🎙️Hiring in the US - How to do it right
🎙️Hiring in the US - How to do it right

🎙️Hiring in the US - How to do it right


Karin Wilkins, AB Tasty's former Global People Operations Director, shares her best practices for recruiting in the U.S.

🎙️ Interviews
Meeting Date
October 5, 2020

Are you're starting to think about your U.S. expansion? While it’s already a big challenge in your local market, hiring in a foreign country could well be more complicated. Here are some tips from Karin Wilkins, former Global People Operations Director @ AB Tasty, based in New York City.

Q&A with Karin from AB Tasty

Do you think french startups hiring in the U.S. have specific assets they should promote?

Emphasize the fact that you're a global company with different cultures. It's a very rich work environment to grow in. More then that, it also suggests there may be opportunities for international mobility.

For a startup, do you recommended using head hunters or handling everything internally?

Having someone who knows the culture is really important. So, if you don't have an internal recruiter on the ground in the U.S. who understand the market, it is definitely worth using agencies. But once you have a local team, it's cheaper and as good or better to get an internal recruiter.

"So that a good U.S. candidate is interested in a European startup, you need a “cultural fit”. That is why I recommend working with the best head hunting agencies. You need to accept that it will cost $70/80k for a VP+. They’re the ones with legitimate candidates." Emmanuel Schalit, Co-Founder of Dashlane

What is an attractive salary package ?

Benefits are a great way to make the difference. This is a huge factor of whether or not a candidate will choose your company. Everything is about the company offering the medical, dental or vision care, even long term/short term disability benefits, life insurances, commuter reimbursements, etc. Benefits can be seen as an extra budget a small company doesn't have, but it does make you a more attractive company to work for.

Here are the benefits we offer at AB Tasty :

  • Full medical, dental, and vision plans
  • Matched 401k up to 5%
  • 25 days Paid Time Off (vacation, sick, personal days)
  • 12 public holidays
  • 100% commuter reimbursement short and long term disability insurance Life insurance
  • ClassPass corporate discount

Package examples

Type401K Retirement saving planPaid Time Off (Vacation, Sick, Holidays)Special

A good package would typically include a 100% company matching contribution for up to 4% employee contribution. More info

2 weeks vacation (3 if you want to be generous)8 to 12 HOLLocal mandatory sick days depends from county to county (up to 9 days in San Francisco)


No Match (probably because the SO plan is considered the retirement plan)

Unlimited Vacation12w sick days/y (unpaid)12 HOL

18w fully paid parental leave, 68$/m gym reimbursement

Days off "Open Policy"12 Bank Holidays

medical, dental, vision plans 100% paid by Dolead

Matched 401k up to 5%

5w PTO (vacation+sick)

→ ClassPass corporate discount → 100% commuter reimbursement → Short and long term disability insurance Life insurance

Contribution is 50% up to 7% of the annual salary

3w vacation11 HOLUnlimited sick days + 3 days to take care of a sick family member (if absent for more than 3 consecutive days then the disability leave kicks in)

after 5 years in the company, special 5 weeks leave called "recharged" + 4 month parental leave

If you don't have time to put together your own salary and benefits package I recommend using providers such as:

WARNING: Karin tried Paychex and says it's terrible. Avoid!

XAnge Portfolio Companies get a special deal using JustWorks 👉

What is the biggest deal breaker for a candidate?

It depends of the seniority of the role, but medical insurance is definitely a deal breaker. For example, at AB Tasty, we completely cover the cost of basic medial insurance and then, we have 2 premium packages that we cover at 90%. The better the insurance is, the less we cover.

How do you manage salary differences between France and U.S.?

Be fair Each market is drastically different, not only on a cultural level, but also with regard to expectations. We have to be fair in each market and try to align them as much as possible. A good example is "training" : in France, each employee get a budget for trainings whereas in the U.S., there is nothing.

Be aware of real market specifics Even inside the U.S., we look at the cost of living of each city and also the local job market. We are very transparent with candidates that compensation will be different depending of where there are located.

Karin mostly relies on LinkedIn Salary to benchmark salaries.
Want more tools to benchmark compensation? Here is our selection 💶Compensation Tools in Hiring Support by XAngeHiring Support by XAnge

How different is the hiring process in US?

The process is very quick and people expect to you to be fast. For example, we can have 6 or 7 meetings with a candidate in a week, an offer by the end of the week, and the job will start two weeks after that. If you have to wait, make sure to follow up and tell them why. Following up is important, saying why or why not it’s moving ahead is very important.

Is it not risky to be quick? Do you get it wrong with candidates you've hired?

People can interview really well, especially sales people, but then they don’t work out. We have a complete process to make sure candidates are assessed on their production and performances with :

  • 1 initial screening meeting with 2 people with the immediate team and the HR manager
  • 1 meeting with someone outside the immediate team to check the company culture fit

We also add informal reference calls (contacts not recommended by the candidate).

"When a company expands to the U.S. and reaches a critical size of about 80-100 people, it becomes essential to rely on a Head of People who is culture, development and growth oriented." Emmanuel Schalit, co-founder of Dashlane