Cleveland Clinic’s Recruitment and Selection Processes

Executive Summary


One of the most important areas of the HR department of any enterprise is the search for new employees. Recruitment managers are faced with the task of a high-quality selection of personnel. With the help of a well-designed methodology for the selection and recruitment of employees, it is possible to develop the potential of new employees, allowing the company to reach a higher level. Recruiting of personnel acts as the final phase of the selection of candidates for a vacant position.


This paper aims to describe the function of recruitment and selection in the HR management process and apply this knowledge to the analysis of the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi.


The study utilizes secondary data containing information relevant to the analyzed processes. The overall data sample contained the organization’s official materials on various websites, the company’s descriptions on other internet platforms (LinkedIn, Practicematch), and reviews of former, current, and potential employees on and platforms.


The recruitment and selection processes of Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi, are described and analyzed. The results are enhanced with SWOT analysis and compliance with UAE laws assessment. Finally, the paper presents recommendations to enhance the selected HR processes.


The guarantee of the existence, growth and development, competitiveness, and long-term prospects of any organization is its human resources, their quality, personal and professional characteristics. In the personnel management system, providing the organization with high-quality human resources becomes the main task, the successful implementation of which directly affects the effectiveness of the entire personnel management system. This situation increases the importance of the recruitment and selection procedure using the latest effective methods for selecting the best candidate. In a competitive environment, the winners are enterprises with the most qualified, trained, and motivated personnel, who together create a highly productive team. For every organization, the human potential of workers is fundamental.

It is particularly true for international organizations hiring professionals from all around the world. The project, thus, focuses on the analysis of the first step in HR management in such an organization in UAE – Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi. This organization is part of the Mubadala network of medical institutions and recruits certified doctors from the USA, Europe, and other parts of the world. A modern multidisciplinary hospital in the center of Abu Dhabi includes 13 institutes and 55 medical and surgical specialties (Cleveland Clinic, 2021a). Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi launched the UAE’s first comprehensive multi-organ transplant program in 2017 (Cleveland Clinic, 2021c). Considering not only the international nature of the organization but also its high specialization and the level of services offered, consideration of the selection and recruitment process seems relevant. In addition, HR in the medical field is currently facing specific opportunities and challenges.

Definition of the Recruitment and Selection Functions

The goal of HR management is to maximize the productivity of an organization by optimizing the performance of its employees. HR management is involved in developing strategic solutions to meet the organization’s workforce needs. For this, personnel managers must have information about the personnel policy of the state as a whole and the corresponding trends in the labor market and the field of higher and vocational education (Russell & Brannan, 2016). HR managers actually supervise employment in the organization, from the formation of a talent pool to the selection and recruitment of personnel. Regardless of the decision on the production process, the organization must fully utilize human potential while ensuring the conditions for realizing the capabilities and desires of employees (Abbasi et al., 2020). Opportunities should be linked to the competence of workers, which can be fully realized with appropriate recruitment and training policies. Thus, the main functions of HR on the first step are recruitment and selection of candidates.

It should be noted that the recruitment system exists in a complex and changeable external environment and regularly interacts with it. Therefore, a number of internal and external restrictions affect the formation and construction of the hiring system. Internal constraints primarily include time resources that limit the timeframe for closing a vacancy or, conversely, provide an opportunity for a more extended and more careful selection of employees, thereby affecting the organization of staff recruitment (Sobocka-Szczapa, 2021). This factor, as a rule, affects the quality of candidates accepted for a vacant position, which may not satisfy the organization due to sudden decision-making. Workforce refers to the presence or absence of a person, department, or unit in an organization that is hiring personnel. It is of great importance whether the organization has competent human resources specialists who are responsible for organizing hiring, who makes decisions in this area. The rationality of the methods used and principles of building a recruitment system depend on this.

The main factors of the external environment that have an impact on the hiring system include the state of the labor market. The ratio of demand and supply of labor allows one to determine the approaches to the procedure for searching and recruiting candidates (Sobocka-Szczapa, 2021). In the presence or absence of candidates with the necessary competencies, the requirements for applicants may be adjusted, the methods of recruiting personnel may vary, and working conditions may change. The location of the organization is also a key factor: depending on where the organization is located, the geographic area of personnel search is determined. In the event that a company is located in a remote region, for example, it may have fewer opportunities to find a suitable candidate among the available applicants in this area (Sobocka-Szczapa, 2021). Then it becomes necessary to expand the area for finding new employees and, accordingly, apply new technologies when hiring. Labor legislation is one of the most significant factors affecting the recruitment system since violation of the law entails liability.

