Opening up to the global world of talent

tfconnect's Trevor Foley breaks down some international recruitment conundrums.


tfI never cease to be amazed at the ambitious and flexible attitude of organisations and individuals in our industry, in the pursuit of business and personal growth.

At an individual level, many talented industry people are prepared to risk all with a move to another country (with partner and children, too) to develop and enjoy their career. Simply put, the best talent won’t stay where they’re not happy, or where the right opportunities don’t exist.

At a company level, too, the best growth is being achieved where those companies are truly open to taking on different solutions, in the form of different nationalities, cultures and ideas.

True global recruitment can often mean a client in North America with a role in Asia looking for European talent. There’s lots of potential to get it wrong, and a lot of potential upside in getting it right. To fuel your thoughts, let’s start with some of the ‘good’ global placements and why they were clearly the right match. 


1. A UK headquartered business (UBM) and a role in South America requiring Portuguese language and a four-year commitment. 

No, not easy, and the internal teams had been looking for a long time! Our networking meant that we instantly knew the ideal candidate, a French national, in a global pool of one! The candidate had recently divorced, wanted a change of company after 10 years, his two children were about to go to university for four years, he was a multi-linguist who spoke Spanish and was confident about learning Portuguese in a short space of time… all the boxes ticked.


2. Comexposium was a French-centric business when British private equity firm Charterhouse purchased a stake in the business. 

The PE strategy was to accelerate the international development of the business, and develop rigour around operational standards, to facilitate an onward transaction. Charterhouse and Comexposium’s Chairman, Renaud Hamaide, decided the business needed an exhibitions professional with significant international experience as CEO. The ideal candidate, then UBM Senior Executive, Simon Foster, was thought to be unattainable. However, with the tfconnect business approach of utmost confidentiality and confidence, built upon 30 years’ experience within the exhibitions industry, we were confident in facilitating the approach. 

Maintaining confidentiality at all times for both client and candidate, we were able to make the placement, leading to the desired execution of the strategy and resulting in a sale 15 months later.


3. A British organiser (Tarsus) and a regional role in Asia. 

The right candidate needed to fit in with the close-knit nature and flat organisational structure of the senior management team. It was all about chemistry and culture. At a chance coffee encounter during an industry conference in Asia, it was instantly apparent that a German national was the right fit after - what we call in England - ‘kissing a lot of frogs’ to find your princess…or in this case, your prince.  

So, what about the bad placements? International placements can go wrong for many reasons, but generally the problem that leads to the failure is one that could have been predicted, where some of the factors outside of the job fit have not been tested well enough. It requires a deep understanding of sensitive topics such as family relationships, children’s educational needs, religion, political persuasions and more besides. Mistakes are expensive and third party ‘testing’ is often invaluable.

Working closely with industry friends and colleagues all over the world, we have earned our trusted position by respecting confidentiality and offering a thorough knowledge of our candidates and our clients’ businesses.

Identifying and attracting the best talent is critical to the success of any organisation. We operate in a truly global industry and so must always be open to truly global talent solutions. 

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