Propeller has offices in Sydney and Denver, with global teams in Europe, the Philippines, and Vietnam. We wanted to pick her brain about how she and her small talent acquisition team tackle the enormous challenges that come with recruiting across global markets.
As organizations recruit remotely for the first time, how can they unlock the vast potential of a global talent pool and successfully navigate the corresponding challenge?
If you’re short on time—or just prefer reading—here are our top takeaways from our conversation with Chantelle.
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Translating EVP across global markets means doing your homework
Chantelle understands that Propeller’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) looks different depending on where in the world a candidate lives—and discovering the right attractors by country comes with a learning curve.
As Propeller expands their global teams, they’re doing a considerable amount of research to understand what’s appealing to candidates in that market. Here’s one example: Chantelle’s team has noticed that team members based in the Philippines tend to be more introverted. So throughout recruitment and onboarding in that region, they focus on letting employees know they can be themselves at Propeller. They actively promote an open environment where disagreeing with the boss isn’t just acceptable—it’s encouraged.
Her advice to companies who are stepping outside a local recruitment strategy for the first time? Adopt a balanced approach.
You can’t create a cookie-cutter process and expect it to work equally well across borders, but you should retain enough consistency that you aren’t compromising your company values. Decide where to stick to your guns, and where to adapt to local practices.
Here are her top tips for researching recruitment in a new market:
- When in doubt, ask the candidates: We’ve all gotten so comfortable with Google that we can forget to just talk to people. Chantelle’s team has learned the most by simply asking candidates in interviews about their preferences.
- Leverage agencies: Talent acquisition teams tend to have a love/hate relationship with agencies, but don’t write them off. Agencies are very familiar with the local area they serve and have lots of valuable insight.
- Expand your network: Tech blogs and LinkedIn articles are great places to start, but don’t neglect the human element. While you’re on LinkedIn, find talent acquisition professionals who have worked in the country you’re researching, and ask if they’d be willing to answer a few questions. Odds are, you’ll be surprised by how many people say yes—and as a perk, you’ll grow your network in the process.
An online presence means more now than ever before
As candidates do more and more online research, it’s not just your TA team who represents your company online; hiring managers’ online profiles matter, too. Propeller is running an internal initiative to spruce up hiring managers’ LinkedIn profiles, so candidates can dig into who they’ll be working for (and with) if they accept an open position.
Studies show that when job ads include a link to a hiring manager profile, candidates who read it are 59% more likely to apply.
Don’t mistake this approach for smoke and mirrors, though. The TA teams who are most successful in attracting (and retaining) candidates advocate radical honesty in the recruitment process, a policy that Propeller shares. “By the time you get to the end of the process, if we’ve done our job right, you will be 100% sure that Propeller is the place you want to be. And we will be 100% sure that you are the right fit for us,” says Chantelle.
The key takeaway? Make information about your company environment widely available online, and be as transparent as possible about your expectations.
Misrepresenting what you’re “selling” in the job market doesn’t benefit your company or your candidates. A heavily personalized recruitment experience is the best way to help both parties find their perfect match. (And, as it turns out, a recent LinkedIn study on trends in global talent agrees.)
By the time you get to the end of the process, if we’ve done our job right, you will be 100% sure that Propeller is the place you want to be. And we will be 100% sure that you are the right fit for us.
Hire unicorns and out-bid the competition with open communication
As anyone in TA knows, there’s pressure to fill open seats—but it’s also our responsibility to ensure that those seats end up filled by the right candidates. At Propeller, it all starts with proactive leadership training and helping hiring managers understand that, sometimes, perfect is actually better than good.
But what about the flip side, when a hiring manager is looking for a unicorn: a perfect candidate with a work history and skill set that probably doesn’t exist? For Chantelle, it’s the job of the talent acquisition team to at least try. They’ll throw everything at finding that perfect candidate, including the kitchen sink.
Hopefully, those efforts pay off.
But if a month goes by with no measurable progress, they move to an escalation process or crisis mode, and make sure the hiring manager understands the why behind it. That escalation process involves asking: what have we done, and what more can we do?
For instance, if there are ten required criteria on the list and no one has checked all the boxes, you could strike one or two off the list to see who comes up. There’s a difference between filling a seat with just anyone and waiting forever for that unicorn.
Partnering and collaborating with hiring managers, instead of fighting them, has created strong cross-functional relationships at Propeller.
Which is just one way they fight off the competition when attracting those unicorns to the team. “We actually have more competitors vying for candidates than for customers,” says Chantelle with a laugh.
It’s no secret that small tech companies have exploded in the past few years—but the days of luring top talent to your startup with promises of free beer and a ping pong table are fading. Turns out, even Millennial and Gen Z candidates want more than that.
They want a career path at a company where they can shape their skills and make a measurable difference. A stepping stone between where they are now, and where they want their career to be.
And that, says Chantelle, is Propeller’s competitive edge. Candidates have the opportunity to make their mark—and that doesn’t happen everywhere. Apart from that, the hiring team all believe passionately in Propeller as a product, and that energy comes through to the candidates from the first conversation to the offer letter.