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Tackling the Issues of Hiring NRIs


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From slow economic growth in the West to a burgeoning Indian economy, there are a litany of reasons to explain the trend of non-resident Indians (NRIs) desiring to venture to India in search of employment, Juneja and Kumar outline four challenges Indian employers face when hiring NRIs and offer tips for applicants on how to overcome the pitfalls inherent in the hiring process. See this article in the August 2011 issue of Mobility with other articles on India at this link -

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Tackling the Issues of Hiring NRIs

  1. 1. Tackling the Issues ofHiring NRIsBY ASEEM JUNEJA AND JENNIFER KUMARFrom slow economic growth in the West to a burgeoning Indian economy, there are a litany ofreasons to explain the trend of non-resident Indians (NRIs) desiring to venture to India in search ofemployment. Juneja and Kumar outline four challenges Indian employers face when hiring NRIsand offer tips for applicants on how to overcome the pitfalls inherent in the hiring process.72 MOBILITY/AUGUST 2011
  2. 2. D uring the past few years, a How to tackle this: Research the your strengths. They don’t know trend of non-resident company well. See if it is a good fit how you have built your reputation Indians (NRIs) desiring to for you and your experience. Show abroad. You will have to start all oversettle back in India has become reali- that you have done your homework. again from scratch. Remember thety for many. In preparing to return, Assess if your experience not only “fish out of water” feeling you hadNRIs often want to apply for jobs in matches their requirements but that when you initially moved abroad?India from abroad. Applying remote- you can bring something to the table That is most likely to happen againly for many jobs often is difficult, that is worthwhile. Be ready to pro- as you find your footing and rebuildwhether or not it is in the same coun- vide concrete examples. your reputation in India. How to tackle this: Plan for yourtry or between countries. Many com-panies are wary of hiring returningIndians because of the following four 2. The employer may be con- cerned about the NRI cultur- al adjustment period and how this move well in advance; if possible, even a year or two ahead. Start byreasons. will affect work. networking online. Connect to1. The employer needs to know, “does this candidate bringsomething exceptional to the In addition to the initial adjust- ment phase of at least three to six months, wherein you will reacclimate movers and shakers in your field, and communicate about things that will expose them to your business objec-table?” to Indian culture, find a suitable tives and accomplishments. When the Gone are the days in India when place of residence, and put down time is right, start reaching out toexperience abroad demands respect. new roots (again), you will have to apply for jobs. Show humility and beThe employer needs to know what is find your footing professionally. humble. When interacting withit about your experience that makes it Though an NRI may have five, 10, prospective employers, show themworthwhile for them to consider you 15 or more years of experience that you are serious and not overlywhen there are so many in India who abroad, no one really knows about aggressive about moving upward inare already vying for the open posi- that in India, and may not care. They the company. Demonstrate that yoution. don’t know you. They don’t know understand you will be a newbie— MOBILITY/AUGUST 2011 73
  3. 3. On the Web For more information on working in India, please visit The Trailing Spouse In India Awakening Giant—India’s Burgeoning Workforce Help Wanted: China and India’s Search for Experienced Managers will have a learning curve—but cate this to the potential employer so Find out from them what facilitatedthat you are willing to go the extra they are aware you will be available adjustment and, more important,mile to learn quickly and adapt as re- for an in-person interview. what their challenges were and howquired. Don’t forget, as an NRI,you have done this before. Remem-ber how it felt then, and step back in 4. Most important—Indian employers are not really sure if you will make the transition they overcame them. Start to amend your mindset to different expecta- tions. It often is the small things out-those shoes and try it again. back to India. side the work environment that can3. Employers are concerned about the applicant’s avail-ability for interviews, personal Employers have to be satisfied that your reasons are genuine and you are serious. Many NRIs dream of provide the most culture shock. Remind yourself why you or your family initially wanted to settleassessments, and how to hold returning and assume the readjust- abroad. What made life “hard” invideo conferences across time ment will be easy because it’s their India and “easier” abroad? How willzones. home country, they grew up there, this affect adjustment back to day-to- Employers also may not under- and they know the culture and peo- day life in India, which is very differ-stand how to collect reference checks ple. However, as you have changed ent from the two-week or two-across cultures. The logistics of during your time abroad, and the month stays many NRIs have hadscreening applicants abroad is tedious country you have lived in has seen over the years? The adjustment alsoand often there may be no infrastruc- change, so has India. India has not will affect you and your immediateture within organizations to support remained stagnant—it is rapidly family members differently if youthis process. If the company has not changing. NRIs can and do experi- have a spouse and children. Researchdealt with foreign time zones or ence extreme reverse culture shock educational options, health care, andwork cultures before, these things because of this and quite a few stay a daily transportation needs ahead ofcan hinder or prevent interest in hir- few months or a few years and end time. And be sure to determine youring someone who is abroad. up going back abroad because of the overarching goal for moving back: it How to tackle: Clearly communi- inability to readjust. The process of will keep you focused and help youcate your availability. If you have the cultural adjustment, not only at keep moving forward through theopportunity to participate in confer- work but at home, in daily life, and culture shock as you rebuild your lifeence calls or interviews via the in every other arena can seriously back home.Internet, inform them you will be affect work. Employers want to Aseem Juneja is an executive searchavailable during regular business know you are committed about consultant and runs Ten Yards Advisors,hours in India. If the meeting will returning to India and it is not just a based in Philadelphia, PA, and New Delhi, India. He can be reached athappen by phone, offer to call them fantasy that needs to be played out. your own dime. This shows deter- How to tackle: Employ the help of Jennifer Kumar is a cross-cultural coach atmination and a willingness to accom- your friends or family who have Authentic Journeys, based in Kochi, India.modate them. If you have trips experienced moving back to India. She can be reached at or viaplanned to India, clearly communi- Ask them about their experiences. MOBILITY/AUGUST 2011
  4. 4. MOBILITYMagazine of Worldwide ERC ® August 2011Multicultural Mavens: Getting Savvy about Buyers and BusinessInside this Month:EducationConsiderationsin AsiaRecruitment andRetention in IndiaDeath On Assignment