To attract and recruit internationally mobile employees, researchers have suggested that companies differentiate themselves through a unique and attractive employer image or brand (Christiaans & Buettgen, 2014; Knox & Freeman, 2006; Lewis & Heckman, 2006). Job seekers’ application decisions depend in part on the employer’s brand image, which is often measured according to job seekers’ attitudes and perceived job and organizational attributes and fit (Collins & Stevens, 2002; Lievens, van Hoye, & Anseel, 2007; Phillips et al., 2014). Research has found a strong influence of employer image on perceived employer attractiveness and job seekers’ application intentions (Chapman et al., 2005; Knox & Freeman, 2006; Lemmink, Schuijf & Streukens, 2003; Lievens, van Hoye & Schreurs, 2005; Phillips et al., 2014). Martin, Gollan and Grigg (2011) discuss the possibility that employer branding’s potential effects will be better understood in the context of multinational organizations when theory and practice better connect the internal application of marketing and branding to the key reputational and innovation agendas of MNEs.
National differences have been acknowledged as potentially important when developing international employer brands (Froese et al., 2010; Stahl, Bjorkman, Farndale, Morris, Paauwe, Stiles, Trevor & Wright, 2012). Similarly, the effectiveness of recruitment practices may vary as a function of cultural values (Ma & Allen, 2009). If international work location preferences differ due to national culture or other national differences, the employer’s brand positioning should be adapted rather than standardized (Berthon, Ewing & Hah, 2005; Martin & Hetrick, 2009). Research has found that some facets of organizational image (e.g., task attractiveness) vary across countries, while other facets (e.g., work atmosphere and perceived career opportunities) are more stable in their influence on application intentions (Baum & Kabst, 2013).
Caligiuri, Colakoglu, Cerdin and Kim (2010) found that cross-cultural and individual differences influence the role of employer reputation in organizational attraction and recruiting effectiveness. Caligiuri and colleagues (2010) found that, at the cultural level, collectivism, and at the individual level, the need for power and achievement, were related to the importance of employer reputation in organizational attraction. Caligiuri and colleagues suggest that companies consider crafting their recruitment messages to fit the cultural norms of the country in which they are recruiting and also to encourage recruiters to tailor their messages to fit the candidates they are targeting. In developing countries, foreign companies may have a brand advantage simply by virtue of being foreign, as foreign companies are often perceived as offering better pay, opportunities and working conditions (Froese et al., 2010; Newburry, Gardberg & Belkin, 2006). Despite increasing awareness of the important role of employer branding in global recruitment, however, we lack sufficient information about how international companies should adapt their employer branding strategies to different cultural or individual environments or rely on global brand positioning (Caligiuri, 2010).