How to Hire Brazilian Talent without Traveling to Brazil

Did you know there is a way to hire talented professionals from Brazil without setting a single foot on Brazilian soil? Keep reading to learn more.

You may already know that the Brazilian government has created an audacious program called Science without Borders (CsF). The program was created in 2011 and aims to send 75K students to foreign colleges and universities over a period of four years.

What you may not know is that a number of these Brazilian students need to take part in a mandatory internship program in the countries they are visiting. This is great news if you are seeking skilled workers who are fluent in your language and Portuguese.

A step by step guide on how to find and hire Brazilian talent

The best way to have access to Brazilian talent is to get involved with the CsF program. Here’s how:

Find out if your country is participating in the CsF program. Here is a list of program partners: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, Denmark, The US, Spain, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, The UK, The Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine.

Look for the universities in your area which are hosting CsF students. For instance, if you are in British Columbia, search google for “British Columbia Science without Borders” or “British Columbia Ciencia sem Fronteiras” to find the program information for the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University

Contact the international liaison office at the educational institution.  Learn more about their partnership with the CsF program. Ask about the type of students they are hosting and the areas these students are studying. Also, check if they are looking for internship opportunities and if there are any timelines you need to be aware of.

With all this information in mind, create a recruitment and selection process for an internship position and develop a job posting with the job requirements you have mind.

Promote your CsF internship posting by adding it to your website. Ask the university to broadcast this information to all its CsF students.

Consider promoting your posting in other locations. Being that CsF students are allowed to participate in internships outside their home university, consider broadcasting the posting to other universities in your country.

Contact the Brazilian Government to add your posting to the Ciencia sem Fronteiras job board. You can advertise the position to a large number of students for free.

Depending on the skill level required for the position, consider using alumni associations, such as the Alumni Canada Brazil Network, to help spread the word.

Go through the selection process and chose the best candidate for the job. Call people for the interview and hire the best candidate you find. There are a lot of smart, ambitious students in Brazil. Don’t settle for average candidates, hire the best person you can find!

Once the internship is over, keep the student’s contact information in Brazil handy.  Csf students need, by obligation, to be back to Brazil for a certain period of time once the program is over. I am sure if the experience was successful, they may be very interested in continuing to work with you in Brazil, Canada or elsewhere.  Keep that in mind.


Benefits of hiring Brazilian talent through the Science without Borders Program

Although the internship may last a short period of time, there are some great advantages of piggybacking on the CsF program. Here are a few, just to help you think about it.

You may get a talented professional from Brazil for free. Some CsF scholarships will cover the costs, providing a stipend to the co-op student while they work for you.

If you have any plans of doing business in Brazil, this is a great start to understand the Brazilian culture and to establish connections in the country.

You will have someone who understands both cultures on your team. This person can be extremely valuable to navigate through the problems you may face in Brazil as well as to communicate with your team.

The student will eventually go back to Brazil and be a trustworthy contact there. If that person does a great job, you may want to deepen the relationship with them and re-hire them back in Brazil.

These are my tips for hiring a Brazilian professional without traveling to Brazil. If you have any tips and challenges for hiring Brazilians, please don’t hesitate to share them.  It would be great to hear from you.


Photo credits: Joel Kelly

4 Steps to Enter the Brazilian Market

A prudent approach to enter the Brazilian market is to structure your activities into phases. Doing it this way will help you aggregate knowledge about the country as you go and give you the opportunity to manage risks as they arise.  This way you evolve your market entry process based on your own perspective of things and by controlling each stage of the process progress.

First, define your major business goals for your Brazilian venture. Start broad and think about how your competitive advantage can be leveraged outside your domestic market. Consider how your company products and services can benefit Brazilian consumers.

Focus on creating a strategic plan that can be further expanded as time passes. Having clear goals will save you time and money because it will help you focus in the main opportunities that really matter to your organization.

Second, take time to visit the country and build business contacts. Organize a business visit to Brazil, tag along on an official trade mission by your home country and get involved with the international chambers of commerce in São Paulo.

There is a lot of leg work that needs to be done in this phase. Be prepared to travel and visit sites and facilities.  Never rely in the international press for the latest news. Learn Portuguese and start to follow the main Brazilian newspapers.

Take the time to build your local team of advisors with bankers, lawyers, translators, certified accountants and domain experts.

