Global Recruiting: Best Practices in the Middle East

Conducting business abroad is always a lesson in best practices, cultural discovery, and mutual respect. And we welcome any opportunity to improve our business – at home and overseas.

For example, last month we featured a news story outlining our experience conducting a global business fact-finding strategy session we spearheaded for a private Chinese investment group looking to venture into the U.S. restaurant & hospitality industry market.

Now, we switch gears to another intriguing global business destination: the Middle East.

The region is experiencing exponential growth due to the likes of mass pipeline construction and a subsequent boom in the building of largely upscale and luxury hotels. In fact, Hotelier Middle East.com reports recent data from hotel industry research firm STR Global stating: a total of 633 hotels (i.e. 147,953 rooms) are currently under contract in such Middle East destinations as Dubai, Aub Dhabi, Doha, Makkah, and Riyadh.

Our VSAG recruiting team, led by Dan Kelly, has had the tremendous opportunity of working within the unique realm of the Middle East and its vast and emerging restaurant & hospitality recruiting marketplace.

“Monitoring the influx of hotel and restaurant positions,” says Dan, “allows us to continue growing our recruiting, hiring, and search service business with our Middle East partners looking to bring western hospitality talent to the region.”

Dan and his team have garnered more than a few lessons learned to date while working within this exciting market. Here are some highlights should your recruiting needs take you to the Middle East:

Cultural Connection. Research and familiarize yourself with what Dan terms the “correct cultural IQ.” Delving deep into the social, professional, and religious regional culture fundamentals and standards of living are crucial to finding a great fit for the needs and wants of the perspective employee and the employer.

Relocation Do’s & Don’ts. Relocating from western culture to the Middle East is quite the transition. Offering the cultural IQ findings and pertinent relocation laws and visas to live and work in the Middle East in one succinct document will prove a great asset for anyone contemplating this move.

Language Barrier. In his experience, Dan found that even though English is spoken in most business centers, a knowledge of Arabic can be critical to one’s hospitality industry success as duties will mostly likely feature leadership of day to day operations and dealings with local vendors and customers.

Let Social Media Work for You. Utilize recruiting-centric, professional social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, to engage and target interested candidates. Detailing opportunity specifics allows you to effectively cast a wider recruiting net abroad. The goal is to let targeted online communities work for you by allowing you to recruit a larger array of interested and qualified candidates.

These lessons learned have helped Dan and his team translate the intel into other global business market recruiting resources and expand the VSAG recruiting reach.

For more information on relocating/working in the Middle East and abroad, visit The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the U.S. Department of State.

intercontinental-dubai-3574794515-original*hospitality in the Middle East. courtesy: InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City

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