When thinking outside the box means hiring outside the country

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When thinking outside the box means hiring outside the country

When the U.S.-educated Kim Dong-gyun applied for a manager’s post at LG Electronics, he didn’t have to travel from the United States to the group’s headquarters in Seoul for an interview.
In fact, it was only after Mr. Kim signed a contract last December that he flew to Korea.
From submitting his resume to having interviews with LG’s executives, the entire hiring procedure was conducted in the United States.
As soon as Mr. Kim filed his resume, employees from LG’s human resources department flew to the United States to meet the 33-year-old graduate of the MBA program at Minnesota State University.
They sat Mr. Kim in a restaurant and outlined the company’s plans for the coming years.
Two months later, Mr. Kim traveled to San Francisco to meet Kim Young-gi, a vice-president at LG Electronics. For about an hour, the vice president spoke about his past experiences at LG and his ambitions for the company’s future.
It’s difficult to imagine such a scenario for job seekers in Korea, but it’s part of the reality for top-notch graduates of overseas MBA programs or engineering schools who are seeking jobs here.
LG isn’t the only company searching for staff overseas.
Several major Koran conglomerates, including Samsung, Hyundai and Kia, make regular tours of Ivy League colleges in the United States and stage corporate events to recruit talented graduates.
Students who meet high qualifications are often targeted by several different companies at once. Mr. Kim, the Minnesota State University graduate, said he chose LG ― the group he felt most familiar with ― from several offers.
Korean companies are turning abroad for recruiting more often these days in an effort to expand their corporate environments to a global scale.
Samsung recently announced it will focus extensively on human resources management over the next 10 years, particularly concerning overseas recruitment.
“It doesn't matter whether they’re from Korea or abroad ― the company will divert all its efforts to securing talented individuals,” says Samsung’s chairman, Lee Geon-hee.
“The focus of the evaluation for chief executives should be on raising and nurturing essential talents within the company,” he said.
Samsung is presently looking for talented executives who have been trained abroad. There are about 500 foreign-trained staff members working for the group in Korea, with more than 600 spread throughout Samsung’s operations in China, India and Russia.
In addition to dispatching interviewers abroad, LG is in the process of establishing a separate global recruiting network that functions as an advisory council to compile lists of potential applicants in major cities throughout the world and forward them to the company’s headquarters.
The company has recruiting managers in China and the United States. With China in particular, the company is giving talented students scholarships, recognizing they are potential job candidates.
LG is also considering selecting 50 interns who have completed MBAs or hold post-doctoral degrees in engineering to complete a project during a trial period at a U.S. firm to evaluate their hands-on skills.
Similarly, Hyundai-Kia recently announced that the company will expand the scale of its research team in a bid to become one of the world’s top-five automotive firms by 2010.
As part of its strategy, Hyundai-Kia has been soliciting applications from graduates of such top U.S. institutions as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Duke University.
“Most companies make direct contact with the directors of university programs to hire individuals,” says Choi Su-yeon, a public relations executive at Incruit, a local job Web site.
“But the recommendations that are made to Korea’s companies focus on just the very top graduates,” Ms. Choi says. “They’re certainly not available to all MBA graduates from American universities.”

by Kim Seung-hyun, Park Soo-mee
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