Identify the Right Candidates for International Relocation

Identify the Right Candidates for International Relocation

As more and more global companies look to expand their international relocation programs, the importance of identifying and placing the right candidates for the job is becoming a critical burden for Global Mobility and HR Managers. It’s not just a question of who has the specific skills and experience for a specific role. Understanding the type of employee with the right personality and mindset who will ultimately succeed in a foreign country and culture adds a layer of complexity to an already daunting responsibility.

As mentioned in a recent Association for Talent and Development article, one study shows that 46% of HR Managers find it difficult to find employees who have an “international outlook” that would make the optimal candidates for international relocation success. (Click here for the full ATD article.)

With this added complication in mind, are there any extra steps that HR managers can take to ensure international relocation assignments are poised for success? Particularly, how can they find candidates with a global mindset able to overcome and adjust to cultural differences quickly and effectively as well as manage any language barriers and communication issues? While there’s no easy test, there are certainly things that HR Managers can look for when recruiting candidates for international roles:

  1. Flexibility. With flexibility also add reliability and trustworthiness. If someone possesses these characteristics, and has a positive mindset about the relocation process, they will be more likely to succeed. Talk to their current and prior managers and colleagues about these attributes in particular to determine if your candidate has the right approach to change and dealing with the unexpected – things that adapting to a new culture will inevitably bring!

  2. Hire from within when possible. An external candidate is always a potential unknown, and your internal candidates bring with them the benefit a clear performance picture and an understanding your internal company culture. Additionally, internal candidates will require less in terms of training costs and time, which can add up when stacked against the already high costs of international relocation.

  3. Tolerance. This, coupled with flexibility trait, can give you a good idea of whether or not your transferee will be able to handle the challenges that relocation will bring. Excitement and enthusiasm for the international move and role are a must, but someone who is overly optimistic might not be taking a realistic view of what is to come and may find the experience of culture shock harder to swallow than one who has a level-headed view of what is to come.

  4. Intercultural Competence. Does your candidate have past experience adapting to a new culture? Are they bilingual or more? It’s difficult to prepare and coach someone on how to adapt to a new culture. It’s one of those things in life that “you won’t know it ‘till you try it,” a concept that no HR employee wants to hang their hat on. Knowing that your candidate has already navigated the waters of international life successfully can be a significant predictor of future success!

A recent article in HR Magazine provides additional perspective on identifying candidates for international relocation, including numerical skills, collaborative nature, and internal credibility. Access this informative article here.

For a more a detailed discussion of Intercultural Competence, click here for our most recent Apto Perspective.