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Talent Montreal Imports Global Talent Through Targeted International Recruitment Missions

Montreal talent attraction

The economy in Montreal, Quebec, Canada is booming. The Greater Montreal region – a global hub for aerospace and video game industries, among other sectors – has so many job openings in high-tech industries and IT that local talent simply cannot fill the positions.

As the United States continues to debate expanding its H-1B visa program, smart Canadian economic development organizations, such as Montreal International, are maximizing the country’s relatively streamlined immigration system to find the global talent they need.

Montreal International’s talent attraction campaign, “Talent Montreal,” is solving the region’s workforce shortage by using an innovative and strategic approach to attract the world’s best talent – literally – to the area. The organization and its provincial and local partners are taking Quebec-based employers overseas – often to French-speaking European countries with high unemployment – to target the top candidates for in-person interviews during two- to four-day international talent recruitment missions, which have been wildly successful.

Since 2010, these kinds of international recruiting missions have enabled roughly 70 businesses in the region to meet more than 10,000 – yes, 10,000! – pre-selected candidates; choose more than 2,500 candidates for a second interview and hire more than 600 specialized and experienced workers.

DCI talked with Louis Arseneault, Montreal International’s Vice President for Talent Attraction, Promotion and Communications, to learn more about these talent recruitment missions, including the upcoming mission that will take place at the end of November in Paris with 15 Montreal-based companies in the IT sector.

Talent Attraction Campaign Launch Date: 2010

What DCI loves about the campaign:

Montreal International’s recipe for foreign direct talent investment:

Talent Montreal hosts two overseas missions each year, with massive response. In June, a mission to Brussels received 13,000 applicants, and companies met with 2,000 candidates during the three-day recruitment mission.

Often, the missions are to Paris, Brussels or Barcelona – places that boast a talent pool most relevant to Montreal’s economy, which includes IT, video game/special effects industry, aerospace, and life sciences, and often have a high level of unemployment among young skilled professionals. The organization has also done missions in New York City and Washington, D.C., to target tens of thousands of French expats in these areas. Typically, 35-40 employers – half from the Greater Montreal area and half from throughout the province of Quebec – participate in these missions. Costs vary, but trips typically range from $12,000 to $15,000 for two representatives per company to participate.

On top of the planning and implementation, the Talent Montreal campaign plays a big role in these missions to help sell the region once the companies are on the ground in their target location. Montreal International leaders set up a booth to arm candidates with everything they need to know about living and working in Greater Montreal – from apartment hunting to the average cost of housing, to the tax and school systems, to health care and transportation.

Talent Montreal – as well as other partner organizations, such as the immigration department – are there to help answer any question not related specially to a company or job offer, thus freeing up employers’ time so they can focus solely on talking to the candidates about the job.

Relationships with foreign and local government organizations to assist with international hiring:

Talent Montreal partners with a variety of organizations to make these recruitment missions – and eventual hiring of talent – successful. Leaders work with federal provincial partners in Quebec, including the Department of Immigration, as well as foreign partners in countries they’re targeting, including various government and employment agencies.

Through these partnerships, Talent Montreal is able to facilitate and accelerate the nitty-gritty details of procedures for hiring foreign workers, including visas, work permits and other documentation needed to begin working in Quebec.

Tapping into overseas talent with the highest potential to relocate to Greater Montreal:

Talent Montreal does extensive research and homework to ensure it targets the right countries to ensure a high return on investment for participating companies. French-speaking and bilingual talent is important, as are factors such as places with a climate similar to Montreal, average salaries and taxation. But what’s even smarter in the international recruitment missions is that Talent Montreal targets countries that face the exact opposite challenge as Montreal and Quebec: high unemployment rates and struggling economies. The governments in these countries – including France, where unemployment rates can reach up to 25 percent among young people – are eager to work with Talent Montreal to provide work opportunities, a foot in the door and global job experience for young professionals, who they hope might return to the country one day when its economy improves

Focused target marketing of talent abroad prior to recruitment missions:

These recruitment missions are not the average job fair. They are invite-only events, and candidates are chosen after a stringent pre-selection process.

Talent Montreal works with countries being targeted to develop a promotional campaign and post jobs through social media. Thousands of candidates apply. Employers review resumes and narrow down the pool to those they want to interview in person. The missions are like a speed-dating session, and allow employers to meet with only the most highly-qualified talent that possess the right skill sets for the job.

Written By

Sarah Reinecke

Sarah Reinecke is an Account Manager at DCI. Since joining the staff in 2013, she’s worked to tell the economic development stories of places that span from Salinas, Calif., to Wake County, N.C., and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to the state of Indiana.

More Articles by Sarah Reinecke

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