Selecting Candidates in Multinational Corporations

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This paper is based on selecting with international but non-work related experience for Multinational Corporations, and how can it help in decision making process. This paper is going to be following the following outline:

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  • Summary
  • The Selection Process
  • The Relationship between Non-Work Related International Experience and Selection Process
  • The Relationship between Work and Non-Work Related International Experience and Selection Process or Performance of Employees in MNCs
  • Cross-Cultural Adjustment, Global Mindset and Openness to Experience Are So Important For Employees Worked In MNCs
  • How to Measure the Concept of ‘Cross-Cultural Adjustment’, ‘Global Mindset’ And ‘Openness to Experience’ & Findings


These day most companies often subject employment candidates to a rigorous selection process that relies more on a personal evaluations that formal testing. Rigorous selection and socialization activities are an effective way to make sure that candidates even those without any work experience but have international experience (like travelling or studying abroad) who buy into the company’s values, goals and quality traditions and hence need few rules and little supervision of control.

These days a great deal of MNCs is employing individuals with non-work related international experience because they bring in new and fresh ideas for the company. These candidates are much more adaptable to globalization that is they have the ability to develop and accept the values, knowledge, technology and behavioural norms from different societies and countries around the world. Acceptance of diversity is becoming especially important because of socio-cultural changes and the changing of workforce, and due to the international experience these candidates have they are able to accept diversity in the working environment and are able to work more freely, effectively and efficiently as well.

The Selection Process

Selection is one of the activities of the HR department. Selection is defined as a process that is based on specific steps that are used to describe that which individual should be hired. This process starts when the individual applies for the job and it ends when the final decision is made by the management of the company. The selection process is also faced with some limitations like EEO legislation, Workforce diversity and external prohibitions etc. (Bratton & Bratton 2001)

As we know that the selection process is based on eight steps and the HR managers would need to follow it thoroughly even when they are hiring people with international experience as well. The selection process steps are as follows:-

Preliminary reception of applications: when the MNC firm is hiring employees with international experience or otherwise they usually start the selection process with a preliminary interview, why, with an interview because these people have the required experience and because it is a courtesy interview (just for formalities).

Employment tests: employment tests are taken from every candidate who is applying for the job. (Daft 1997)

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Selection interview: interviews provide the managers with the first hand knowledge about the candidate. Interviews are very flexible and adaptable that is they can be adapted to unskilled, skilled, and managerial and staff employees. (Mathis & Jackson 2006)

References and background checks: references and background checks are very important, because these tell the employer that whether the employee is reliable or not. (Werther & Davis 1996)

Medical tests: These days drug testing is becoming important i.e. a great deal of MNC firms and organizations and governments include drug screening as a part of the employment process either before the or immediately after the hiring decision is made to make sure that the employee does not do drugs.

Supervisory interview: it is important for the person whose is hired by the company to go through an interview with his or her supervisor because the responsibility of the hired employee success or failure falls on the shoulders of the supervisor

Realistic job previews: a realistic job preview actually supplements the supervisory interview. It provides the hired employee an outlook of the working environment in which he or she will be working in. (Fullmer 1983)

Hiring decision: this is the last step in the selection process, it doesn’t matter who makes the final decision of hiring an employee for the job as long as it is done. (Rugman 2003)

The Relationship Between Non-work Related International Experience and Selection Process

It worth to research on the relationship between non-work related international experience and selection process in MNCs, why, because it will provide employee deployment in MNCs in the right way, which will help to coordinate and control the corporation, to enhance the global competitiveness, flexibility, learning and organisational effectiveness. Therefore, it is very important to select the right candidate for the MNCs.

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It has been found that successful individuals working who work in multi-cultural environment share certain competencies and personality, and most of them having prior international work experience. And this is handy when for the managers when managing across culture,(this basically icludes different lists of personalities, ability to adjust and global mindset). (Armstrong 2003)

It has been analyzed that the use of the Big Five personality as a predictors will ensure the success of employees in MNCs and cross-culture adjustment skill is one of the key essence to work in MNCs because if employees fail to adjust well to different cultures which should exist in MNCs, employees would become stressful and most of the tasks could be done well. It can be seen that the ability of cross-cultural adjustment, global mindset and the Big Five personality are three of the important elements to have to work well in MNCs. Having international work experience is always an advantage for candidates who are applying a job in multi-cultural environment (Tarique & Schuler 2008).

