Finding Top Tech Talent and Leaders in Other Countries

Exclusive: Kilo Health Chief People Officer Reveals her Rules for Finding Top Tech Talent and Leaders in Other Countries

You don’t need to be an entrepreneur or HR specialist to know that finding qualified workers is extremely difficult during this pandemic. But this labor shortage is no longer limited to lower-wage workers.  

A new report found leaders and members of the C-Suite are also calling it quits. You can’t run a business without workers and leaders, so what is an entrepreneur or CPO to do?

Our digital health company, Kilo Health, is based in Lithuania – not exactly an international hub like New York, San Francisco, and Berlin. Yet over the last 3 years, we grew our portfolio to 15 products across digital health, wellness, and chronic disease prevention – at a time when other companies were failing. And in December, Deloitte named Kilo Health the second-fastest-growing tech company in Central Europe.

We wouldn’t have grown this fast if we had limited our product managers and talent search to our own country. Instead, we expanded our hiring efforts to other countries that had equally talented workers.

I’ve found Stockholm, Berlin, and Amsterdam are great for finding Co-founders, C-level professionals, or product managers, while Kiev is a great city for hiring top developers and engineers. But there are many other countries that have top developers, engineers, product managers, and entrepreneurs.

If you’re having difficulty finding top tech talent or product managers, the world is your oyster. And don’t assume you need to know the local language to hire these leaders and managers. You just need to know where to look and how to hire them. 

Here’s a closer look at the hiring approach we have taken during this pandemic.

Step One: Identify the Hub for Hiring

There are plenty of amazing co-working offices in major cities. Until we have a significant amount of people hired, we use co-working spaces as office hubs. They provide a sense of community at a business-friendly price. 

Most workers and leaders don’t want to work alone in a private office. By offering a fun environment in their own city, you have opened the first door to recruiting them. Just remember, if you want to hire someone in another country, you will likely need to open a legal entity in that country, establish a permanent office, or find a third-party company that can employ people on your behalf.

Step Two: Finding C-Level Talent in Other Countries

Finding C-level professionals is not easy in your own country or abroad. Here are my three go-to steps with every C-level hire.

  1. Review role description and compensation package. C-level people do not care much about perks and benefits. They are much more interested in the goal they will be asked to achieve and the impact they will be able to make. They want to have an interesting task, a problem to solve. So make sure that the role description says it all and the compensation package corresponds to that market level. 
  1. Build your employer branding presence in that market where you are searching for talent. High-performing C-level executives want to work for great companies. They are harder to convince to work for a “no-name” company. Speak to your communication and PR teams and work together to build a presence in that country. For us, it took a while to build credibility in Germany, the Netherlands, and other Nordic countries. People there want to have a secure job, and we have to prove to them that we are a trusted company that can offer stable work contracts and great work opportunities. 
  1. And don’t worry so much about the language barrier. There are so many talented workers around the world, and nearly everyone speaks English. With this new trend of remote work culture, it’s easy to find qualified candidates with the right job ad.

Step Three: Integrate Workers into Your Company Culture

The more tricky part is hiring, onboarding, integrating new people into your team, and making people actually feel welcome, especially if your team is based in one country and speaks a local (non-English) language. 

It is important to understand local employment law, legal requirements, you might even need to create a legal entity, open a permanent establishment or find a third-party company that can employ people on your behalf.

When Kilo Health started to hire people in Berlin, we realized Germans are used to getting 10 extra days of vacation compared to the Lithuanian employment law. In addition, we learned that Germans usually have a 3-months notice period, meaning that once we identify the right employee, we have to wait for them to join us for several months.

You have to be ready to accept them as well as discuss those differences with other team members, so no one is surprised to hear that an employee in another part of the world gets a 30 percent higher salary or 30 percent more holidays just because they live in another location.

Most entrepreneurs and CEOs know the value of the international market when it comes to selling their products. Now, you just need to realize the value is there when it comes to hiring talent. 

About the Author

Ilona Bernotaite is the Chief People Officer of Kilo Health – a leading global digital health and wellness company that helps entrepreneurs, co-founders, and startups accelerate and scale their talents and visions across healthcare. It provides unparalleled opportunities for entrepreneurial talents and visionaries looking to build digital health products of the future.

Written by: Ilona Bernotaite ,Chief People Officer (CPO) of Kilo Health

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