How should a global firm design its recruitment and selection policy?

Globalisation, and the effect that it has had on the theory and practice of selection and hiring personnel, has attracted the attention of numerous researchers and practitioners alike. Although problems and challenges associated with expatriation are at the centre of international human resource management (HRM) practice and discourse, the assimilation of superior business processes associated with the concept of impatriation (hiring foreign nationals for fixed-term temporary employment) is not widely adopted. This is true of many corporations that are based in the UK and the US as well, even though they “rely heavily on impatriates to develop and sustain their economies” (Woska, 2007). What follows is an overview of factors to be considered and provisions to be catered during the process of hiring employees from a global pool of workers.

Moreover, since the employment of a foreign national involves political formalities, the hiring process should be designed in this broader international framework.  For instance, the national policies for immigration control and national security of the host country need to be provided in advance to the prospective employee in order for him/her to take necessary steps in fulfilment of them.  And this is inevitably the function of the HR department.  Also, informing the candidates of the rights and duties expected of them within the “politico-legal system” of the host country, such as “freedom of expression, women’s dress code (applicable to some conservative societies), and mixed-sex associations” should be another crucial component in the hiring procedure (Bjorkman, 2006).  Other considerations for the HR department include taking steps to make sure that the

“Essential needs are being met based on the consideration that impatriates seldom belong to a homogenous culture, ethnic group, race, religion, or nationality. For example, some groups may find it easier to acclimatise to the weather than others. Some may adjust to the culture effortlessly; others may not. Further, efforts taken at the national and regional levels in shaping the general attitude of a country, a culture, and a populace to foreigners, particularly when they are present in large numbers, is another key factor in facilitating adjustment” (Honeycutt & Kurtzman, 1996).

In addition to the politico-legal considerations discussed above, the HR recruitment process need take into account the issues raised by the micro environment of the workplace.  Moreover, certain international standards pertaining to performance, supervisory controls, job specifications, organizational culture, human capital, etc need to be taken. It is a well known fact that when a UK based company recruits too many local personnel for its offices abroad, it jeopardises its time-tested and functioning set of values and core-processes that have come to represent its corporate culture.  And the indigenous culture of personnel abroad may be quite incompatible to the way the company is used to operating (McNerney, 2006).

The following list serves as a useful guideline for designing the selection process in such a way as to make adjustments for cultural differences:

a. “Establishing and implementing a comprehensive recruitment system–a complete set of procedures including pre-screening, studying, and evaluating application forms, administering psychometric tests (there are no specific tests for cultural adjustment), conducting preliminary and in-depth interviews, and exit interviews.

b. Identifying recruitment needs as per the manpower needs.

c. Identifying potential sources for recruitment to meet recruitment needs within the stipulated guidelines given by other national governments.

d. Selecting and evaluating internal and external recruitment agencies”. (Al-Rajhi, 2006)

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