The two types of international experience include work related experience and non-work related experience which comprises of international travel experience and study abroad experience. The influence of non-work related experience has not been fully examined but it can be said that the non-work international experience moderates the relationship between current assignment tenure and cross-cultural adjustment, but not exactly on cross-cultural adjustment. (Deveale & Manea 2007)

It’s been found that openness to experience can help the interactive effect between international travel experience and international career, but not finding the relationship between international work or/and study experience and openness to experience. Therefore, because of the importance of selection in IHRM and the interest to examine the influence of non-work related international experience, the main aim of this research is to see if there are relationships between non-work related international experience and a) cross-cultural adjustment, b) global mindset and c) openness to experience. And, further, to examine if IHRM professionals could use non-work related international experience as one of the criteria to select candidates in MNCs (Schuler and Jackson 2005).

The Relationship Between Work and Non-work Related International Experience and Selection Process or Performance of Employees in Mncs

Work Related Experience and Performance of Employees

If one delves the literature available on this topic then he can easily find that there is a positive relationship between work- related experience and the performance of the employees. Adapting to the changed conditions is much easier for an experienced campaigner than one who does not possess any experience; not only this handling the pressure becomes relatively easier as well for a person who has work-related experience in the field, both these things affect the performance of an individual in a positive manner (Dunning 1999)

It is necessary to assess the extent of experience that an individual has, because only employees having broader work experience can be useful for the company in comparison with the others; low experienced and fresh candidates are likely to perform in a relatively same fashion, so the determination of the experience that a person has is of utmost importance. (Takeuchi, Tesluk, Yun & Lepak 2005)

After reviewing the literature it is evident that this relationship is positive and most of the researchers are of the view that seasoned campaigners must be hired as their performance level is higher in comparison with the others. Some of the main reasons that the leading researchers provide for preferring the experienced pros are as follow:

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  • Productivity increases by the inclusion of experienced pros in the league (Maznevski & DiStefano 2006)
  • Teamwork becomes more effective as these men take less time in adjusting to the conditions, so as a result of this the assigned targets are timely met(Robbins 2000)
  • Training and development expenses can be reduced to a considerable level, as the experienced personnel has the ability to grasp the things in a shorter span of time (Dunning 1999)
  • The experience whenever is inducted at the floor of a firm, it pays off because the experienced staff men act as a source of learning for the others and so betterment begins to set in, in the performance of the other staff members as well. So such inclusion will follow a continuous improvement pattern (Maznevski & DiStefano 2006)

Non – Work Related Experience and Performance of Employees

Individuals who have non – work related experience that are going to be hired by an MNC company will bring something fresh and new to the company altogether. Non – work related international experience means that person has studied, lived or travelled abroad greatly. These candidates are much more adapted to globalization that is they believe that globalization is the adaptation or development of values, knowledge, technology and behavioural norms across different societies and countries around the world. When these employees are studying aboard in universities they are adaptable to diversity more because students come from all over the globe for learning. (Nandi & Shahidullah 1998)

Diversity is now being considered to be an important element in the research inquiry. If there is an increase in the diversity of students, the students will be able to handle diversity issues when they are working in an organization and it will be a unique and a different experience for them. Because if the universities have homogeneous students, then that university is limited, the reason being that due to lack of diverse views and values, homogenous cultures do provide a firmer basis for building a strong culture within a university.

And to have students from all over the world, the teachers or the faculty members would be able to understand the experience of these students as well. Diversity in a university means that the faculty must work very hard to unify the students, while also allowing individual differences among the students to flourish and grow. And when they learn this at an early age they are able to apply it in their work life (Stahl & Bjorkman 2006)

Another thing about non – work related experience would be that the employees who have international experience are acceptable to diversity because is becoming especially important due of socio-cultural changes and the changing of workforce. Diversity in the company shows the employees that have to deal with people who are different from them therefore diversity within the company shows a reflection of diversity in the larger environment.

