Talent resourcing and selection factsheet

A factsheet on the resourcing and selection of talent is now available as part of Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit. Download your free copy.

Global Mobility Toolkit: Talent resourcing and selection
The first components in Relocate Global’s new online mobility toolkit, which provides information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas, are now available to download.
Download the global mobility toolkit factsheet
The content of the Resourcing and Selection of Talent factsheet – part of the Talent and Career Management Toolkit – includes:
  • Thought leader viewpoint
  • Approaches to talent resourcing
  • Competencies required
  • International recruitment and selection
  • Useful contacts
  • Further reading
To keep up to date with best practice, and to gain strategic insight and operational know-how, download your free copy today.


Approaches to talent resourcing

There are three main approaches to resourcing talent to work internationally:
  1. Home- or parent-country nationals (PCNs) are deployed to work in international locations. This is known as the ethnocentric
  2. Host-country nationals/local staff (HCNs) are used to address staffing requirements in their own countries. This is known as the polycentric 
  3. Third-country nationals (TCNs) may be deployed to work internationally. TCNs are employees who are neither from the parent country (usually where the headquarters is based) nor from the local host-country workforce. This is known as the geocentric approach when talent is drawn from across the world. It is termed the regiocentric approach when talent is drawn from within a regional trading block.
Each approach to resourcing has advantages and disadvantages, so organisations tend to use a mixed approach in staffing their international operations.For example, it is common in the early stages of internationalisation for organisations to adopt an ethnocentric approach whereby all key positions are filled by PCNs. This is because these employees are familiar with the organisational culture and are able to transmit and implement home-country policies.However, the use of PCNs in key positions can be seen to limit the promotion of local staff, resulting in low morale and high turnover. PCNs may also not be culturally attuned and may require training and time to adapt before they can be fully effective. There may also be equity issues with local staff regarding remuneration.Under the polycentric approach, local people are selected to manage local subsidiaries, while PCNs remain in the corporate headquarters. This HCN staffing approach has the advantage of eliminating language and cultural adjustment problems. It provides continuity of management in the host country, and is usually a lower-cost method of international resourcing, because expensive expatriate compensation and benefits packages are not required.This approach also enhances career opportunities and morale for locals. However, it has the disadvantage that locals may have limited experience of headquarters policies, and may lack international experience and global vision. This can be a liability in a competitive, international environment.Under the geocentric staffing policy, the best people are sought to fill international positions, regardless of nationality. This approach is advantageous because it develops a pool of senior managers with international experience. It also reduces the tendency of national identification of managers with subsidiary units, helping to foster global vision.However, it raises a number of problems. These include the need to manage international mobility involving a matrix of home/host countries with different combinations of immigration and tax laws. It is also likely to increase the costs of training, compensation and relocation. Longer lead times and more centralised control of the staffing process will probably be required.Regiocentric staffing policy uses regional or area expertise. Where freedom of movement is permitted (such as in the EU), the need to manage complex immigration requirements will be reduced, but there will still be the need to ensure that staff are trained and that compensation and international relocation and tax requirements are managed effectively.The impact of Brexit may lead to immigration issues with respect to moving Europeans into the UK and UK nationals into Europe. 

International recruitment and selection

Recruitment for international positions can be external or internal to the company. Organisations typically prefer to send internal staff, because they have more detailed knowledge of their performance than is the case with new recruits.To attract candidates externally, employers may use executive search agencies, cross-national advertising campaigns, and internet-based recruitment. For internal recruitment, positions may be advertised on the intranet or via other organisational media. Remember that all recruitment advertising must be cross-culturally attuned.Selection methods must be determined and agreed, in order to choose the best person for the role from the pool of potential candidates. The most common approach is to articulate job and person specification criteria and to use an interview, followed by reference checks, to ensure that these are met.Interviews should be carried out by a panel, and a standard approach to questioning used for all candidates. Interviewers must be cross-culturally aware.Standardised tests can be used to establish knowledge and skills. The use of biographical data can be useful to correlate personal characteristics with work success. Work sampling can be used, too, whereby a simulation of the new work duties is used to determine how individuals will manage the tasks associated with the role.Psychometric testing can also be employed, but care must be taken to ensure that it is not culturally biased. Remember that some nationalities are accustomed to this type of testing, as it is used frequently in their home countries (especially Western societies). For those candidates who are less familiar with psychological testing, this assessment tool can be seen as intrusive, even demeaning.Assessment centres, where a combination of tests, work samples, interviews and teamwork exercises is employed to distinguish between closely matched candidates, can also be used.
Download the global mobility toolkit factsheet

Also in the Talent and Career Management Toolkit

Available now:Coming soon:
  • Management and Leadership Training
  • Networks, Mentors and Role Models
  • Graduate and Management Development Programmes
  • Managing Careers Across Generations
  • Self Initiated Mobility

For a full list of Global Mobility Toolkit components, and to download your free resources, visit our Global Mobility Toolkit Resource Centre page.

For information on sponsorship opportunities, call Fiona Murchie, managing editor, on +44 (0)1892 891334, or email A range of aligned products and resources will be available from the new Relocate Global e-commerce store, coming later this year.

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