Management of Change and Development
Leadership – Performance – Customer Focus
October 2010
as a tool for effective staff selection
3 Interview
4 Miscellaneous/Inside trans_m
How to fill positions with the right persons
Better quality of processes – making use of opportunities
It is widely known that making the wrong recruitment choices may cost a multiple of annual
salaries, especially when it comes to executive
positions. Corporate management, HR managers
and HR service providers are all equally aware
of it. And yet, it is still not standard procedure
in Switzerland to subject all applicants to a professional and all-encompassing process of evaluation. Much-debated national cases of recruitment failures and departures, even in a trial
period, are painful reminders of just how important consistent and standardised selection procedures really are. Obviously CVs and certificates
are scrutinized, structured interviews held, and
employer’s references checked on. One third of
all companies perform assessments while others
demand to see work samples.
So can anything possibly go wrong when several
methods are combined in a meaningful manner?
there an up-to-date job and skills profile? Does it
include important indicators of personality as well
as social and leadership skills over and beyond
business qualifications? Does the candidate get
specific information on the current situation, resources, the environment, corporate culture, generally known issues and hidden requirements? One
question that should not be neglected is the candidate’s motivation to take up a new challenge: is
it rooted in a current feeling of dissatisfaction, or
will a change of career simply be a handy extra
feature in the CV?
Another aspect to be borne in mind is the relation­
ship between operational organisation and the
board of directors: does the new executive to be
recruited speak the same language, pursue the
same strategy, and share the same operational objectives? And is the candidate also “compatible”
with the existing crew, or a welcome addition to
it, in cultural and human terms?
Our experience shows that fewer instruments are
used especially for recruitment of upper and top- These are a lot of open questions. We recommend
management executives. On the one hand, it is to challenge existing recruitment processes, parti­
feared that well-paid candidates would not be cularly with regard to key positions, in order to
willing to undergo an extensive selection proce- safeguard their quality and effectiveness in goal
dure. On the other hand, their feeling generally is achievement. trans_m will be pleased to support
that no additional information is required on such you by means of a quick analysis pointing out the
candidates or that their experience suffices as a essential factors to be improved. We are looking
track record. Another reason may be the general forward to having a dialogue with you!
awareness that no assessment will eventually be
a full guarantee for successful activity in the real Rolf Erny, MBA,
world. A successful selection procedure is based Managing Director, Chairman of the Board,
on much more fundamental questions though: is [email protected]
Doing the right thing right: that’s what
filling key positions is about!
Enhancing quality of recruitment opens up
new opportunities, in the market, with
customers and for staff. Recruitment failures, however, not only cost a lot of money,
but will also be noticed and judged by staff
and the outside world. And not to forget,
re-recruitment will be more demanding and
constitute a challenge in terms of time. Our
current news are devoted to investigating
this issue.
In the present Newsletter, you will find
contributions from various angles on how
to improve quality of recruitment. A practical example will outline to you Swiss Re’s
procedure for filling key positions. Other
articles from our staff highlight important
recruitment components such as tools and
processes. And finally, a quick analysis will
help you to get an impression of how well
your organisation is doing with regard to
Yours truly,
Rolf Erny
trans_m AG Querstrasse 4 CH-8304 Wallisellen E-Mail [email protected]
October 2010 Newsletter
Creating transparency
HOGAN ASSESSMENT Systems as a tool
for effective staff selection
Quick analysis in view of a successful recruitment process
❑❑ Full job description available? Company location, business area,
department, team, management
responsibility, reporting line, specification
of responsibilities, objective, powers or
proxies, preferred soft skills, development
prospects, start of employment.
❑❑ Full requirements profile available?
Education, additional qualifications,
work experience, command of languages,
computer knowledge, experience working
abroad, social as well as methodological
and leadership skills, entrepreneurial
❑❑ How to conduct the search?
Internal/external job description,
recommendations, co-operation with
external suppliers, HR marketing at
job-seekers’ fairs, interview, personality
or performance test, individual
assessment, assessment center,
check on references, work samples.
