European businesses looking for US executives must bridge an extensive language, skill, and cultural gap — and often in more ways than one. One of the best ways to do this is to create a job description that is suitable for your target audience, especially during the earliest stages of executive search recruitment.
This article outlines the essential elements of a job description for US-based executive candidates and provides the dos and don’ts of writing a cross-cultural job listing for recruiting for European companies in the USA in cities such as Chicago. Additionally, it explores some FAQs regarding US job specifications — including how to partner with an executive search firm to target the right US executive.
Tips on writing a US-Centric job specification
When writing an executive search recruitment job description for the US, it’s important to consider everything required for the position in question. We suggest:
- Checking that words are in US English versus British or European English. The best US job descriptions are written by a native speaker so that no context is lost in translation, thereby stalling the loss of potential candidates.
- Remember: word choice is important! Think about what you want to say before you say it, and adapt all writings to your US audience so that it resonates with local candidates.
- Try to include a longer description of your company’s mission, talking about your culture, goals, and overall history. You need to “sell” your unknown company to an unfamiliar audience, and clearly state the benefits of joining up. Consider your job description as a marketing tool rather than just a prospectus. Embrace the fact that candidates should be authentically engaged with your mission, and avoid the ‘just be happy and motivated to work for us’ perspective.
- Use clear, specific language and avoid vague terms. Candidates will feel more confident in what you have to offer and may be much more interested in discussing your role.
- Adapt your job requirements to the US market. You may want to have a trained professional read over your job description and provide suggestions or deeper insights — including professionals from the Boston and Chicago executive search firms team at DSML.
Things to avoid when writing a US-Centric job specification
Creating a job specification that is effective and appealing to a wide variety of candidates is essential for any cross-cultural executive search. When writing your first draft, be sure to avoid common mistakes:
- Avoid generic statements about your organization, including empty phrases such as “world leader” or “Great Company.” Instead, state nothing but the facts. For example, you could say “our company is #1 in the market because of our UVP” rather than just “we are number one.”
- Don’t generalize what you’re looking for in a candidate, and instead be specific about the qualities, talents, and expertise you want. For example, you may want someone who is able to work on projects that are culturally unique to the company, or you would prefer candidates who already have worked for a European company in the US.
- List specific examples of how the applicant’s cross-cultural skills have helped them succeed in their previous roles. This information will help your team determine if an applicant is a good fit for the position.
- Avoid excluding people in your written description. Instead of just writing ‘he,’ for example, ensure that female candidates feel included in your job statement. Oversights are usually unintentional but should be immediately addressed to ensure no one feels left out. You don’t want coded language to get in the way of a great applicant.
- Don’t expect the highest level of education. Great candidates at the executive level may have a Bachelor’s degree or less, although they are still perfect for your role. Instead of writing ‘Master’s degree required,’ you may want to state ‘Master’s degree preferred.’ Remember: the cost of studying in the US is quite different from Europe. Adapt your expectations and be willing to look for opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most important skills needed for a US executive to work for a European company?
A successful cross-cultural executive possesses critical thinking skills, great adaptability, effortless communication tactics, and excellent problem-solving abilities. Your cross-cultural execs must be able to understand complex business scenarios in foreign countries and adapt to changing business conditions or emergent conditions. Listing these skills in your US job description helps candidates self-vet themselves for your particular position and make their way through the interview pipeline.
How can I make sure my job description is well-targeted for an American audience?
When writing a job listing that is targeted specifically to cross-cultural executives, you’ll want to consider your company’s culture and values. You can then focus on the skills and experience required for your specific position.
Additionally, make sure to rely on language that is easily understood by everyone. You should avoid using technical terms or phrases that US applicants may not understand. Instead, stick to simple and concrete words and avoid flowery descriptions.
Finally, rely on terminology that reflects the industry you’re looking for and avoid contemporary jargon that could skew search results. For example, the definition of a Corporate Controller may be different on one side of the Atlantic than the other. You need to talk with professionals who understand the context of this role in the US and can guide you to an appropriate title choice.
What information should I include in a US job description of my European company?
A US job description should reinforce and answer as many questions as it can about the role in question. This includes a heavy emphasis on benefits, culture, project, and mission statement. These four subjects should be mentioned prominently throughout the job description, as they are some of the most influential factors for employees to consider when deciding if a position is a good fit for them. In addition, clear writing can clarify any misunderstandings or miscommunications that occur between applicants and hiring managers.
By clearly outlining all duties and responsibilities in a US job description, you can avoid potential candidate conflict and mismatched talent acquisitions.
DSML Can Manage US Job Descriptions At Scale
Writing a US job description is not for the faint of heart. Depending on the position and business in question, it can be a time-intensive process that saps vital resources from your European business.
Thankfully, executive search recruiting firms can help you address all these concerns and more. European companies looking for US talent trust the team at DSML, one of the leading executive search firms in Boston and Chicago, who work alongside clients to evaluate job descriptions and suggest changes that result in the perfect explanation for prospective candidates.
With more than 15 years of industry experience in executive recruitment for European companies, DSML ensures that your cross-cultural recruitment job specification is both effective and inclusive. By writing to encompass the cultural differences of your target audience, you can ensure that your search is successful from the outset.
Be sure to read DSML Executive Search’s 4 Mistakes to Avoid in Attracting and Retaining Executive-Level Talent. If you are a European company expanding into the US and are seeking executive search firms in Boston, Chicago, or throughout the US, contact DSML today.