How to Source European Candidates as an American

A Conversation with Aaron Lintz of Commvault

Chad Harrington
December 2015

Sourcing across cultures is challenging (to say the least), but there's hope for us here in North America, regardless of our monolingual-mindedness.

Image credit: Steven Lewis / Unsplash

I talked with Aaron Lintz, a sourcer for Commvault with international responsibilities.  He shared some key insights highlighting differences when sourcing in Europe versus sourcing in North America.

He’s spent a fair amount of time sourcing internationally, especially for Commvault's European locations. Many of their employees work remotely, but they have over 50 offices worldwide.

Aaron has learned how to metaphorically meet workers on their “home turf.” Here are some of the tools he uses and takeaways from our interview.

Key tools for international sourcing:

  • Google Hangouts. Great for connecting long distance without downloading an application.
  • World Time Buddy. An easy comparison of world clocks that saves you time (no pun intended).
  • Email Hunter. “Direct access to all the web’s email addresses.”

Key social sites for researching and connecting with Europeans:

Image credit: David Marcu / Unsplash

Key takeaways for sourcing European:

  • Set up calls with Europeans after they’ve had some coffee (use World Time Buddy).
  • Think "long range" because Europeans generally need to give up to 6-month's leave notice.
  • Use simpler language since English may not be their mother tongue.
  • Connect on their “home turf” when it comes to social networks.
  • Sell alternative differentiators, because two weeks of vacation time isn’t appealing to Europeans.

Here's my interview of Aaron Lintz regarding what he's learned about sourcing in Europe as an American:

Relode: Why are sites like Xing and Zadeo taking off in Europe?

Aaron Lintz: “It’s the LinkedIn equivalent. Germany in particular, but Europe in general, has a distrust (necessarily) of America’s privacy openness. There really is no privacy in America when it comes to data. It’s easy to find people and figure out company structure, and they’re more reserved in general, especially when it comes to your approach.

“So a lot of people on Xing do not share their network, so you have to be connected to them before you can reach out to somebody. But you can still find a lot of data about companies—how many people work on a team or the size and structure of companies that are in Europe. In general, they’re much more cautious (and they probably should be) of the American approach; we all get invitations from pretty faces that may or may not be real people. That’s a really big problem here.”

R: What are they protecting themselves against?

AL: “They’re very cautious about who they connect with. With just a general, non-cookie cutter approach to reaching out to individuals that work at target companies that we want to approach that I might not necessarily have a job for today. I just have to really be open and upfront about that. I’ll tell them, We work in the same space, opportunities come around from time to time, and you seem like the right person. So I’m not asking them for referrals right away, I’m not telling them about a hot position that I have. So as little used-car-salesy as you can be.”

R: What’s the benefit of going through Xing or Zadeo if you have their email address?

AL: “It’s home turf. You’re asking them on the front what they prefer to use. Emailing direct in Europe is somewhat frowned upon. I always use it as a second touch, but with the CAN-SPAM Act, which you should be familiar with for recruiting in North America (even Canada has changed theirs in the last year or so), you really have to tread lightly. If you’re sending out one or two emails, that’s fine, but if you’re doing a campaign-type approach, you really have to plan it and make sure that you’re compliant.

“It’s kind of a home turf approach. If that’s their preferred channel to do business on, it also helps to look you up quickly. If someone sends you an invitation on LinkedIn, the first thing I’m going to do is click to see their profile and if there’s a legitimate business reason why they’re reaching out to me. Then that gives a proof of life and you can continue the conversation.”


R: What can Americans learn from international sourcing and hiring?

AL: "I can give you an example from the UK, where we have an office. At first I was looking at kilometers versus miles to measure the distance to the office by car. Then, it finally dawned on me, Why don't I look up the train map? 

"I asked the office, 'How many people commute by train?' 

"They said that 80 percent of the office commutes by train, so I got a map of the city. I thought, Why bother if it's 25 miles in the wrong direction? They would never get there because it's not practical for them to take the train that way. 

"I talked to people in Chicago and they say the same thing. Nobody wants to go to the suburbs. I've heard the beltways of Atlanta or D.C. are the same way, too."

R: What’s the next step when approaching and sourcing candidates in Europe?

AL: “The next step is, in my case, identifying and doing an initial engagement. I don’t care if they’re interested at this time--if they’re available, that’s great.

“A lot of what they do, in Europe especially, is they have long notice periods—it could be up to six months when someone has to give notice that they’re leaving a company. So you really have to think long range when you’re talking to candidates.”

Aaron Lintz is a Talent Sourcing Specialist with @Commvault Systems. Over the last decade, he has held corporate sourcing and agency recruiting roles, helped develop applicant tracking solutions, and managed email & social marketing programs. His passions for experimentation, automation, and willingness to share make him a natural sourcer. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

That's what we talked about regarding how Americans can learn the European style of sourcing from the other side of the pond.

What have you learned about reaching out to Europeans? If you're a European reading this, what did we get right? What did we miss here? Leave your comments below or email me here.