Third, structure and pursue one single relevant opportunity at the time. This will help you test the waters. Start by asking as many questions as you can. Educate yourself about the market your are targeting.

What would be the best way to structure a business, finding a local partner, opening a subsidiary or manufacturing locally? Is your Brazilian lawyer answering your emails timely?  Is your accountant avoiding you and not answering your phone calls? This is the time you will see if all your connections are working correctly.  You will get used to dealing with your Brazilian counterparts and test your connections thoroughly. You will know exactly the main challenges you need to overcome to obtain results.

Drill down to the details, search for answers about cash flow, how money moves around, legal agreements, taxes, financing options, and international insurance mechanisms. There is lots to be learned, but, at the end of the process it is more likely to that you will know more about your industry than many of your advisors and local partners.

Finally, be ready for takeoff.  At this point, you have a great grasp of what works and what doesn’t work so well in Brazil. You’ve learned about how to do business in the country. Maybe it is time to think about bigger business. Maybe, pursue an acquisition or a new venture partnership. More importantly, by reaching a new level of maturity, you certainly have experienced the back-and-forth of the Brazilian economy. It is very likely, you’ll even develop your own “ginga” style, learning to deal with issues and testing your persistence.

You need to have your goals clearly set and develop a long-term plan. All the effort will yield a considerable return. I assure you.

Start Now

Having any plan is better than having no plan. Having a good plan is better than having any plan. Having an excellent plan is better than having a good plan.

Get to Action. Don’t wait for later, take a sheet of paper now and write down your business goals in Brazil. Think about the future and build a rough structure of your entry plan. Don’t worry about the details. They will come with time. Go! Write it down now!

Photo credits: Fernando Stankuns

Entering a Foreign Market is a Business Decision

Entering the Brazilian market is no different from entering any other foreign market. You need to base your decision on the prospect of getting something back for your investment.

Sure, there are market specifics, the economy and the politics. However, for those venturing outside their domestic market, it is a question of finding the right opportunities. That means finding opportunities that make business sense, whether they may be in Brazil or somewhere else on the globe.

The process of entering a foreign market starts with a decision at your office:  “Yes, we should look into a new market for our products.” This is the exact point when your strategy begins to take shape – not when you are landing for the first time in Guarulhos, São Paulo.

Companies that were successful entering the Brazilian market very likely would also be able to successfully enter any other foreign markets.

To be perfectly clear, what makes a company succeed in the Brazilian market goes beyond knowledge of the local market. It has lots to do with how your company defines its objectives and manages them, as well as, how it tackles unexpected issues as they appear.

  • Foreign companies that do well in Brazil have clear goals.
  • They know when things are working well and when it is time to change direction.
  • They spend considerable time doing their homework. They are resilient and prepared for changes in the economic and political environment.
  • And they understand that entering a new market is a long-term commitment.

Think widely and consider all your options. Going overseas needs to make business sense, period.  Anything else is expensive tourism.

Photo Credits: Victor Camilo

You don’t need to be Brazilian to do Business in Brazil

São Paulo
You may have heard from many friends, colleagues and business contacts:

  • “It’s unbelievably difficult to do business in Brazil.”
  • “I’d never go back to Rio for business.”
  • “Brazil, oh… my friend [my co-worker, my business acquaintance …] lost big money in Brazil! But, hey, he did learn good Spanish!”
  • “You’re investing in Brazil? You must be travelling a lot to Buenos Aires.”

Oh, yes! These are some of the common things I have heard about Brazil. I’ll spare you the comments I get when someone refers me to those classic Brazilian investment videos; those ones with aerial shots of ports, stadiums and beach properties, featuring caipirinhas and beautiful women dancing samba. They provide a very strange view of how business is done in this country. They bring very little information about the reality of investing in projects in Brazil.

When there have been so many misleading ideas and preconceptions about doing business in Brazil, it may be frustrating to overcome the strange cultural barriers and work effectively to enter the Brazilian market.

So, does this mean you need to be a Brazilian to understand the complexity of the Brazilian market?…

I don’t think so! And I’m writing you to prove the contrary. I strongly believe that, using the appropriate strategy, any foreign investor can succeed in doing business in Brazil and can operate in the same way locals do.

Leave your preconceptions behind and consider the Brazilian market. There is lots of money to be made by finding the right opportunities. Go after what really matters to you and your business!

Photo Credits: Fernando Stankuns