Hiring the right country manager is crucial to a successful international expansion: The country manager has overall responsibility for the expansion of an international business in a particular location. Here we provide 6 key tips for hiring a country manager, and look at the main alternatives to doing so.
1. A country manager is responsible for your business operations in another jurisdiction. Where a company operates in multiple countries, it may have a country manager assigned to each location.
2. Alternatives to hiring a country manager include commissionaire arrangements, contracting and global PEO. Each options comes with some limitations compared to hiring a country manager directly.
3. When hiring a country manager, we recommend that you carefully consider your overall international expansion strategy, and partnering with expansion specialists in the country you are moving into.
What Is a Country Manager?
A country manager is an employee that has overall responsibility for an expanding company’s operations in a foreign country. Their responsibilities can differ, depending on the type of expansion in question, but often include:
- People management
- Leading country-specific strategy
- Liaising with, and implementing, the decisions of the broader company leadership
- Recruitment in that country
- Hiring and payroll in that country
- Budgeting, planning and reporting
- Ensuring compliance with local tax, employment and business regulations.
To find our more about the process of hiring managers generally, check out How to Hire a Manager.
When Do I Need to Hire a Country Manager?
It is recommended that a company appoint a country manager whenever it plans a substantial operation in an overseas location. This could mean actually trading and entering into contracts in another location, or it could mean simply basing staff there, or outsourcing to that overseas location. Having a country manager does not imply any specific legal or business structure: A country manager could be the managing director of a subsidiary company, or in charge of a branch of the parent company, for example (read about the difference between the two at Branch versus Subsidiary: What Is the Best Option for Your International Expansion?).
The advantages of consciously hiring a country manager are somewhat obvious — someone needs to steer the ship. But are there viable alternatives to directly hiring a country manager, and when might they be appropriate?
Six Tips for Hiring a Country Manager
Where a business has decided to hire a country manager, we recommend the following steps:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The country manager has overall responsibility for a company's operations in an overseas location. They may not have the title 'country manager' and instead may be referred to by terms like '[Region] Managing Director' or '[Region] Manager'.
When interviewing a country manager, some useful questions to ask may include:
- Do you have experience employing staff in the target market?
- Are you comfortable with regular/semi-regular international travel?
- Do you have any ideas for increasing our productivity in the target market?
- How will you build and maintain relationships with the international team?
Hire a country manager with a local partner
In most cases, where you are interested in international expansion, you will need to consider hiring a country manager. It is possible to do this directly, or via the medium of a global PEO.
No matter what mechanism is used for hiring a country manager, it is worthwhile considering the business and compliance constraints of the target market, how a country manager role fits in with broader strategy, and whether you could benefit from local assistance in hiring the country manager.
For support in hiring a country manager and other aspects of your overseas expansion get in touch with Horizons.