How to hire senior executives with global experience in Chicago

Caitlin Ritch our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 18 January 2024

Chicago is a thriving economic hub and a stronghold for technical innovation, diverse businesses and new opportunities. Home to 13 Fortune 500 companies and dozens of culturally diverse areas, Chicago’s business landscape is characterized by dynamism and a commitment to progress.


With so many mouths at the watering hole, businesses in Chicago face fierce competition. Faced with increasing globalization, these businesses have a growing need for senior leaders who have international expertise. 


Hiring leaders who can navigate the intricacies of the global market drives strategic initiatives on a worldwide scale, and provides a crucial competitive edge for local businesses aiming to expand or strengthen their global presence.

Understanding Chicago’s business environment

Chicago's businesses flourish across diverse industries. Top players include manufacturing, technology, transportation, healthcare and finance.


It’s this industry diversity that makes Chicago one of the world’s largest economic powerhouses, shown by its USD $609 billion annual gross regional product (GRP), which is bigger than some countries. 


Renowned as a global business and trade hub, the city's strategic location and transportation infrastructure reinforce Chicago’s status as a champion of international trade.


Global insight and experience are important in this diverse economic climate. Leaders must know the ins and outs of international trade, diverse markets and varied regulatory landscapes in order to drive local and global success.

Identifying the need for global experience

Global experience in an executive role necessitates a deep understanding of how to leverage cultural nuances in a way that drives business growth.


Leaders with global experience are typically:

  • Highly adaptive, solution-oriented and risk-mitigative
  • Adept at cross-cultural communication with foreign stakeholders 
  • Competent at aligning strategic vision with international market trends
  • Equipped with unique perspectives that challenge groupthink and enhance innovation


In the current Chicago market, executives possessing these skills are invaluable. Their ability to build global partnerships and adapt business models to different environments gives local companies a competitive advantage.

How do you find global talent in Chicago?

Sourcing global talent shouldn’t stop at Chicago’s borders. To broaden your talent pool and access specialized skills, enhance diversity and foster innovation, you must also attract talent from regions outside Chicago. 


Recruitment efforts both within and outside the city requires a strategic approach that taps into diverse channels:

  • Professional networks play a pivotal role in identifying diverse talent, with platforms like LinkedIn providing access to a deep talent pool.
  • Industry events and conferences offer opportunities for face-to-face engagement, fostering connections with executives with global experience.
  • Executive search firms like Hanover specialize in sourcing global talent, leveraging their expertise to match organizations with executives possessing ideal experience.
  • Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook not only gives you valuable insight into a candidate’s professional persona, but also allows you to enhance your own brand so that your organization is more attractive to global talent.

What to look for during the interview process

When interviewing candidates, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of their global experience by asking questions that assess their adaptability, strategic insight and competency. For example, you could ask about:

  • Cultural adaptability - Can you share an experience where you successfully navigated a cultural difference in a professional setting?
  • International market insight - How do you stay informed about international economic and industry developments?
  • Global strategy development - Can you discuss a specific instance where you developed and implemented a successful global business strategy?
  • Risk management on a global scale - Share an experience where you had to navigate a significant international business risk. How did you mitigate it?


You should also pose hypothetical scenarios related to global expansion to evaluate a candidate’s ability to formulate international business strategies. 


One scenario could be: You’re leading a company that’s planning to expand into a new international market. Outline the challenges, considerations and strategies you would employ to ensure a successful market entry.


Through a combination of these cultural adaptability questions and global business scenarios, you’ll gain insights into a candidate’s practical experience, strategic thinking and overall readiness to tackle challenges and leverage the opportunities presented in the global business landscape.


Equally important is evaluating the candidate’s cultural fit within your organization and their adaptability to Chicago’s business environment. Gauge their understanding of Chicago's business climate by discussing local market trends and challenges. Inquire about how they would adapt their leadership style to align with the city's dynamic industries and diverse teams.

How do you retain globally experienced executives?

You not only need to hire globally experienced executives, but you also need to ensure you retain them in order to sustain your competitive edge. These leaders bring valuable insights and perspectives, contributing to your company’s success. 


Some key retention strategies you can use to keep senior executives engaged and invested include the following:

  • Provide continuous professional development opportunities tailored to their global expertise, ensuring they stay at the forefront of industry trends.
  • Integrate executives into the local business community to enhance their sense of belonging and help them foster a deeper commitment to their roles.
  • Support their cultural acclimatization by offering resources and networking opportunities.
  • Recognize and celebrate their achievements, reinforcing their impact on the company's global success.

Partner with Hanover for Your Executive Search

Do you want to elevate your executive team by partnering with an executive search firm that sources the best leaders with global experience? Then let Hanover be your strategic partner.


With our experience in navigating the complexities of global business, we can quickly identify senior leaders who can seamlessly integrate into Chicago's dynamic market.


Our deep understanding of both local and global business landscapes, coupled with our extensive network, ensures a personalized executive search experience. This allows our experts to connect you with leaders who exceed your expectations.

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