Commitment, focus, multiculturalism: Why hiring international students is just good business

Your customers are changing. So why aren’t your staff? Today, Kiwi hospitality businesses are catering to an ever-changing array of people, and hiring international students who reflect those people is just good business sense.

Hiring international students brings far more benefits than just acting as a mirror to your customers

But hiring international students brings far more benefits than just acting as a mirror to your customers. Many have worked in multiple countries and speak multiple languages – arming them with the tools they need to interact with anybody.

Most come to New Zealand with a qualification already – meaning they also come with life experience, work experience, and the ability to learn quickly. They identify where the gaps in their knowledge are and aren’t afraid to ask for help – which is hugely valuable in a new workplace.

Those who study hospitality management at Auckland Institute of Studies also take part in a three month internship with brands as well-known as Accor, Heritage, and Millennium – giving them not just overseas experience, but experience right here in New Zealand. Although fair warning – many of the students get snapped up after their internships already.

AIS. Alvaro May 2016 Photo:Gareth Cooke

Our top tips for hiring international students:

  • Understand that telephone interviews may be challenging for international students (as they can be even for native Kiwis) and offer in-person interviews where possible
  • Explain what you expect very clearly – many may have worked in very different hospitality environments in which they were told exactly what to do and left little room for autonomy, so need to be given permission to make decisions
  • Commit to them and they’ll commit to you – in most cases, international students make the most dedicated workers, especially when they’re hoping for you to sponsor them to stay following their year-long post-study work visa

Every year, 90% of our students come from overseas; from places as diverse as India, China, Russia, South America, Korea, and even Lithuania. They bring with them commitment, focus, the ability to communicate with many cultures, and a passion for New Zealand. Why not give them a chance?

The article was first published on ‘Hospitality Business Magazine’ Nov 2017