How a Family Owned Group Learned To Hire ‘Right’

Case Study

How a Family Owned Group Learned To Hire ‘Right’

A well defined and specific competency framework, a structured assessment approach, training all hiring managers, and using formats and templates to guide decision making are ingredients of success for effective talent acquisition.

Problem Definition Solution Description Results

The Company was facing a challenge with the quality of recruitment decisions as individuals appointed often did not match up to the assessment during the talent acquisition process. The Group was also significantly underperforming - A comparable business acquired by the Group in 2000 was performing at 10 times the EBITDA and PAT contribution levels. This was attributed to significantly better HR practices as well as cost management processes within the acquired business. The Company wanted to transfer the Human Resources Processes from the acquired business into the main Group, including the Executive Search Process.

The recruitment process followed by the business was a simple biographical interview process. The hiring managers were not trained in recruitment, and the business was not utilising a Competency Framework as a guideline.

As a first step, a Competency Framework was designed to suit the various businesses and hiring managers were trained on using the behavioural based tests as well as conducting the competency-based interviews, as well as on assessing results to ensure a uniform understanding of the process. Through a series of workshops, Competency based interview questionnaires were designed to cover the most frequently occurring vacancies and most standard functions in the business. Assessment Centres were designed for all recruitment which included role specific ability tests, personality profiles, role based individual or group activities, and a structured competency-based interview. A standardised scoring format allowed assessment scores from each component from the Assessment Centre to be aggregated into a final candidate score which formed the basis of arriving at a recruitment decision.

The business saw a significant improvement in the quality of recruitment, which in turn led to performance improvements, as well as reduced learning curves and shorter time taken for new joiners to reach 100% performance levels. The marked reduction in ‘hiring errors’ meant that the number of employees not being confirmed after the probationary period dropped to single digits thus helping reduce costs considerably. Not only did hiring managers exhibit a greater degree of confidence, the improved selection process left a positive impact on the candidates - Some of the rejected candidates became ambassadors of the company, thus improving the employer brand.


  • Ali Bin Ali Group
  • FMCG Distribution, Luxury Retail, Printing, Bottling, Restaurants
  • Leon Mendonsa
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