically offshore recruiting.

In this article, we define these approaches and highlight their differences. We also explore the pros and cons of using both onshore and offshore recruiters to guide your talent acquisition strategy with expert advice and real-world examples.


What is Offshore Recruiting? Simplifying Global Talent Acquisition in 2024


Put simply, offshore recruiting involves a company hiring workers outside of its home country without operating in the worker’s country. This is usually done through an expert third-party provider or recruitment process outsourcing service.

By doing so, the hiring company can search for talent in as many countries as they like without the hassles of building a new company entity or needing to know local practices in an in-depth way. This reduces the time and cost of traditional international recruiting, also called onshore recruiting.


5 Main Differences of International Recruiting vs Offshore Recruiting


Cultural Understanding and Local Support


International recruiting often emphasizes greater cultural understanding and involves localizing the hiring process to align with specific regional best practices and benchmarks. By doing so, this approach tries to create a diverse and inclusive work environment that also aligns with greater global company values. On the other hand, offshore recruiting values cultural diversity but does so to a lesser extent. Overall, this method may prioritize quicker and more streamlined processes.

Both these approaches can be used to build a cohesive and high-performing global team, but they each require a specific mindset and may work better according to the situation. For example, tech giant Google is known for its international recruiting strategy that adapts its hiring processes to suit local cultures. This is because they need to tap into local ideas and reach key demographics in their target markets. On the other hand, companies like Infosys have used offshore recruiting to establish cost-efficient global delivery centers.


Legal and Compliance Challenges


Being able to navigate international employment laws and compliance requirements is the first significant hurdle for anyone considering either international and offshore recruiting. However, each may deal with the matter differently. International recruiting may involve complying with a range of regulations across multiple countries equally, requiring an in-depth understanding of each set of local labor laws.

Offshore Recruiting often involves engaging with third-party providers instead in order to minimize this step. Local experts can help with some legal complexities but require careful vetting to ensure security. According to Wei Hsu, founder of INS Global, “understanding and staying compliant with local labor laws is critical for long-term success. However it can also be one of the biggest reasons for issues or delays during the recruitment process.”

That’s why, in offshore recruiting, strong partnerships with reputable outsourcing firms can help to shorten the time it takes to hire while also reducing legal problems.


Time Zone Challenges


When thinking about international recruiting or how to manage global teams, working around time zone differences can be an unexpected problem but one that deserves your attention early on. Doing interviews, communicating with candidates, and ensuring easy working contact across diverse areas requires new ways of thinking.

Offshore recruiting allows you to make the most of local experts to meet candidates on their terms. This boosts the chances of making a good first impression. Microsoft’s international recruiting strategy includes creating regional hubs to bridge time zone gaps, however this requires huge expenses and dedication to continuous hiring. For SMEs, a lighter touch may be more appropriate and cost-effective.


Talent Pool Access


Access to the larger global talent pool has never been easier thanks to new ways of thinking about candidate sourcing. How you access this talent pool, however, differs significantly in international and offshore recruiting.

International recruiting broadens the available talent pool in specific areas by tapping into diverse skill sets from different countries. Offshore recruiting, while providing access to a larger, more cost-efficient talent pool, may face limitations in certain specialized skills unless you are working with an experienced recruiting team.

Recruitment expert Jeida Boussenina emphasizes the importance of this factor by saying “Knowing where to look for specialist workers can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the market. You may also have to be able to make yourself attractive as an employer in new ways which may not be immediately obvious if you don’t have team members on the ground there already.”


Cost Considerations


Cost is a key factor influencing the choice between international and offshore recruiting for many companies. International recruiting is a long process and may involve higher costs related to travel, relocation, and local budgeting. In contrast, offshore recruiting is typically used because of its cost savings, as outsourcing more parts of the process to countries with lower labor costs can boost overall efficiency and reduce time to hire.

With the cost of international recruitment involving labor hours for recruitment staff and potentially establishing a local structure plus all those costs mentioned above and more, the price can climb quickly. Offshore recruiting, on the other hand, generally involves a simple recruitment fee calculated as a proportion of the local employees salary, meaning you are only paying for what you need.



Pros and Cons of Onshore Recruiters vs Offshore Recruiters


Onshore Recruiters




Cultural Arrangement – Onshore recruiters may be more attuned to local cultures. This helps to form better cultural alignment and understanding among local teams.


Face-to-Face Meetings – Regional offices allow for in-person interviews and closer collaboration, bringing a stronger sense of connection during the recruitment process.


Legal Knowledge – Onshore recruiters have to become well-versed in local labor laws, therefore reducing legal challenges.




Cost – Hiring locally can be more expensive due to higher salaries, benefits, and the added costs of operating in that country during the process.


Limited Talent Pool – Relying solely on onshore recruiters may limit access to the greater global talent pool by focusing only on specific markets.


Time Zone Challenges – Coordinating with candidates in different time zones can be challenging, especially when the process requires multiple levels of managers and HR.


Offshore Recruiters




Cost Savings – Offshore recruiters typically provide cost-effective solutions for known fees. This is especially true when hiring in countries with lower labor costs.

Scaling and Efficiency – Offshore recruiting allows for easy scaling and greater efficiency when time is a factor.

24/7 Operations – Time zone differences between you and your local partners can be a good way to speed up work cycles for tasks like development and support.




Cultural Disconnect – Offshore recruiters may face challenges in fully understanding and aligning with the culture of the hiring company.

Limited Control – Outsourcing recruitment means passing over some control over the initial aspects of the hiring process.


international recruitment vs offshore recruitment



Why INS Global Will Make the Hiring Process Easier for You


As companies consider the choice between international and offshore recruiting, it is crucial to strike a balance that aligns with your goals. The choice between onshore and offshore recruiting depends on factors like cultural fit, legal needs, cost, and the specific skills required.

That’s why INS Global uses a team of recruitment experts well-versed in the details of international labor, compliance, and local regulations. Our global presence and knowledge of diverse markets make us the perfect partner when you’re growing your workforce abroad.

Navigating the legal hurdles of international employment is a daunting task. INS Global provides both offshoring recruiting services and international recruiting support. That means you can approach the challenge in a way that suits your needs. By ensuring that all aspects of the hiring process align with local labor laws, our experienced legal teams also help you to reduce the risk of legal challenges or costly delays.

Making use of the expertise of a company that has been around for nearly 20 years like INS Global can provide a strategic advantage in 100+ countries worldwide. Our approach makes the global talent acquisition process smoother and more efficient for you.

Contact our team today to learn more.


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