UK Recruiting vs. US Recruiting

UK Recruiting vs. US Recruiting

Let’s face it, the world of recruitment is not for the faint hearted. Having started my career with Netsource after graduating last year, I quickly learned the trials and tribulations of a 360 recruiter. For those who know first-hand what it’s like to cold call a company as a recruiter, it’s a minefield to say the least. Competition is fierce and you need to stand out from the other 10 recruiters who called ‘Becky’ the receptionist that day, in hopes she’ll connect you to someone with the power to hire. Even when she puts you through to a hiring manager, there’s still no guarantee they’ll answer your calls, reply to your emails or even give your voicemails the time of day. So after all your hard work, time and patience, the moment you get a hiring managers attention and interest is glorifying. You landed a role. You did it. You can now splash out on a boots meal deal at lunch to celebrate. There’s just one catch… now you need to find the right person for the job.

In my opinion, candidate resourcing is highly underestimated and I think people often mistake this part of recruitment as being easy. It’s not, especially in the IT industry when you’re dealing with niche skill sets and a rare pool of candidates that can actually do the job. Since starting at Netsource I’ve been resourcing candidates not only for our U.K clients but also for our clients in the U.S. In my journey I’ve noticed there are several key differences in how Americans respond to recruiters in comparison to us Brits. While human nature is consistent across the globe, different cultures create different expectations and values for candidates. To recruit effectively internationally, you need to be aware of those differences.

UK Recruiting vs. US Recruiting

Candidate Trust

One fundamental difference between U.S and U.K business culture is the way each nation defines success and the value they place in success. The United States is famous for its love of capitalist enterprise and this has had an immediate effect on how Americans view accomplishment. So in the States a businessperson will be judged on how much they earn and on their financial achievements (Just look at Donald Trump). This graph is a good representation of how different nations base their trust in others.


Americans are on the far end of the Cognitive scale, meaning their trust is based from the head and is built on their counterpart’s accomplishments, skills and reliability. Oppositely affective trust is relationship-based and comes from the heart. It rises from the feelings of emotional closeness, empathy and friendships that are developed gradually (e.g. sharing meals or having evening drinks). When it comes to recruitment, I’ve noticed small differences in how each nation reacts to me as a recruiter. For example if you try to contact someone in the States about a new position, they are much more open to talking to you and they seem to have an immediate trust in my expertise. When you compare this to candidates in the U.K, a lot of people are often wary of your intent and it can take a few conversations before they begin to open up. Knowing this has helped shape the way I approach different candidates and how I position my clients. If you are better able to establish trust with your candidates, you will not only be able to gage their true interest but it will ultimately increase your effectiveness in placing them with the right role.

The Value of Personality

One thing to be noted in recruitment across the globe is the importance of personality. Currently businesses in the U.K are twice more likely to give potential employees a personality test than in the States. The reason for this could lie with key culture differences outside of work life. For instance, Americans tend to engage in much more after-work activity than Brits, such as church, volunteering and other community related responsibilities. This means that there is less time to spend with their colleagues outside of working hours. When you compare that to Britain you see a very different result, where having a pint after work is pretty much guaranteed on a Friday (and every other day in some cases!). Applying this to work life, managers in Britain place a lot of weight in finding employees that will ‘fit’ into the organisation. As a recruiter this is definitely something that I have to bear in mind, as a candidates presence on the phone or in person can mean the difference between being put forward for a role – regardless of their expertise.


 The use of LinkedIn

If you’re reading this, you most likely saw this post via LinkedIn and are aware of how the site works. If you’re not familiar, LinkedIn acts like a social media tool and a profile on LinkedIn is essentially like the modern-day equivalent of a business card. It allows people to search company statistics and job vacancies but most importantly, it acts as a bridge between recruiters and candidates. It is especially useful for headhunting candidates who don’t openly have their CV on display, something sites like Indeed don’t offer.

In the past decade LinkedIn’s popularity has soared in both the U.S and the U.K. As it stands, around 1 in 4 people living in the United Kingdom are registered (17 million users) in comparison to 1 in 3 Americans (111 million users). As LinkedIn was originally founded in California in 2002, people in the US were the first to test the site and as a result have been using it for much longer. The findings below were published in 2015, but still highlight the huge gap in use between the two nations.


As a result, I find Americans tend to be more active on LinkedIn and much savvier when it comes to dealing with recruiters. For instance, if I were to contact someone in the U.K about a job I’m working on, chances are most people won’t bother to respond. This could be due to trust but it also boils down to the fact that most people in Britain don’t regularly use the site, thus missing the opportunities that present themselves. On the complete flip side, I find a very large percentage of people I contact in the States will immediately provide me with a contact number,  their weeks availability and if you’re really lucky, a copy of their résumé. Whether we will follow suit on this trend is as yet unknown but I believe Britain could definitely learn a thing or two from our old allies. Then who knows… in the coming years, LinkedIn could prove to be the primary source of employment on a global scale.