Challenges in Recruitment and Selection of Employees

The main purpose of this report is to explore the main challenges in the recruitment and selection of employees in a global context, and the difference between sourcing the local staff at international locations or employing overseas workers and moreover suggesting some congruent steps in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment process. Research on this report was based on suggestive articles, library texts and other reference material relevant to the study.

This report also highlights key considerations in recruiting people internationally and the recommendations of how to successfully recruit the overseas staff has been given.


Organisations today are increasingly transforming from regional company to a Multi National Company. However; the effects of such operations do not end up with international markets and consumer products. In fact, Managers today are faced with several breath taking challenges of leading a true global workforce (Hartel, C.E.J, 2007).

As we can remember the good old days when we can find staff by advertising in the local newspaper, and graduates and apprentices were plentiful and grateful for a job. Due to the scaled- back university courses/intakes and apprenticeship schemes, the aging population and the resources have left Australia desperately short of qualified people, and thus, now HR managers are often required to think globally to fill out positions (Nankervis, Compton & Baird, 2008).

Recruiting efficient staff in an international context is the process of identifying and attracting potential candidates outside the country and initiate the process of evaluating them for future employment. Once candidates are identified, organisations can begin their selection process. This process includes: collecting, measuring, evaluating information about candidates’ qualifications for specified position etc. (Dessler, 2005)

Recruiting overseas staff is a very important decision for a company’s development since overseas staff are required to perform jobs requiring specialist skills (for example, technical or language skills) that are not available Australia; they can also fill vacancies for which there are not enough AU applicants; on secondment or transfer from an overseas division for developmental assignment that will also introduce new ideas into the AU organisation and to fill temporary vacancies requiring a pre-existing skill set and temporary transferees may be considered permanent positions where immigration rules allow.

Main challenges of recruiting staff overseas

The human resource function selecting employees for international placements have to meet a series of challenges due to the changing nature of mobility worldwide.

It has to work within globally coordinated systems whilst recognising and being sensitive to local needs; practitioners are looking to source talent from increasingly varied places around the world, so integrating a diverse workforce that maximum organisational and individual performance is crucial. On the Contrary, the lines between traditional HR functions are blurred, so resourcing specialists having to focus on management development and reward issues as well as resourcing one; HR is looking to maximise the learning opportunities given by global networks to share best proactive. Rapidly changing business situations in volatile global markets require HR personnel to speedily recruit, deploy, develop and shed people.

It is also a challenge for HR officers to fetch the right mix of skills in the organization regardless of geographical location and identifying all the capable people who are able to function effectively facing the different labour laws and political climate, different stage of technological advancement and different values, attitudes such as time, achievement, risk taking in an international context.

Facing the Thunderstorms

To conclude, better cultural awareness can lead to more effective and more strategic international operations since people from different cultures hold different assumptions about working behaviour and relations between management and workers.

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Both sensitivity and experience in working with different cultures leads to acceptance of differences and the values of alternative perspectives: development of business practices and communication approaches that will be acceptable to broader range of people and to incorporate issues that are relevant and of value to them.

Better recruitment and selection strategies result in improved organizational outcomes. The more effectively organizations recruit and select candidates, the more likely they are to hire and retain satisfied employees.

The difference between domestic and international HRM

Local recruitment is often utilised because the local market is better known by the managers in that region, it conveys more acceptable messages to the local community and workforce and it can reduce the costs of running campaigns. When business requirements indicate that local recruitment is appropriate, HR business partners need a thorough knowledge of business, legal, fiscal and cultural practices regarding employment in that particular country. As far as possible, it is important to achieve both global business consistency and sensitivity national custom and practice. To ensure consistency in recruiting for corporate values internationally, work needs to be done in adapting psychological and educational tests to different linguistic and cultural contexts (Hr-guide, 2009).

The human resource manager in a multi-national company with divisions or subsidiaries in foreign countries has all the normal HR responsibilities plus a brace of additional tasks that are specific to offshore operations of his department. He is literally responsible for international human resource management (Hr-guide, 2009).

International human resource management functions cover many different activities related to a business organization’s employees and contractors. The first and the most important are the staffing needs of the company whether staff members are company employees or outside contractors. Other functions include recruiting and training employees, ensuring that they are performing at expected levels or better, handling performance issues and making certain that personnel and management policies conform to laws and regulations. HR management is also involved in how the company manages employee compensation and benefits, employee records and personnel policies and practices (Hr-guide, 2009).

According to Scullion & Linehan the primary difference between domestic human resource management and international human resource management is the added knowledge and responsibilities required due to foreign operations. These typically include language (in non-English speaking offshore organisations), the local and national regulations and laws governing business operations within a foreign country; currency exchange rates, career outlooks, company benefits and incentives and, perhaps most important the ethics and etiquette expectations of foreign business contacts. People must understand these differences clearly and stand ready to keep other company people informed of them to prevent embarrassing situations.

Discussion and recommendations

In order to recruiting the right staff in an international context, there are several steps that HR should take:

Job defining & description

Before recruiting for a new or existing position, it is important to invest time in gathering information about the nature of the job. Such as the tasks, the job’s purpose and the outputs required by the job holder and how it fits into the organisation’s structure. It is also important to consider the skills and personal attributes needed to perform the role effectively.

The job description benefits the recruitment process by providing information to potential applicants and recruitment agencies who may be recruiting on your behalf; for example, when designing assessment activities and making decisions between candidates; minimising the extent to which recruiters allow subjective judgements to creep into their decision making, helping to ensure that people are selected fairly. It can also be used to communicate expectations about performance to employees and managers to help ensure effective performance in the job.

