Cultural Differences Matter: The Art of Making a Successful Cross-Cultural Hire
A question that we’re faced with frequently is how should a European company, be it in luxury goods, consumer goods or any other retail categories, approach critical American hires?
“Culture” is always a bit hard to define, but in this article we want to provide some of the insights we’ve developed about the differences in hiring in Europe and the United States and how they affect your business.
We have found over the years that American work culture prizes those who specialize and really know a particular job or role inside and out. These individuals “hit the ground running.” In education and in culture, European companies tend to put a stronger emphasis on general knowledge. Both environments produce strong workers, but the gulf between them can create some distinct cultural differences.
ACCUR Services has placed hundreds of executives in multinational companies and these are the principles we return to again and again when we evaluate candidates:
Find the Connection
Making a hire who can both attack the local market and be true to your company’s values can be a tall order. Experience has taught us to look for candidates who have some connection to the country in which your company is based, perhaps a citizen who has been in the US for a long time or else an American who has experience working within your culture. What we want to avoid is someone who is too green when it comes to the American market, or, on the other hand, tone-deaf about the culture of headquarters.
Look for Self-Starters
Because we so often place hires in situations where they are charged with expanding a market, we’ve developed an eye for candidates who can work autonomously and are willing to “do windows” and whatever else it takes to get ambitious projects and expansion plans off the ground.
The importance of autonomy really depends on the maturity of your presence in the market; at first you will need someone who is willing to be flexible to “get it done.” Later, when you have a more established presence (and a larger staff), hierarchy becomes more important. While there is obviously no “one size fits all” solution, knowing where you sit in this hiring dynamic is something to keep in mind before hiring.
Create the Right Job Description
Whatever you decide, creating an optimal job description is key to the hiring process. Expectations matter, and the clearer you can be in your expectations for your American hire, the more likely you are to find a candidate that reflects your values and can help you grow.
The perfect hire may take some time to find. At ACCUR Services, we work with you to create a profile that is informed by your company culture and our keen understanding of the local markets. Contact us for a free consultation.