Attracting top talents for multinationals today is a bigger challenge than in the past. Previously, a well-known brand and international status automatically attracted talents to the multinational. CEOs and HR Managers of international companies, however, realize (some don’t) that just being an international company and paying a competitive salary is not enough anymore. Candidates are becoming more demanding, better informed and asking accurate questions before they accept a job opportunity. In addition to that, the competition of start-up digital companies and successful local firms has strongly increased during the last few years.

A good brand manager for example knows the difference in work content and challenge between working in a (small) representative office of an international company or in a bigger local production company. The experience of being completely responsible from idea generation to actually witnessing the physical product coming of the production line and having to manage this whole process, is often perceived as more valuable than just ‘translating’ an international corporate campaign without any personal involvement in the brand plan. Moreover, talents regularly perceive the culture and atmosphere of start-ups as more attractive than working at slower and more bureaucratic and hierarchal multinationals, despite increasing attempts of transforming more to ‘agile’. Therefore, international companies have to re-think the responsibilities that they may delegate and other aspects that makes the job attractive to local talents in order to motivate them and fuel their energy and creativity.

There are more differences. Recruitment processes in multinationals for all kinds of reasons could last much longer than in local companies and good candidates could be lost in space or accept other opportunities running out of patience.

Another reason that talents could move from an international to a local company is that they feel they are being pushed too much in a specialization of a certain role and miss working on broader business or production processes, which in a local company could be easier accommodated. International companies should better address and outline that working at their company will give
more opportunities to develop in different positions and internationally and not only focus on the vacancy that they have to fulfil today, but draw a further concrete future development plan for the applicant.

Talents working at local and/or smaller firms with a good culture and management/owner often enjoy it because they feel they can easier ‘make a difference’. At multinationals it is a bigger challenge to be seen, coached and appreciated.

We conclude that working at multinationals or local firms could both be a great experience but it pays of to investigate and receive information about which aspects are most attractive for the applicant’s daily work satisfaction and future career opportunities. Or perhaps try both and combine all you learned.