The one certain thing in inter

The one certain thing in international recruitment and selection would seem to be the lack of certainty. While one can identify general skills and abilities which can be useful under particular circumstances, the nature of globalization and the political manoeuvring which the implementation of IHRM policy involves mean that it is impossible to identify hard-and-fast criteria for all international managers, or for that matter all international assignments. Each situation must therefore be taken on its own merits; the strategy of the company, the MNC’s relationship with home and host country cultures (see, for instance, Rao 2009), the tension between global and local interests within the MNC and the agendas of the candidate and their family need to be taken into account, and the recruitment and selection programme designed accordingly. As Bartlett and Ghoshal put it, ‘Instead of forcing the individual to conform to the company’s policies and practices, the overall objective is to capture and leverage the knowledge and expertise that each organisational member brings to the company’ (1997: 114).

Key points to remember in international recruitment and selection are:

● Be flexible: remember that things change rapidly in the global sphere and that a variety of different political and cultural pressures are involved.

● Consider carefully the nature of the assignment, the cultures of the home and host country, the company’s needs, the candidate’s needs and the subsidiary’s needs before developing a recruitment programme.

● Don’t be gender-or race-blind, but remember the problem of subconscious prejudice – ask yourself what you really need, and be wary of discrimination.

● If there are problems, or even expatriate failure, the key thing is to learn from the experience. If you do, this can offset the short-term cost by producing long-term improvement.

● Don’t be afraid of taking risks – it can prove beneficial in the long run.

Recruitment and selection in the international sphere are very much context-dependent, and it is consequently very difficult to predict who will do well. However, with care and consideration, it may be possible to significantly reduce the risk of failure and produce successful international managers.

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