Everything you need to know before recruiting in the US
Harriet O’Neill, March 26th 2024

If you’re a startup looking to scale, chances are you’ve thought about spreading your wings across the pond and building a team presence in the US. After all, there’s loads of investment opportunity, a huge talent pool and a thriving entrepreneurial culture. The American Dream. However, setting up in the United States isn’t easy, and there’s a lot you need to consider from a recruitment perspective before you make the move.

We’ve worked with startups to help them grow their US teams, so we’ve put this blog together to help guide you on everything you should know about recruiting in America.

The application process

CVs: One key difference you’ll notice when reading UK CVs compared to American Resumes is that CVs tend to be very factual and to the point. A list of skills, qualifications, and some details on previous experience. US CVs are typically longer containing a list of accomplishments and reasons the candidate believes they should be hired – more of a sales pitch.

Interviews: Interview processes tend to be much longer in the US. For some senior level roles, candidates can expect to go through more than 5 stages. As a UK employer, we’d recommend keeping your hiring process the same length and efficiency as you would do in the UK (ideally no more than 3 stages) as a great way to secure American talent.

Cultural differences: We often say that interview processes are a two-way street – they’re as much for the candidate as they are for you as the employer. For American candidates, this is particularly true, with one key difference being that they typically like being sold to. During the interview, try and give the candidate your best sell on everything great about your business and why they should join, we’ve found it goes a long way.

Benefits packages

Arguably the biggest difference you’ll notice when wanting to hire in the US compared to the UK is the benefits package.

Salary: On salary alone, you could be looking to pay US workers up to 30% more than their counterparts here in the UK. However, the median salary ranges differ largely between states, so if you’re recruiting in Massachusetts, be prepared to pay more than you would in Texas for example.

Counter negotiations: Hiring in the US is a competitive game, so when it comes to making an offer, you’ll need to put your best foot forward. Don’t be surprised if the candidate pushes back on your offer, counter negotiation is a big thing in America. Don’t let it put you off – a recruiter will work with you to manage the negotiation process and the candidate’s expectations.

Additional benefits: Aside from the salary, you need to think about everything else you’ll be including in your benefits package. You’ll need to provide health insurance, retirement plans (eg. 401(k)) and paid holiday. The average American worker gets just 11 days of paid holiday per year. So, when you’re putting your package together, one thing you can do to set yourself apart is to offer American candidates the same amount of days holiday as you offer your UK team; this will be very attractive to candidates in the US.

Recruitment help

There are 131.82 million people in full time work in America. So, when it comes to finding the right talent for your expanding team, where do you begin?

A good place to start is with a recruiter you know and trust. A common misconception we’ve come up against is that founders believe that to hire effectively in the states, a recruiter should have an existing network across the pond. This isn’t the case, and finding a good recruiter who will apply the same process they use in the UK to the American market is a sure way to recruit great talent.

A good recruiter will also be able to advise you and help you narrow down where and what you’re searching for, to avoid the needle in a haystack situation.

Key takeaways

  1. Maintain your UK-based interview process (keep it short and efficient)
  2. Offering a UK holiday allowance will set you apart, but consider the other benefits US candidates will expect
  3. Be prepared to sell to talent – and don’t be put off by the candidate countering your offer!
  4. Working with a recruiter who understands what they’re doing will be a big help!

Get in touch

If you’re serious about hiring in the US and want to take the step but aren’t quite sure where to get started, then get in touch on 0117 428 0600. Our team have experience recruiting for startups in America and can help you navigate the market.

If you’re looking for some more in depth information on the ins and outs of recruiting in the US, check out Frog Capital’s Expanding to the US toolkit. 

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