Recruitment in Turkey. The Dos and Don’ts. by Joan O’Rourke, Partner, OneWorld Consulting, Turkey

Earlier this year we were asked to talk to a group of Irish investors at a Trade Mission in Istanbul organised by Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. Approximately twenty five Irish companies participated in the mission from a wide range of industry sectors, some with previous experience of working in Turkey and some just starting out. The topic I was asked to  speak on  was “General Recruitment Dos and Don’ts in Turkey” and to offer insight into this aspect of doing business in Turkey. The event was attended by the  Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore T.D.

I have been involved in recruitment in Turkey for the last 10 years, and along with  my colleagues at OneWorld Consulting,  have recruited many senior to mid level executives for our clients across a wide of industry sectors. We work with international and Turkish organisations and new companies entering the Turkish market. As one might imagine there could  be a long discussion on recruitment dos and don’ts but to keep it short and simple the key points were highlighted  as follows.

Primary advice for new companies entering the Turkish market is to do your research in terms of talent in the market and what kinds of people profiles you can and cannot expect to find. Do be realistic about who you need to recruit into the organization and who you can  attract to the organisation. Do avoid over or under recruiting as this can lead to various challenges down the road, by this I mean avoid recruiting people who are over or under qualified for the role in question. Do benchmark the people you meet against others. Do look for calibre and quality of people exactly as you would do at home, over people who may appear to have the right connections or network, for example. Do proper reference checks on candidates you want to hire. Do know the salary levels and benefits for the sector so you can benchmark your offer. Experience shows that things may often go wrong at the negotiation stage where expectations on both sides are not met  so having clear information on salary levels is very important. Do pay attention to cultural differences and the nuances in the market as you would do in your home country. Do be open minded during the recruitment process  as candidates may be younger than expected.  For example, we worked with an international client and the hiring manager based in Europe was surprised to see highly qualified Turkish candidates with 8 to 10 years of experience versus the 15 years plus of experience the same job holder in the UK would have. And finally, do work with a recruitment partner who can provide insight and support and who can help find the right people so you don’t have to invest so much of your valuable time searching for people who may not be a fit for the organization

Regarding the don’ts, our advice to the audience was don’t forget that the recruitment best practices you have at home will also apply here, that is, you need to thoroughly assess and evaluate candidates for key roles as you would at home. Don’t make unnecessary assumptions, for example, on such issues as gender or age.  And finally, don’t forget to do your due diligence and use your common sense, just as you would do in your own market.