Innovative MNCs are initiating a variety of programs to take advantage of the diverse culture and societies (Scullion 2006). For example, breaking down glass ceiling ultimately means changing the corporation culture within institutions; changing internal structures and policies toward employees, accommodating their special needs and providing diversity awareness to help employees become aware of their own cultural boundaries and prejudices and these employees are more acceptable of this. And when the selection is being done of these people for hiring purposes it is seen that they known about the emerging trends in the markets and the industry, that they are able to handle diversity and different culture within the MNC working environment etc. (Rothwell & Kazanas 2003)

But first they can become flexible and more adaptable to change and become more comfortable in their work environment they would have to go through training and developing program. If the company wants the employees to achieve its desired goals and objectives and if it wants to receive the benefits, then the human resource managers and specialists must assess the needs, objectives, content and learning principles that are connected with training.

Training and development is more effective when the training methods match the learning styles of the participants in the training program and the types of jobs needed by an MNC. Unfortunately learning cannot be observed but it can only be measured that is the end result only. Learning principle are mostly guidelines to the ways in which the people learn more efficiently and effectively. The more of these principles are reflected in training the more the participants will learn effectively. These principles are participation, repetition, relevance, transference and feedback.

Participation: learning usually is quicker and longer lasting when the learner participates actively. Participation improves motivation and apparently engages more senses that reinforce the learning process in the training program. (Vance & Paik 2006)

Repetition: repetition apparently etches a pattern in the person’s memory. For example, in a management training program for sales in IKEA, the participants have to study different kinds of selling and then at the end of the training program they are required to give an exam, here repetition is used because it helps the participants to remember key ideas so that they are able to recall them during their exam. (Maznevski & DiStefano 2006)

Relevance: learning can be helped when the participants have the learning material that is useful.

Transference: the more closely the demands of the training program matches the demands of the job, the faster the employees at MNC will learn and he or she will be able to master their job quickly.

Feedback: feedback is the most important in the training and development program, because it provides the participants with the information they need. The feedback helps the participants know about their progress and whether the training program helped them or not. With the right kind of feedback the learners are motivated and they are able to adjust their behaviour to achieve the quickest possible learning curve. (Robbins 2000)

Cross-Cultural Adjustment, Global Mindset and Openness to Experience Are So Important for Employees Worked in Mncs

Cross cultural adjustment, global mind set and openness to experience in important for the employees who work in MNCs because these companies attract and select employees who are willing to leave their homelands and work in a foreign country. And the employees are not able to adjust to diversity global mindset and are open to experience; they and the HR mangers are going to be faced with some challenges in the working environment of MNCs when they hire employees who have international experience (Mendenhall, Kuhlmann, Stahl & Osland 2002).

Some of the challenges are as follows:-

Communication differences: people from some cultures tend to pay more attention to the social context like, social settings, nonverbal behaviour etc. of their verbal communications. Communication barriers arise perceptual, cultural and language problems are created. (McCrae & Costa 1997)

Resistance to change: sometimes it so happens that the employees are not willing to change themselves or are not willing to accept the social and the cultural changing environment of the company therefore they resist it and this resistance creates a diversity barrier for the HR managers (Greenberg 2009).

Implementation of diversity in the workplace: implementation of diversity in a workplace policy can create diversity barriers for the HR managers. What happens is that the management has to build a customized strategy; this strategy in return creates more problems regarding diversity. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2007)

Financial costs: a company loses all the money they have invested in an employee. When he or she leaves the company. (Schuler & Jackson 2007)

Productivity: the productivity of an employee decreases when the employees are faced by diversity. For example, women and minorities experience prejudice and non-acceptance in the working environment, therefore their productivity decreases and it costs the company it valuable time and money (Gardenswartz & Rowe 1998).

How to Measure the Concept of ‘Cross-Cultural Adjustment’, ‘Global Mindset’ and ‘Openness to Experience’ & Findings

Cross Cultural Adjustment

Having a diverse culture in a MNCs is considered to be a beneficial process that will help in an employee’s growth while it also increases the cultural sensitivity and as well as the mentoring skills of the HR department members, it is considered to be a 2 way process, the employees teach their supervisors or mentors while they are learning from them. If there is a diverse culture in a company, there will be a health competition between the employees and the result of that competition would be that the employees will do well in their work activities and the company will be able to retain its employees. (Scullion 2006)

