International Recruitment: A Guide to Moving, Living & Working Abroad

The benefits of working abroad are limitless. It’s not just sun, sea and cocktails, but it could be the best career move you’ve ever made. Working and moving abroad can be a little daunting and stressful to begin with. Thankfully, if you’re considering international recruitment, we’ve got a guide to moving, living and working abroad to help you through the process. Here’s everything you’ll need to know.

Why Recruit Abroad?

The first question that must be answered by anyone looking to recruit overseas is possibly the most vital; why? Whether you’re explaining your decision to family or simply getting a better idea of what realistically awaits you, you’re going to need a solid reason for this career choice. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Standard of living / allure of a new country
  • Less saturated markets
  • Higher basic salaries
  • Higher billings
  • Relocation packages
  • Better future opportunities
  • Independence and personal development

What Do You Need to Work Abroad in Recruitment?

It’s very rare that a fresh graduate with no experience is going to secure a recruitment role overseas. If you’ve got your heart set on working internationally, you’re going to need to be the full package as a recruiter. Here’s what international agencies will look for:

  • At least a year’s solid experience (roughly £150k billed)
  • Ideally degree educated
  • Strong understanding of a specialised market like energy, tech, pharmaceutical, etc.
  • Positive references

Note: Some companies will relocate you immediately. Others may require you to work for 3-6 months in their UK offices before moving abroad.

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Where to Work?

There are so many different international opportunities in recruitment, it can all become a little confusing. Having said this, some markets are flourishing more than others. Here are some of the best places to work in recruitment:

Recruitment in New York City (USA)

As one of the most buoyant international cities for business, New York is seeing plenty of interest from recruiters. Be prepared, recruitment here is completely different to London. Here’s how to succeed.

  • A wide range of industries thrive here including tech, digital, finance, banking and life sciences
  • There’s a seemingly limitless amount of recruitment happening in the city
  • Competitive market – network like a pro to be successful
  • Businesses are always looking for the best talent
  • Build your reputation as a recruiter – your personal brand is hugely important
  • Demonstrate your ability to adapt to change quickly, anything can happen in NYC
  • Long hours are just part of New York’s charm – work hard and you’ll be rewarded
  • New York is expensive but your salary will be high (so will your commission)
  • Dress smart unless instructed otherwise

So what is living in New York City actually like? Here’s some vital info for you.
Public transport: Much the same as London’s
Average temperatures: 17 degrees (high), 8 degrees (low)
Average rent (studio apartment): £1,592
Food: Seriously varied
Nightlife: Something for everyone
Cost of a pint: £5.81
Cost of a flight from London: From £569

New York City - International Recruitment

Recruitment in Houston (Texas, USA)

The recruitment scene in Houston, Texas is thriving. Companies are flooding into the steamy city in their droves. There’s a huge difference between UK and Houston recruitment. Here’s what you need to know if you’re going to be successful.

  • Houston is seeing a sharp rise in its energy market since Trump took over
  • There’s plenty of vacancies waiting for you
  • The market is predominantly perm but there are contract opportunities
  • Your basic salary will be higher than it would in the UK
  • Candidate salaries are very high – making your commission lucrative
  • Meeting face to face with candidates is vital to coming out on top
  • Your expertise and market knowledge is more important than your call times
  • The dress code is generally casual

Can you make Houston your home? Here’s what to consider when living in the city.
Public transport: Improving but still pretty inadequate
Average temperatures: 27 degrees (high), 15 degrees (low)
Average rent (studio apartment): £740 per month
Food: The best of US barbecue
Nightlife: Buzzy city feel, lots of options
Cost of a pint: £3.73
Cost of flight from London: From £697

Houston, Texas - International Recruitment

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Recruitment in California (USA)

Does recruiting in LA or San Francisco sound like a dream? Before you start imagining yourself sipping cocktails against the backdrop of the golden gate bridge or Hollywood sign, here’s some key info to consider.

