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In 2010 ReachLocal was looking to open its first European office outside of the UK. An American company, with satellite offices of around 50 people combined in London and Manchester, ReachLocal had no prior experience of entering non-English speaking markets and the prospect of establishing its presence in Germany was their biggest challenge to date.
The company’s search for a recruitment partner with international experience and on-the-ground knowledge, led Jenny Fernandes, European Director of HR and Recruitment at ReachLocal, to make contact with Ruth Snell, Associate Director at Executives Online.
Fernandes said: With no prior experience we were going to be heavily reliant on our recruitment partner to help us navigate the intricacies of employment law, salary expectations and other issues we could face. It was also important for our chosen recruitment partner to be able to work with the style and culture of our company, which were driven by our Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer at the time, both of whom could be very demanding of our suppliers.
”ReachLocal is a people business and employees need to be able and willing to try new things - being able to try, fail and learn is important to our culture and generally the people who suit our way of working will not come from big-corporate backgrounds. This added to the complexity of the candidate search and recruitment process for Executives Online.”
“Ruth Snell was able to understand the indecisive nature of our business and managed the candidates’ expectations effectively and with diplomacy, so that our corporate reputation was protected. She was also able to deal with our UK and US teams in parallel, effectively managing their different decision making processes.
ReachLocal’s first hire through Executives Online was Sascha Kronberg, Country Director for the new German office in Berlin, which opened in 2011. Hot on the heels of this success, ReachLocal decided to open a new office in Amsterdam just nine months later, and Executives Online was tasked with finding a Dutch Country Director, a European Finance Director and a European IT Director for this new operation.
In both the German and Holland cases, Ruth Snell utilised Executives Online’s Global Talent Bank to identify candidates with the right language and cultural skills, as well as the prerequisite experience and track records. She also worked with her colleagues on the ground in Germany and Holland to leverage their knowledge and networks and identify the perfect candidates, who were then successfully recruited.
Sascha Kronberg said: “The role at ReachLocal is a perfect fit for me, exactly what I was looking for but I don’t believe I would have found it without the help of Executives Online. With Ruth’s expert guidance, the recruitment process went smoothly and all parties were kept informed at every stage, from start to finish, so that expectations were managed.
ReachLocal exists to help SMEs generate new business through effective internet marketing, and its European operation has grown rapidly to 450 people across 10 offices in the UK, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Amsterdam, in just six years. Executives Online has just completed its latest successful candidate search for the company and Malcolm Starr will be taking up the position of EU Client Services Director, based in Amsterdam, from 1st March. Malcolm is bi-lingual and is joining ReachLocal from Vodafone, to manage a team of 50 people responsible for customer service and campaign support.
Fernandes continues: “During two years of working with Ruth she has become a friend. She works constantly and I can call her at any time for advice and guidance. She’s extremely diligent and professional and works in the same way that I do, which I really appreciate. We’re not the easiest company to work with and we’re not the most lucrative client for Executives Online either, but I’ve never felt that this has impacted on the service we’ve received.”
Ruth Snell commented: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Jenny and helping to build the European ReachLocal team. Each brief has had multiple layers of complexity and the process has been very challenging at times but it has also been extremely rewarding to find candidates with the right skills and track records and, importantly, the character and energy levels to help drive the ReachLocal business forward.”