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Globalizing Your Employer Brand

Hiring globally is all the rage, thanks to a pandemic that supported the growth of an anywhere workforce. To compliment this growth, many organizations are looking to grow their footprint of products and services all over the world. That's why we brought Oana Iordachescu, Head of Talent Acquisition, Technology and Analytics at Wayfair (you've got just what I need!) on the pod while hangin' out at UNLEASH in Paris this past Oct. Turns out, creating large technology teams when no consumer or employer brand exists in new markets is no easy task. But don't worry, we got you. Well, technically, Oana's got you, but you know what we mean.

INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (21s):

Oh, yeah. What's up everybody? We are at Unleashed World in Paris, France, day two. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman joined as always, Chad Sowash, and we grabbed Oana Iordachescu

Chad (36s):

You're getting good at this.

Joel (39s):

She is head of talent acquisition and technology and analytics at Wayfair. You got just what I need.

Chad (45s):

And analytics. I mean, I love the wrapping of all of that.

Oana (48s):


Chad (49s):

It's like I don't just do the technology

Joel (50s):

So much for one person.

Oana (51s):

I'm doing commercial now too. It's, I feel I'm betraying my craft. No, no, I love it.

Joel (58s):

I hope your bonus at the end of the year is nice with all this advertising you're getting on the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Chad (1m 5s):

And we're gonna be your hype men. That's what it is. We're gonna be your hype men.

Joel (1m 8s):

We share. So Oana, we wanted to bring you over. You're doing a presentation in an hour or so.

Chad (1m 14s):


Joel (1m 15s):

Called geo expansion and talent acquisition is having no brand in new markets a challenge or an opportunity. Give us a summary of that session.

Chad (1m 24s):

Especially Wayfair. I mean everybody in the US knows Wayfair, but outside of the US

Oana (1m 29s):

Almost nobody knows Wayfair.

Chad (1m 31s):

Okay. Okay.

Joel (1m 31s):

So that, but we don't know it as an employer, I would say.

Chad (1m 34s):

No, but I mean they're a brand.

Joel (1m 36s):

They're a brand. So let's get out.

Oana (1m 37s):

They're a brand. Cause a consumer brand does help your employer brand by default, right?

Chad (1m 42s):


Oana (1m 43s):

But when I joined two, like no. When somebody reached out to me two years and a half ago, Hey, I think there's this cool opportunity.

Chad (1m 51s):


Oana (1m 52s):

For you to join Wayfair. I'm like, who's Wayfair? I'm sorry. What? I work for Zalando. We, you know, I work for Facebook, like people know these names. Like I can brag my mom and she knows what I'm talking about.

Chad (2m 3s):

These are global brands and Wayfair's not that, okay.

Joel (2m 5s):

I can brag to my mom about it. It's this.

Oana (2m 9s):

But I cannot brag about Wayfair. Right? Not yet. So that's why I'm here. But truly, I think it's interesting to understand what actually happens in the background for organizations when you're really doing well at home.

Chad (2m 20s):


Oana (2m 20s):

And then you're like, oh, it's time for me to go beyond. And then you realize you, nobody wants you, nobody cares about you. It's very difficult. And you need to completely reinvent even your EVP, even your promise, right? So.

Chad (2m 32s):

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Oana (2m 33s):

We're gonna talk about that later.

Joel (2m 35s):

So is your consensus that you can build a new market without a brand? Or does the brand come before building the market where the summary of your presentation is what?

Oana (2m 44s):

The summary of my presentation is more around, you have already a brand in your home country. How do you go to other countries?

Joel (2m 49s):


Oana (2m 50s):

Do you copy paste? Which I'm giving it away. Do not do that.

Chad (2m 53s):


Oana (2m 54s):

You're gonna fail.

Chad (2m 55s):


Oana (2m 56s):

Terribly because cultural awareness.

Chad (2m 56s):

Think of that with brands in our industry like Monster. So tried to do like the American model totally failed.

Oana (3m 4s):


Chad (3m 5s):

So from the Wayfair standpoint, and here's a quick question. When it comes to building, because you said that the actual brand itself, you know Wayfair, you got just what I need. That's the American we all know.

Oana (3m 16s):


Chad (3m 16s):

Do they come into the market first with that brand and they do some heavy consumer marketing so that people know and then you get a nice springboard off of that? How does it work?

Oana (3m 28s):

It doesn't work like that. It's completely opposite. You need to really, it's marketing, right? So you need to understand your audience. And for example, in the European space, so we do sell in the US and then we sell in Germany and in the UK.

Chad (3m 40s):


Oana (3m 40s):

But we have more other countries for other reasons, suppliers and talent. So that's why we're here `at Unleash. What's interesting is that you need to understand what do people resonate in this market and for example, the European markets they are not really resonate with Chinese products for example.

