1. This case study outlines a meticulous, multifaceted process that Standard Life utilizes in order to find the best candidates for this incredibly competitive job. The human resources management strategy they are implementing in this process is highly selective and aims for the best of the best, knowing that highly qualified individuals will desire to work for them. While they do send out information to all universities to let everyone know about their job opportunities, they only send out HR staff to career fairs at 25 of the most well-regarded universities, showcasing their search for excellent. Next, they have to separate the wheat from the chaff through an incredibly selective online application process, overseen by recruitment consultants such as Asirt. (“Standard Life,” 2011) This allows them to cherry pick among the thousands of applicants to get just the people that they need. Their use of abstract, life-skills questions makes it clear that they are looking for quality people in addition to quality workers. The recruiters want to ensure that whoever they hire can function well in the workplace, not just be the most productive and hardworking. There is a great emphasis on character in the recruitment forms, which lends itself to that search for those who will fit in well with the family of Standard Life.
Whoever survives this first filter moves on to an interview that is criterion-based. This is where the real digging to find the candidates with the best character begins. They have eight qualities that they hope to bring out in the interview, including the ability to communicate and lead, as well as show their ability to convince others of your opinion. Furthering the strategy of finding stable employees that will function well in the work environment, a psychological test is administered to give the interviewers a glimpse into the candidate’s mind. There is a great emphasis placed on relationships in their recruitment process, as that can showcase “above and beyond” behaviors that are desirable to a workplace. (Welbourne, 2003)
The candidates then move on to a two-day selection process, where they are placed into challenging exercises that will demonstrate their leadership style and adaptability to difficult situations. After that strenuous ordeal, they are treated to a final interview over a meal with company directors and managers – the candidates must be able to show décor and poise after a rigorous, time-consuming and exhausting process. Those who show incredible aptitude for all the scenarios presented are offered a position.
This lengthy process is, in and of itself, yet another way for the human resources team to see just how durable the candidate is; the number of steps they must go through, the different challenges they face, all of them are a test of stamina and dedication. Studies have shown that recruiters get the best sense of a candidate if they combine an integrity test with a structured interview and general mental ability test. (Schmidt and Hunter, 1998) If the candidate can weather this incredible set of obstacles, then they have shown that they are dedicated to getting the position with this company no matter the cost. What’s more, it lends itself to a greater feeling of loyalty to the company in the event they do get hired. After all, working so incredibly hard to get this lucrative position would make one far less reticent to quit or risk losing their job in any way.
2. While workforce diversity is an important consideration for all companies, Standard Life’s primary criteria are, according to the reading, finding the best candidates for the job, which presumes the elimination of all other considerations, including age, race and gender. First and foremost in their recruitment process and human resources management strategy, recruiters are seeking to locate the top candidates who apply. Whether you are black or white, man or woman, you must be able to survive and flourish in the exhausting interviews, exercises and tests in order to be considered for qualification.
Naturally, however, there are distinct advantages that can come from bringing in a minority to a business that may give the company something more than a white male candidate could; for example, a minority could give a better insight into particular markets that primarily feature their ethnic or cultural group, and representatives of those clients might be more willing to talk to someone who is of the same ethnic background. In addition to that, the company may have a social responsibility to permit qualified minorities the chance to overcome comparatively disadvantaged backgrounds in order to have a chance to succeed. (McInnes, 2011)
In terms of age diversity in the workplace, it is clear that the majority of their recruitment work for new candidates skews younger; their marketing for recruitment goes out to colleges and universities, and it is safe to assume that older candidates that come in would be outside hires who have already proven themselves in the industry, and would be taking over a management or other higher position that is not entry-level. As a result, it can be inferred that recruiters are looking for highly qualified individuals who are anticipating a long career at their company for the next few decades.
Standard Life already factors in workplace diversity into their practices; they are affirmative action and equal opportunity employers, and in 2009, Group wide diversity and inclusion training began in order to educate their employees on how to behave and incorporate diversity into the workplace, most of the employees being fully trained by year’s end. (“Diversity and inclusion,” 2011) Of course, there have been some diversity-related hiccups in the company’s past – in 2007, the chief executive of Standard Life, Trevor Matthews, used the phrase “nigger in the woodpile” to refer to a problem in an upcoming salary scheme. (Hardie and Cameron, 2007) While this was followed by a sincere apology, this sort of bad press regarding minorities can also negatively affect recruitment, as minorities may not want to work for a company known for ethnic slurs such as this.
