Back News  /  June 2013

The HR Challenges Facing Medium-Sized Companies

Recruitment and Management Audit – the perspective of those making management decisions

·    Recruiting managers: companies rely on the CV and the interview
·    Skilled workers are exposed to diagnostic selection processes more frequently than managers

By Karl-Josef Mandorf, Managing Partner of the HR consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants.

When a top manager is asked to leave a company prematurely, then the cause is most often poor leadership skills. 43% of companies name this as a reason for unplanned new recruitment. 35% complain that these top managers show deficits in their social skill-set. In addition, nearly one third state that the manager in question was unable to fit in with the existing company culture. These are some of the key findings of the study “HR Challenges Facing Medium-Sized Companies”, for which the HR consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants had over 200 respondents with HR responsibility from companies with over 250 employees interviewed.

The HR managers ranked the criteria for selecting a candidate from most to least important as follows: firstly professional qualifications, then experience and lastly, social skills. It is a contradiction in terms: although lacking social skills are often a key driver in the dismissal of a top manager, this criteria is considered least important when recruiting a new top manager.

Skilled workers are tested more rigorously that their managers

In this context, it is ominous that while skilled workers usually face personality tests and Assessment Centres, a top manager is not subjected to a single test by two out of five companies (43%). Companies are satisfied by the interview as the sole foundation on which to base their decision. In fact the failure to apply any diagnostic tools, especially when recruiting senior managers can become problematic: The more senior the position, the higher the cost of a poor decision.

It would be logical to suppose that, the more senior the position, the greater the effort made the most suitable candidate. In reality it is easy to observe that an exaggerated emphasis is placed on top manager’s professional experience and apparent track-record of success. In contrast, hardly any weight is given to the fit between the manager’s personality and the culture of the company: companies are much more tolerant of a top manager’s character quirks than of those of less senior employees.

Profiling reduces the risk of making poor choices

The internal consequences of a selection are often underestimated, as these may take months to become apparent. Should one chose to minimise the risk of making a poor choice of candidate and decide to learn more about a manager’s personality structure, then one may utilize structured depth-interviews as well as diagnostic techniques. Whether one choses to extend beyond personality tests and employ case studies and hypothetical scenarios must be decided individually for a specific situation.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0