Conducting the application process

If you have received several applications from qualified professionals from abroad, you will have to choose the one best suited to your company. In this section we explain what help is available to help you choose, what you should look out for in interviews and what differences there may be between applications from foreign recruits and those of German employees.

Conducting the application process © istockphoto / vgajic

Start the selection process

Start the selection process © istockphoto / xavierarnau

You have already received a few applications for the vacant post? In that case, the selection process can begin. Evaluate the application documents in the usual way, first of all objectively according to the criteria you defined in the job offer. Note that in other countries, the structure of CVs and covering letters may differ from that in Germany. For example, in English-speaking countries it is not customary to enclose a photo. So be receptive even to unusual applications. During the second stage, try not to evaluate the applicant solely according to their formal qualifications or certificates, but take other skills into account too, such as personal and professional experience. Additional language or cultural skills can also be regarded as a plus point. During selection, consider what possible subsequent training (e.g. language acquisition) the person might need and whether you are prepared to support them, e.g. by giving them free time or by paying the costs.

Tip: The BQ Portal provides centralised information on foreign professional qualifications in Germany. On it, you will find comprehensive information on how to better assess and evaluate basic and advanced training qualifications obtained abroad.

Example of best practice

Find out how an engineering services provider finds qualified professionals abroad.

Conducting the job interview

Conducting the job interview © istockphoto / PeopleImages

To form an initial impression of your potential candidate from abroad, you can arrange a first interview by phone or over the Internet. Take care to adapt your language to ensure that the interview is comprehensible for both sides. It might make sense to conduct the interview in English or involve someone with corresponding language skills. During the interview, ask why the applicant wishes to come to Germany and their perspective on working and living here. Inversely, describe what support you can provide to help them and their family integrate. If an applicant is shortlisted, you can arrange a personal interview. For this, you need to find out whether a visa is required to enter Germany. Also explain how much support you can provide for the journey to the interview, for example by arranging overnight accommodation or collecting the applicant from the airport. Some companies even conduct the personal interview in the applicant’s home country. During the interview, bear in mind the cultural differences both in relation to verbal and non-verbal communication.

Tip: Assign a contact from the HR department or elsewhere in the company to the applicant for the duration of the application process. This person should, if possible, have the corresponding language skills if the applicant speaks no or only limited German.

Employing the qualified professional

employing the qualified professional © istockphoto / sturti

Once you have found the right international qualified professional for your company, you can then officially offer them the post and agree when they will actually start work. It might be helpful to the new recruit to provide the work contract in English or to discuss certain points with them. When signing the work contract, tell your new recruit about the legal aspects, for example the statutory insurance and taxation in Germany. These arrangements may be quite different in their country of origin. This is why you should appoint a fixed contact person for queries. You can find out more about "Support for administrative and legal formalities" here.

Important note: A qualified professional from a non-EU country is allowed (subject to certain conditions) to sign a work contract before they obtain a visa. Often, a work contract is a prerequisite for obtaining a work visa and must generally be submitted to the respective German embassy or foreigners’ authority. You can note in your work contract that it will only take effect once a valid visa has been obtained. You can find out more about this in “Entering and working in Germany".


Example of best practice

Find out how an engineering services provider finds qualified professionals abroad.

PDF downloads

Information on this portal

Information on visas and admission to the labour market

Find out here how you can make qualified professionals feel welcome in your company

Information about the recognition of professional qualifications

Information on the World Wide Web

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

Recruitment procedure – judicious recruitment of qualified professionals

KOFA (centre of excellence for securing a supply of qualified professionals)

Recruiting from abroad – Efforts to secure skilled labour without borders