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Improve your Candidate Pool

Companies that select new employees from the candidates who walk in their door/answer an advertisement in the paper/online are missing the best candidates. They’re usually working for someone else and they may not even be looking for a new position especially for overseas sourcing.

Invest time in developing relationships with university placement offices, recruiters and executive search firms always helps a lot also by watch the online job boards for potential candidates who may have resumes online even if they’re not currently looking. On the other way, use professional association Web sites and magazines to advertise for professional staff.

Hire the Sure Thing When Recruiting Employees

Pfau and Kay are convinced that you should hire a person who has done this “exact job, in this exact industry, in this particular business climate, from a company with a very similar culture.”

They believe that “past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour” and suggest that this is the strategy that will enable you to hire winners. According to them that we must hire the candidates whom we believe can hit the ground running in our company. We can’t afford the time to train a possibly successful candidate.

Be Known as a Great Employer & Pay Better Than Your Competition

Pfau and Kay make a strong case for not just being a great employer, but letting people know that you are a great employer. Take a look at your employee practices for retention, motivation, accountability, reward, recognition, flexibility in work-life balance, promotion, and involvement. These are your key areas for becoming an employer of choice. You want your employees bragging that your organization is a great place to work. People will believe the employees before they believe the corporate literature.

Survey the international job market and take a hard look at the compensation people in your industry attract, you do get what you pay for in the job market.

Use Your Benefits to Your Advantage In Recruiting Employees

Keep your benefits above industry standard and add new benefits as you can afford them. You also need to educate employees about the cost and value of their benefits so they appreciate how well you are looking out for their needs.

Employees are increasingly looking for cafeteria-style benefit plans in which they can balance their choices with those of a working spouse or partner. Pfau and Kay recommend stock and ownership opportunities for every level of employees in your organization. I like profit sharing plans and bonuses that pay the employee for measurable achievements and contributions.

Check References When Recruiting Employees

Check references when recruiting staff is aim to keep you out of trouble with the candidates you are seeking and selecting and the employees you currently employ. It is really necessary to check references carefully and do background check.

In the litigious society in which we live, you need to pursue every avenue to assure that the people you hire from overseas can do the job, contribute to your growth and development, and have no past transgressions which might endanger your current workforce. In fact, you might be liable if you failed to do a background check on a person who then attacked another in your workplace.

The above points are the steps that a HR people need to put in place to ensure the recruitment of staff internationally was successful.

Remuneration and relocation packages

A major consideration for HR to ensure the appointment of staff internationally successfully is remuneration and relocation packages. Managers and engineers have traditionally received significantly better offers than blue-collar workers, but highly skilled trades professional have been catching up. It’s simply a matter of supply and demand, especially when the locations are regional or remote.


Country of recruitment is a factor when salary packaging. For example, the English pound is strong against the Australian dollar. English recruits are often more interested in a relocation package that has attractive features beyond the money, such as interesting work, career development and a desirable location. On the other hand, a skilled person from Zimbabwe will be coming from an economy with an inflation rate of 2,000 per cent and is unlikely to be able to pay rental bonds and other expenses on arrival in Australia.

Employers should also consider orientation programs to help newcomers and their families settle in.

International recruitment demands strong commitment from employers. They are asking candidates to pack up, very often with their families, and move away from support networks to make a new start in a different country and culture. Employers are competing with those in other developed countries with similar staffing problems and booming economies, such as Canada and the United Kingdom. Companies that are half-hearted in their treatment of international candidates have less success than those that are committed, open, honest and efficient.

Be aware of illegal issues

HR managers should be wary of recruiters who offer extremely low-cost overseas candidates. Such operators are likely to be engaging in questionable practices such as charging candidates above-market rates for visas and accommodation. They may even be charging candidates a percentage of their wage for the job, which is illegal in Australia. A skilled recruiter should be able to provide HR managers with a detailed research paper on the best countries to recruit from based on the available workforces and qualifications in the labor pools. Recruiters should not be drawing from only one country.

Likewise, HR managers should avoid recruiters who don’t do face-to-face interviews. Without meeting candidates, it’s difficult to assess commitment to relocating and degree of loyalty to a sponsoring employer. Induction begins during recruitment, and good international recruiters also interview the spouses of candidates.

As well as working with recruiters and migration agents, HR managers often need to work with their own line managers to reduce the risk of failure-for example, to develop technical questionnaires for assessing candidates’ appropriate skill levels.

Training and development

A study by Saks and Rotman (2006) highlights the importance of what is done before and after training occurs, they found that activities before training (e.g. supervisor involvement, training attendance policy) and after training (supervisor support, organization support) were more strongly related to transfer of training than activities during training (e.g. training rewards, training feedback). These activities will create a positive training climate; this is an important rule for HR to follow after recruited the overseas staff and in order to make sure the appointment was successful


The report introduced the topic of recruiting and selecting staff in international context; the report discussed the main findings of challenges of IHRM, and the difference with sourcing staff locally and how to ensure the recruiting staff overseas is successful.

Generally speaking, having the right person, in the right place, at the right time, is crucial to organisational performance. Recruitment is a critical activity, not just for the HR team but also for line managers who are increasingly involved in the selection process, and IHRM is a growing field in multi-national business operations that will continue to offer excellent employment opportunities for people well versed in its international operations.

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