Chad (3m 55s):

Oh, okay.

Oana (3m 55s):

They want the craft, they want the local shop, they want the mom and pop still quite a bit, but I want it online.

Chad (4m 1s):


Oana (4m 1s):

So I want the best of both worlds. So there was an adaptation on the customer promise, but there is an adaptation as well on the employer brand, which I think is really necessary to try to understand what does it mean for each of the countries. And we are having a EVP for let's say Western Europe, but we have a different EVP that's gonna go out for China because it just doesn't resonate.

Chad (4m 23s):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean different cultures, different experiences. I mean hell in China you pay for shit with your face.

Oana (4m 31s):


Chad (4m 31s):


Oana (4m 32s):

And you talk not through the channels that we talk between ourselves.

Chad (4m 35s):

Right, right, right.

Oana (4m 36s):

We have all different platforms. We have different features.

Chad (4m 38s):

They have the WeChat platforms, we have WhatsApp.

Oana (4m 42s):


Chad (4m 42s):

Yeah. Yeah. So it's...

Joel (4m 43s):

Chad and I debate a lot on the show about having sort of a monolithic brand overseeing everything.

Oana (4m 50s):

Yeah. Coca-Cola.

Joel (4m 51s):

And then also a brand for consumer and a brand for employer. Where are you in regards to the monolithic versus an actual employer brand?

Oana (4m 59s):

I think we think there's always a monolithic brand, but all these monolithic brands like if you look at McDonald's or Coca-Cola, they always have an employer brand underlying, when you go on the career side, when you apply, when you talk to recruiters, they will sell you what you're gonna do there and how you're gonna grow in your career, not how the product is.

Chad (5m 18s):

Would you liken that to like, you've got the Coca-Cola brand and then you have other brands underneath it, like Coke Zero and you know, Dasani or whatever.

Oana (5m 27s):

We also have that.

Chad (5m 33s):

Yeah, okay. I've never thought of it that way before, but that, I mean, that does make sense. So if you look at, like a brand strategy.

Joel (5m 40s):


Oana (5m 40s):

Even in Facebook, right? We start in Facebook or you apply for Meta and then you end up in Instagram or you end up in WhatsApp or you end up in Facebook or you end up in their network development under C optical network things. Right? So

Chad (5m 54s):

Or the Metaverse.

Oana (5m 55s):


Chad (5m 55s):

Oh, that's where Joel wants to go the Metaverse.

Joel (5m 58s):

Not yet. Not yet. We talked to Bill Borman yesterday and he talked about how at the entry level, at the entry point of applying to a job, people don't care so much about brand. They look at the description. What am I doing? Where is it located? How much am I getting paid? After they get through that, then they get into who am I working for, what are they about?

Chad (6m 19s):


Joel (6m 19s):

You're nodding your head yes. Do you agree with that or should?

Oana (6m 22s):

I do.

Joel (6m 23s):

Or should more branding come at the forefront of before applying to a job?

Oana (6m 27s):

It's interesting, right? I think we do a selection before we do the selection. If that makes sense, right?

Chad (6m 32s):


Oana (6m 33s):

So you already, in your mind as a potential employee, you know what you don't wanna do. Whenever I was working in agency, I was, you know, calling people for, I have a plethora of jobs. Which one do you want? Right?

Chad (6m 43s):


Oana (6m 43s):

And they're like, I don't want banking, I don't want, I dunno, adult entertainment and I don't want whatever, some something else. So you already have some allergies built in your brain against some topics or some industries or some players. So you make that selection already and then you kind of go from that one and you narrow it down. But it needs to align with those, whatever values you have, whatever you are again comfortable to speaking about at home.

Chad (7m 6s):


Oana (7m 7s):

Whatever your friends value. There's so much that you filter through before even going to a specific brand.

Chad (7m 11s):

Well in that whole line of thinking, you really have to have good bait. Yeah. Which is your job description. I mean you can't, you can't have all this bullshit fluff.

Oana (7m 20s):


Chad (7m 20s):

It has to be right to the point. So if you are a Wayfair who doesn't have a brand in Europe or China or something like that, I mean you can really get ahead of the game by just focusing on the basics because job descriptions are the bait that actually pulling good talent.

Oana (7m 38s):

Yeah. And that is so true. If you look at, we have a couple of providers around here, like HorseFly, I dunno if we can advertise other brands.

Chad (7m 44s):

Sure. Why not? Sure. Horse Fly. We've heard Horse Fly a lot. Have you ever heard of Horse Fly?

Joel (7m 48s):


Oana (7m 48s):

Check them out

Chad (7m 49s):

I haven't either. Yeah.

Oana (7m 49s):

So it's the option to LinkedIn Insights, but global and not so expensive.

