Case REHAU. CBI method implementation

REHAU is the premium brand for polymer-based innovations. Ever since its foundation in 1948 REHAU has been developing creative solutions with polymer-based materials that outperform other traditional materials.

REHAU offers polymer-based solutions in three key business segments: construction, automotive and industry.

Personnel recruitment at REHAU has its own intrinsic specifics. To work effectively at such a high-tech enterprise, employees require a significant level of technical knowledge and a specific skills set, which will be improved during further work and training. The training of novices is a very costly measure. Consequently, the company is interested in long-term investments in personnel. HR managers are confronted with the objective of recruiting candidates, who are highly likely to be successful. This means that candidate assessment tools should be as accurate as possible.

If it is possible to objectively identify the technical knowledge and abilities of candidates through standardized tests, such behavioral qualities as focus on results or persuasive communication may only be assessed during an interview.

There are several types of interviews – each one has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, a standard CV-based interview covers a wide range of topics and is widely anticipated by the candidate. However, it enables well-prepared candidates to control the situation. When using this type of interview, a great deal of irrelevant information is collected, which increases the risk that a decision might be adopted due to prejudice and stereotypes.

A situational interview sets clear assessment standards, as all the candidates are asked the same previously drafted hypothetical questions. However, the hypothetical questions GENERATE hypothetical responses. Consequently, the information gathered on a candidate may be divorced from reality.

Nowadays competency-based interviews are considered the most reliable types of interviews. The key advantage of such an interview is the ability to perform an objective comparison of candidates based on clear-cut criteria, reflecting the key behavioral skills required for successful work at a specific position. The techniques used to conduct competency-based interviews make it possible to collect only information that is important for the employer, while the assessment of the candidate is as independent as possible from the personality of the interviewer.

REHAU sought to standardize the recruitment process, above all to help managers determine the individuals that they actually need for a specific vacancy and make the decision-making process on each candidate as objective as possible. To resolve this task, REHAU contacted Detech. The company’s managers were invited to attend a one-day training course entitled “Competency-based Interviews”.

When preparing the training course, Detech’s experts took several descriptions of official duties and analyzed them using the universal 20 Dimensions competency model. This model was the result of large-scale research carried out in 2005-2009 by Detech for the purpose of identifying key competencies that define a leader’s success in Russia. The model includes 20 competencies that can be divided into five clusters: management skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills, individual traits and motivation. Analysis of job descriptions, with the support of the 20 Dimensions model, helped them identify the key competencies required to be successful in specific positions at REHAU. Then lists of questions were compiled to determine these competencies during an interview. Consequently, the training courses were tailored to the objectives of REHUA’s managers, while the highlighted competencies served as the uniform criteria for selecting candidates for the vacancies under consideration.

Svetlana Simonenko,  Managing Partner, Detech, talks about the training course: “A competency-based interview is on the one hand a very simple and interesting process, and on the other hand a fairly complex technique. The main difficulty is you have to overcome your own stereotypes before you can master this technique. The interview process is not one of the underlying behavioral skills; all managers acquire this skill independently to some extent or other, and develop their own systems for determining the compliance of a candidate. As they all have different systems, this presents a major problem for the organization. An individual, particularly if he or she is successful and holds a senior position, finds it hard to understand that he or she has made a mistake. Working with internal stereotypes of managers that have become engrained with experience is the main difficulty of this training course. However, if an individual is honest with himself or himself, wants to move forward and become the standard setter in staff selection in his or her organization, then it is very IMPORTANT to acknowledge his or her shortcomings. If individuals are prepared morally, they will rapidly sense the effectiveness of competency-based interview techniques, and will acquire skill in this area with practice”.

In order to correctly master this technique, a train-the-trainers interview course should be held. The training course at Detech helped the managers learn: