International Recruitment and Selection Is More Complex Than That Undertaken at A National Level
Ahsan Hameed (Date: 08.05.2015)
The recruitment and selection are two important organizational processes, which plays an important role in organizational success (Cunningham, 2007); (Pomeroy, 2000); (Sisodia and Chowdhary, 2012); (Mayhew, 2012); (Gomes, 2012). However, at international level, the multinational and global company often finds the recruitment and selection process more complex than that of recruitment and selection at the national level. This article is aimed to critically evaluate the challenges and issues, which make the international recruitment and selection processes more complex as compared to the national level. The outcomes may develop the understanding about the issues and challenges, being faced by multinational or global organizations, while performing HR functions in international business.
The emergence of globalization has also influenced the recruitment and selection as well. The conventional field of Human Resource Management (HRM) has been shifted into International HRM (IHRM) after the emergence of globalization (Schuler and Tarique, 2007). According to Lewin and Volberda (2003) only few of companies in the world are having the capability to locate, source and management human resource at international level. Whereas, the Rugman and Verbeke (2004) have stated that the majority of companies is having access and control on human resource within their home countries, instead of international level. The companies, when intends to go for managing international HRM, face difficulty because of many influencing factors (Sparrow, 2007). Similarly, the recruitment and selection processes at the international level are difficult than that of recruitment and selection processes at the national level. The following literature review is aimed to identify those influencing factors and also critically evaluates the impact of these influencing factors towards making recruitment and selection at international level than that of the national level.
The performance of recruitment and selection at international level is also heavily affected through “language” problem. Lockwood (2012) has explained the impact of language factor towards recruitment and selection through giving the example of business processing outsourcing (BPO) recruitment websites. These BPO recruitment websites were facing problem in the recruitment workforce in India and Philippines. According to the HR requirement, the companies are keen to recruit the workforce with good English language communicators for working in their call centre, in order to deal with their customers. However, the companies have reported a recruitment success rate of as low as 1%, while the majority of job applicants are being rejected due to lack of English language skills. These findings are showing that the companies, may find the best workers with required language skills such as, English, in their native home country, which make the recruitment easy. But at international level, the companies also face difficulty in recruitment due to language problem. So, the companies must be careful in making an assessment of particular countries, because it will directly affect the company’s performance in terms of achieving HR goals and also overall organizational goals. However, the training and development programs may reduce this problem against some cost and time expense. The cost of recruitment and selection is a major influencing factor in deciding recruitment and selection strategy that must be accounted during making recruitment and selection strategy (Mayhew, 2011).
Another problem is might be faced by companies, when recruiting for international level, that is known as “economic imbalance”. When any country is facing problem of economic imbalance then multi-national companies (MNC’s) are also facing problems of recruiting talent. Lane and Pollner (2008) have explained this scenario through using the example of China that has faced a shortage of talent due to economic imbalance. In 2008, the economy of China has faced the problem of getting and retaining talent due to economic imbalance that has been largely contributed by multiple factors such as low birth rate, retirement of baby boomers, competition among companies to get talent. Hence, the competition is obvious because of a shortage of talent, so the local Chinese and MNC’s are competing with each other to attract and retain talent. The research findings mainly address the problems in MNC’s in China, which has shown that the 37% companies are confirmed the talent recruitment as the biggest problem, while 44% companies has ranked the insufficient talent as biggest barrier to their global ambitions. According to these findings that the economic imbalance is another factor, which makes it difficult for companies to run their recruitment and selection processes effectively. The implications for MNC’s are to assess the economic position of their target country, before going to make entry decision.
