Tag Archives: Compatible

How Do You Hire Foreign Personnel? Four Observations

Situation: A rapidly growing US software company has an office in Europe. Prospects for key positions have been flown from Europe to the US for interviews. Two or three good prospects have withdrawn their applications before the company could make an offer, citing cultural incompatibility as their reason. How do you hire foreign personnel?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Cultural incompatibility can be an evasive non-response. It is important to dig deeper, perhaps with the assistance of a European-based consultant, to determine what the candidates perceived as the incompatibility. Do this with the candidates that have already rejected the company. Identifying the deeper reason will help to pre-screen future candidates before flying them to the US for interviews.
  • It is important to have a local leader. This appears to be the individual that the company is attempting to hire. The local leader will then do the hiring for the local office. Employees work for their managers and with their peers and will decide on whether to accept a position based on their feelings of compatibility with these individuals.
  • Given that the company is attempting to hire the leader of the European office, review and approval of the candidate by the CEO is important. Here are options to explore:
    • Spend some time studying the culture of the country in which the office is located (European countries vary according to local culture) and adapt the interview style so that it is more compatible with this culture.
    • Hire a European that the CEO trusts to do the recruiting, screening, interviewing and selection a final set of candidates. Ask this individual for their input on the best way of facilitating a meeting with the CEO. For example, instead of flying candidates to the US, once several candidates have been identified travel to Europe and instead of conducting formal interviews, have dinner with each of the candidates. This reduces the tension and makes the interview more congenial. Consider taking the head of HR with along and both of you having dinner with the candidates and their spouses. Again, this will reduce the tension in the meetings, and you will have two viewpoints on the candidates.
  • If, after trying the suggested alternatives, it continues to be difficult identifying a good European candidate, an alternative is hiring an American – someone with solid experience managing offices and operations in Europe – to oversee the European operation.

How Do You Target and Prospect Acquisition Candidates? Three Guidelines

Situation: A company wants to grow by acquiring companies in similar verticals that have different but complimentary offerings. The targets will most likely be boutique operations. How should they target and prospect candidates?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Before you think about either targeting or prospecting an acquisition do your internal homework. Establish your strategic plan, including strategic capabilities that you want to develop. Look for synergies within your plan, and assure that any new capabilities complement these synergies.
    • Will current customers be interested in the new strategic capabilities, or will you have to build or buy access to new customer segments?
    • Determine the leveraging factors. How much incremental business can you expect to gain compared to current business? Look at both top and bottom line impact.
    • Do a build/buy analysis to determine whether the capability is more effectively built using your own resources or purchased.
  • Leverage both internal and external resources to develop a target list. Ask what current employees may be knowledgeable of potential candidates.
    • Use your industry network to identify and gather information about candidates.
    • Retain a firm to assist you in identifying candidates. They can approach candidates from a neutral position to assess interest in acquisition.
  • It is critical to negotiate a deal that retains key talent. Founders and key staff of the acquired company must see the combination as a means to facilitate and expand their own vision. In many successful acquisitions you will see the following traits.
    • The acquiring company did not change management, accounting methods, or operational procedures of the acquired company.
    • They acted as a bank to facilitate pursuit of the acquired company’s dreams and already successful strategies.
    • They took a “hands-off” approach with the acquired company and did not try to force cultural change.

Key Words: Acquisition, Candidate, Plan, Capability, Market, Customers, Leverage, Build-Buy Analysis, Target List, Talent, Retain, Culture, Compatible, Due Diligence