UK firms failing to recruit international leaders

Jul 30 2008 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Just a fifth of British firms have a multi-lingual recruitment and assessment process, meaning they are potentially missing out on a vast pool of international managerial talent.

The survey by HR consultancy Penna found that nearly six out of 10 organisations have no means of effectively assessing workers across country borders, and so were potentially missing out when it came to recruiting the best international leaders.

Whether it's a language or cultural failing is not clear but, nevertheless, more than seven out of 10 also struggled to put in place a standardised international recruitment and retention process.

And barely a fifth – 19 per cent – had adopted a multi-lingual, online approach to recruitment and assessment.

These were failings that were particularly serious given that an increasingly global marketplace means employees are now much more likely to more between countries and regions, argued Penna.

Diana Haddad, managing director of Penna International Operations, said: "Businesses undertaking cross-border recruitment projects need to ensure that they have processes in place which account for the various lingual and cultural differences between the regions in which they are hiring – otherwise they are at real risk of eliminating top talent from joining their organisations.

"It is also key to assess international candidate profiles for those capable of adapting both to the local country or region, and the culture of the hiring country," she added.

"To ensure that cross-border recruitment is as seamless as possible, organisations should choose a recruitment partner who can manage their whole international recruitment strategy, whilst at the same time taking a country-by-country approach incorporating local knowledge and local consultants," she continued.

Eight out of 10 of the firms polled experienced problems arising from the different leadership styles often found across regions and cultures, and a third said they found it difficult to benchmark candidates from different countries.

This was often because of a lack of a common baseline against which to assess candidates and in turn identify the best international managerial and leadership material out there, Haddad pointed out.