International Companies’ Recruitment: The Role of Culture and Diversity


Global corporations play a fundamental role in the modern business world. They can be viewed as the primary forces promoting the development of international market relations and influencing the emergence of new trends. The high revenues and numerous opportunities for further evolution are the main advantages of these organizations. However, global corporations also have a sophisticated structure characterized by numerous relations and tasks that should be managed to promote positive outcomes. Moreover, numerous departments in different parts of the globe demand adequate supervision and aligned cooperation models. Under these conditions, international human resource management (IHRM) acquire the top priority as one of the major tools necessary to address all problems resulting from cross-cultural cooperation. Recruitment and selection of employees in international organizations are becoming critical tasks as culture and diversity concerns might influence outcomes and should be considered during strategic planning. The paper discusses these concepts, as well as language, recruitment criteria, cross-cultural communication, and using expatriates vs. local employees to promote a better understanding of the selected topic.

International Human Resource Management

Companies working at the international level need effective models helping them to use their resources in the most effective ways to generate competitive advantage. Thus, international human resource management (IHRM) is one of the practical methods to help organizations manage their human resource activities at the international level (Dowling et al., 2017). One of the major IHRM goals is to create the basis for effective collaboration and cooperation between specialists coming from various regions and boost their performance (Luthans & Doh, 2020). For this reason, it has become one of the most important fields of knowledge regarding the functioning of international companies and corporations. IHRM also emphasizes the critical importance of culture and diversity for global companies and the necessity to consider these aspects as the critical part of all processes. The approaches to recruitment and selection should also be viewed through the prism of cross-cultural cooperation; otherwise, the company will face a growing number of conflicts and fail to evolve.


All global corporations and management teams accept the critical importance of culture at the global level. The term means a set of values, ideas, beliefs, and representations peculiar to a particular group and influencing their social behavior (Deresky, 2016). It means that the phenomenon should be viewed as a central force influencing an employee’s performance, his/her attitudes, and methods used to attain specific goals (Noe et al., 2020). For this reason, it is critical to consider this aspect during delegating tasks or distributing responsibilities. At the same time, culture might serve as the basis for numerous conflicts between specialists (Harzing & Pinnington, 2017). The existence of opposing views, the lack of tolerance or understanding, and stereotypic thinking might result in the growing tensions between individuals and the impossibility to align meaningful cooperation. Under these conditions, the given aspect becomes critical for international companies and their recruitment attempts.


Diversity is closely linked to the concept mentioned above and also becomes an integral part of the business world today. From a business management perspective, it means the practice of including people with different ethnic backgrounds or representing different cultural groups or genders in the work of a firm (Plummer, 2018). It helps to create the basis for future development as diverse companies have a richer pool of ideas vital for generating competitive advantage (Plummer, 2018). Moreover, for global corporations, it becomes an integral component of their structure as they rely on individuals of different origins and coming from various countries. For this reason, diversity becomes one of the fundamental aspects of modern IHRM. However, it introduces several challenges that should be overcome by the top management. Teams consisting of people with different cultures, languages, or religions demand specific communication methods to avoid misunderstandings (Plummer, 2018). Diversity also influences the recruitment process as it is critical to ensure that no stereotypes influence selection.


In such a way, both culture and diversity are central factors that should be considered by global corporations. It means they should plan their further growth and expansion to new regions regarding the local customs and firm’s workforce. At the same time, entering new markets and opening new subsidiaries require hiring specialists ready to work in a selected area and support a new venture’s growth. Under these conditions, international companies’ recruitment acquires specific peculiarities. It can be defined as the process of looking for people to work for a company and become a member of its teams (Dowling et al., 2017). Usually, companies are interested in people who meet their criteria and can be viewed as valuable assets (Olakivi, 2020). However, at the international level, the demands on possible candidates become more diversified and stricter at the same time. Companies start to look for specialists who possess the desired cultural background, knowledge of the location selected for the expansion, and experience of working in cross-cultural teams (Dowling et al., 2017). It means that culture and diversity become critical factors influencing the recruitment process.

