March 19, 2024
Irina Loncar

Bridging Cultures: American business etiquette for UK Recruiters

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In recent years, a significant shift has been happening amongst UK recruiters, with many looking to broaden their careers by venturing into the US recruitment market.  

This trend, which began gaining momentum in 2020, is not just about a geographical shift, but a dive into a business culture deeply rooted in Americentrism. This term reflects the tendency to view the world from an American perspective, a habit that significantly influences business practices, communication styles, and workplace dynamics in the US. But what drives this move across the Atlantic?  

One of the most enticing aspects of the US market is the higher salary packages, especially within the tech sector, where average salaries significantly surpass those in the UK. This allows UK recruiters to command markups between 25-45%, a considerable increase compared to domestic rates. On top of this, the higher income potential from these placements adds a lucrative dimension to the US recruitment landscape.  

Here, we delve into the appeal of the US recruitment market and its potential for UK agencies, and why understanding these cultural nuances is crucial for UK recruiters who aspire to operate successfully within the American corporate scene. Let’s dive into it:

Understanding the American Business Culture

1. Direct communication

Americans are known for their straightforward communication style. They value clarity and directness in conversations, aiming for efficiency in all business dealings. It's not uncommon for meetings to get straight to the point, with an emphasis on clear objectives and actionable outcomes. For UK recruiters, adapting to this level of directness can be refreshing, allowing for transparent and productive interactions.

2. Professionalism with a casual twist

While professionalism remains important in an American workplace, there's a noticeable lean towards a more casual demeanour, especially in dress codes and interpersonal communications. Don't be surprised to find yourself in business meetings where first names are used from the get-go, and the dress code is more "business casual" than formal. This blend of professionalism and informality fosters a comfortable yet focused working environment.

3. Time is money  

Punctuality is highly valued in American business culture. Meetings start and end on time, and deadlines are taken seriously. This respect for time aligns with the American ethos of efficiency and productivity. As a recruiter, ensuring timely communication and follow-through is key to establishing trust and credibility with American clients and candidates.

4. Work hours, flexibility, holidays and sick days

The US often has longer work hours compared to the UK, with less overall annual leave. Flexibility might vary significantly between the two, with some US companies offering more telecommuting options, and, generally, the US provides fewer days for holiday and sick leave than the UK, where statutory leave entitlements are more generous.

5. Professional relationships

In the US, there’s a strong emphasis on networking and building professional relationships, which can often influence career advancement.  

For recruiters keen on further exploring the intricacies of transitioning from the UK to the US market, our article "The American Dream for UK Recruiters: Insights from Sam Jones, Harnham’s Senior VP and partner” offers a look at the challenges and opportunities awaiting across the Atlantic. Sam describes the US Recruitment market as less transactional, meaning it focuses more on building lasting relationships than just closing deals. And for an even deeper understanding of a recruiter’s experience in the US, explore our conversations with Tristan Baron-Gracie and Stephen Carr.  

The journey from the UK to the US recruitment market is not without its challenges, yet the potential rewards are huge. With the country’s vast size, economic diversity, and higher salary brackets, the US offers UK recruiters a golden opportunity to scale their operations, diversify their risk, and boost their revenue and valuation significantly, and, as the global recruitment landscape continues to change, UK recruiters are well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the US market, setting the stage for a new era of transatlantic recruitment success.  

Ready to explore the US recruitment market even further? Taking the first steps towards expansion could be simpler than you think — book a call with our consultants today and embrace your next opportunity!  

Andreea Sunkari - | +44 7457 404709

Irina Loncar - | +44 7828 257817

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