With each recruiting role I’ve taken the world has gotten bigger and bigger. My very first role was hiring delivery drivers in an around my own neighborhood. This week I’m setting up interviews for a guy in Seoul. The times have changed indeed. One of the talented presenters from Talent42 was Kevin Wheeler – hey any guy who’s profile pic appears to have been taken at a winery is ok by me. J I was lucky enough to sit next to Kevin on Day 1 and found him to be just lovely. He presented on cultural differences and how to not blow it when recruiting candidates from outside the US. Very timely for a recruiter like me starting the next phase of my career with a massive global organization.
Kevin shared some specific examples around cultural differences and the five cultural dilemmas that that can arise as a consequence. He primarily focused on the differences between the US and (most) European countries and other parts of the world – mainly countries like India, China, and even those crazy Dutchmen (truthfully, I used to work for an Amsterdam based search firm. Some of the BEST bosses / colleagues ever. Wonderful people, the Dutch, very laid back).
Kevin provided some terrific real life examples that I found very helpful. Imagine giving an offer to a Chinese engineer. Here in the States it’s not unheard of to ask for a quick answer, especially contract roles that need to be filled and started quickly. In Kevin’s example the candidate wanted to discuss with his family because in their culture, respect for elders trumps individuality. And not just individuality – other than Australia, the US is probably the only country ok with self-promotion.
There was so much great content and examples in his presentation it’s hard to know where to start. Ultimately, the take away is to understand the people you are recruiting. Where they come from, how they view themselves, and how their belief systems and upbringing may have shaped their worldview. The best way to do so is the same way we recruit – ask questions. Talk to hiring managers or colleagues with a similar background. Ask other recruiters about what’s worked and what hasn’t. I’m very lucky that my employer focuses a lot of our training and development around global issues and culture, so I felt at least a little prepared going into this session. I would highly recommend checking out Kevin’s LinkedIn page for some additional presentations.
One final word of advice / caution – Kevin says “Recognize that our own cultural values influence how we see things. We look through our own filter and judge others’ behaviors”. Ain’t it the truth.