Chad (7m 54s):

Oh okay. Gotcha.

Oana (7m 54s):

But if you have some insights and you are trying to compare, I dunno, India to China, what do employees want? We look a lot at the US polls stability, financial, like reward, flexibility, remote work, whatever. Right.

Chad (8m 10s):


Oana (8m 10s):

But these aspects are differently graded in other regions by country, by city sometimes. So just knowing that you can like laser focused.

Chad (8m 19s):

So do you use like intelligence group data at all?

Oana (8m 22s):

We do LinkedIn insights.

Chad (8m 22s):

LinkedIn insights. I to say, because they, I mean they put out like a, what was it, 162 page report.

Joel (8m 27s):

It's a lot of information.

Chad (8m 29s):

On, on all of the countries. And I was astounded how different every country was. I feels like researching that you have to do like market research in Europe than you do in the United States.

Joel (8m 43s):

And then you customize your job description based on what people want. So if it's America and my salary is the most important, that's what you're gonna highlight in another country, it might be something very different.

Oana (8m 53s):

I'll give you a very specific example with Wayfair, because it's such a household name in the US we didn't necessarily put the benefits on the job description in the US anymore. It's like it's a big player, they will have everything kind of, but coming to Europe, people don't know you and you're like, okay, I need to prioritize for Germany. Maybe family is a bigger value than in the UK. And even in the UK I might need to adopt this.

Chad (9m 16s):


Oana (9m 16s):

So even if we had the same sets of benefits, we would just swap them around knowing how people read job ads, right? The eye-catching tracker, whatever. Yeah, you try to organize. Of course, it's a bit of a bet, but at least you can, you can look at those things.

Joel (9m 30s):

Talk about video for a second because I think it's much easier to customize a job description. But if you're posting videos or social media, how is that strategy implemented at Wayfair?

Oana (9m 43s):

We don't do it.

Joel (9m 44s):

You don't do it? No. So that's interesting, you do no social media at all for recruitment?

Oana (9m 50s):

No. No. Not the video part.

Joel (9m 51s):

Obviously Wayfair has their own consumer brand and they're doing that.

Oana (9m 54s):

Yes exactly.

Joel (9m 54s):

But you do no employment marketing on there.

Oana (9m 56s):

We did a bit here and there, but I think where the challenge is, you wanna have the authenticity. So you want to have the people who do the job to be on the videos. And a lot of people do not wanna be on videos.

Chad (10m 9s):

Ah, really?

Joel (10m 9s):

Yes. So if we go to your career site

Chad (10m 13s):


Oana (10m 13s):

Especially in Europe or China.

Chad (10m 15s):


Joel (10m 16s):

You know, there are job posting services that'll embed video on your job. It'll have your manager.

Oana (10m 21s):

Not yet.

Joel (10m 21s):

You're not? But is it something you wanna implement or is it something that you're against?

Oana (10m 26s):

I, no, I would recommend it if you know how to do it right. If you have the right advice, if you have, I think it's a different type of marketing.

Chad (10m 34s):


Oana (10m 35s):

It's a whole game.

Joel (10m 36s):


Oana (10m 36s):

A whole new game versus language versus like reactions and reading and kind of buying into that.

Chad (10m 40s):


Oana (10m 40s):

And then what I'm also a bit concerned sometimes when it comes either to pictures or videos, like these people sometimes leave and then you have that video for like ages on your website.

Chad (10m 49s):

Yeah. Yeah.

Oana (10m 49s):

What do you do? Do you redo the video every two, three years?

Chad (10m 54s):

There's some, there's some great platforms that are out there that allows you just to have, you know, the app and go to your employees and do that stuff and then manage it, right? And you say, oh Jeff left, so we gotta kick Jeff off the site. You know, now we gotta throw Joscelyn on because she's the new hire. That kind of thing. So I think we're starting to see platforms that make that much easier. Although what you said was in Europe, I can't imagine that, you know, Instagram and TikTok aren't a big thing. Are they not?

Oana (11m 24s):

They are a big thing.

Chad (11m 25s):


Oana (11m 25s):

Yeah, I think some brands really play with it a lot and we're just not there yet.

Chad (11m 29s):

But there, but there's, I guess there's a separation of what we would call in the US of church and state. Where that's my personal.

Oana (11m 36s):

Yes. Exactly.

Chad (11m 37s):

And this is my, this is my business. So I'm not going to mix those two.

Oana (11m 41s):

That's a lot. Okay. And there's a degree to that. So let's say Europe is a little bit more comfortable, but China is really like, no. My home is my home. My work is my work. Yeah. It doesn't mix ever.

Chad (11m 54s):

So what do you feel is the biggest impact for an organization like Wayfair coming into such a diverse set of countries like the EU?

