Job Market Insights: What Employers Look for in International Candidates

With an increase in remote work options, more and more international candidates could apply for roles around the world. This not only helps a business to potentially expand internationally with new contacts, but it also allows businesses to increase their pool of qualified applicants.

So, if you want to stand out to an employer as an international student, here are some things employers look for that can help you get an edge in your next job application.


Academic Qualification

First, employers look at applicants’ academic qualifications. As well as checking how impressive your grades are or the level of education you’ve reached, employers will also consider how well-matched your academic qualifications are for the role in question. A degree from an accredited institution means that you should already possess subject-specific knowledge and some transferable soft skills gained outside your studies. However, it is just as important to be able to reflect on what these skills are and where you gained them to make your CV stand out amongst the crowd.

Job Market Insights: What Employers Look for in International Candidates - Academic Qualification


Also, employers want to see evidence of teamwork skills when applicants come to them for a job. International candidates should be able to work collaboratively with others, listen effectively, share ideas, and work towards a common goal. Employers want staff who can step out of their comfort zone and who are not afraid to take initiative.

Job Market Insights: What Employers Look for in International Candidates - Teamwork

Communication Skills

Furthermore, good communication skills are an invaluable asset when considering getting a job in another country. The most basic soft skill for an international candidate to have is fluency in the language they’ll be using when working. If they are not able to communicate properly with their teammates and managers, then their ability to deliver results will be hindered. Employers will assess your language proficiency to determine if you are a good fit for their organisation. Being able to articulate ideas and facilitate conversations professionally and effectively demonstrates a clear talent for working well with others. An employer will be keen to perceive how communication plays a role in building rapport, persuasion, and negotiation. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate previous practical examples of how these communication tools have been utilised.

Job Market Insights: What Employers Look for in International Candidates - Communication

Work Ethic

Having a good work ethic is important in today’s ever-evolving workplace. Employers look for individuals with strong work ethics who are willing to put in the time, energy, and attention to detail to get the job done right. Individuals with a strong work ethic excel at time management, demonstrate personal accountability, and present a positive attitude toward their job duties. Working hard builds trust with co-workers, employers, and customers alike, allowing employees to rise higher within an organisation. International students who demonstrate values associated with having a good work ethic will find far more success with their employers.

Global Mindset

The next is having a global mindset; hiring international employees for the sake of hiring them is not beneficial for anyone. Employers look for candidates who possess a global mindset, have a broad understanding of global issues, trends, and cultural differences, and are experienced in working across communities. They’ll make the work environment feel more inclusive, bring a unique perspective to problem-solving, and promote creative thinking and innovation.

Cultural Adaptability

Finally, one of the most important is cultural adaptability. Adapting to new environments, work styles, and cultural norms is crucial for international employees, especially if they’re relocating to another country or region. Candidates should demonstrate flexibility, have an open mind, and be willing to embrace change in their lifestyle and working conditions and add value to the team. Employers will be impressed by candidates who have experience living and studying abroad, as this demonstrates their ability to adapt to new cultures.

Whether you studied abroad and are hoping to find work in your university or college’s country or you are hoping to find work in another country as an international candidate, these tips will help you in your aspirations. Goodluck!


Written by: Asonganyi Laura

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