Multinational employers recognise the benefits of standardising core operations and processes across their different countries. IT, finance and marketing were the first to cross national borders. Now, it’s HR’s turn, as global organisations are looking to achieve savings and increase efficiency by implementing more consistent HR processes around the world, including recruitment and assessment.

The ability to recruit the right staff in every country is a crucial success factor for any multinational employer. Some use different psychometric assessments in different countries, to identify who is right for the role and for their organisation. Others are looking to exploit economies of scale by standardising their use of assessment worldwide.

With the advent of global applicant tracking systems and multinational assessment providers, it has become much easier to create a globally-consistent assessment process. However, it’s not practical to provide exactly the same assessments in every country worldwide. For a number of reasons including different legislation, there will always be a need to adapt your assessment process for certain markets.

There’s also the issue of languages. The European Union alone has 23 officially recognised languages. It’s simply not feasible for a multinational employer to create, translate and validate a bespoke assessment across all of its different countries. Instead, off-the-shelf assessments – which are available in multiple languages – offer a more cost-effective option.

One way forward is to identify the countries in which your assessment process is working well and then look to implement that model in other markets. You should be able to replicate the process and retain the essence and principles of success across many countries but inevitably you’ll need to make local adaptations to meet the requirements of specific markets or the different areas of your business.

Because psychometric assessment practice is more established in the United Kingdom and the United States, these countries are often the favoured starting points for anyone looking to initiate a global process.

Here are seven steps to help you create a globally-aligned assessment process:

  1. Review your existing assessment arrangements. What assessments, in which countries, does your organisation use? What applicant tracking systems do you have and where? Is there scope to extend your use of assessment or to replicate successful practices across different countries?
  1. Get the buy-in to proceed from key stakeholders. You’ll need to convince senior executives, local country managers and HR teams of the business benefits that can be achieved. Create a business case that highlights the economies of scale and shows the advantages of reducing the duplication of effort involved in managing different assessment providers in different markets.
  1. Appoint the right partners. Choose a global applicant tracking system and a global assessment provider who can work together and guide you through the process.
  1. Conduct a job analysis of your target roles. Understand the specific abilities, behaviour, character traits and competencies that candidates will need, in order to perform a role effectively. This will help you to run a targeted attraction campaign and a focused assessment process.
  1. Select appropriate assessments. Your assessments should help you to screen applicants and quickly identify which of them are likely to perform well in the role. Off-the-shelf tests can be brand-aligned and easily deployed in different languages. Bespoke assessments can be more specific to the role and quicker for candidates to complete.
  1. Train local hiring managers. A standardised approach to global assessment can fall flat if hiring managers in your local countries conduct unstructured interviews. Provide training around equal opportunities and diversity – and give them interview skills training. This ensures consistency and can prevent them from asking irrelevant or unsuitable questions in their interviews.
  1. Evaluate your effectiveness. Capture data on the performance of new recruits in different countries using sales volumes, customer ratings, performance appraisal ratings, line manager feedback and other appropriate metrics. A thorough review of your assessment process will provide valuable return on investment data. But, more than that, it can give you confidence that you’re selecting people in a way that’s candidate-friendly, objective, fair, rigorous and consistent.

As globalisation spreads and organisations become multinational, assessing candidates consistently should be an important business objective, because people who are well-suited to the job, and the organisation, will perform better and be more engaged. Now that the infrastructure is available to support global assessment, multinational businesses can benefit by recruiting the right people in every country more consistently.





James Bywater is Director of Product & Innovation at assessment specialist Talent Q. He has particular expertise in psychological assessment, performance management, competency frameworks and job design. James pioneered the use of online assessment using Situational Judgement Tests and Realistic Job Profiles both in the UK and across Europe, and has published widely about the issues involved in making this a practical global proposition. He has authored a new white paper Global assessment: Achieving scale and managing risk which is available from