Technical expertise can be seen as one of the most critical criteria when selecting employees for international assignments. Black et al, 1999, stated focusing on technical skills can result in an instant selection process, where potential candidates with cross-cultural skills and similar technical skills can be overlooked when decisions makers are trying to find suitable candidates within the organisation, however this is usually a mistake, because technical ability is rarely the case of expatriate failure (Tung, 1987) and other factors such as cross-cultural suitability must be considered.
The most common selection criteria companies tend to use are: technical ability, cross-cultural suitability, family requirements, organization-specific requirement, language and also MNE requirements. The first three factors are related to the individual while the rest are mostly influenced by the working situation they need to enter.
As it was mentioned above the first criteria is technical ability. One big issue, which perhaps goes without saying, is that naturally, individuals chosen for expatriate assignments must be highly skilled in their jobs. This is a minimum and essential requirement. Multinational corporations faced with the numerous challenges of staffing operations abroad cannot afford to select candidates who are not fully qualified and proficient, especially knowing the fact that “position filling” is usually the main reason for an international assignment.
The next criteria when selecting expatriate is Language skills. Language skills may be regarded as of critical importance for some expatriate positions, but lesser in others. However, even though differences in language are recognised as a major barrier to effective cross-cultural communication, it is not the most important factor when selecting expatriate , probably because language problems are viewed as mechanical and manageable problems that could be solved individually. When adopting a corporate language, which is different from what the, expatriate local, language, is a fundamental that language skills need to be viewed as selection criteria.
The third criteria is cross-culture suitability. According to Dowling and Welch, (2004) important things that must be taken into consideration when assessing the candidates cross-culture suitability, are language skills, culture empathy, the attitude toward new cultures and the level of personnel and emotional stability. In practice, it is not easy to evaluate the cross-culture suitability of a candidate as it is hard precisely know what factors should be included.
Furthermore, family requirements are taken into selection criteria as well and success of the expatriate can be determined by family. However, there is usually not enough focus on family requirements which can lead to expatriate’s failure, because families may find it difficult to adjust to new environment and lifestyle, which, as the result, effects expatriate itself.
Organisations requirements are considered before selecting a