5 Tips to Make an Offshore Partnership Work for You

As the success of offshore recruitment expands across the staffing industry, so too does the number of offshore providers serving staffing firms. Experiences vary from the successful engagements that have paid off handsomely for some staffing firms, to the bad experiences of others.

What makes one offshore partnership wildly successful and another incredibly frustrating? And how do you ensure that your partnership is one of the successes?


Most successful relationships—business and personal—come down to one basic principle: You must have strong communication to make it work. The same holds true for successful offshore/onshore partnerships. Here are five best practices learned through 15 years of experience, all of which touch on communication for creating a successful offshore recruitment partnership.

1. Be Realistic

There’s a misperception across the industry that staffing firms sign up with an offshore provider and candidates automatically begin to appear. Engaging with an offshore partner is not a “plug and play” proposition. Be realistic about what an offshore partner can and cannot do. Establish a common understanding about the type of work the offshore provider will be delivering—sourcing, recruiting, research, etc.—and what metrics will be used to define success. This should be a collaborative effort between the offshore partner (who has insight into offshore best practices) and yourself (you have insight into your own demands and clients). Gaining a clear understanding of who is doing what is the first step to a successful relationship.

2. Gain buy-in from the get-go

Before kicking off an offshore partnership, it’s imperative that everyone in the organization—from the receptionist to the CEO— understands the reasons for partnering with an offshore provider and the benefits it will bring.

TIP: Lean on your offshore partner for help drafting emails and internal communications that educate staff regarding the nature and purpose of the partnership. You may be working with an offshore partner for the first time, but surely this isn’t their first time working with an onshore partner. Leverage their experiences for greater communication success.

3. Integrate the Offshore Partners into the Onshore Team

Offshore partnerships are a team effort between staffing firms and their providers. Always remember that there are talented professionals on the other side of the phone, email or IM. Those team members are just as dedicated to the company’s goals and objectives as team members in the U.S.—only they’re located across the globe. To fill requirements successfully, honest communication and true team collaboration between the onshore staff and their offs.

CASE IN POINT: Based on the requirements submitted by its onshore team, an offshore recruiter submitted eight solid candidates for a position. Three were interviewed by the client. While the candidates matched all the skills and education criteria, the offshore provider wasn’t informed of the one key, determining factor—the candidate had to love to fish.

(Yes, really.) Unfortunately, the onshore team neglected to add that detail to their requisition and subsequently all three candidates were rejected—none enjoyed fishing.

4. Set expectations

Make sure that everyone involved has the same expectations for the partnership—be they hours of operation, operating procedures or recruiting goals. Determine standards for communicating—set a certain time of day for updates or a scheduled phone call to review candidates, prioritize openings, etc. Involve your offshore partner in important company- wide meetings; they should make the effort to adjust their schedules in order to join in these gatherings. Frequent meetings between offshore resources and your internal staff will go a long way toward creating a collaborative team environment.

5. Set up a Single Point of Contact

Set a Single Point of Contact Appointing a relationship manager—someone with authority to make decisions and get things done—streamlines communication and ensures that the right information is being submitted to the offshore partner, and vice versa. That person serves as a liaison and advocate between the offshore partner and staffing firm management, protecting the relationship and making sure that everyone is working as a team.

A Clear ROI

Engaging an offshore recruitment provider can be very attractive for staffing firms. Not only do firms gain increased access to talent, greater speed in identifying candidates, and improved efficiency, they also have the potential to realize significant profits. But just simply signing a contract is not the silver bullet to success. As with any successful relationship, it boils down to strong communication across all aspects of the partnership.

Ready to Maximize Your Time and Effort?