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Do You Know Your Foreign Employees?

Updated on July 20, 2017
Shan S Haider profile image

Shan has been an ESL teacher and taught at various schools across the globe before turning into a recruiter for highly qualified educators.


How much confidence do you place in your intuition when selecting a new employee? Are you more thorough when you select a candidate to work with children? Are you comfortable with your hiring process in regards to your own children? If you don’t like your answers (or the questions), it might be time to reevaluate.

Western countries have created a standard operating procedure for hiring new staff. The protocol includes orientation, drug screenings, and criminal background checks. In general, the only criteria foreigners are expected to meet is whether or not their resumes display the required skills and if they appear pleasant in a photograph or a Skype interview.

Please don’t allow the tone of this article to color yourself unnecessarily worried. I have no desire to promote or practice xenophobia. I am a foreigner and once upon a time, someone took a chance on me. The gains with a global economy and cultural impact of intercontinental transmigration certainly speak for themselves. I am simply suggesting we utilize all available resources to research and protect your investment.

Employees are an investment and a substantial one. Reviewing resumes takes time as does the interview. Money is spent on candidates that are not selected in the hopes the perfect person will be found. An offer will be extended and accepted.

The vast majority of teachers seeking to teach abroad both love the subject matter they teach and are seeking a way to see the world. As an underappreciated and underpaid profession, traveling simply for leisure can be expensive and teaching offers a unique opportunity to experience other cultures and see the world. As honorable and enviable as the aforementioned desire is, teachers are still employees and assurances need to be made about reliability.

Foreigners presumably demand a higher salary due to the transglobal move and the cost of establishing a new residence. Residence permits and work visas should be included as incentives (no one wants to pay to work for you). After all of these steps, imagine starting again because your selection is unemployable.

Teaching poses the biggest challenge for character and integrity. Since education is my business, I take the risks and rewards of the right teacher very seriously. Characters of ill-repute are attracted to the vulnerabilities of the innocent, we all know this to be true. What you may not know is there are 48 countries where a criminal record is not a deterrent for hiring since background checks are not a condition of employment.

The digital age ushered in a new and vast talent pool but also brought in the perils of amazing forged documents. Watermarks help, but certifications and even diplomas can be purchased or created with the right program. Leading questions can be revelatory, but a person willing to lie on a resume is probably comfortable lying in an interview.

The criminal background can reveal all sorts of infractions. Driving penalties are less serious than felonies or assaultive incidents, but an incomplete history places responsibility on the employer.

As a responsible manager, we cannot be party to anything that jeopardizes or otherwise places students in harm’s way. It also shows a discourtesy to the assembled team to obligate the trusted members of your workforce, those making your day-to-day operations a success, with an unsavory personality or even just a disingenuine person as a co-worker. When a colored history is revealed, trust is broken both with the employer and the other employees affected.

An incident with precedent opens up an institution to litigious action. A simple cost/benefit analysis of a background check makes the expense incurred an additional investment and nominal compared to the expense of a lawsuit, not to mention the moral weight of feeling responsible for a crime occurring. To a lesser extent, an unqualified employee is likely incapable of performing the tasks required by the position and thusly damages the reputation of the institution.

How does a company delicately introduce background checks where none existed previously? Don’t. Make a declaration and allow a discussion from your team. Examine priorities and determine the need for delicacy. The negatives are outweighed by the positives. Introduce background checks immediately and let all current and future employees learn of your practice.

Creating the best possible environment with skilled people of integrity is every company’s best marketing plan. Labor is already the primary expense associated with running a business.

Pride in daily operations exudes confidence for administrators, teachers, students and their parents. Becoming an enviable school with reputable programs comes from an overachieving educational staff. The students and parents need to trust they are in a safe environment with the transparency established by the school to see who is responsible for teaching.

In short, there is no logical reason not to conduct at least cursory background checks. This is the cost of doing business in the 21st century and an obligation of management. If you contract for hiring, require your talent pipeline to perform the task.

No prospective employee worth hiring will refuse to submit to investigation unless they are concealing something damaging. Knowing that every school and large company in the United States and the United Kingdom requires clearance should raise red flags for anyone leaving those countries and balking at the expectation.

When criminal background checks and educational history is consistently and universally verified, some of the stress of hiring will be alleviated. Take advantage of benefits of the digital age while insulating your organization for the pitfalls associated with it. You and all of your team will be glad you went the extra mile and you will reap the rewards of the long and short-term benefits.


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