Acceptance of diversity is becoming especially important because of socio-cultural changes and the changing of workforce. Due to the increase in global competition and globalization of the markets the assignment of expatriate employees is becoming highly important for the success of worldwide development of many multinational corporations (MNCs) (Albrecht 2001). Cross – cultural adjustment can be measured with the help surveys which would include of the following factors, they are:-

Relevance Of Training

The relevance of training will help the HR managers to identify that whether the hired employee is able to learn and fulfil his or her tasks related to the job or not. Relevance of training will use something like a point system, this will help to evaluate the factors of the employees’ adjustment to the host environment, this method uses points and it is more easy to use and it’s not filled with complication and this help the managers even when they are evaluating them. This is going to cover somewhere around 14 dimensions of cross cultural adjustment (Caligiuri, Lazarova, Phillips, Burgi & Tarique 2001).

Recognizing the Cultural Differences

The management can improve intercultural sensitivity by recognizing and accommodating four main types of cultural differences. They are 1) contextual difference; it is one of the ways where individuals assign meaning to a message in accordance to cultural context, message stimuli and implicit understanding, 2) legal and ethical differences; cultural context also influences legal and ethical behaviour of the employees.

When a company is conducting its business, the management has to keep it messages ethical by applying 4 principles; seek mutual ground actively, send and receive messages without any sort of judgment, send those messages which are honest and lastly show some respect for cultural differences.

Social differences

Social behaviour is another distinguishing factor among all of the cultures. In any culture rules of social etiquette may be formal or informal. And in case if formal rules are violated for any reason, the members of the culture will be able to explain why they are upset about it and if informal rules of any culture are violated for any reason, the people of that culture will feel uncomfortable and will not be able to tell the person who violated those rules why.

Non-verbal differences

Nonverbal communication is more reliable than verbal communication but only in the same culture because nonverbal communication is perceived differently in different cultures. Nonverbal communication would include personal space and use of body language. (Caligiuri & Tarique 2006)

Overcome ethnocentrism

When the management is communicating overseas and across cultures, open mindedness is consider very important and it is very effective for communication. To overcome any sort of ethnocentrism the management must remember to acknowledge distinctions, avoid any sort of assumptions and it not suppose to make any sort of judgments. (Schuler & Jackson 2007)

Language Similarity

In language similarity the employees will be given a checklist of language codes like 1 and 0 (where 1 will be same language used in their country and host country and 0 being the different language spoken in the host country), from which they will be asked to identify that whether they belong to 1 or 0. (Schuler, Dowling & DeCieri 1993)


This is going to help identify that whether the host company is fulfilling all the expectations of the employees or not. In this two sets of parallel questions can be formed, each of these sets containing a series of questions, for example, the set can be called ‘before you left for the international assignment’ and the second called ‘now that you are here’. (Stockdale & Crosby 2004)

Cross – Cultural Adjustment

In this the employees can rate their adjustment to the host company by rating from 1 – 5 (where 1 being the least and 5 being the most) on questions like are you comfortable living in the host country? (Vance & Paik 2006)

In the twenty-first century employees who have international experience play an important role in the survival of the global organizations that is the employees are important human resources to these international companies and their multinational operations around the globe. The factors that affect the international expatriates to adjust to an overseas environment and to help them to work effectively are job satisfaction, organization socialization, learning orientation, family support and cross-cultural training. It has been revealed in studies that job satisfaction plays the most crucial role in influencing on cross – cultural adjustment of an employee. (Schneider & Barsoux 2003)

Global Mindset

Global mindset is one variable which plays an extremely important part when it comes to the performance of a company which is working all over the world. The increasing trend of globalization has increased the criticality of this variable more than it was ever before, that is why the MNCs at present want to hire the people who possess this quality. If one reviews the literature available on this topic, he will get to know that there are various definitions of global mindset which are being formulated by the leading researchers in this domain.

Global mindset is a skill which enables a person to evaluate, understand and then take decisions which are not based on the assumptions of a single country or region (Thomas 2002). As MNCs are operating all around the world and so this is what they are actually in need of, they require the decisions which are free from all sorts of biases so that they can be implemented to a wider set of buyers (markets).

This is one excellent definition in my personal view of the global mindset as it explains the whole concept in a very comprehensive way, so this is the definition which I am following. But as stated above there are many other definitions existing which assist in comprehending this very phenomenon. Some of these definitions are explained in the paragraph below. Understanding the concept from the perspective of different researchers of the field is of utmost importance.

