As an executive search firm in Boston and Chicago, it is all too common that clients come to us feeling challenged by finding their ideal executive or C-suite candidates. We find that their messaging is often either non-existent or not tailored to the cross-cultural challenges European companies expanding into the US face. It is not as simple as translating the messaging of your European firm — especially when the average person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 messages daily. To break through the noise, it is paramount that companies fine-tune their message for it to be effective.
How European Companies Can Perfect Their Messaging For US Hiring
Know Your Market
This one might seem obvious, yet so many firms failed to invest in the research needed to truly know their target audience. If you were looking to hire a CFO for your new US subsidiary in Boston, why wouldn’t you hire an executive search recruitment firm in Boston? Your partner firm doesn’t have to be in the same city, however, at the very least it should be in the same country that you’re looking to fill that role in. Partnering with a firm that specializes in recruiting within your niche is always a worthwhile investment.
Bear in mind your company’s messaging is not fixed overnight. Especially for European companies looking to hire executives for their US subsidiaries, messaging is usually far more crucial than many companies might realize.
Customize Your Recruitment Messaging
It may be necessary to develop a talk track around your company’s goals and values dedicated to recruiting. You wouldn’t give a current employee the same information as you would a prospective employee, would you? Beyond confidentiality, this is important because similar to a prospective customer, your potential candidates are at a different stage of their journey with you than an employee with a five-year tenure might be. Job descriptions are your most significant opportunity to reach and intrigue potential candidates.
Additionally, do not rely on automation. Executive Search that is effective is never automated. Hiring is generally left to the human resources department, with emphasis on the human. It’s not a coincidence; this is the people business after all.
Know Your Company, Inside and Out
The role of an executive recruiter is that of a corporate matchmaker: we strive to bring two entities together based on aligned values and goals. However, your company needs to confidently know what those are before entering the market. What are your company’s core values and mission? What does your company need to see a candidate bring to the table that your business would benefit from? What does success in this role look like?
Having answers to these questions is integral to finding the right candidate. As a best practice for working with executive recruiters, we highly recommend developing answers to these, as they are integral to finding the right candidate. Bringing strong values to the table can help set your company apart.
Update Your Positioning
We have seen clients struggle with owned efforts to expand into the US because the cultures are simply so different. Once you know your company’s identity, it’s time to update your positioning. Companies need to update their positioning when expanding into the US market. In recruiting, you are selling your project to candidates. You will likely have to update your selling story to reach and engage American candidates.
Sometimes, a European client believes their company is the most innovative or has the best products — which could very well be true. However, being a household name in Europe does not guarantee a similar share of voice in another country or continent. Partner with an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting US-based candidates to present your brand in a manner most appealing to your new audience.
Speak to the Whole Person, Not Just the Employee
The US candidate market has cultivated specific expectations around compensation. Not only do candidates expect strong base salary compensation, but also comprehensive benefits packages. This is one of the key differences in hiring in the US versus Europe. In your hiring messaging, speak of your firm not just as a company, but as an employer. Candidates want to know that the work is challenging and fulfilling and that they’ll be seen as complete entities beyond the workplace. Today’s candidate considers a job offer with a much more critical eye, especially regarding work-life balance enablement: health insurance, PTO structures, remote work, flexible hours, and more.
Focus on reworking your company’s positioning and messaging to attract stronger candidates for your executive positions. If your company is expanding into the US and is looking to update its messaging to recruit for a key executive position such as CEO, COO, President, VP, or other Senior level roles, contact us.