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Seb Anthony

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International Assigments


I am looking for an assessment tool to determine which managers would be best suited for international expatriation assignments, ideally also giving me an idea what regions of the world they are most suitable for and what preparatory training needs they have.

Does anyone have experience with such expatriation assessment tools, and if so what or who would they recommend?
Isabelle Casarosso

4 Responses

  1. Preparation beats selection for international assignments

    I suggest that you look at developmental tools rather than selection tools. Of course it would be great to know in advance who’s going to be a successful expat (and how well the family will adjust). But the reliability of tools which promise this is variable. I recommend that you look very hard at the data on the specific selection tools you consider, and at the predictive validity for the cultural combinations you are interested in.

    Usually a better and more realistic approach, especially over time, is to properly prepare each expat, developing cross-cultural competence, and continue to support them and their families after departure.

    There are various tools on the market which do this, to a greater or lesser extent. Not surprisingly, we offer one of the best! You are welcome to contact us about our one, called Argonaut at (talk to Maria Jicheva, tel. 0207 460 3493).

    Good luck in your hunt and let us know what you find!

  2. International Assigments
    Dear Isabelle,
    Yes there are tools around but in practice most companies choose their expats for their expertise/skills/management ability and then prepare them well for the overseas assignments.In fact experience has shown us that someone whom we thought would make a good international employee has failed in practice and vice versa.

  3. Psychometric Simulations?
    You will find some quantitative questionnaire type of tools (TMC, IMI, PAPI, IATAP, International Profiler, etc..) online, some are popular, mainly in the US. The question is what you want to use them for and especially where. They work relatively well in some regions, but not in others. The problem is that many are themselves culturally biased.

    The other problem relates to quantitative type of questionnaires in general: while paper test sfor drivers are useful and necessary, they cannot predict how good a driver each candidate is going to be. There is no substitute for real life assessment. I wouldn’t want to be treated by a doctor who had only ever been tested for his medical knowledge. And nobody, to my knowledge, recruits without interviewing face to face.

    LTS in Basel have an assessment tool, using an assessment centre type of approach, which observes actual behaviour and reactions created in roleplays and simulations, and cross-reference these against known intercultural dimensions. Participants find it useful, as the feedback relates to actual behaviour they did, and not abstract notions. Anyone wanting more information, feel free to call me on 020 8755 5824, or email me on [email protected], and I can send more details.

  4. International Assessment Profile
    Athena Intercultural assessors are licensed to use an extremely effectively international business cultural assessment tool specifically designed for international assignees. This tool enables destination country and participant profile comparisons and has an added benefit in that frequently it almost exactly profiles the participant’s knowledge and understanding of the business culture in their own country and other countries in which they have worked. It thus gains a greater credibility when considering the characteristics of business people and expatriate’s destination country. However, we would counsel that any psychometric should only be used by those who are qualified and licensed, after all we have to realise someone’s career is being analysed here.

    It is frequently useful to use more than one tool, therefore MBTI and FiroB when used in conjunction with the international tool can add considerable value.

    Larraine Segil (Columbia University) in 1998 conducted a survey of 200 companies in 60 industries & reported that:

    • Cross border alliances are much more challenging than domestic ones. They take 2 to 3 times longer to create & at least half of them fail.
    • 75% of the companies surveyed believed the failures were caused by
    incompatibility of national or corporate cultures.

    More and more frequently global companies are no longer appointing people for their expertise/skills/management ability alone because they recognise that someone who may be successful in Japan, for example, may not be as successful in other countries. Companies as diverse as GM, Disney Stores 3i and Baxter recognise the value of assessments and the use of dynamic assessment tools.
    For further information please contact me Shaun Smith on +44 20 7849 6067 [email protected]


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