Managing your international recruitment through COVID-19 - Fisher Leadership

Managing your international recruitment through COVID-19

Written by Kirsten Henderson, Associate Partner, New Zealand

Our clients are having to come up with creative solutions to manage international appointments at this time due to the current border restrictions. What happens when clients have executive appointments and contracts signed? Do we reassess the start date or consider onboarding remotely? What does best practice look like for those in the process of negotiating offers of employment ,with each side wondering how career transition during COVID-19 is going to work? Additionally, what happens when a client suspects the talent they are seeking is based offshore and wondering how a search will play out in this time of uncertainty?

We know first-hand the toll that disruption can take on leaders. For nearly 20 years, the team at Fisher Leadership has been called in to partner with organisations, candidates and individuals in changing and often turbulent times. Known for our high calibre Executive Search, we also deliver a range of complementary advisory and coaching services including remote onboarding, career transition coaching and wellbeing check-ins for teams and new starters.

Communication and trust

Strong communication is key to maintaining engagement and reducing any anxiety the appointee may be experiencing. Frequent updates given in a consistent format will ensure plans stay on track, especially considering some candidates may have resigned already from their positions. While facts keep changing and new challenges emerge, it is critical to address issues proactively and with two-way communication. Combining an open minded approach on the part of the organisation with a flexible attitude on behalf of the potential employee with ensure a successful outcome beyond COVID-19. At Fisher Leadership, we believe every challenge is an opportunity and what a rich bonding experience, international onboarding could be through the time of COVID-19.

Creative and innovative solutions

Within our ongoing search processes the following solutions are emerging for international talent:

  1. Candidate signs the contract with a clause indicating that the start date will occur three months after the lifting of travel restrictions between the two countries. The appointee will then resign at that point and the timing allows notice period to be observed and international move to take place.
  2. Organisation and appointee can set a start date with the provision that initial employment maybe remotely. This will include the need for remote onboarding.
  3. If an appointee resigns organisations then may find that they are not able to replace that talent while the travel restrictions are in place, it may be in both parties interests to have a job share situation where the individual works two days for current organisation and perhaps three for new organisation to ease the transition or some such arrangement.
  4. If you think you are going to need offshore talent in the near future, perhaps adopt a phased approach to the search, start with a talent mapping exercise to uncover talent you may not know about in your geographical area and then only widen the search more globally if required. A talent map can uncover talent you don’t know about.

Relationship building

Throughout all of this, the simple approach of relationship building will provide a foundation for new leaders to use as a springboard. Empathetic leadership, genuine care and a collaborative approach to finding the best outcomes will go a long way.

  • Be sure to keep gauging the level of commitment and resilience of the candidate as at times the hurdles may seem to large. Be sure you understand their motivation for seeking this role early in the process and be sure it is one which is robust enough to keep the candidate engaged throughout the difficult process of moving countries even at the best of times.
  • Provide as much comfort and surety as possible regarding the level of risk to the candidate in taking a new job in such uncertain times.
  • Ensure you have a thorough and personally tailored remote onboarding process which is closely managed.

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