The biggest challenge has been faced by multinational companies at the time of recruitment and selection is the “work force diversity”. According to one report about Ireland, multinational companies have to face the diversity of employees, especially on the basis of demographics, which are making it more difficult for companies to conduct recruitment and selection at international level as compared to recruitment selection at the national level (PAS, Ireland, 2009). The issue of diversity in the workforce is not a new issue in today’s job market and companies often face diversity in their workforce that also causes some important challenges for companies to prepare strategies for managing diversity. The diversity factor must be seen from both, positive and negative aspect. According to MacDonald (2010), the diversity of the workforce is having both advantages and disadvantages. Mainly, the diversity of the workforce leads the companies to comply with non-discriminatory legislation and equal opportunity values beyond the company’s legal obligations. When multi-national operates in more locations than the level of diversity is high, which provides the company with several advantages such as, (a) racial diversity positively contributes to profits, market share and sales volume of the company. (b) The diversity of the workforce leads the companies get more ideas and diverse opinions that enhances more creativity and talent pool. (c) The diversity of the workforce can lead the company to focus on establishing a focus on recruiting people on the basis of experience and qualification instead of gender, age, race differences.
However, the diversity of the workforce also leads the companies towards facing some disadvantages as well, that has mainly increased the burden of HR managers to manage the diversity. First, the high level of diversity in work teams leads towards tensions, different attitudes and behavioural problems and HR managers have to work more on creating a culture in an organization on the basis of respect, dignity, values and write protection for everyone. Secondly, the diversity of workforce often creates communication problems, because the people in different locations are having different languages, which also made it difficult to communicate well. Third, the high level of diversity often leads towards some ethical problems , such as negative attitudes, harassment and hate-feelings. According to these findings, the is having both positive and negative outcomes for the organization, but it has been observed that the diversity is a good thing for the organization, but only if managed carefully. The implications for managers are to develop strategies for managing diversity and also create a culture that accommodates the diversity.
One author has given the example of Canadian based companies, which have expanded their businesses in other countries of the world such as, Molson’s, Labatt’s, Noranda and other companies. First of all, the managers are facing three kinds of challenges for managing their HR operations globally which include, (a) deployment of the right skills at right place regardless of geographic location, (b) effective knowledge and innovation dissemination throughout the organization and (c) identifying and developing talent on a global basis. These challenges are directly affecting the recruitment and selection strategies of the organization in a global context. However, the HRM practices of inter-country differences are affected through three important factors such as, economic factors (country policies, efficiency of workers, unemployment, economic condition, productivity level), labour cost factors (compensation and benefits, hourly rates) and industrial relation factors (labour laws, legislations and code of conduct policy of the country) (Prenhall, 2007); (www.whatishumanresource.com, 2013). The implications for HR managers have carefully identified the challenges and influencing factors before going to develop and implement the recruitment and selection strategies, because otherwise, these influencing factors would restrict the recruitment and selection strategies to achieve its objectives such as, finding the right person for the right job.
According to one research study by Van Amelsvoort, Hendriks and Scheeren (2000) indicates towards the performance indicators of staffing, which affect the performance of staffing at international level as compared to the national level. According to research findings, the performance of staffing at international level is highly affected through cost of staffing, staff characteristics, working conditions, planning and quality of education deal with training. The cost of staffing is a major influencing factor in deciding recruitment and selection strategy (Mayhew, 2011). These performance indicators are different for international staffing, which implicates for HR managers to consider these indicators from an international perspective along with assessing the potential problems and challenges.
At international level, the companies face many kinds of problems, which include both organizations related and also job candidate related problems. Darrag, Mohamed and Aziz (2010) have highlighted some more facts, both organizations related and also job candidate related, which have caused the problems in MNC’s in Egypt. The MNC’s are unable to achieve their recruitment objectives because of some organization related factors such as, management interference in the recruitment process, misuse of employee referrals and misunderstanding of recruitment agencies about the importance and nature of recruiting. These organizational factors put implications towards the HR managers to focus on resolving these issues in order to achieve their recruitment objectives. The job candidates related problems include the poor curriculum of job applicant’s, lack of patience, lack of ambition and lack of understanding the nature of recruitment functions, which has made it difficult for MNC’s to select the job applicant’s as per their job requirement. These results are also putting implications towards the HR managers or executives of recruitment agencies, which are looking for recruiting candidate at international level, to understand that these potential problems might be faced during recruitment at international level. Further, in accordance with these found organizations related and job candidate related factors are helpful to understand why recruitment and selection strategies are unable to achieve its objective, so that these problems can be resolved through a proactive approach.