In short, despite the great emphasis placed on excellence and teamwork above all else, there are still considerations made by Standard Life towards workplace diversity. The company has had some bad press that may make it look unfavorable to minorities, but steps have been made to educate people on how to behave in a diverse workplace environment, and there are likely considerations made towards new hires in order to have a proportionate spread of minorities in their workforce.
4. When discussing interview predictability, it is important to discern the two major criteria for getting the most accurate, measured response out of an interviewee – reliability and criterion related validity. Reliability is how consistent the interviewee is in their attitudes, answers, and behavior – the more reliable someone is, the more likely that two different interviewers could get the same answers out of a person on separate occasions. Conversely, criterion related validity relates to how closely the questions asked by the interviewer and interviewee are linked to job performance and the actual position. If an interview gets too far off track, it is much more difficult to figure out the candidate’s adequacy for the position. (Sapre, 2002)
In the case of Standard Life, their interview process goes through three layers: the first one puts the candidate through several criteria to determine what kind of person they are. This is meant to warm up the candidate for the rigors to come: it is more or less the normal interview process, as the recruiters attempt to discern the content of the candidate’s character, as well as their skill set and knowledge, not to mention how the behave typically in a high-pressure environment. All of these factors can be very indicative of the job they are applying for, and as such will allow the recruiters to see what they could expect if they hire the candidate.
The second interview takes place in a less than conventional environment: after the exercises that reveal their leadership styles and how effective they are at arguments, they sit down with the managers and company directors at a boardroom, where they have lunch. While this meeting is not strictly an interview, it also tells the recruiters how the candidates behave in a low-pressure environment, demonstrating the kind of interpersonal skills they can expect by bringing them on. Lastly, after that lunch, the process finishes up with a personal interview performed by the manager they would be directly working under. This gives the manager the ability to size up the candidate himself, and see whether or not it is someone they would want to work with.
This involved interview process can provide a great deal of predictability – at least moreso than typically found in interview processes. This is due to the fact that it is tempered and honed by the other tests, recruitment criteria, and exercises, which give the interviewer a great deal more information about the candidate. These trials allow the recruiter to gain a closer glimpse into the type of person the candidate is, and because they are looking for stronger people, they can more readily expect them to stay with the company and do good work, based on a positive outcome to the interview.
5. A candidate attempting to get hired at Standard Life would have a very distinct outlook on the way the company runs and how it is handled, based on the recruitment and selection process they would have to go through. By the end of the process, they would be exhausted – if they made it to the end of the process – but they would be incredibly invested in getting the job, as they had worked hard enough for it already. Lesser candidates would likely be scared off by such a multi-faceted, exhaustive process, and denounce Standard Life’s procedures as overkill, giving the impression of making the candidate jump through hoops to get the job. Some might also believe that the job isn’t worth all of the trouble and give up, opting instead to go to another company. Fortunately, this is part of the goal of these exercises – they are meant to bring out individuals who will go the extra mile and work harder than everyone else for the job.
The act of finishing the process itself speaks volumes about the amount of respect the candidate has for the recruiters, the company and the managers. (Hall, 2001) It is a much higher quality process than simple e-recruiting, as those can be risky and have a high chance of making the candidates lose respect for the companies who perform these shortcut-based methods of recruitment. (Searle, 2003) At the same time, there are the incredible challenges inherent in finding quality candidates while not using the Internet, as it can be harder to reach those who simply do not notice the more traditional attempts at advertising the job openings. E-recruiting to an extent is necessary for most companies, including Standard Life, but the followup procedures that Standard Life performs, through the interviews, exercises, and the search for criteria supplement that in a way that still ensures the respect of candidates and a better understanding of who would be a quality worker.
Potential candidates who even simply hear about the interview process from others might get intimidated; after all, it seems like a lot more work than most companies put candidates through in order to get the job. However, it might also intrigue them, as they will wonder what challenges could be inherent in the job that would make it worth it. The best workers strive for new challenges, which means that this particular recruitment process will attract more driven, self-motivated individuals, all of whom would likely make great assets to the company. In essence, those people that Standard Life is looking for will be enticed all the more by the multi-step procedures that they must go through in order to complete the interview process. They will work all the harder to succeed, and by the end of it, they will either qualify or they will not. No matter the outcome, the candidate, provided he is of sufficient character, will be grateful for the opportunity in the first place.
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