Opening Doors for Foreign Job Seekers
By Rohit Koshy | Bangalore | Published: 20th July 2015 06:00 AM |
Troy Erstling always wanted to live and work outside the United States. In the last four years, he has taught English to school children in Seoul, South Korea and travelled to countries like Argentina, before finally landing in Bangalore to work for Zoomcar.
“I always receive messages on Facebook and LinkedIn from friends asking me how I continue to find work opportunities abroad. All the online jobs are for teaching English and volunteer work. But here I was, living in Bangalore and working for one of India’s fastest growing startups involved in digital marketing. I knew other people wanted something similar, but couldn’t find it because it didn’t exist. So I created a Facebook group to help people travel and find career relevant experience abroad, and started interacting with startups here to get some fundamental questions answered,” explains Troy about his venture Brain Gain.
Brain Gain helps startups and social enterprises in emerging economies hire foreign talent for internships and full- time employment typically for three to 12 month periods, particularly for functions like sales, marketing, finance, design, and technology. They also assist with the visa processing, housing, medical insurance, and general acclimation and support, like setting up a phone/internet, helping them get around the city, connecting them with networking opportunities, and anything else that helps them settle down in the new country.
“We spent the first six to eight months simply gathering information and researching if companies actually wanted to hire foreign talent. Through our conversations, we found that there were specific talent deficiencies that were hard to hire, like spoken and written English, design, and tech skills. Our first placement happened by accident. There was an urgent opening, and I sent the job descriptions to everyone I knew in Bangalore. A friend of mine from Spain, who was working here as a Spanish teacher, knew someone who was looking for a job in Bangalore. We connected, she was a good fit, I sent her to the company, and she got hired. I love the power of Facebook!” says Troy.
Brain Gain charges the company 15 per cent of the first-year salary of the candidate for regular placements. For internships, they charge the incoming intern for their services, because companies are not willing to pay them for candidates who work on short assignments. In operation since January 2015, Brain Gain has helped with 15 placements at companies like Mobstac, Hotelogix, Exotel, Venturesity and Buttercups, with people from countries like US, India, China, France, Poland, Spain and South Korea.
In the long run, he intends to help Indians find jobs outside India as well, in countries that have a favourable visa regime. “One of my favourite moments was helping a student of Indian origin successfully find an internship here. Coming to India was a momentous event in his life, as he had never been to the country before this,” recalls Troy.
Although he started off as a solo founder, Troy has never been alone in his entrepreneurial journey. He got immense support, advice, and mentorship from his family, people he met during his travels and the Bangalore startup ecosystem. His co-founder, Matthew Williams, taught English with him at the same school in South Korea, and has also lived and worked in several countries, experiencing the same struggle to find career relevant work. Troy firmly believes that everyone we meet has something to teach us, and applies this philosophy to every conversation he has. He is a freestyle poet, emcee, and voice actor, and carries a pocket notebook wherever he goes.