Candidate Selection Programs

Candidate Selection Programs: A Foundation for Successful Assignments

A robust candidate selection process can improve a global mobility program’s focus on talent as well as the overall success of future assignments. As employees’ appetites for international experience and professional development continue to rise, it is a prime opportunity to develop strong candidate selection practices, which will enable the talent mobility team to identify the best candidates for international assignments.

By implementing strong candidate selection practices, an organization can develop their talent more proactively, select candidates most likely to succeed and overcome challenges employees often encounter on assignment. Candidate selection is commonly misconstrued as time consuming and difficult to implement. However, there are several practices organizations can easily incorporate for a more strategic selection and development of employees to achieve the objectives of each assignment.

 Pre-assessment: Understand the assignment’s objectives

Understanding an assignment’s key goals is the foundation of a successful and productive candidate selection process. Mobility functions should collaborate with key stakeholders of the business and Human Resources to define the aim of each assignment. Important questions to consider include:

  • Does the assignment require a long or short period to accomplish?
  • How will the position transition in and out?
  • What skillsets does the positon require?
  • What is the assignment goal (i.e. training a team overseas, talent development, leadership)?

 Promote opportunities: Make Mobility part of candidate selection

Selecting a candidate for an assignment is a nuanced process that requires alignment and collaboration between Mobility and Human Resources. It is critical for the mobility team to have an active role in promoting current and future opportunities for assignments to create awareness across the organization.  Communicating effectively internally, regarding potential assignments and the benefits of an international assignment on professional and career development, will promote inclusivity and diversity ensuring business units expand selection criteria beyond just technical skills.

 Enable self-selection: Strong candidate pools begin with eager individuals

Inevitably, every organization already employs individuals who are eager to take an international assignment. Providing an avenue for employees to identify their interest in an assignment, even if no current opportunity exists, will optimize the search and yield a faster selection process overall. After sharing their desire to go on assignment, employees can also start to focus on developing and furthering their global competencies. This will create efficiencies throughout the process, while developing employees and preparing them for future assignments.

 Pre-screening interview: You don’t know what you don’t know

Before beginning the lengthier candidate assessment process, sit down with the potential candidate. A casual interview with interested employees may yield findings that immediately inform the selection. Pre-screening interviews can identify potential challenges or uncover reasons that are counter to the assignment’s overall objectives. In addition to required skillsets and level of interest, consider exploring:

  • Availability for the required assignment length
  • Employee’s long-term development goals
  • Language skills
  • Eligibility, e.g. immigration requirements
  • Family support for the assignment, if applicable

 Candidate assessment tools: Evaluating the likelihood of success on assignment

Incorporating tools that measure cultural adaptability can identify an individual’s ability to adjust to a new location successfully. Tools, such as the Overseas Assignment Inventory (OAI), are used to create a candidate profile portraying their proclivity for adaptation and identifying potential challenges and risk factors. After a candidate is selected for an assignment, the assessments can also identify opportunities for coaching and training to strengthen the success of the assignment and further talent development goals.

There are variable factors in any assignment that are unexpected, such as illness or family emergencies. Nevertheless, mobility leaders can develop strong candidate selection practices ensuring the selection of the right employee, who will yield the greatest return on investment, for a given assignment. A well-rounded approach including a formal candidate assessment process, which is integrated into the organization’s greater talent management practices, will champion the best results for the organization and ultimately, their employees.