Recruitment Criteria in Terms of Culture

As stated previously, international organizations introduce several specific criteria used for selecting appropriate candidates and their assignment to a position. Traditionally, there are strict demands for knowledge, expertise, and experience, which serve as the barrier to separate candidates who cannot meet existing requirements. However, the fast rise of international corporations and the shift of priorities towards cross-cultural cooperation contributed to the emergence of new selection and recruitment criteria. Companies start to ask potential employees about their cultural background and experiences of interacting with people who have a different origin (Dowling et al., 2017). It means that culture is viewed as one of the central factors helping to select new workers. It is explained by the increased importance of diversity issues and the multinational teams representing global corporations and serving as the leading force promoting their evolution.

Cross-cultural teams are one of the units that are widespread in international corporations. These are global groups, including people coming from different cultures and possessing unique experiences (Rockson, 2019). One of the advantages of such teams is the existence of numerous opinions on the same issue and the possibility to use creative and unusual methods to resolve specific tasks (Thomas & Peterson, 2017). Under these conditions, international companies are interested in creating such groups and cultivating their further evolution. This factor influences their recruitment strategy and final decision-making. A new specialist should either be integrated into the work of this group or create it and manage the work of individuals belonging to it (Stewart & Brown, 2019). For this reason, looking for candidates at the global level, companies focus on traditional requests and new demands on the ability to manage culture and diversity (Rockson, 2019). It becomes one of the essential peculiarities of the recruitment process.

Turning back to the primary criteria for searching, it is possible to admit that knowledge remains critical. Top management looks for skilled and experienced candidates who have an excellent understanding of particular fields. It serves as the guarantee that a hired worker will make a significant contribution to the company’s rise. Thus, at the same time, international corporations look for knowledge of basic cultural issues and concerns and information about conflict resolution regarding the work of cross-cultural teams (Tarique et al., 2022). Under these conditions, it is possible to admit the shift of priorities from pure knowledge towards cultural competencies and the ability to work regarding diversity (Tarique et al., 2022). It became one of the significant characteristics of international corporations’ recruitment process and their attempts to find a new specialist.

Skills also remain an important criterion used in the recruitment process; however, the companies also focus on communication skills in terms of cross-cultural groups and projects. Thus, cross-cultural communication is determined as the process of analyzing and recognizing differences and similarities existing within various groups to ensure effective management and goal achievement (Valentine et al., 2019). For international companies, this type of interaction acquires the top priority as it helps to eliminate barriers for understanding between individuals and align their cooperation. For this reason, by hiring a new specialist who is supposed to work abroad, international companies look for cross-cultural experiences and communication skills that will help to align the work of the department and create the basis for future evolution. For this reason, a potential candidate should possess the ability to resolve complex tasks regarding the increased diversity and presence of employees belonging to different cultures.

Cross-cultural communication also promotes faster and more effective alignment of ties in a new area. A specialist possessing an outstanding understanding of local culture can use it to avoid misunderstandings while sharing thoughts and views on a certain issue. Additionally, he/she can select better methods to explain a particular idea by appealing to the concepts specific to a unique area (Abramson & Moran, 2017). Under these conditions, international corporations accept the critical importance of this aspect and make it one of the central demands to their workers and managers who are expected to work regarding increased diversity. Furthermore, the job interviews imply questions about the past experiences of working in cross-cultural teams and the ability to integrate and accept existing customs and rules (Zheng, 2017). It becomes one of the critical parts of the search process necessary to create a required pool of specialists.

Language skills also play an essential role in the recruitment process. Thus, language is a major communication tool necessary for exchanging thoughts and information. However, working at the international level implies numerous barriers because of the differences in languages and mentalities (Abramson & Moran, 2017). For this reason, specialists should be ready to face multiple challenges while working in cross-cultural teams and trying to align cooperation (Barak, 2016). At the same time, the high levels of preparedness and knowledge of regional languages at appropriate levels increase the chances for success (Barak, 2016). In this regard, international companies’ staffing focuses on looking for employees who can communicate in various locations or be trained to avoid language barriers and engage in direct cooperation (Abramson & Moran, 2017). Moreover, culture and language are interconnected, meaning that the improved understanding of one aspect will lead to positive changes in the second one (Abramson & Moran, 2017). That is why global companies devote much attention to creating a pool of workers possessing the necessary communication and language skills.

