It’s been 17 months since I made the move from the UK to New York and I absolutely love living and working here.
However, such a transition is always likely to have its challenges, particularly in the way in which businesses operate. I am now well versed in American norms – but they took some getting used to!
An obvious example is how process-orientated American human resources departments are. Whilst UK businesses are by no means casual in their approach to recruitment, the systems in place aren’t as structured as they appear to be in New York.
The majority of my clients in NYC require a three-interview process before making a final decision - four stages when it comes to senior hires. Roughly 60% of companies request written technical tests and the overall recruitment process on average takes two to three weeks to complete. The longest has been six weeks, and in a highly candidate-driven market this can result in losing out on talent.
Whilst there are companies in the UK that operate a similarly structured process, the candidate-driven state of the UK market has led to quick (yet considered) decisions and companies prioritising their hiring in order to get through the process in less than a week. When it comes to taking on a contractor, some companies will even wrap up the process within a single day.
The increase of recruiters in the UK combined with the demand for talent in the late 90s created a recruitment industry where clients had to move quickly or they would lose out to their competitors on acquiring the best talent. There was a similar boom in the technology industry in America in the 90s but, firstly, it was more California and less New York and, secondly, there were very few recruiters involved. Without third party involvement, recruitment moved at a slower pace.
The demand for technology workers in New York continues to rise and, whilst not as overcrowded as the UK, the recruitment industry has more agencies involved than in previous times. Some recruiters will be urging their customers to streamline and speed up their processes - and any good consultant is doing this in order to protect their clients' best interests. Vacancies must be filled in a timely manner to avoid loss of revenue from departments operating at limited capacity.
However, the methodical US approach also carries many benefits, such as the reassurance that the time has been taken to identify the best candidate for the role – somebody who has both the necessary skills and who will fit into the company culture.
Regardless of which approach has the best end-results, one fact remains: other companies are looking for the same staff as you. Those who subscribe to the theory of "first come, first served" tend to walk away with the top talent - unless you’re going up against a ‘dream job’ at companies such as Facebook or Google.