Global mindset is the ability to comprehend the issues from both local and international stand points; interacting with the people (colleagues) is also one act with depicts the global mindset of a person (Bartlett & Ghoshal 2002). Understanding the effects of the changes taking place constantly in the cultural and geopolitical scenarios is vital if a person has to take decisions which have wider implications (Kirkbride1994).

High levels of conceptualization and contextualization at the individual level is the key to develop the market of a firm all over the world (Kefalas 1990). Individuals possessing the global mindset are the asset to any firm as they have the potential to do wonders, if are deployed on the apt spots by the management; as these are the men which have a vision that can cater to a wide set of markets across the world (Cohen 2007).

Global mindset is also defined as the ability to comprehend the business keeping in mind the global scenario of the industry, the organizations which possess a global mindset on the whole have a competitive edge over the others as they can assess the surroundings in context with the changing global settings (Jeannet 2000), basically developing such a mindset prevents the tunnel vision from setting in, and this eventually proves to be good for the organization. Diversity has to be a trait of a firm which wishes to excel beyond boundaries as openness can only be obtained by hiring the people who have global mindsets; pros having this sort of mindset are more open for changes and so they together take the business beyond borders (Gupta & Govindarajan 2002)

As it is evident from the above definitions that the provision of global mindset is critical for a firm’s success so the managers at MNCs are always looking up for the employees who own this sort of outlook; discovering such men from a broad set of candidates is an arduous task, the managers pose such questions during the interviews which enable them to get the insight of the applicant regarding this very thing. Some of the questions which I personally believe can be helpful in determining the global mindset of a person are as follow:

  • Do you think that creating harmony among the cultures is one thing which can help the development of a society? What measures you think should be taken in this regard?
  • Which are the basic things that are needed to be kept in mind while reaching out for the global markets?
  • Which would you prefer: Decisions taken by keeping in mind the regional situations OR Decisions based on the global business conditions?
  • What would you choose: Employees belonging to one region (culture) OR a diversified work force?
  • How would you manage diversity in an organization? Explain
  • What are the benefits of having a diversified work force?
  • How would you adjust if you are deployed at a place away from your home country?
  • Do you like meeting with the people belonging to different regions of the world? What do you learn from these encounters?
  • What role does culture play in building the persona of an individual? How can one show his respect for these cultural differences?

The answers to the following questions will be helpful in the measurement of the degree of global mindset that an individual possess.

Openness to Experience

Openness to experience is one of the major determinants of the five major domains of personality. The big five model is based on the following:-

  • Extraversion: extraversion is based on personality traits like talkative, assertive and energetic
  • Agreeableness: includes personality traits like kind, sympathetic and affectionate
  • Conscientious: includes personality traits like organized, thorough and likes planning (Zuckerman, Kuhlman, Joireman, Teta & Kraft 1993)
  • Neuroticism: includes personality traits like moody, tense and as well as anxious
  • Openness to experience: includes personality traits like imaginative, insightful and has wide interests. (Howard & Howard 1995)

Openness is based on a person’s involve imagination, sensitivity, attentiveness to its emotions, preference to different tastes and varieties and as well as intellectual curiosity. People who have non – related work international experience are open towards experience, they are generally curious as well as intellectually, appreciatee art, and are even sensitive to beauty. They tend to be more creative and more aware of their feelings than compared to ones who have experience but work related. These people are more tolerant of diversity those to others. (Caligiuri 2000)

Measuring openness can be done through by conducting a survey and asking them different kinds of question like related to their personality and experiences. The company can conduct different tests to identify their personality preferences. The company can conduct Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; this will help the management to measure an employee’s openness towards new experiences, the test includes different kinds of questions, which will help the manager to understand the employee better (Llewellyn & Wilson 2003)

Openness to experience can be measured with the help of NEO PI-R personality test. This test basically measures the 6 elements of openness to experience, for example, fantasy; aesthetics; feelings; actions; ideas and values. This will help the management of MNCs to understand their employees better and how to deal with them if and when a problem arises ad with this the management will be able to see that how an employee is performing of the tasks that have been assigned to him or her. (McCrae & John 1992)


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