Insider view: on hiring and working with refugees

man smiling at colleagues working with refugeesAn employer with experience of working with refugees offers some tips for job seekers.

If you are a refugee, you might be nervous about interviewing for a job, but employers can be nervous too! This is especially true if they don’t have experience working with refugees. It helps if you understand the perspective of the hiring manager.

The hiring manager’s goal is to hire the best person for the job.

That means someone with the right skills who can learn quickly, work hard, and fit into the company’s culture.

He or she may be concerned about investing time in training a new employee who may not work out because of a lack of skills or cultural differences. If you understand this worry ahead of time, you can convince the person interviewing you that it is worth their time to invest in you. Show them that any extra effort will pay off in the long run.

What is the best way to do this? Before your interview, go online and read the company’s “About Us” page. Also, read the company’s social media and blog posts.

Hiring managers are impressed by candidates who understand the company’s values and mission.

The mission of the company outlines its reason for existing – its reason for being. If the company’s mission makes you excited to work there, tell the hiring manager! This will communicate you have enthusiasm for the job. It will show the employer you will be a good fit for the organization.

There are many things you can do to prepare for your job interview. If you are still working on your English, understand that hiring managers might be worried about your ability to communicate with your colleagues. To address this concern, practice short, clear answers to possible questions before the interview.

If you don’t understand a question during the interview, ask the interviewer to give more detail or repeat it. Most people are nervous when they go to interviews, and many native-born Americans also ask for explanations.

If you aren’t sure you communicated well, you can ask the interviewer, “Did I answer your question?”

Once you get the job (congratulations!) there are a number of things you can do to make sure you do well in your new workplace.

If you feel confused, always ask for clarification about what is expected of you on the job. Make sure you understand instructions. It’s much better to ask than to make assumptions that lead to mistakes.

Look for friends who are outside your immediate work circle. Invite them to sit down for lunch or take a break together! These people can be helpful for understanding parts of the job that are confusing or difficult.

If you have communication issues, seek out ESL training and let your employer know that you are working on it. It will make you a more helpful colleague and it will open up more opportunities for you at work.

The U.S. healthcare system is confusing. If you have questions about benefits and healthcare, set up an appointment with someone in the human resources department to better understand. Human resources handle employee issues like salary, benefits, training, and culture.

Your employer is eager for you to do well on the job and may be excited about working with refugees.

By asking for help when you need it and communicating your desire to do a good job, you will create a positive work environment that will help you succeed.

Sam Pardue is the CEO of Indow in Portland, Oregon, and has hired numerous refugees over the years to work at his company. He also helped found We Hire Refugees.

About Sam Pardue