Personality of staff is a fundamental success
driver in any company. Every day organisations
are faced with the question of which applicants
are most appropriate to open positions to be
filled. Making the wrong choices will both come
at a high price tag and lead to disappointment.
This is why HR departments increasingly resort
to valid test procedures when selecting staff.
Successful co-operation is a function not only
of job qualifications but also of staff personality.
Suitable personality tests will support your
recruiting process.
To assess the candidates’ skills and character traits,
it is no longer sufficient today to carry out one or
several interviews limited in terms of time and
content. And yet Hogan does not replace traditional interviews, but helps HR and line managers
to better prepare for them and avoid making the
wrong choices. Owing to Hogan, trans_m clients
have been able to considerably reduce recruitment
cost as well as the number of wrong choices and
their financial consequences.
Tina Maly, our Key Account Manager, will be pleased
to supply further information.
Hogan Personality Tests, already applied successfully by international corporations, are an effec- Tina Maly
tive means of staff selection matching the candi- MA UZH, publicist, Key Account Manager,
dates’ potential against specifications of the [email protected]
positions to be filled. Hogan provides a comprehensive description of the candidates’ aptitude,
specifying personal strengths, occupational risks
and personal value systems. Using Hogan, our
clients learn whether candidates are going to be
successful in their companies and in the positions
to be filled, and whether candidates will be compatible with certain teams or the company’s
by trans_m
culture in general.
❑❑ Application process defined?
Responsibilities, timetable, technical
PDF available from the downloads section at
❑❑ Who are the decision-makers?
Executive management, line managers,
HR managers, recruiters.
❑❑ What are the selection criteria?
CV content/layout, application letter,
certificates, references, matching with
requirements profile.
Frequency of use of HR selection procedures
Role-playing (outside AC)
❑❑ How is the position going ❑
to evolve in future?
Future requirements potentially resulting
from change regarding the environment,
the market, the customers and
the competitors, and its impact on the
candidate’s core competencies and types
of behaviour. Requirements for selfdevelopment and the candidate’s
change-management skills/attitude.
4.6 %
Medical check-up
5.6 %
Trial days
Presentations (outside AC)
11.9 %
Biographical questionnaire
12.7 %
16.5 %
Graphological analysis
19.6 %
Performance tests
Criminal records/character reference
23.8 %
Work samples
25 %
30.9 %
Assessment center
33.2 %
Personality tests
❑❑ Any further aspects relevant ❑
to filling the position?
88.9 %
Check on employer’s references
99.4 %
99.6 %
Analysis of application documents
0 %
Source: study by Matthias Berchtold on the most
frequently used procedures in HR selection
6.9 %
trans_m AG Querstrasse 4 CH-8304 Wallisellen E-Mail [email protected]
10 %
20 %
30 %
40 %
50 %
60 %
70 %
80 %
90 %
100 %
October 2010 Newsletter
“Exchange of ideas clearly went beyond the scope of the assignment.”
Rolf Erny talking to Mr Gian Paul Ganzoni, Lead Human Resources Business Partner, Swiss Re, Zurich.
Mr Ganzoni, you performed a special selection
process for the role of Human Resources
Business Partners in the course of reorganisation
of Swiss Re’s Human Resources department.
Why did you choose this particular function
to undergo in-depth scrutiny?
The Head of HR and myself as his HR Business
Partner had come to the conviction that, in
reorganising HR, we should have a closer look at
the profile of requirements for future HR Business
Partners and enhance it. As the planned reorganisation was going to considerably reduce the
number of prestigious HR Business Partner functions, it was all the more important to design a
careful, credible and well-embedded selection
consultants and myself in my capacity as the HR
Business Partner in charge supervised each AC.
The selection process included a specific
assessment center scrutinizing the skills
required. What was your experience of this
particular AC, and how did the candidates
respond to it?
Basically, my experience of the AC was very good.
