Regardless of what information is actually presented during the recruitment process, it is better when both the employer and applicant describe the position to be filled in a clear and comprehensive manner. The message itself thus pre-selects the candidates, since it fails to attract those whose abilities and interests are a poor match for the position offered.
Recruitment, however, can get very clumsy when the parties to a future employment relationship come from different countries. As various cultural backgrounds come into play, the need for accuracy and comprehensiveness in recruitment information intensifies. This is partly because the implied meanings of words vary between cultures. Each party may have built up some assumptions from past experience, habits and practices, and may expect that these assumptions will work in the new relationship; when this is found not to be the case, a feeling of betrayal may result.
Knowing this, wouldn't it be easier for an international, multicultural employer to behave like a local player to avoid potential misunderstandings?
Research has established that it is generally better for international firms to hold on to their multicultural images. The name nd reputation of a company form an inseparable part of the recruitment message. When deciding about employment, people look at more than the profession or the occupation - they may prefer a specific industry or company. In the same way, when applying for a position in an international or global company, the applicant expects the company to be different from local firms, to have a different organizational culture, management systems and work conditions.
Needless to say, 'different' is often understood to mean 'better' than local companies. Applicants understand that the demands on them will be higher, but they believe that they get more in return than they would in a local company. A big part of the appeal of international companies lies in this 'difference', which frequently is not communicated in any other way than putting 'international' in front of the name of the company. Candidates simply assume that the company will be different ('better') without clarifying work conditions, processes or management style.
On the other hand, should those people who go abroad to find work just passively accept the new environment with its rules in order to avoid disappointment? Here too, when an individual rather than a firm crosses borders in search of an employment experience in a different country, the element of 'difference' is very appealing. The individual changing environment expects to get something in return for his or her willingness to change. Far too often, however, expectations about the offered position can give way to frustration and job dissatisfaction as working in a foreign country is discovered to mean more difficult conditions, cultural shock, different local customs and work habits and even a language barrier.
Here again, the quality of the message in the recruitment process is key. If it is important in the 'mono-cultural' work environment that recruitment information be precise and true, this is even more crucial in a cross-cultural environment. Future job satisfaction is a result of the quality of communication that occurs at the very beginning of any work relationship.
Stanislava Luptáková is a lecturer at Comenius University's Faculty of Management. Her column appears monthly. Send comments or questions to Stanislava.Luptakova@fm.uniba.sk.