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Recruitment Best Practices: International HRM Scenario

This discussion is based on the following scenario:

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Dilworth Inc., a U.S. electronics manufacturer located in a Latin American nation, has had a number of challenges with the performance of local staff in the senior leadership role, leading to the removal of three different senior managers. The reasons for the dismissals of the senior managers have been varied. One was discovered taking kickbacks of large sums for accepting low-grade component parts. The nation’s federal police prosecuted another for smuggling narcotics in product shipments, and the most recent senior leader was having inappropriate relationships with four of his employees.

These dismissals have led Dilworth’s CEO and CFO, the key leaders in the organization, to consider assigning an American to the Latin American nation as an alternative to hiring a local national. While they also looked at another local to potentially promote to senior manager, they want to send someone from the headquarters whom they know and trust. The challenge they are facing is that only two employees have volunteered to go for a three-year assignment. The country in which the factory is located is among the poorest in that region of the world, rife with crime and corruption, and anyone from a developed nation like the US, Canada, or Europe is going to suffer culture shock.

Among the greater challenges that expatriates’ experience overseas in developing areas are the realities of family needs and expectations. Both volunteers for the assignment have spouses. One has two children; the other does not. Both employees’ spouses work outside the home so they are dual income families. This presents a critical problem, as employment will be difficult. One partner is a teacher at the primary level and the other is an IT professional. Nether speaks Spanish, but the volunteers do. The family with children have no special needs, but the volunteer insists the children attend a faith-based school. Medical services are extremely limited and equipment extremely dated. The couple without children will not be able to start a family and stay together. If either wife gets pregnant, she will have to return to the U.S. for the duration of the pregnancy and for a couple of months afterward so that the baby can get the care he or she will need. There is no non-government, gated housing compounds in the capital city like the ones diplomats sometimes live in, so the volunteer and her/his family will live within the community, including the safety and security challenges this presents. Note: The family backgrounds of the volunteers are discussed here because qualifications are not what lead to failed overseas assignments. What often leads to failed assignments is the in ability of the employer to provide the resources the family needs and desires and, in all honesty, the reality that often the entire family is either unwilling or unable to adapt. There is no fault to be assigned, but what is necessary is a clear understanding by the employer, the employee, and the family about what they will face.

As the HR professional at Dilworth Inc., how would you recommend approaching the current situation? Would you pursue hiring a local national candidate or either of the volunteers?  If you recommend an expatriate, which one might you recommend? As you prepare your recommendations for this hiring scenario, respond to four of the following questions:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of recruiting expatriate staff externally?
  • What is an ethnocentric approach to and benefit of international staffing?
  • What are the most important factors in the selection decisions of expatriates?
  • How can resolving conflicts and negotiation help you in managing across cultures?
  • How effective are expatriates in transferring knowledge from the host country?
  • What are the advantages, disadvantages, and best practices involving the spouse and families of expatriates in the selection process?
  • How would you support the repatriation process (the process in which expatriates return to their home country)?

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