In an ever-changing professional landscape, employers are constantly on the hunt for adaptable, personable, and highly motivated applicants. If you hire solely based on previous experience, you will likely end up with an adequate employee, but a great way to distinguish those stellar candidates who can think out of the box is to go with the well-traveled applicant. In fact, in 2017, the hostel-booking company HostelWorld commissioned a PCP Market Research survey to determine the employability of candidates with travel experience. Over 1,000 people from across the world participated, and the results concluded that 82% of employers believe that experience traveling makes candidates more employable.
Travelers bring a unique set of skills and experience to the workplace. There is no better test for thinking strategically and rolling with the punches than trying to plan transportation and housing in a brand-new environment. So, if you’re checking out potential candidates’ social media and professional networking sites and see an impressive travel history, it is definitely wise to reach out and see if they would be a good fit for your company. Most applicants are more likely to respond to a direct phone call or email, so it will be beneficial to get their contacts through LinkedIn or Facebook with a browser extension.
In case you’re still not sold on the limitless potential of the experienced traveler in the workplace, read on for a list of reasons why you should hire people who love to travel.
1. They Thrive in Dynamic Environments
Frequent travelers must be able to adapt quickly on the road and are, therefore, generally more open to change and better able to thrive in a dynamic and fast-paced environment than their counterparts. Whether your workplace experiences a change in management, strategy, or technology, a well-traveled candidate is more likely to embrace innovation and less likely to shy away from new developments.
2. They Thrive in Diverse Environments
In an increasingly globalized world, hiring an employee who can find common ground with diverse groups of people is of utmost importance. Someone who loves to travel is very likely to have practice interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds and is also probably going to jump at the opportunity to continue doing so. When you’re looking for someone who can work side by side with a diverse group of employees or someone who can effectively and meaningfully connect with foreign clients and investors, a world traveler is perfect for the job. Frequent travelers also tend to develop more refined foreign language skills, often speaking more than one language and picking up the basics of new languages fairly quickly.
3. They Are Confident
There are very few fields of work where your level of confidence isn’t directly correlated with success, and frequent travelers are likely to be some of the most confident candidates in an applicant pool. It takes a significant amount of self-confidence to step out of your comfortable routine in search of new places, people, and experiences. It would be nearly impossible to leap into the unknown and explore the world without believing in yourself. Continuously taking that leap of faith fosters a ton of personal growth and makes for a very well-rounded and self-confident job applicant.
4. They Have Great Communication Skills
Travelers are often very skilled communicators. Whether they speak the language or not, trying to navigate foreign environments naturally leads to a ton of miscommunications. From language barriers to culture shocks, traveling requires people to put their best foot forward and resolve any miscommunications along the way. Traveling in a group also requires effective communication with its members. In short, communication is crucial for travelers to stay safe and make the most of their time while bouncing around.
5. They Have Great People Skills
Along with developing impeccable communication skills, travelers are great at fostering meaningful connections with people from different backgrounds and people in their own circles. Anyone who has traveled with a group has had to both rely on others and lead others depending on personal strengths and weaknesses. If you’re looking for a candidate who can build relationships with people and work well with a team toward a common goal, look to the frequent traveler.
6. They’re Not Afraid to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone
The applicant who loves to travel is probably not the type of person who is insistent on sticking with a monotonous routine that produces average results. Travelers are naturally curious and generally practiced in stepping out of their comfort zone and exploring new avenues, activities, and tasks. If you hire a frequent traveler, you won’t need to worry that they will become too comfortable putting in the bare minimum to produce just okay results.
7. They Don’t Panic
When someone is constantly traveling, pretty much everything that can go wrong eventually will. Whether it’s a lost passport, a canceled flight, visa issues, or a sudden illness caused by foreign bacteria, common issues while traveling can seem like the end of the world to an inexperienced traveler. Seasoned globe-trotters, however, have more than likely experienced their fair share of unpredictable problems and are practiced in dealing with the unexpected. Those who travel often know that staying calm and immediately working toward a solution is the best way to resolve any sudden and unforeseen issues. This is a very valuable character trait in a new employee diving head first into a high-stress or high-stakes work environment.
8. They Are Masters of Time Management
They say time is money, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to traveling. Catching planes, trains, and check-in windows is absolutely essential for the traveler hoping to stick to a budget and an itinerary. Missing a prebooked flight and having no choice but to buy the next ticket out will likely cost a traveler a ton of money, just like missing a deadline and scrambling to retain a client can cost a business. From visa applications and interviews at the embassy to catching connecting flights and once-a-day bus rides, travelers are very well practiced in punctuality and meeting deadlines.
9. They Are Creative
Always in search of new ideas, perspectives, and information, frequent travelers have been shown to approach their work with an enhanced degree of creativity. Someone who bounces around the world looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences and brand-new attitudes is unlikely to become the type of worker to get stuck in a rut unable to think outside of the box. In a 2014 study published in the Academy of Management Journal, researchers found that executives in the fashion industry who have lived in three or more different countries produce consistently more creative lines than their counterparts.
10. They Have Valuable Problem-Solving Skills
Hand in hand with working creatively, thinking outside of the box and finding unique solutions to problems in the workplace are very important skills that frequent travelers bring to the table. As we touched on above, life on the road rarely goes according to plan, and travelers often have no choice but to adapt and find creative ways to solve any issues that may arise. Whether it’s quickly finding work in exchange for lodging when money runs low or finding three trains and a bus to get to the next destination when a flight gets canceled, excellent problem-solving skills are as essential to travelers as they are to stellar employees.
11. They Are Resilient
Someone who is used to persevering when things get tough isn’t someone who will quit a job when it starts to get challenging. Developing thick skin is essential for traveling just as it is to being a hard worker. Someone who loves to travel is someone who makes a plan and wants to see it through even when it gets difficult and unforeseen challenges arise.
12. They Are Highly Motivated and Energetic
It pretty much goes without saying that traveling requires a ton of energy. Early flights and sleepless nights are almost impossible to avoid when bouncing around time zones, especially for anyone traveling on a budget. Shooting out of bed when the alarm sounds, bulldozing through a packed itinerary with the highest level of enthusiasm, hiking around cities, and hiking up mountains are activities that only someone who is highly motivated and energetic will have willfully accomplished.
13. They Have Well-Rounded Life Experience
While relevant work experience and academic qualifications are important indicators of a qualified candidate, there is no substitute for having well-rounded life experience. The majority of what we learn about the world, other people, and even business is likely to come to us through first-hand experience rather than through courses and certifications. If you’re choosing between applicants with comparable business and academic qualifications, the candidate who loves to travel might bring to the table something unique that they’ve picked up through a strong sense of curiosity about the world.
14. They Work Well With Limited Resources
If you’ve ever tried to slip an overweight suitcase through airport security, you know that travelers must rely on a very limited supply of personal belongings and resources. This experience of working from what you have can be very helpful in the workplace, where budgets are allocated, funding is limited, and the work still needs to get done. Anyone who has traveled on a budget or exchanged work for lodging is undoubtedly a hard worker willing to take the time and resources that they have and make them go as far as possible.
15. They Have a High Tolerance for Ambiguity
In every industry and within every business that has more than one shareholder, employee, client, or contractor, there is bound to exist a surplus of differing opinions and conflicting interpretations. The patience and open-mindedness that comes from embracing new cultures, places, and people will serve any potential employee well when faced with ambiguity in the workplace.
Hopefully our list has offered some new insight on hiring employees with travel experience. The next time you’re evaluating prospective candidates, be sure to ask yourself: Is it really a gap in the resume if they’ve been traveling?