Clients, Executive Search

Why You’re Not Finding Executive Talent as a European Subsidiary Expanding to the United States

Executive recruitment is a complex and dynamic process for European subsidiaries expanding to the United States. Between the Great Resignation and the recent Big Stay, more and more employers are concerned about uncertain recruitment prospects.

“A solid economy and rising inflation have greatly increased complexity in the executive job market,” says Myriam Le Cannellier, Executive Director of DSML Executive Search, an Alexander Hughes company. “As the average time to hire increases for European subsidiaries expanding to the US, now is the time to reevaluate your recruitment process.”

The numbers don’t lie: roughly 77% of global companies say it’s difficult to acquire talent. A whopping 50% of executive searches are ruled as failures by HR — meaning an established, seamless recruitment process matters more than ever.

Is your business making mistakes with executive recruitment? This guide discusses five scenarios that may be impeding your progress. It also discusses the solutions you can implement, beginning with the most common misalignment for European subsidiaries expanding to the US:

1. The Job Market is Solid, Yet Your Company is Unknown

Why would someone want to join your subsidiary? If you can’t answer that question, executive talent may not see your value.

American executives are extremely discerning and rarely if ever apply to companies with limited footprints. That’s why you must make your business stand out from the crowd with:

  • A winning job description
  • Excellent benefits and compensation
  • Explanations of value, mission, and impact

“So many foreign companies fail in the US,” Myriam says. “Executives will join your firm if they feel it is going to be a win-win relationship.”

2. You’re Looking for Generalists in a Market of Experts and Specialists

The American job market is one of the most specialized in the world. While this is a boon for major employers, it’s a double-edged sword to those unfamiliar with the landscape.

“When I hear a European company asking for a “swiss knife” type of profile, I know it is going to be a challenge,” Myriam says. “I also know we need to dive further in understanding their needs and expectations.”

The best solution is to customize your recruitment process for an expert, specialist, or custom C-suite role. It’s no longer enough to write ‘CFO’ in your job description. It’s better to list specific skills, experiences, or certifications that entice promising candidates to pursue an opportunity.

3. You have Unrealistic Expectations for the Role

US executives and European executives require entirely different recruitment approaches.

Many American candidates lack the skills, education, or tenure required of Europeans, leading to unrealistic expectations and delayed recruitment processes for European subsidiaries expanding to the US.

Some of the best American executives do not have:

  • A Masters degree or PhD
  • Multiple decades of experience
  • A desire to work more than 40 hour weeks
  • A willingness to complete hands-on work when they have reached a certain level

Understanding the differences between US and European candidates can help you craft an executive job description that moves the needle on hiring goals.

“In certain functions, the European expectations attached to a certain role might differ from what happens in the US,” Myriam says. “CFO’s job descriptions and expectations on both sides of the Atlantic are a good example.”

4. There is Compensation Misalignment

American executives won’t entertain new positions unless the role also comes with a significant pay increase. A successful executive with an established job, for example, is not likely to leave that job to join a less established company without a level of increased compensation.

“It’s essential to derive a US job description that takes into account an American perspective,” Myriam explains. “Working alongside a team of experts can recalibrate compensation and position your role for success.”

5. The Pace of Your Process May Be Slow

Speed is essential in the American job market, especially when it comes to executive recruitment. Take too long, and your best candidates may slip through the cracks. Roughly one in three jobseekers have abandoned slower hiring processes.

How long can you stretch the US executive recruitment process? Approximately 60 days at the most, but preferably shorter. The sooner you’re able to pick up the pace, the faster you’re able to secure top talent.

“In the US, if you wait two weeks between an interview and the feedback to a candidate, they may go somewhere else,” Myriam says.

Want some suggestions for reducing your executive recruitment timeline? Consider:

Performing Executive Recruitment With a Professional Eye

Executive recruitment is both an art and a science, especially when it comes to the competitive US job market. A successful expansion of a European company in the US also requires a cross-cultural touch, specifically from an experienced firm familiar with C-suite hiring processes.

If you’re currently performing your own executive recruitment process, be sure to take each of these points into account. If you’re currently working with a recruitment firm, consider whether or not they’re following best practices.

“The best executive search firms perform confidential searches providing the utmost reassurance to your team,” Myriam says. “Be sure you’re trusting the future of your company to a recruitment company with a history of results.”

DSML Executive Search would be happy to assist with your cross-cultural executive recruitment process. As an experienced recruitment firm and trusted Alexander Hughes company, we extend our world-class recruitment services to European subsidiaries expanding to the US. We invite you to contact +1 312 268 6166 to learn more about our processes and confirm they’re a fit for your subsidiary.

+1 312 268 6166