Trajectory Investments Evaluating the Selection Process in a New Region
Evaluating the Selection Process in a New Region
Table is attached.
Trajectory Investments had expanded its investment services rapidly into foreign markets over the last four years. Although it had given careful attention to developing and honing its selection processes in its North American locations, Jackson gave a sigh as he received feedback from the company’s Pacific Rim Region HR lead. Gang Lim’s latest email summarized that only 50 percent of the new financial services advisors in his region were considered “satisfactory” by their managers. Jackson sat back, acknowledging that the hiring process that had worked successfully in North America for the last 10 years simply wasn’t effective in producing the same results in the Pacific Rim.
Jackson had been involved with the project team that had developed the selection process for financial services advisors in North America at its inception. At the time, Trajectory had brought in Right Fit Consulting to help build the steps. The process, essentially, was that applicants completed an online application, which was then given an auto-assessment score. The score was based on the applicant’s education and experience. Applicants meeting a minimum score of 50 were invited to participate in an on-site assessment at an assessment centre. North American applicants were referred to a local branch of Talent Assessors Inc., where they completed assessment centre exercises in mixed groups, including people who had applied to other positions in other organizations. These exercises included a leaderless group discussion, a situational judgment test, and a financial services aptitude test; Trajectory was then provided with an overall assessment centre score for each candidate.
Candidates scoring above 70 were invited for an interview with Trajectory HR personnel as well as with the applicant’s prospective manager. Jackson recalled the careful attention that the team had paid to developing a solid structured interview with both behaviour description and situational questions based on critical incidents. He was proud of the integrity of the scoring guide and the thoughtful instructions that would add reliability and validity to the interview process. At the conclusion of each interview, the HR person and prospective supervisor would each complete independent scores for the candidate, and then would meet to discuss their assessments. Successful candidates were then offered the job.
HR had been collecting information about the performance of the hires made since the implementation of the hiring process. Scores on the interviews and indications of whether the hire was ultimately successful at performing the financial services advisor job (as evaluated by the hire’s manager as part of the annual performance evaluation process) were tracked. Jackson pulled up the latest report on the rates of success of hires from the North American operations (see Table 1). Based on the success of previous applicants and the number of applications typically received, Trajectory focused on hiring applicants who scored 80 and higher on the interview.
When the company first began expansion into the Pacific Rim, Jackson had recommended that financial services advisors be hired using the same process that had been honed in North America. A few adjustments were needed, however. First, the application screening tool was not available in all countries. Strict censorship policies in China made the online screening application that Trajectory used in North America inaccessible for Chinese applicants. As a result, for the Pacific Rim region, the screening assessment was considered optional. When applicants were able to successfully log onto the tool, their scores were used, but applicants were able to move onto the assessment centre stage even if they didn’t complete the job application. As Jackson reflected on the process now, he knew that it would be possible for applicants to get through to later stages without the desired financial education and experience that Trajectory desired.
As for the assessment centre, Jackson admitted that there, too, the company had cut some corners. There was not a network of firms offering assessment centre services in all major centres where Trajectory was in operation in the Pacific Rim as there was in North America through its partnership with Talent Assessors. Gang Lim had established relationships with local assessment centres in the cities of their major operations, but he had expressed that there was not a standardized process used by each of the firms. Some firms would run applicants through the assessment centre individually, which Jackson knew meant that they couldn’t be running a leaderless group discussion. In short, ratings from one assessment centre location were not necessarily equitably comparable to assessments from other locations. Jackson rubbed his temples to ease the headache beginning to form behind his eyes.
Next, Jackson considered the interview process used in the Pacific Rim. He believed that this North American tool would have some validity in the Pacific Rim. Looking at Table 1, he reflected again on the success of financial services advisors on the job and their interview performance from the North American data. He wondered if the company should complete a similar table for the Pacific Rim region, or whether the problems with the selection process required a deeper look.
1. If the numbers in Table 1 were true for operations in the Pacific Rim, how many
people would Gang Lim have to interview to get 50 successful employees who have a. a score of 60 or higher on the test?
b. a score of 70 or higher on the test?
2. What suggestions do you have for Jackson and Gang Lim about amendments they could make to the existing hiring process in the Pacific Rim that could improve the success of hires?
3. How would you go about designing a selection process for the Pacific Rim operations from scratch?
4. Is it important to have similar hiring processes for different regions of the same company? Why or why not?
5. What additional programs could you put into place in the Pacific Rim to help improve the success of newly hired financial services advisors?