Thus, the function of the recruitment system as an element of the personnel management system is to meet the organization’s personnel needs. It also includes current and prospective, quantitative, and qualitative indicators of labor potential (Abbasi et al., 2020). In addition to the function, the system can have a goal – the desired outputs of the system or the results of its activity. The purpose of the recruitment system is to find a candidate whose professional and personal qualities and characteristics meet the requirements of the vacant position and the organization as a whole (Russell & Brannan, 2016). Depending on the approach to hiring, the methods chosen by the organization have some specific features. A number of factors that must be taken into account when making decisions and choosing the most rational methods and technologies also affect the construction of a hiring system. It is also very important to take into account the goals of the organization, the limiting factors, and the specifics of the company’s activities.

The most critical step in the recruitment process is the selection of personnel. Personnel selection is a type of management activity by which an organization selects from selected candidates for a vacant position one or more who are best suited to the selection criteria, taking into account the current environmental conditions (Abbassi et al., 2020). The primary purpose of the selection is to recruit employees with high work culture to identify the applicant’s capabilities and views to determine his compliance with the conditions and characteristics of the work.

The selection process is primarily associated with an analysis of the professional capabilities of the candidate. The task of selection is to identify from the total number of applicants precisely one that fits and is capable, gifted and, predicting future professional behavior, guarantee long-term productive relationships for the benefit of the candidate themselves and, of course, the organization. This requires identifying the most effective tools to correctly measure the job seeker’s relevant ability to meet workplace requirements. Qualitative selection creates a rigid framework for the organization, the basis, the structural unit of which is a person, their capabilities, their potential, motivations, and values (Russell & Brannan, 2016). Each element of this framework ensures the work of all areas of the firm’s activities, solves financial, production issues, issues of technical support, and sales of finished products.

The quality of personnel directly affects the quality of products or services. High quality can be achieved only when the efficiency of operations within the company is at the level of full labor productivity. Ultimately, the quality of the work of these candidates will not only be reflected in the final product or service produced by the company but will also demonstrate the quality and efficiency of the company’s personnel selection process (Abbasi et al., 2020). The role of a high-quality personnel selection procedure is also emphasized by changes in the nature of the workforce, an increase in the shortage of qualified workers, which is associated with an increase in the costs of attracting and selecting personnel, and the need to conduct the personnel selection process in a quality manner, to achieve the required results from the very beginning.

The modern economic system increases the importance of managing the costs of an organization. One of the tools for such management can be effective selection, improving the system, which helps reduce personnel costs because selection errors – especially when it comes to selecting candidates for leadership positions – can be too expensive for the organization. Accidents, injuries, decreased quality of products or services, development and training costs are only part of the costs arising from rash decisions about hiring a new employee (Sobocka-Szczapa, 2021). Firing leads to higher turnover rates, and finding a new, more suitable employee again involves a cash investment.

High-quality selection reduces staff turnover rates and reduces the cost of hiring, training, and development of personnel, generally increasing economic efficiency. The selection and recruitment of personnel is part of the entire personnel management system and should be linked to all other functions of HR management and only then works for the good of the company when it correlates with the goals of personnel management and the goals of the entire organization (Abbasi et al., 2020). These processes’ quality, efficiency, and validity are the key elements of HR policy that guarantee stable economic development of the organization and form a positive image of the company.


Secondary data analysis methods were used to study recruitment and selection policies. Primarily, the data sources concerned the study of vacancies posted on the clinic’s website (Cleveland Clinic, 2021a). The team also studied text materials that provide a description of work in the organization (for example, marketing and promotional texts) and information about the clinic’s personnel policy (Cleveland Clinic, 2021b; Cleveland Clinic, 2021c). The third source of secondary data is the reviews of employees and other people. In total, 126 texts from and 153 reviews from were analyzed (Glassdoor, 2021; Indeed, 2021).

The main focus of the analysis was information about the recruitment and selection processes. At the same time, various data sources made it possible to combine and interpret the positioning on the part of the company (description of the process on official websites and other Internet sources), as well as the experience of former, current, and potential employees (their discussion and reviews on various online platforms). A qualitative strategy embodied in discourse analysis was chosen as the method of analysis.

Analysis of the Current HR Operations and Processes

Recently, more and more international companies are taking a global approach. Under the parent company’s leadership, they move to different regions, introducing corporate standards, implementing a single development strategy. A specific feature of the personnel management system in international organizations is the synthesis of several management models. Its implementation consists of creating pools of “mobile” personnel – “international affairs” (ex-pats), uniting qualified specialists from different countries within one team (Ewers, 2017).

