For international organizations looking to hire top talent, look no further than the United States. The US is home to hard-working and innovative employees, millions of entrepreneurs, and hundreds of thousands of executives (including more than 200,000 CEOs). In many cases, it makes sense for international organizations to bring leading US employees on board their organizations.
These employees bring vast skills and experience to the table, are subject matter experts, and can help take an organization to new heights. Plus, with tools to support remote work, such as video conferencing, real-time chat, collaboration tools, and cloud storage systems, international organizations can seamlessly work with their US employees in real time.
When focusing on US recruitment, there is one thing that international organizations need to come to terms with: Recruiting US employees is typically very different from recruiting employees from other countries, including your home country. It’s common for international organizations to try to copy and paste their recruiting processes and cultural norms into this new market, only to find that some stark cultural and social differences need to be addressed and considered.
When these issues are addressed, US recruitment can be extremely successful. But when they’re ignored, it can lead to unsatisfactory results. With that in mind, here is everything international organizations need to keep in mind when considering US recruitment in order to bring top US employees on board.
Why is it that US recruitment can present international organizations with unexpected challenges? The short answer is that recruiting US-based employees looks different.
There are different expectations in everything from leadership styles to compensation, and there are many hiring mistakes to avoid. Even seemingly small things (such as the pace of the hiring process) can make a big difference.
Here are some main differences international organizations might find during the US recruitment process and some suggestions for solutions.
One of the biggest differences during the US recruitment process that might be an obstacle for international organizations is typically the overall management style. While different US employees might be accustomed to different management nuances, the American management style as a whole tends to have several distinct features.
For example, the American management style is typically individualistic and empowers leaders to make decisions. Because of this, researchers have described US management culture as “more sensitive to power struggles and the relative power of employees and positions within the company.”
How does this differ from international management styles? Well, it depends on where you’re coming from. Your home country’s management style might be more casual, structured, or bureaucratic.
It may involve less-centralized leadership or different mannerisms. When looking to bring on a US employee, it’s important first to understand your organization’s management style and how it might appear to someone from the US. Then, you can identify ways to introduce your prospective US employees to your own management style or adjust yours to suit your new employees.
The conversation around compensation has changed in the US workforce, and practices for discussing and addressing compensation are still evolving. Today, discussing numbers throughout the recruitment process is typically standard, and many companies state their pay upfront. But even with transparency around pay expectations being standard for both employers and interviewees, compensation can be challenging for international organizations to address during US recruitment.
To start, it’s notable that US recruitment negotiations tend to involve flexibility. There is usually a salary range employers will be willing to pay employees; the final salary figure can come down to a negotiation process.
Because of this, US candidates will often expect a negotiation process and some flexibility around pay. If you’re an international organization looking to hire US employees, it’s best to be open-minded about compensation and have flexibility with your pay range. Typically being “our way or the highway” regarding one salary figure might not be the best approach.
Another important aspect of salary in US recruitment is perks and benefits. US employees typically expect compensation aside from just their salary, and it’s essential to understand what benefits are valued in the US and what is typical for these employees at this stage in their career in their home country.
A third crucial aspect of compensation to keep in mind is geography. The United States is large, and costs of living (and expected compensation) vary wildly.
For example, suppose you’re an international organization looking to hire San Francisco employees. In that case, you’ll need to look at your budget to ensure you can operate within the standard expected compensation of this area.
What’s in a name (or a title)? For international employees, it might be the case that the job title itself simply isn’t as critical to employees, especially during the recruitment process.
But when it comes to US recruitment, these employees value the job title deeply. This means that the title can be make-or-break regarding US recruitment and should be carefully considered.
On that note, job hierarchies might be different in the US than in your home country. For example, typically in the US, the title “Head of” is lower than “Director.” It’s crucial to understand how the job titles you’re hiring for at your organization might translate to the corresponding US job titles.
When it comes to the candidate experience during the hiring process, the US job market tends to view this as a “courting” experience. This means that the job interview process is not seen as one-sided, and in the US, the employer needs to not only interview the candidates but also court them and “sell” their company to the interviewee. This might differ from the candidate experience in your home country, where a more intense and one-sided approach to interviewing might be standard.
In the US, the need for workers is very competitive, and there is a notable labor shortage, especially when it comes to highly-skilled workers. From an international perspective, this might manifest in US candidates who are less “desperate” to join just any organization and result in highly selective candidates concerned about where they work.
When it comes to the candidate experience aspect of US recruitment, international employers should take advantage of the opportunity to court top candidates and not only look to interview them but look for ways to win them over.
You know what they say: Timing is everything, and that’s definitely the case for US recruitment. In the US, recruitment processes are typically faster than in other places, and the process is usually comparably concise.
This means that timely feedback on the interview process is expected, and large gaps in communication are not standard. Also, availability can be challenging for everyone when it comes to scheduling interviews and follow-ups. Because of this, international organizations should be sure to optimize their scheduling and plan things out as efficiently as possible.
Also, something to keep in mind: US candidates want to know about the hiring process before it begins. That means you can tell them what types of interviews to expect and how many rounds, for example.
Bias can appear anywhere, and most Americans are not only aware of it but are very in tune with it. Bias (including unconscious bias) is a common topic in American culture, and international organizations must remember that the US is extremely diverse.
This means that biases will not go unnoticed, even unintentional ones. International organizations need to decide if they’re prepared to hire someone from a different culture and address ways that unconscious biases might appear (through means such as unconscious bias training).
Sure, America is “home of the free,” but when it comes to US recruitment, there are actually many laws and regulations to keep in mind. For example, many questions are illegal to ask prospective US employees. In some states, it’s not legal to talk about compensation, and it’s illegal across all states to ask about things such as race, age, birthplace, or disability, for example.
One last thing to keep in mind when looking to recruit employees from the US? The executive recruiting agency you partner with might have different expectations from what you’re used to. Keep in mind that your partner agency is looking to place you with your perfect candidate, and they might like to receive warmness and a personal touch.
They’ll likely work standard US business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm), and outside those hours, they will likely take longer to respond. You should also be aware of US holiday work schedules to know when your partner agency might be out of the office (such as on Labor Day, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Christmas, and New Year's Eve).
In a digital-first world, international organizations can bring top US talent into their organizations. But if overcoming cultural expectations and executing the US hiring process seems overwhelming, we get why.
That’s why we’re here to help. Here at Will Reed, we know what it takes to help international organizations find the US-based employees of their dream, and we’re pros at recruiting top executives.