Hiring Eastern Europeans: the ultimate cultural guide for Dutch Recruiters (Part 2)
Before we dive deeply into the topic again, I’d like to thank everyone, who shared the feedback about the Part 1 of the article and made me realized that the topic is valuable and matters for a lot of people.
Some of you were mentioning that it can be a bit harsh and not objective to split people by countries of origin. Of course, generalisation is a back side of every theory: you make a far-reaching conclusion to build a concept, and it will always have exceptions. But I also support Eryn Mayer (the author of the book) who claims that culture we’ve grown at effects our fundamental beliefs and attitude to the life, even if it is done unconsciously. And, the first step we need to do not to be biased by it— is to be aware where we came from. And, in case of hiring — where our candidates are coming from.
So, I hope you will not take it that strict: there was no intention to offend somebody, every culture is beautiful and exciting to get now more about it!
To proceed with discussing the scales, we will start with the one connected on how we make decisions at work and how we build trust with our colleagues.
5. Decision-making scale logically goes after the leadership one, and is very well defined by the style of leadership which each of the cultures have.
If we go back to the Netherlands tendency to lead, we will see that Dutch people don’t have a lot of hierarchy, and, as you remember, prefer to have a leader who occupies facilitating role, being “the one among the others.”
That’s why they have consensual style of making decisions: when each member of the group has an equal right to express the opinion, and it will be taken into consideration.
It will be a common case if you’ll receive the slack pole from your CEO about the implementation of new secondary benefits policy, or will be asked about marketing strategies for your product (once you’re working in the tech department).
HIRING TIP: if you are from the Eastern Europe and work in the Western European company, don’t avoid this kind of voting and “opinion expression” activities, as people can perceive it as a passiveness.
Consensual decision making also means that the process can take a bit longer and can rapidly change (let’s say it’s the essence of being agile, right? ;) ) during the time.
Eastern Europeans, as with the leadership style, tend to be more hierarchical in the decision-making process and (in general) to use “top-down” approach. It might be perceived as a passiveness and non-proactiveness from the other side, so, please, try to show a bit more of the enthusiasm in expressing your thoughts.
6. Trusting scale is the one we will talk about: Besides having a leader, making decisions to do the work, cooperation with people is always built on trust, and
Being very practical and putting attention on the details & work directly, Dutch people trust others based on a quality of work.
So, for your Dutch manager, the most important thing is if you do your tasks efficiently. And it doesn’t matter much if you stay for Friday beers. No personal “click” involved. It works on a different way to earn the trust in the Eastern European cultures (Russia, Romanis, Ukraine, and Poland) — you need to make connections with people you’re working.
This type of “earning the trust” called relationship-based and it is expected that you will make an effort to get along with the colleagues, and because you are a right person at the first point, you are a good colleague.
HIRING TIP: if you having a final (onsite) interview, book a lunchtime to see how candidate connects with others and if he/she can get along with people. And, if you are from Eastern Europe and are continually being frustrated by people working in silence or the fact that your best buddy (and a team lead) have chosen somebody else for the project — calm down and pay attention to the tasks and the quality you are performing. It will be the key to the growth.
7. The scheduling scale by Eryn Mayer describes the attitude to the time which different cultures have. It will affect the presence at the meeting at the time, as well as the accuracy of leading & finishing it in the defined time.
So, being a bit more strict with a lot of things, Western Europeans are in the linear range of scheduling scale, which means they will be accurate in time when the meeting is scheduled. But, everything is relevant: Germans, for example, are way further with it than Dutchees.
Ukrainians, Russian and Poland people are more flexible with timing. But, as well, there are cultures way further (Asian, for example) at this range, and, probably, the understanding of time is more or less the same within Western and Eastern Europe.
HIRING TIP: If you’re arranging the Skype call between Dutch tech interviewer and an Eastern European candidate, please, emphasize the importance to be online at the exact time. Also, if you’re coming from the Slavic country, and you are leading the Scrum meeting/demo/etc., put your attention to the time frames carefully
8. Disagreeing is something that all of us (Europeans) do in the same way. The way to express your disagreement both in Eastern and Western Europe is called confrontational. Which, basically means that we would represent ourselves with transparency and won’t be afraid to have a conflict. To compare, such countries as China or Japan avoid confrontation and would be silent about the problems for the much longer time.
HIRING TIP: If you have your point, don’t be afraid to express it, create a meeting to discuss, etc. European culture overall is very transparent. But, keep in mind all other differences (communicating, deciding, persuading) to do it precisely.
So, this is the end of the Part 2, but not the end of the investigation! The other investigations, related to the topic of cultural differences & work will be made and blogs will be published very soon!
Please, share any feedback you will have and, if you are curious about the topic as much as I am, feel free to reach me out via firstname.lastname@example.org (I will happily ask you to partisipate in the research!)
All the best!