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Importing Managers: 54% of mid-sized German companies are looking for managers

54% of mid-sized German companies have extended their search for managers to other countries

54% of mid-sized German companies have extended their search for managers to other countries

   One third complain of insufficient access to candidates
·   22% are dissatisfied with the quality of professional search services

Hamburg, 13th June 2013 – A large number of mid-sized German companies are not just doing business abroad; they are also looking abroad for managers. 54% of companies with over 250 employees state that they recruit managers from outside Germany. The most significant challenges which must be overcome when recruiting internationally are language barriers, problems in gaining access to candidates and difficulties caused by divergent cultural attitudes. These are the findings of a study called “HR Challenges facing mid-sized Companies” carried out by the HR consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants who interviewed 200 HR professionals in companies with at least 250 employees.

The increasingly international orientation of mid-sized German companies has extended to the composition of the management team. 54% of those responsible for making personnel decisions in these companies state that recruitment for the first three management levels at German offices will also take place abroad. “Mid-sized German companies have a growing need for managers with international experience” says Thomas Bockholdt, Managing Partner at InterSearch Executive Consultants. “However, international recruitment can be much more difficult that a national search.”

In the study, HR managers cited a number of challenges in international recruitment. The most significant was the language barrier (43%), followed by problems in gaining access to potential candidates abroad (34%) and difficulties arising from different cultural attitudes (also 34%). “Gaining access to suitable candidates is also the greatest challenge of a national recruitment process”, says Bockholdt “but the problem becomes magnified abroad, often making the pool of potential candidates too small for a professional selection process.” Clients do not have to put up with this; after all, there are recruitment consultants who offer specialist international search service. According to the Association of German Management Consultants, 24% of recruitment consultants already offer an international service.

A high demand for support, but one in five service providers fails to meet expectations

The findings of the InterSearch study show that 37% of the companies already use an international recruitment specialist, however, not all consultancies provide a convincing service. 22% of respondents are not satisfied by performance specifically relating to the international service, compared to only 16% dissatisfaction of service across the board.

“There are a number of consultancies on the market who aim to profit from this trend and promise an international service which they cannot ultimately deliver” says Thomas Bockholdt of InterSearch Executive Consultants. Over 18% of consultancies with an annual turnover of less than 500,000 Euro claim to offer an international search service, but “only a minority of them have sufficient resources and know-how to achieve satisfactory results.” According to the expert, Thomas Bockholdt the majority of consultants lack established, reliable partners in the search countries – that is to say a network with a proven track record.  In addition, the absence of experience in a comparatively complex process represents a real issue. “InterSearch began international recruitment of managers at the end of the 1980’s, when clients first began to actively request this service. Since then, we have continuously extended our network, and we now have 100 consultancies in more than 45 countries” says Bockholdt.

A diagnostic approach improves the international selection process

In order to ensure that a candidate possesses the ability to integrate at a German location, InterSearch Executive Consultants recommend carrying out an analysis of interpersonal skills as part of the selection process. This increases confidence, both for the client who is making a significant investment in an international search process, and also for the candidate who faces a significant life-decision in contemplating a move to Germany. The larger consultancies also have an advantage in this respect, as they are able to apply highly professional diagnostic instruments” says Managing Partner Thomas Bockholdt.

Background Information

InterSearch Executive Consultants carried out the study “HR Challenges Facing Medium Sized Companies” in the spring of 2013. 200 managers with personnel responsibility (company owners, managing directors, directors and HR managers) were interviewed on-line. All respondents worked for companies with 250 plus employees from the Trade, Service and Industrial sectors.

About InterSearch Executive Consultants

We specialize in the recruitment of managers and the systematic analysis of management potential with a focus on the “Mittelstand” – medium sized national and international organizations. The company was founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personnel Consultancy” and has offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich with over 30 employees. Today InterSearch Executive Consultants belongs to the international InterSearch network with nearly 100 offices in 45 countries.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0