Expatriate vs. Local

Searching for a manager responsible for the work of a new venture in a particular region, an international company might also consider using expatriate workers or local specialists. The choice depends on the available human resources, the firm’s needs in the selected area, and its overall strategy. Thus, expatriates can be defined as employees who are not residents of the country where they work; however, their employment was influenced by their abilities and skills vital for the further organization’s development (Dowling et al., 2017). Numerous international companies adhere to the practice of using expatriates because of several advantages. First, they can be viewed as specific crisis managers sent by the head office to resolve current problems or create the basis for new achievements (Banks et al., 2019). At the same time, expatriates might help to share the organizational culture within a new unit, which is critical for creating a sense of belonging and motivation. For this reason, the combination of high professionalism and knowledge of the organizational culture might influence international companies’ recruitment decisions.

Global corporations might also hire local employees to attain specific benefits. Moreover, regarding the increased topicality of cultural issues and the need to align meaningful cooperation with local workers, this choice becomes more popular. Knowledge of the local business practices, customs, and traditions is the central advantage of recruiting locals (Dowling et al., 2017). Companies are more willing to acquire a new specialist who has an enhanced understanding of the regional culture and integrated into this cultural field (James-Maceachern, 2018). At the same time, attracting specialists from the target region, corporations promote diversity.

Furthermore, these specialists can give a new stimulus for the firm’s evolution and offer unusual solutions. Another critical advantage of hiring local workers is the knowledge of the language. As stated previously, it is a critically important tool necessary for building relations within teams and helping them to attain current goals. For this reason, by recruiting a person from the country where the firm operates, a corporation acquires a specialist who can use local resources effectively and engage in negotiations. The benefits of using human resources from the target areas lead to the increased popularity of such decisions at the international level.

However, corporations might also consider hiring third-country nationals to fill existing positions. The given decision will also help to cultivate diversity within a firm as it implies involving people with different cultures and establishing the basis for enhanced cooperation (Dowling et al., 2017). The given practice has several advantages, such as salaries and benefit requirements might be lower compared to parent country nationals, and such specialists might possess the improved vision of the local features because of the unique working experience (Dowling et al., 2017). However, such transfers should consider the possible cultural conflicts and animosities emerging because of the radical differences in opinions or values (Dowling et al., 2017). Moreover, it might demand additional costs and consideration of local laws regulating third-country nationals (Dowling et al., 2017). In such a way, the given approach to recruitment also demands consideration as the possible way to promote diversity.

In such a way, culture and diversity issues have become the significant factors influencing international companies’ decisions about using expatriates and local workers. The enhanced knowledge of the local customs might help to acquire the enhanced vision of how to create the basis for the future development of a new venture. For this reason, the practice of using local workers has become more common among global corporations (Breaugh & Starke, 2000). It allows to save costs and reduce the risks of conflicts because of the clash of values or lack of understanding. The selection process becomes influenced by the growing demands for diversity as it is vital to ensure the company avoids discrimination or biases and offers all specialists equal opportunities for their professional and personal development. It will also help to improve the brand image and acquire new loyal workers and clients, which is vital for attaining long-term goals.


The modern approach to recruiting employed by international corporations also implies avoiding stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes during the selection. Thus, the past and unethical practices focused on giving preference to candidates because of their gender, race, and culture (Abramson & Moran, 2017). This stereotypic approach resulted in the growth of discriminative patterns and a lack of diversity. Today, the shift of priorities towards the inclusion of specialists with different cultures resulted in creating a fair approach to recruitment (Barak, 2016). Top managers are more interested in skills, cross-cultural competencies, and communication abilities, disregarding gender, race, and religious issues (Dessler, 2016). It helps to cultivate diversity in global corporations and avoid claims about cases of discrimination. In such a way, recruitment also serves as the tool to create multicultural teams within an organization and ensure they demonstrate high performance levels.

Recruitment and Knowledge Generation and Transfer

Recruitment also plays another vital role, such as knowledge generation and transfer. A better vision of the cultural context and understanding of communication trends are fundamental for the work of international companies. However, some employees might still lack awareness and information about the critical importance of cultural concerns and their role in performance. Moreover, strategic planning activities might also require educating available employees about the country selected for expansion and peculiarities of business practices there (Dowling et al., 2017). Under these conditions, recruitment acquires the top priority as the tool helping to find a specialist with the needed skills and competencies. Moreover, his/her culture and ability to cultivate diversity acquire the top priority as the major tools to follow strategic plans and educate the staff about the ways to manage cross-cultural issues and create the basis for future cooperation (Dowling et al., 2017). From this perspective, recruitment becomes an important strategic approach helping to find specialists possessing the required knowledge and culture and share them, creating the basis for future data transfer and generation.