  • Internal recruitment is huge but the emergence of agencies is starting to take hold
  • Mainly a tech recruitment market
  • Usually a quicker turnaround/process than in the UK
  • Benefits packages are hugely important to candidates
  • Businesses usually have large budgets for recruitment
  • Networking is critical – this is where you’ll really get noticed
  • Work/life balance is a major priority to candidates
  • Business meetings often happen outside the boardroom
  • Your basic salary is likely to be very attractive here
  • Dress casually but look good

Could you live and work in California? Here’s a few key points to consider.
Public transport: Buy a car, you’ll need it
Average temperatures: 23 degrees (high), 9 degrees (low)
Average rent (studio apartment): £1,059 – £1,914 per month
Food: Restaurants fit for A-List stars
Nightlife: Buzzy and stylish
Cost of a pint: £5.30
Cost of a flight from London: From £500

San Francisco - International Recruitment

Recruitment in Hong Kong

From West to East, another booming recruitment industry is Hong Kong. If you’re craving the great food and bright neon of the Far East, here’s what you need to know.

  • Banking and finance recruitment is big business in Hong Kong
  • Employees generally change roles every two years allowing a regular flow of business
  • Relationship building is key to success
  • The hiring process takes longer than in the UK (4-6 weeks)
  • Even if the ideal candidate is found, interviews still continue – this can be frustrating for recruiters
  • Permanent recruitment is far more common than contract
  • Networking is hugely important
  • If you can build a strong reputation, you’ll be successful here
  • Less of a work/life balance – chat business in the local bar
  • English is a business language, try learning Cantonese/Mandarin for day-to-day life
  • Your basic salary will be higher than in the UK
  • Dress formal and look smart

What about living in Hong Kong?
Public transport: Cheap, air-conditioned, always on time, perfect!
Average temperatures: 25 degrees (high), 20 degrees (low)
Average rent (studio apartment): £1,562 per month
Food: Exceptional restaurant culture with diverse options
Nightlife: Highly sociable and fun
Cost of a pint: £6
Cost of a flight from London: From £500

Hong Kong - International Recruitment

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Recruitment in Melbourne & Sydney (Australia)

Australia’s major cities Melbourne and Sydney are seeing a huge influx of recruiter expats. The booming industries and friendly nature of the cities are making them a very attractive option. Here’s a little more about the recruiter destinations down under.

  • Tech and digital industries are seeing a swarm in popularity
  • Engineering used to be the most popular industry but that’s now changing
  • More vacancies than candidates
  • You need a personal edge over the competition to be successful
  • A massively relationship driven market
  • You choose which clients you’d like to work with
  • Space for both perm and contract recruiters
  • Hitting the phones is ineffective – go out and meet people
  • To be successful, you need to build a credible reputation
  • Your basic salary will be very attractive
  • Dress casual but fashionable

Could you handle life in Melbourne or Sydney? Here’s what to think about.
Public transport: Great tram network for getting around
Average temperatures: 20 degrees (high), 11 degrees (low)
Average rent (studio apartment): £860 per month
Food: Exciting and diverse restaurant culture
Nightlife: Sociable and welcoming
Cost of a pint: £5.40
Cost of a flight from London: From £560

Sydney - International Recruitment

What to Consider Before Moving Abroad?

No matter how set you are on moving abroad to recruit, there are a few things you should really consider first. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What’s included in the relocation package? Some companies offer free flights home, some will contribute towards rent for the first few months
  • Do you have enough money to move? You’re going to need extra cash in your pocket
  • Who else has made the same move? What were their experiences?
  • What are you going to miss/leave behind?
  • Can you live comfortably and happily in the new country?
  • What will you do if you don’t enjoy the job?
  • Is there likely to be a language barrier?
  • What are the local customs and cultural differences?


If you’ve got a degree and solid recruitment experience, the chances of getting a visa are pretty favourable. Having said this, the whole process can become the bane of your life. The majority of agencies that seek international consultants will be able to help you through the process. It’s important to not take this for granted though. Start researching requirements and begin your application as early as possible. If in doubt, have a chat with your new company about this.

International Recruitment

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Is Everything Covered?

There’s lots to plan for moving your career abroad. It can be easy to overlook something important. Here’s a vital checklist to ensure you’ve got it all covered.

  • Relocation Package
  • Money
  • Accommodation
  • Travel arrangements
  • Storage
  • Vaccines and jabs
  • Visa
  • Understanding of tax laws
  • Mobile phone provider
  • Medical insurance
  • Public transport details
  • Bank accounts
  • Understanding of local laws / customs
  • Vital personal documents
  • Official start date

Are you craving a move abroad? Or do you want to gain some extra experience before jetting off? We can help. We have a wide variety of recruitment roles both in the UK and internationally. Have a browse of our job boards to get a flavour of how we can help your career.

Upload CV or Linkedin Profile

Alternatively call one of our consultants for an informal and confidential chat around
market opportunities – 020 3031 1666.