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Brazil Recruiting & Hiring

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Brazil’s employment laws favor employees, and it is common to face litigation from former employees after termination. Therefore, Brazil employment compliance hinges on a strong employment contract and a thorough understanding of the country’s laws regarding staffing and recruiting.

Recruiting in Brazil

When you’re staffing and recruiting in Brazil, it’s important to keep cultural differences in mind. Brazilians prefer to do business with people they genuinely like, so you’ll want to make the right impression by following social norms when it comes to speaking and behaving with prospective hires. Here are some of the most important steps to keep in mind.

1. Develop a Personal Connection

In Brazil, people expect to do business with other people — not with companies. As you recruit prospective team members, you should take the time to get to know them over meals or coffee. If there’s no connection, an otherwise excellent candidate may choose to look elsewhere for employment.

2. Understand Body Language

Brazilian business associates often greet each other with handshakes, hugs, and slaps on the back. You should be sure to greet every person in the room individually during a meeting. You’ll also need to individually say goodbye to everyone when you leave.

In Brazil, it’s not uncommon for people to touch each other on the arm or the back during a conversation. Don’t be surprised by physical contact with prospective hires. Good eye contact is also expected.

3. Remember That Etiquette Is Important

Brazilians expect others to know how to eat properly and carry themselves in a way that demonstrates class. Since it’s common for Brazilians to do business over meals, it’s especially important for you to know the proper etiquette and protocol to follow in a formal setting.

4. Know That Time Isn’t Money in Brazil

When it comes to time management, Brazilians are very laid back compared to most Western citizens. Meetings often start late and extend beyond their scheduled time. You should come to meetings and interviews with candidates on time, but don’t be surprised if they show up a bit late— and don’t write a good candidate off just because of tardiness.

What Is the Recruitment Process in Brazil Like?

In Brazil, staffing talented workers can be a challenge if you’re not sure how to reach them. You may want to reevaluate your typical hiring procedure as you begin recruiting in the country.

Social media is an increasingly popular channel for companies in Brazil that wish to recruit active and passive Brazilian candidates. You can use a social media platform to reach out to potential hires directly and build awareness of your company so that other candidates approach you on their own.

You can also utilize the help of a recruiting agency. However, recruiting and headhunting services can sometimes come with steep fees. If you choose to outsource the recruitment process, you’d most likely be better off partnering with a global PEO that includes recruiting in Brazil in their service offerings.

Brazilian Discrimination Laws

In Brazil, employers cannot discriminate against prospective employees for any reason, including:

  • Sex 
  • Origin
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Family situation
  • Disability
  • Age

Avoid making any references to protected categories in job postings for your company. For example, you wouldn’t want to say that you’re looking for an employee to join your “young, energetic team” — such language could be considered age-based discrimination.

You’ll also need to avoid asking questions pertaining to these categories during interviews, such as asking whether the prospective employee is married or has any children. 

What Checks Can You Make on Prospective Employees?

During the recruitment process, it’s standard for employers to request proof of the candidate’s education. You can also undertake a background check on an interviewee’s identity and professional history. These parts of the screening process are common and acceptable in Brazil. That said, you cannot run a criminal background check unless doing so is pertinent to the job. This rule protects individuals who have been convicted of a crime in the past as well as those who are currently going through a criminal investigation.

Due to the nuances of recruiting in Brazil, many foreign companies seek legal advice to ensure compliance throughout the process.

How to Hire Brazil Employees

Because the native language in Brazil is Portuguese, you will either need to learn the language yourself or hire a translator to help hire Brazilian employees and draft employment documents. You also need to verbally agree on a gross salary amount in the native currency with your candidate. At this time, you should give them a physical copy of an offer letter and employment contract.

As an employer, expect to spend a significant amount of time, money, and travel to hire employees in Brazil. You need to negotiate salary and fully understand the country’s tax, payroll, and employment compliance laws before onboarding any employees.

Brazil Employment Compliance

Brazilian laws dictate a standard of 44 working hours per week. Employees typically work eight hours a day with a one-hour lunch break during the week and four hours on Saturday. Other employers opt to have longer workdays during the week instead of working on Saturday.

Overtime is one common source of litigation in Brazil. It is best to agree on a contract that stipulates overtime to avoid costly court fees.

Employees also get vacation, sick, maternity, and paternity leave in Brazil:

  • Vacation leave: Thirty calendar days each year after working for 12 months
  • Sick leave: Fifteen paid days with a medical note
  • Maternity leave: Four months of paid leave
  • Paternity leave: Five paid days off

How to Onboard Employees in Brazil

While no specific laws for onboarding are in place, the best way to onboard employees is to outline your expectations early on. Send an email with an itinerary for their first week and review areas such as dress code, working hours, and your company’s code of conduct.

Benefits of Brazil Hiring Outsourcing

If you do not follow Brazil employment compliance laws, you could face costly litigation and Brazilian courts that often side with the employee. Outsourcing your hiring takes the stress out of staying liable.

Working with a global PEO such as Globalization Partners is an easy way to hire employees and take the liability off your shoulders. Our services include recruiting, payroll, handling benefits, and acting as the employer of record.

You do not have to wait to get your subsidiary off the ground to hire employees and start your business — we hire employees on your behalf and handle all compliance issues to make your job easier. Contact us today to learn more about expanding your business in Brazil.


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