Oana (12m 6s):

Understand the regionality of things. So while you think EU, we think - couple of different countries, different languages, different labor laws.

Chad (12m 13s):


Oana (12m 13s):

And of course different values, but in the same time, yes, it is a very interesting market from a consumer point of view. Second, understand that you need to lead with people first, because you have no brand. So the people you hire, those first 10, 20 hires, they will be your brand, they will be your amplifier, they will be the trust.

Chad (12m 33s):

Isn't that always the case though?

Oana (12m 36s):

I think it is. Right.

Joel (12m 38s):

We talk occasionally about employees at companies that sort of go their own way with selling the company and the job that they're in. They talk about, Hey, I work at Wayfair, here's what my day's like. And they do it outside of the corporate approval.

Oana (12m 54s):


Joel (12m 54s):

Where's your stance on employees sort of going their own way and marketing the company as an employer? Would you guys squash that or would you welcome it?

Oana (13m 2s):

We're welcoming it and I think every organization should, and I do have a point in the talk later.

Chad (13m 9s):


Oana (13m 10s):

Personal brands are much easier to change than your corporate brand. So a personal brand you can amplify, update, be very responsive to market, have a say in very kind of situational conversation.

Chad (13m 21s):

It's more genuine too, right?

Oana (13m 22s):

Yes. Right. Yeah. And somehow, like you have your corporate band who says, we have hybrid work and we have, I dunno, this set of benefits, but then me, I can tell the story, how am I actually using those? How am I enabling this type of values to live through the day to day? And I think, yeah, personal branding is sometimes maybe even more effective than the recruitment campaign.

Joel (13m 43s):

Do you have a corporate policy around employees posting about the company?

Oana (13m 46s):

Not really, but we do have, let's say like for these type of events, a bit of a just be mindful of some aspects, right?

Joel (13m 52s):

Some guide rails.

Oana (13m 53s):


Joel (13m 54s):


Oana (13m 54s):

Don't smash the brand.

Chad (13m 56s):

So yeah, because there have been a couple of instances, we actually talked to a dude who had a TikTok who has a TikTok account with over 2 million followers.

Oana (14m 7s):


Chad (14m 7s):

He was doing Sherwin Williams paint mixing paint videos.

Oana (14m 9s):


Chad (14m 10s):

Yeah. And, he was showing and it's very, I mean you're just sit there and watch it. So like relaxing, you know, and

Joel (14m 17s):

He's throwing strawberries and things.

Chad (14m 20s):

Yeah. And he was doing this in his off time. And Sherwin Williams fired him.

Oana (14m 25s):


Chad (14m 25s):

T-Mobile just a couple of weeks ago told one of their employees who was in the off time, he was talking about new products and how they were really cool cuz he was like this tech geek, right? And he loved it and they said, stop that.

Oana (14m 38s):

That's insane!

Chad (14m 38s):

Isn't it? Because I think, and you said something that, you know, when you don't have a brand, your people are your brand. I think we lose it when we get, we get too much of a big head because we get this big brand. Our people are always our brand and they can, they can amplify what it's like to be who we really are.

Oana (14m 60s):

In that space. Right?

Chad (15m 1s):


Oana (15m 1s):

Totally. Yeah. I think there's a, there's a balance. And of course corporate should not even like go into the private life of people. This is where probably the anxiety in Europe a little bit more. And we were talking yesterday as well.

Chad (15m 15s):


Oana (15m 15s):

On the AIP and how we protect people. But ultimately there is a co-existence that we can't get away from.

Joel (15m 23s):

I'm listening to this podcast. I'm relatively new to the industry. My boss has just told me we're growing into these two or three countries. What resources should I access or can I access? How do I understand how this market is different from the one that I'm currently in? Any resources or tips you can give that person?

Oana (15m 43s):

It will sound very boring. But McKinsey has some very interesting.

Joel (15m 46s):

McKinsey Okay.

Oana (15m 47s):

Has some very interesting resources. And then of course if you have any tools for talent intelligence, go for that. And then ask your people. You will probably have very diverse people in your organization, second generation migrants, people who worked with other markets, they will know more than you do.

Joel (16m 4s):

Oh, I smell a LinkedIn poll.

Chad (16m 4s):

Wayfair. You got just what I need.

Joel (16m 7s):

Do you smell a poll?

Chad (16m 8s):

Oana Iordachescu.

Oana (16m 9s):

Well done.

Joel (16m 9s):

Oana Iordachescu.

Chad (16m 10s):

Oana Iordachescu. Yes. Thank you, thanks so much for on. Good luck on your talk later. I'm sure it'll be amazing.

Oana (16m 21s):

Thank you so much. See you next time.

Chad and Cheese (16m 24s):

We out.

OUTRO (17m 8s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.


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