The Cleveland Clinic is an international hospital with staff from around the world. The Cleveland Clinic is a leading medical institution dedicated to the treatment of neurological, oncological, cardiac, and other diseases. Among the doctors and medical staff in the hospital, one can find specialists from the USA, Germany, Japan, Russia, and other countries. An analysis of the approaches and methods of personnel management in this international hospital revealed that, since the clinic belongs to the American Cleveland Clinic, the American human resources management model is used, however, with elements of adaptation to local Arab laws and the mentality of the Arab population.

The following main strategies for recruiting personnel for an international company can be distinguished: employees are selected in the country of origin of the parent company; the selection of employees comes from the location of the leading company; employees from other states are involved. At Cleveland Clinic, management takes a third approach to recruiting and draws on top doctors and healthcare professionals from many countries.

Leadership personnel in hospitals are appointed by senior officials from the UAE Ministry of Health. When hiring ordinary employees, significant attention is paid to: education, experience, customer service skills (a sequence of actions aimed at increasing the level of customer satisfaction – that is, creating a feeling in the client that the treatment and services meet his expectations).

The recruitment scheme at the Cleveland Clinic has its own characteristics (Figure 1 – The process of Recruitment at Cleveland Clinic). Firstly, the vacancies are posted, and the candidates respond to them with their CVs. Then, the manager preliminarily communicates with the candidates for the vacancy, who then form groups for further testing or interviewing. Later, candidates take tests and go through several interviews with different people in order to identify the level of their academic standard, suitability for the vacancy and communication skills.

The process of Recruitment at Cleveland Clinic.
Figure 1 – The process of Recruitment at Cleveland Clinic.

The selection process (Figure 2 – The Process of Selection at Cleveland Clinic) concerns those candidates, who successfully deal with the previous stage. To choose the best ones, great attention is paid to the appearance, communication style; stress-affected behavior; emotional stability; motivation of behavior; the ability to find a common language with other people, intellectual abilities, social status. The assessment implies distinguishing the candidates who correspond to the requirements and those who do not. Upon successful completion of the selection, the employee is hired by concluding a temporary contract for a year, with a trial period of 3 months. Only based on successful results of work for the year, the employee is transferred to the clinic’s staff. Employment at the Cleveland Clinic is accompanied by familiarization with the rules and regulations and joins the team.

The Process of Selection at Cleveland Clinic.
Figure 2 – The Process of Selection at Cleveland Clinic.

SWOT Analysis of the Organization


The analysis revealed several significant advantages of the company and its HR processes relevant for the discussion. First, the clinic is based on attracting specialists from all over the world and thus ensures the best balance of international staff in the organization. In addition, the clinic follows standard international and local procedures for the selection and recruitment of personnel, implements the principle of continuous improvement in this area, and eliminates the “irreplaceable employee” phenomenon in its business model. These advantages make it possible to increase the effectiveness of the organization’s activities and reduce the risks associated with the human factor due to the high concentration of responsibility among individual participants. At the same time, the strong point of the company’s personnel policy is the selection of highly qualified employees.


First, there are the language problems faced by foreign hospital doctors in the course of their daily work, and it is especially true for the diversity of Arabic dialects. People of different Arab nationalities live in the UAE, who, despite the standard Arabic language, have their own words and terms in their native dialect. Second, there are psychological and social barriers. For example, particular behavior of male and female representatives is caused by embarrassment in front of a doctor and an interpreter. This is especially true of Arab women who were raised and brought up in modesty. Western doctors are warned that a woman in a burqa or a Muslim woman in general (without personal permission, as well as her husband or father) should not be touched for diagnostics. One cannot ask a Muslim man about the female half of his family. These factors can negatively affect the supply of the workforce if the potential candidates are familiar with these difficulties. Also, it can influence an increased staff turnover and, consequently, on the necessity for HR management to deal with the high workload related to selection and recruitment circles.


In 2019, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched a new “Doctor for Every Citizen” initiative (The Official Portal of the UAE Government, 2019). This is an essential step in the era of integrated healthcare delivery systems using intelligent digital technologies such as electronic health records and electronic prescriptions, and, of course, telemedicine. Currently, the telemedicine consulting program is available to any UAE citizen. The full version of the electronic medical record of patients registered with DHA will be made available to general practitioners (GPs) and family doctors during the consultation. This fact has a direct implication on the work processes and recruitment in particular. Recruiting is an industry that often requires face-to-face contact. Recruiters in the areas that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 so far are increasingly turning to online communication to avoid face-to-face meetings whenever possible (Haas et al., 2020). Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams are used to communicate with clients and interview candidates.


