Recruitment Strategies for Foreign Manufacturers in Vietnam

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Finding and recruiting staff with the current economic challenges Vietnam is facing can be difficult. Knowing a few key strategies, however, can help firms find and recruit high-quality candidates to continue to grow their business despite slowing economic growth.

In recent years, Vietnam has become a manufacturing powerhouse. This has been on the back of a number of changes in global supply chains but also the availability of low-cost labor in the emerging Southeast Asian nation.

Finding and recruiting labor, however, can sometimes be challenging. It’s not just production line workers either. Accountants, lawyers, customer service and sales staff, and a whole gamut of other roles can be crucial to a manufacturing firm’s success.

With their huge size, factories and manufacturing plants, are often located in sparsely populated areas. This can make the local talent pools highly competitive and firms may need to innovate in order to fill vacancies.

Here, we outline several tried and tested recruitment strategies that companies can implement to attract top-tier talent.

Job fairs

Holding a job fair can be one great way to recruit a lot of staff in a short amount of time. Firms that hold job fairs have a number of key advantages over those that don’t. For example:

Face-to-face interaction: At the end of the day, resumes and cover letters only get a candidate so far. The real decision-making, in most instances, happens after that all-important face-to-face interview. When an employer and an employee meet in person they can connect (or may not connect, as the case may be) on a human level. These interactions answer the crucial question, not does this person have the skills my firm needs but rather, can I work with this person?

Real-time responses: A job description only says so much and can often be more of a reflection of the communication skills of the author rather than of the role itself. In traditional hiring processes, the candidate normally tries to outline how their skills fit the needs of the job description. With a job fair, often the details of the role can be conveyed verbally with the prospective employee given the ability to respond and ask questions to clear up and clarify exactly what is involved.

It’s faster: One of the best things about a job fair is that it can speed up the hiring process. Prospective employees can attend in a group and questions can be asked and answered in a forum setting rather than one-by-one. In manufacturing firms in particular, whereby staff are often hired en masse, this can save a huge amount of time and effort.

Online job fairs

Another option for job fairs is to hold them online. Vietnam has huge internet penetration, particularly after COVID saw many people shift, at least temporarily, to remote work. By holding a job fair online firms can widen the net they cast, potentially to the entire country. It can also simplify the hiring process whereby applicants can shift from the job fair live stream to the job application seamlessly.

Skills-based recruiting

Skills-based hiring, as opposed to qualifications-based hiring, can help employers to broaden the talent pool and give them the ability to pick from a more diverse range of talent.

Whereas traditional recruitment practices focus on education, background, and experience, skills-based hiring focuses on, as the name suggests, skills. This means putting more emphasis on what a candidate can do rather than what they are qualified to do.

Practically, this means testing an applicant’s ability to perform certain tasks, their problem-solving ability, or how they learn. In a dynamic role that changes regularly, skills like problem-solving and the ability to adapt to a changing environment quickly and effectively may be a better fit.

Upskilling and reskilling

Another option for firms looking to recruit staff is to upskill or reskill their existing staff.

Often employees in one department, that are familiar with the company, can be better than hiring from outside. This is particularly true in challenging economic times when high-skilled workers might take entry-level roles to make ends meet.

By identifying these workers and developing clear paths to advance within the company, firms may find that they can more effectively fill roles. What’s more is that these workers are already familiar with the company, its culture, and their co-workers which can make the transition from one role to another much easier.

Furthermore, providing skills training in fields like management or leadership can see workers advance into supervisor positions leaving entry-level positions open to new hires.

This has added benefits too. It creates a stronger, more loyal workforce and it adds a level of efficiency to the recruitment process that can help firms to grow more effectively and strategically.

On an employee level, upskilling and reskilling can also help to motivate staff, stimulate their creativity, and boost their confidence, all traits that can be an asset to any business.

Referral programs

Referral programs can be another fantastic way to find new employees. These programs see existing employees refer their friends to the organization. If a referral is successful the firm usually provides the referrer with a bonus. These incentives help to encourage staff to participate in the recruitment process.

Collaborative hiring

Another option might be for a firm to collaborate with a recruitment agency. This can help to create a shared talent pool filled with a range of skilled candidates. This mechanism can be a very fast and effective way of finding employees.

This mode of hiring, particularly headhunting, has become very popular in Vietnam in recent years. Collaborative hiring comes with a number of advantages that other recruitment options may not.


Collaborating with a work-hire firm or recruitment agency can be a much simpler and faster way to hire than keeping it in-house. These firms are usually already well-connected in human resources circles, are on top of the most recent trends, and are familiar with the labor market already.

High-quality choices

When recruitment is outsourced to a professional agency they sort through the applicants and their resumes and select only the best for the role advertised. This can save firms hours and hours and should see only well-qualified candidates sit down with the key decision-makers in an organization.

Reduced risk of attrition

Recruitment firms are often only paid when an employee completes their probationary period. This motivates recruiters to only place the most suitable candidates that are likely to stay for at least the probationary period, usually longer. This means that firms should not need to hire again in the near future.

Online recruitment services

Finally, there are also several ways to recruit workers in Vietnam online. This is a very common practice and most Vietnamese look online first when searching for a new job. There are a plethora of websites but key among them are:

Vietnam Works

Vietnam Works boasts over 4 million registered users and has helped find employees for over 17,000 companies according to its own data. Its website is relatively simple to use for staff and it has become a well-known name in Vietnam.

Navigos Search

The Navigos Group is the parent company of both Vietnamworks and Navigos Search. While the former focuses on general workers from a broad range of sectors, the latest focuses on executive-level hiring.


LinkedIn take-up has been rapid in Vietnam. There were about four million users in 2021 and that number is set to climb. This is a popular means of recruiting staff for both domestic and international firms. It is also popular for networking and sharing business news and intelligence.

What’s the best way to recruit workers in Vietnam?

The best recruitment solution in Vietnam will depend on what a firm needs and wants. Headhunting is often better for executive roles whereas job fairs and digital platforms can be better for production line workers. Ultimately, however, it depends on the unique needs of the particular roles and the enterprise more broadly.

For support with human resources and payroll in Vietnam, contact the experts at Dezan Shira and Associates.

*This article was first published June 16, 2023. It has since been updated to reflect the latest developments.

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