Example of Companies with Successful Recruitment Strategies

Numerous examples evidence the critical importance of successful recruitment strategies that consider cultural aspects. Thus, global corporations employing cross-cultural selection methods demonstrate stable performance levels and growth rates. For instance, Alibaba, one of the giants and leaders in the e-commerce sphere, is originally a Chinese company that entered the global market (Alibaba Group, 2022). For this reason, it established a blended corporation culture characterized by the reduced tension between individuals and the atmosphere beneficial for cross-cultural cooperation (Alibaba Group, 2022). The top management focused on hiring employees possessing demanded skills and knowledge of local peculiarities (Alibaba Group, 2022). It resulted in the increased diversity and effectiveness of departments working in various parts of the globe.

Rakuten Inc. is another example of successful cross-cultural management and recruitment. Because of the focus on global expansion, the company recognized the necessity to hire workers representing various target areas (Rakuten, 2020). As a result, the company’s official language was changed to English. It promoted a positive change in the corporate culture and created the basis for foreign employees’ integration (Rakuten, 2020). Rakuten managed to recruit numerous skilled and experienced workers in different countries (Rakuten, 2020). It contributed to the increased diversity and the ability to consider local issues’ peculiarities. For this reason, the corporation is a successful business that continues to evolve and enter new regions.

Possible Problems and Solutions

Cross-cultural recruitment might also introduce several critical problems that should be solved. As stated previously, representatives of specific cultures might have difficulties interacting with each other because of the opposing views (Abramson & Moran, 2017). Moreover, the difference in worldviews and dominant values might create the basis for the growing conflict. Under these conditions, management needs effective methods to resolve such problems. One of the possible approaches implies educating and training specialists ready to work regarding the cross-cultural exchange (Bernstein et al., 2021). It would ensure the increased level of tolerance and readiness to start working with employees representing various cultures (Dowling et al., 2017). At the same time, it will establish the basis for increased global presence.

Furthermore, the risk of conflicts can be reduced by establishing a robust corporate culture cultivating inclusion and diversity. It means the simplified process of integrating into the cross-cultural teams and reduced time for adaptation. Moreover, it will help to avoid the dominance of a particular culture because of its numerous representatives, which might have a pernicious influence on relations within an organization (Dowling et al., 2017). In such a way, the strong corporate culture might be a factor supporting the effectiveness of recruitment and selection processes in global corporations as it would increase the pool of specialists who can be hired.

Benefits of Cross-Cultural Recruitment

Companies might also focus on cultivating cross-cultural recruitment because of the numerous benefits associated with it. Managers can be motivated to adhere to these methods because of the necessity to improve the company’s image and ensure it is appreciated by clients (Dowling et al., 2017). Second, it will increase staff availability because of the access to a rich pool of human resources (Dowling et al., 2017). Third, by organizing recruitment and selection strategies regarding the cultural aspects, companies can invest in their future development because of the better opportunities for knowledge transfer and generation (Stewart & Brown, 2019). In such a way, international corporations acting in different regions can be attracted by multiple benefits linked to cross-cultural cooperation.

Moreover, diverse companies are characterized by increased cultural competence. It makes them more competitive regarding intercultural training and establishing closer relations with cross-cultural business partners (Stewart & Brown, 2019). By recruiting representatives of different countries, companies acquire new chances of finding new opportunities for further growth in these areas (Stewart & Brown, 2019). The better knowledge of local peculiarities will help to establish relations with organizations working in these regions, which is critical for the increased competitiveness and creation of a developed network. In such a way, these advantages become critical when organizing the selection and recruitment processes.


Altogether, culture and diversity play a fundamental role in international companies’ recruiting. The high pace of globalization and opening new firms in different locations influence organizations and their approach to staffing. For this reason, more attention is given to employees who possess experience in cross-cultural communication. Global corporations might consider between local workers or expatriates, meaning that the issues of diversity and culture remain fundamental for decision making. For companies, it is vital to cultivate diversity in teams, which can be attained by hiring specialists of from various regions. Inclusive corporations consisting of people from various countries have more chances to succeed in the modern business world because of the higher number of creative approaches and visions offered by employees. Under these conditions, culture and diversity become core factors impacting the recruitment process and decisions.


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