There are two major threats for Cleveland Clinic’s HR operations in the sphere of recruitment and selection. First, its online reputation tends to be negative. From all the reviews analyzed on both platforms, more than half were negative (Indeed, 2021; Glassdoor, 2021). Although the majority of them are related to the internal processes of the company, including the atmosphere in the team, the workflow, and the psychological and social difficulties of interaction, such feedback directly threatens the selection and recruitment processes since they can alienate the potential employee. Nowadays, people tend to read company reviews before applying for a job, especially when it comes to highly skilled professionals (Dabrian et al., 2017). Second, the COVID-19 pandemic can pose a significant threat to the potential candidates’ willingness to move to the UAE. Despite the rapid development of online technology and medicine, the physical presence of a doctor and other professionals is essential for the smooth operation of an organization. However, today there is a shortage of doctors and specialists in related fields around the world, which can potentially increase competition among employers and lure specialists into more attractive job offers.

Compatibility with UAE HR Laws

Based on the Cleveland Clinic’s recruitment and selection processes analysis, the organization follows all the standard laws, rules, and protocols of finding and hiring their staff. In general, the Labor Law of the UAE meets the basic requirements of international law but contains some features inherent only in labor relations arising on the territory of this country. Considering the processes of recruitment and selection, they are mainly regulated by Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 with amendments and Federal Law No.12 dated 29/10/1986. For the hiring of foreign workers, a particular procedure has been developed for obtaining a work permit and a work visa for an employee (Employment Visa). The obtained visa allows one to stay in the country for 60 days, during which an employment contract must be concluded with the employee, his work card, and a resident visa must be issued. A Tourist Visa or Transit Visa holder is not allowed to work in the country (Atef, 2017). Hiring persons with such visas, in this case, is considered a violation of the law both on the part of the employee and on the part of the employer.

The basis for starting an employment relationship in the UAE is an employment contract concluded between the employing company and the foreign worker themselves. The employment contract form was developed by the Ministry of Labor in Arabic and English. After signing by the parties, this contract is subject to attestation (certification) by the Ministry of Labor (The Official Portal of the UAE Government, 2021). After that, the employee undergoes a medical examination for his health condition.

After receiving a positive opinion, a Labor Card and Residence Visa are issued in the United Arab Emirates. A resident visa is issued for a period of two years and grants the employee the right to reside in the country, repeatedly leave and enter (subject to the terms of his employment contract), lease real estate (apartments, villas), purchase movable property and register it, if required by law in the UAE (for example, registering a car in the name of an employee) (Atef, 2017). The basis for canceling a resident visa is the employee’s dismissal or other cases provided for by law (stay outside the UAE for more than six months, deportation, and other issues).

In most cases, including in the Cleveland Clinic case, the employer pays for the employee’s travel and accommodation in the Emirates and covers the costs of obtaining a work visa, work card, and residence permit. In case of early dismissal, the employer may require the employee to reimburse the costs of employment: all the costs of obtaining a work visa, purchasing an air ticket to the UAE, and any other costs, as well as, most likely, the employee will need to pay the penalty, which, as a rule, is equal to one monthly salary (Atallah et al., 2020). In addition, the UAE has a widespread practice of banning work for a period of six months in the event of early dismissal.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Currently, the most powerful impact on external customers and owners is exerted by radical transformations in the field of technology, economics, and legislation, as well as serious demographic changes. Moreover, all these changes are taking place in the context of the globalization process and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Strategic human resources management can be effective only if its function is considered on an equal basis with others in the overall process of strategic management of the organization.

The analysis showed that from the logistic, legal, and organizational points of view, the selection and recruitment processes are carried out at a high level in accordance with all the formal requirements of the organization and legislation. Cleveland Clinic has a considerable number of advantages for senior management and ordinary employees, ensures transparency and clarity of the tasks set, and is developed taking into account innovations in society. The result of the effective work of the personnel management system is a well-coordinated mechanism for the provision of medical care.

At the same time, analysis of feedback from former, current, and potential employees shows a negative tone towards the organization and internal work processes. This fact must be taken into account when forming an HR policy, including recruitment and selection since negative comments directly affect the desire of employees to get a job in the organization. The presence of these problems once again confirms the need to carefully assess the employees ‘feedback in order to prevent potential misunderstandings between doctor and patient. The main recommendation in this direction is to pay attention to the online reputation. In addition to analyzing the reasons for the dissatisfaction of individuals, it is necessary to neutralize the negative sentiment towards the company in the online space.


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