Most of research studies are showing the impact of cultural difference in affecting the performance of recruitment and selection at international level (Prenhall, 2007). In fact, when the multinational companies operate in different countries, they have to face the different culture. Rovai (2008) presents its research on recruiting high-tech managerial talent in China. The findings of research have shown that the multinational companies, which are looking for recruiting high-tech managerial talent in China, face many problems and issues in this regard. The cultural difference consists of differences such as, language, values, attitudes, behaviours and also an institutional framework of the local job market, which affects the company’s recruitment and selection strategies.
Another challenge for multinational companies during recruitment at international level is “institutional legislation or state regulations”, which are also having great impact towards making the recruitment and selection process more difficult than that of recruitment and selection at the national level. The multinational companies have to follow the local laws and regulations during performing recruitment and selection. So, the labour laws of one country are different from another country, making it difficult for companies to follow the labour laws and legislations (Rovai, 2008). Further, Bjorkman (1999) has added that the major impact of labour laws and regulations has been observed towards setting competition and benefits policies for the local labour workforce. However, the cost of different compensation and benefits such as, social security cost, social cost, pension cost etc., Are also different from one country to another country that also makes difficult for companies to run their recruitment and selection processes. Other research by El-Kot (2008), conducted on Egyptian companies, has confirmed that the national context of the country directly affects the recruitment and selection practices, which also limits the companies to use only those practices and techniques for recruitment and selection, which are acceptable by national framework. These findings are showing that the MNC have to follow the national framework, that is different from country to country, making it more challenging for MNC’s to adopt and employ for successful recruitment and selection.
The performance of recruitment and selection at international level is also getting affected through the nature of policies and methods, being used by multinational companies to recruit persons or retain persons through HR practices and talent management practices. Zheng (2009) has mentioned the major factor “HR practices” as responsible for the success or failure of MNC in successful recruitment in Asian countries. These HR practices are not universal for using in each country and varies according to environment such as, institutional restrictions influence a lot the HR decisions to use HR practices for recruitment and selection (El-Kot, 2008). Further, the country’s trend also affects the decision of HR managers to use different tools and methods for recruitment and selection.
Branine (2008) has presented its research on employment of graduates in the UK and come up with an interested trends, which is being practiced there. First, the companies, both national and international, use the cost effective methods of recruitment and selection, which are more sophisticated and objective. The purpose of cost effective methods is to reduce recruitment and selection cost. However, the use of cost effective methods can also lead towards skipping formalized recruitment and selection procedures and company may miss the opportunity to get talented employees due to cost effective methods. Secondly, the recruitment and selection in the UK are more person related instead of job related, as the companies are interested in candidate’s attitude, behaviour, personality and communication skills instead of qualification in comparison with job requirements. This can be the influence of environment, as the job culture of the UK is more about temporary jobs instead of permanent jobs, which involves the cost effective recruitment and selection methods. However, the multinational companies, with formalized and lengthy recruitment and selection processes are unable to run their recruitment and selection processes in the UK. These findings implicate for those multinational companies, which are currently working in the UK to adopt the cost effective and candidate based method for recruiting employees, because otherwise, it would be difficult to achieve desired results.
The above findings of the literature review critically evaluates the factors, which make the international recruitment and selection process more difficult than that of national recruitment and selection. Although the recruitment and selection at the domestic level are also affected by issues and challenges, but the recruitment at international level is more complex due to inter-country differences and the emergence of globalization. The findings of research have shown that the inter-country differences and some other factors have made the recruitment and selection more complex at international level. These factors include language skills, cost of recruitment, economic imbalance, workforce diversity, institutional framework (legal and industry based), compensation and benefits, focus towards candidate’s characteristics, use of different recruitment tools and techniques and institutional legislations factors. Overall, these factors can be categories into five categories, cultural factors, operational factors, industrial relation factors, candidate related factors and organization related factors, which are making recruitment and selection more complex at international level instead national level.
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