It resulted in an intense dialogue with the assessors
and stakeholders on how to concretely design the
profile of requirements by means of specific and
realistic examples of behaviour.
Gian Paul Ganzoni Lead Human Resources Business Partner Swiss Re, Zurich
You chose the services of trans_m
AG to carry out the ACs. What was
the main reason for this decision?
There were two reasons for choosing
The candidates experienced solid, broadly-based trans_m: Swiss Re had had a positive
and largely objective assessment summarized in a experience working with trans_m on
short report. In the run-up to the AC, the candi- an earlier project, and trans_m was
We began by defining the future profile of require- dates were sceptical and nervous as most of them flexible enough to develop and conments together with relevant stakeholders, and had not had a personal AC experience yet. How- duct the ACs together with us within
went on to carry out a one-day assessment center ever, on the day of the AC and following the indi- a period of some two months.
vidual feedback talks with the trans_m assessors,
(AC) with the help of trans_m.
almost all candidates rated their AC experience trans_m has implemented our ideas in
positive and valuable. One of the key factors of a professional and factual manner, and
What did your selection process involve,
this success certainly was the tailoring of all ex- has shown the necessary flexi­bility
and how did you proceed?
Initially, we chose the applicants to be invited for ercises to Swiss Re’s HR Business Partner function. in a variety of situations. The process
the selection process, which we did by analysing
of preparation and our co-operation
their CVs shortening down the long list. The In hindsight, would you use the same process
conducting the five ACs have produced
selection process as such consisted of online again? What findings did you have?
a valuable exchange of ideas that
simulation performed by the candidates at home I would basically work with the same process clearly went beyond the scope of the
and in advance followed by a one-day assessment design again. However, it took more time than original assignment.
on site.
originally planned to match the profile of requirements with the specific skills inside HR, to develop Mr Ganzoni, thank you very much
The selection process was approved,
the AC exercises, to investigate compliance with for your comments. We wish you all
and consistently applied worldwide, by the
labour law of online simulation and the U.S. AC, the best in implementing your
HR Management Team. How did you ensure
demanding approach!
and to draft the individual reports.
equal opportunity?
We used identical criteria globally as well as a consistent timeline. One half of the assessors were
recruited from the HR Management Team, the
other half from among highly committed line
managers. To make sure the assessors actually
provided objective and unbiased views, the trans_m
Anniversary year
A Master’s candidate at the University of Zurich
has been identified to take on the “Return on
Development” project, as announced in our April
2010 News.
trans_m actively contributes to Sporthilfe, a Swiss
fund-raising foundation supporting up-and-coming athletes and celebrating its 40th anniversary,
by means of a donation extended to Sporthilfe’s
charity GOLF-MASTERS on July 2nd 2010. We are
pleased to help young and committed sports
talents realise their dream of becoming top-level
Early in the summer of 2010, trans_m carried out
its first-ever joint consulting project for a pharma­
ceutical company in co-operation with papilio AG.
The project featured 360° feedback with an ensuing
executives’ workshop for the top three levels of
management. Upon successful completion of this
assignment, we are now embarked on a joint
future, looking forward to continuing fruitful and
inspiring co-operation.
Our website at now comes with
a downloads section where you will find helpful
information and documents to assist you in your
day-to-day work. The current offer features a quick
analysis in view of a successful recruitment pro­
cess, which is also covered on page 2 of the present
News. Furthermore includes descriptions of all trans_m services as well as an
archive of all Newsletters issued so far.
Inside trans_m
trans_m AG
Querstrasse 4
CH-8304 Wallisellen
Last but not least, we congratulate very cordially
Mrs Sandra Fischer Christen, a member of our team,
and her husband on the birth of their son Jonas.
All the best!
+41 43 233 32 13
+41 43 233 32 15
[email protected]
Member of CNI CareerNet International
trans_m AG Querstrasse 4 CH-8304 Wallisellen E-Mail [email protected]
October 2010 Newsletter