How to avoid the 5 common pitfalls of hiring globally
Hiring in a competitive market is challenging. But this challenge is not something any company or recruiter can shy away from. Cited time and time again, hiring the right people is undoubtedly a key ingredient to business success.
As an international travel tech startup, much of our hiring is global. Hiring for one office can be tough, but when tasked with building up teams around the world, the level of difficulty increases.
Our Sales recruiter, Marcela Fizova, is the first recruiter to partner with the Sales team to build up our Sales function internationally, hiring 30 Destination Managers for our 16 global offices (New York, Sydney, and Hong Kong to name a few) so far this year.
Today she shares her solutions to the 5 common pitfalls of global hiring.
Pitfall 1: Assuming two roles are the same just because they share a title.
Solution: Ask questions to understand the nuance of the role and the region.
Even though the Destination Managers I hire all have a similar job description, from region to region the local challenges vary. To find the right person while minimizing time to hire, I need to put in extra effort to understand the specific regional challenges. The local team is the greatest resource for this information.
Every time you open a new role, ask your hiring managers these questions:
What are the key characteristics needed in the team right now?
What work experience will make a candidate most successful in this region?
What tradeoffs are you willing to make right now?
Even hiring managers for the same position will have different superstar characteristics they’re looking for, warning signs to steer clear of, and sacrifices they’re willing to make.
Then, during the interview process, it’s important to keep in mind that cultural norms change based on the region. This will impact how candidates present themselves in the interview and even what their application looks like.
Ask your hiring managers questions about cultural norms around interviewing and applications before you start recruiting. For example, in the US, résumés are 1-pagers with very little personal information, whereas, in Germany, candidates submit a multi-page CV containing personal details like marital status, age, and a headshot.
Similarly, it’s common practice in some cultures to follow-up an interview with a thank you note, while in others, this exchange is not necessary. Even a candidate’s willingness to talk about a personal achievement can be the result of cultural factors, so it’s important to build your cultural competency by discussing norms in the region with your hiring manager.
Pitfall 2: Relying too heavily on the hiring manager alone as a recruiting resource
Solution: Align with the whole team.
While the relationship with your hiring managers is valuable, it's also important to align with others who have a stake in the hiring process.
From time to time, I attend the Sales team all-hands meeting to hear from other Destination Managers and can leverage their insights to make the recruiting process better no matter the destination. I also touch base with interviewers for their feedback on specific candidates and the recruiting process as a whole.
In January, I met with our HR People Partner and Regional Directors to discuss the current needs of the entire sales function and the expansion plan. From this meeting, I gained a more thorough understanding of the Sales team strategy going forward, and Recruitment’s key role in its execution.
By aligning with the whole team, you gain insights from those involved in the recruiting process and working in the role itself. You can also get high-level knowledge of the strategy as well as an understanding of how your hiring efforts push the strategy forward. This will help you in the roles you’re currently hiring for while also helping you build a better pipeline for the future because you know where the team is headed.
Pitfall 3: Failing to get to know the local office
Solution: If you have the means, visit the local offices.
This year, I had the opportunity to go to our local offices in Paris, New York, London, Rome, and Barcelona. The benefits of visiting the local offices were three-fold:
Built a stronger relationship with my hiring managers working side by side.
Gained a more thorough understanding of the role by seeing our Destination Managers in action.
Got a feel for the city and office, so I could more genuinely sell the atmosphere to candidates when the time came.
So, if you can, spend some time in the local offices. Doing so will strengthen your relationship with your hiring managers, give you a better understanding of the role in action, and help you genuinely sell the location and office atmosphere to candidates.
Pitfall 4: Using the distance as an excuse not to communicate.
Solution: Communicate well and often.
With each of my hiring managers, we determine how often we should meet so the meeting is productive, not compulsory. For most this amounts to a weekly or biweekly check-in.
To get the most out of these check-ins, I always come with an agenda. Maintaining consistent contact with local hiring managers means that during these check-ins we can go beyond a simple update and tackle larger or more complex topics.
Whether you have the ability to meet in person or not, communication with your hiring manager is key. Take advantage of the communication channels available to you. Learn the communication style and system your hiring managers prefer and come prepared with an agenda any time you meet.
Pitfall 5: Failing to connect with a candidate you haven’t met in person.
Solution: Build the connection in alternative ways.
Getting to know a candidate via email or over the phone can make it hard to build a connection, but I can't underestimate the importance of finding small ways to build a relationship with your candidate.
For my non-European roles, I don’t enter the recruiting process until the final stages, but I still build a relationship with candidates by creating a positive and efficient recruiting process, checking in via email, and ensuring all interview coordination runs smoothly. Then, once I meet with them, I already have a foundation upon which I can build.
And this connection doesn’t stop when they’re hired. Our Destination Managers come to Berlin for Sales training and, during their time here, I make a point to meet with each of them for lunch. Spending this hour together not only improves their on-boarding experience but also strengthens our relationship going forward.
Find small ways to connect with your candidate whether that’s by sending them a personalized email or arranging some check-in calls throughout the process. Then, once they’re hired, keep the connection going by reaching out soon after their first day.