US vs European hiring: 6 key differences to guide your hiring strategy

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3 mins, 52 secs read time

As your company sets out to expand beyond US borders and begin hiring in Europe, you may be wondering which recruiting considerations or challenges to keep in mind.

While the recruitment process in Europe and the US are somewhat comparable, hiring in Europe comes with additional cultural, legal and linguistic nuances. Understanding these differences and adapting your hiring strategy accordingly will help you find top talent in this new market – and avoid the pitfalls that can cost you great candidates.

In this blog you’ll learn six key differences between hiring in Europe and the US — and how to align your recruiting practices accordingly to set your company’s hiring strategy in Europe up for success.

Learn your candidate sourcing channels

European hiring landscapes are incredibly diverse, so you’ll want to avoid a “one size fits all” candidate sourcing approach.

For example, while LinkedIn may work best for social recruiting and job advertising in countries like the UK and Ireland, XING is a major player in Germany, boasting an even bigger user community than LinkedIn. In fact, according to MGWW, 47% of XING members hold various executive positions, providing a better way to reach German decision-makers.

As you build out your talent sourcing strategy, find out the most popular sourcing platforms in the country you’re hiring in. Understand which national job boards work best for your industry and where your target candidates are most active and responsive online.

Localize your company career page

Your company career page plays an important role in your international hiring strategy. As Europe places a strong emphasis on transparency in hiring, career pages provide your company with the opportunity to be candid about its work environment, D&I commitment, benefits and growth opportunities.

Make sure to localize your company’s career page to cater to the specific needs of European candidates and make it easier for them to understand job listings, benefits, and other important information.

Stay GDPR compliant when recruiting

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law that aims to protect the personal data of individuals. Under the GDPR, data subjects have the right to request that a company delete any personal data that is known about them.

Organizations that fail to comply with the law may face penalties of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover (revenue) in fines, whichever is higher. That’s why it’s crucial for recruiters hiring in Europe to demonstrate GDPR compliance in all aspects of data processing. That includes observing candidate data retention, consent guidelines and more.

Learn how Greenhouse’s built-in capabilities help companies ensure GDPR compliance in recruitment.

Be conscious of “out of bounds” interview questions

Asking the wrong interview questions can not only cost you great candidates, but could also potentially put your company at risk of being sued. As you build out your candidate interview questions, research what type of questions may be illegal or culturally inappropriate in the country where you’re hiring.

This guide from is a helpful resource for typical interview structures and the legal considerations to observe for interview questions.

Account for longer notice periods

Notice periods in Europe can vary significantly from the US. In fact, it's not uncommon for executive roles in some countries to have notice periods ranging from 6 to 12 months.

This is particularly important to note as you create “hiring speed” benchmarks for various roles. It also means building in efficiencies where possible to accelerate your interview process. One way to do that is by following a structured hiring process to facilitate different hiring process steps and better identify and remove blockers.

Meet European Employee Value Proposition expectations

There’s nothing more disheartening than finding that perfect candidate and losing their interest at the offer stage. Creating a compelling job offer is always a great way to create momentum.

Understand how compensation packages vary in Europe compared to the US and ensure your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) aligns with expectations in the country you’re hiring in. Some common areas to review when developing an EVP for Europe include:

  • Job-security
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Health and well-being
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

You’ll also want to communicate benefits like unlimited paid time off (PTO) more clearly with candidates who may only be familiar with the more common ‘annual leave’ or allotted time for vacation concept in Europe.

Interested in learning more about how to make confident hiring decisions with structured hiring? Download our guide How to be an effective assessor of talent.

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Injy ElDeeb

Injy ElDeeb

is an International Marketing Manager at Greenhouse with a flair for storytelling. When she's not busy working up content ideas, you'll find her curled up with a good book on the beach, cooking mediterranean food, traveling the world or hanging out with friends and doggos at the park. You can connect with Injy on LinkedIn.

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