No, there won’t be any boat trips up the Amazon and definitely no ‘favela’ excursions if I can help it- just peer-to-peer meetings with company business leaders, HR folks and, if at all possible, a few candidates, new hires, students, university professors and government functionaries.
I’ve been systematically traveling to countries around the world with the intention of studying how the culture of a country is reflected in recruiting. I’m of the opinion that common staffing standards across geographic boundaries are more illusion than reality despite a decade of global integration initiatives.
Everything from how we source prospects and brand our firms as a place to work to how we assess, select and onboard candidates is open to a country-by-country interpretation and seldom looks like we assume it would standing 1000s of miles away.
I’ve been to maybe 2 dozen countries but only twice before have I gone to with a professional delegation. In December 2009, I went to India (@ChinaGorman was the delegation’s leader). I wrote 10 blogs during the trip which are still archived on RecruitingBlogs.com. This was the first.
2007 was my second trip to China but my first time with a delegation and it opened extraordinary window into the changes taking place. I blogged then and will dig out the ERE.net link to them another time. In both India and China our group spoke with professors at major universities, interviewed students, toured companies, held events for HR peers and still managed a day or two of tourist fare.
If our delegation’s experience in Brazil during the next week and a half is anything like the last two I’ll consider it a major success.
- It is the last of the BRIC countries I’ve not yet experienced (Brazil, Russia, India and China)
- Its culture is a wonderful contrast of Latin and European elements.
- The ‘warnings’ we heard about going out alone make me think about the advice given to business people traveling to New York for the first time. (Also caused me to buy a cheap watch)
- The country has discovered and is now developing major oil deposits.
- Despite a recent slowdown, the economy has been booming. Lots of US multi-nationals have a growing presence. Lots of hiring is taking place.
- I love food, wine and interesting conversation. To be able to make and share observations in a new land with 25 other colleagues is a real treat.
Howard is blogging. Hopefully more of the delegation will be as well and I'll link to their posts in future blogs. Howard also arranged for an excellent two-hour webinar on the history and culture of Brazil as well as a long reading list for the delegation to prepare.
We’re flying out of JFK today at 5:40.
At this moment, I’m a passenger in a limo writing (actually hunting and pecking on a keyboard between the bumps in the road) so I can post this once I arrive at the airport and before we leave tonight at 5:40pm. Long story but I couldn’t use my miles to upgrade and am hopefully I can convince the folks to give me some kind of seat with leg room near an exit. I also need to change dollars to Reals, find a United Club and get a bite to eat although after Thursday’s dinner, I don’t need to eat for a week.
I’m making a long list of questions for my Brazilian hosts:
- How are prospects sourced at entry and exec?
- How are candidates engaged? Over what time?
- Does branding make a difference and, if so, what is most important?
- Is location more critical an issue in Brazil than the US?
- Where are the greatest projected skill and leadership gaps?
- How are referrals treated?
- Are similar assessments used?
- What keeps recruiters up at night?
- And so on...
(A warm shout out to Mike Hard at Bountyjobs for supporting a good part of my trip.)