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According to Chapter 2, it was seen that in UK companies, the recruitment and selection methods adopted are straightforward differing considerably among organisations. The aim of this chapter is to present the case of an MNC company (INVESTEC Group) which provides services and financial products primarily in three different countries along with others, but the research's main aim is in UK, highlighting in this particular country, the recruitment and selection methods adopted by the organisation for selecting personnel. INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK) is an international specialist bank and asset manager firm located in London, UK and has a large number of people employed (they do a yearly headcount worldwide), aiming to be able to build business in market niches where they can compete effectively.
The findings are presented by analysing the qualitative data collected by interviewing eight HR managers at the target organisation to develop themes based on the research questions. The interview guide consisted of questions bases on the topic recruitment and selection which were designed by the writer (Appendix I).
4.2 Profile of the Investec Bank Plc (UK)
The Investec Group originated as a small financing company in Johannesburg in 1974 acquiring a banking license in 1980 and being listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1986. The group's first international acquisition occurred in UK when it acquired the London-based Allied Trust Bank (ATB) Limited in 1992 which opened the chances for its capability in UK. In 1995, its chances in UK were further expanded by it acquiring London-based Clive Discount Company. In 1996, Investec acquired London-based stockbroker and private client portfolio management Company. The year 1997 saw the renaming of the earlier acquisitions with the ATB being renamed as Investec Bank (UK) Limited (IBUK). Later on in the year 1999, IBUK merged with the banking business of Guinness Mahon. IBUK now incorporates Investec Henderson Crosthwaite ("IHC"), Investec Private Equity and Investec Insurance. With the 21st century, in the year 2001 Investec Bank (UK) Limited acquired Radcliffes Trustee Company S.A. based in Geneva and Theodores Trust and Law Group based in Jersey. This augments Investec's trust and fiduciary capacity as well as its international private client structuring capabilities. Furthermore, in the same year IBUK acquired a 35% stake in Hargreave Hale, a private client stockbroker. The year 2002 was an achievement in the history of Investec, as it implemented a Dual Listing Companies (DLC) Structure with it being listed both on JSE and LSE (London Stock Exchange). Moreover this year enhanced the Group's project advisory and finance capability in the UK by acquiring European Capital Company Ltd, and its team of project finance advisers and arranges. In 2004, Investec winded down its UK Trade Endowments business Investec also sold its UK Private Client Stockbroking operation, Carr Sheppards Crosthwaite Limited to Rensburg plc and retained a 47.7% interest in the combined entity, Rensburg Sheppards plc in the year 2005. Finally, in 2007 Investec Plc made another UK acquisition of Kensington Group Plc.
4.3 Recruitment and Selection Process in INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK)
After interviewing the HR managers from the Human Resource Department of INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK), the findings about the various stages of the recruitment and selection process are presented below:
4.3.1 Preparing requirements - Job Analysis
Investec Bank Plc (UK) practices job analysis as the first stage of its recruitment and selection process. At this stage, the hiring manager in cooperation and conjunction with the HR department, prepare a role description and person specifications. In the former, the major duties of the job, the overall objective and a brief description about where and whom to report are identified and highlighted whereas the latter contains an identification and description about the 5 to 6 core competencies related to the skills and knowledge which need to be possessed by the applicant in order to be successful for the role. However, the HR Apprentice of the organisation commented that in spite of knowing that the job analysis is an important stage for hiring and obtaining the best possible candidate,
"it is an area which we still needed to develop on".
Recruitment is one of the most important decisions taken by Line Manager when recruiting candidates. As soon as the Line manager is notified of a vacancy, the first step takes place with the
"Line manager asking for authorisation from the business unit head to move forward for carrying out any recruitment activities"
for the filling of the vacant position. And once the Line manager has obtained this authorisation, then in colligation with the Human Resource Department, he carries out the entire recruitment process. The Line Manager also has to make sure that the regulatory and legal requirements have been compiled and met throughout the recruitment process. The stage of attracting and recruiting candidates occurs after the job analysis stage has taken place fully with the necessary role description of the job in hand of the Line manager to gather the mandatory information regarding the characteristics required to be possessed by a successful candidate.
The company tends to follows different methods for recruiting candidates for different divisions and this is provided by the Banks HR Consultants. According to the HR Generalist interviewed, for a vacant position, the company usually draws applicants first from its organised CV database, as it is necessary for the organisation to keep records of all candidates whenever they applied to ensure their commitment policy to comply with the legal (equal opportunity policy, data protection act and the right to work in UK) and the regulatory (FSA - Financial Services Authority and Training &Competence) polices to see whether the competencies required for the job might be possessed by candidates who have applied earlier or who have forwarded their CVs online in search for a suitable job by contacting the particular office where they are looking for the job. Once such a post is vacant, the CV database is searched through to give a chance to a candidate who had been rejected earlier for a post which he was not capable of but might be suitable for the one in question or to those looking to start afresh.
However for a senior management positions and for critical specialist appointments, the Human Resource Department doesn't rely on such methods, but make use of other recruitment methods. Internal transfers is the most prominent method considered by INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK) for filling up such position as it is convenient to promote an employee to a higher post by he/she clearing certain exams affiliated by the FSAs showing that he/she is competent to take up that position. The HR Consultants also seek to use external advertising by designing and placing job advertisements in local newspapers or in case of really specialist positions, in national newspapers and specialist journals. But, owing to the expensiveness of the use of external advertising in nationwide newspapers and journals, this usually takes place when highly critical or professionally specialised technical appointments are to be made. Also, with the growing use of Internet technology, most of the vacancies are now advertised on the Corporate Website which is the only medium to apply, highlighting the use of E-recruitment by the organisation.
But there are cases when the above techniques fail to generate the requisite and suitable candidates, and the company follows different recruiting strategies involving selecting and vetting recruitment agencies, briefing them about the job and negotiating preferred supplier contracts with agencies. This is evident in case of recruiting Graduates where the company is working closely with an external party called The Cornell Partnership for recruiting them for Graduate Programmes. It is also noted that in order to provide recruitment activities to all divisions, the HRD is using researching and reporting on employment market trends, providing remuneration benchmarking information, and competitively structuring remuneration packages by thinking of
"currently undertaking McClaggans Job matching for comparing the external market to their current salaries".
Following the stage of recruitment, INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK) follows the shortlisting stage, where the applications are sifted through to generate the right, suitable and appropriate qualified candidates to pass on to the stage of selection. The pre-selection method considered by the organisation is the use of CVs. The information entered into the CVs consists of qualifications and educational background, work experiences, special skills and attributes in addition to any other details. The information in the CVs is compared with the core competencies identified in the role descriptions and person specifications and the suitable candidates are shortlisted whose details are passed on to the HR/Line manager before the interviewing stage. However, according to one of the senior HR Managers, the candidates who are not shortlisted are rejected only
"if they lack possession of skills or knowledge for the role AND there can be no Development Plan to address these shortcomings"
and on rejection should be notified in writing giving them feedback if possible.
When selecting candidates, INVESTEC Bank Plc UK follows different methods of selection keeping in mind the position it is hiring for. However, the selection methods making use of References and Interviews are used for all the jobs in questions irrespective of what post. These methods should adhere to the UK discrimination Law, the Data Protection Act, the evidence regarding the right to work in UK and finally comply with the Training and Competence Policy.
References, often asked by the candidates in a written format are used in the selection of all the employees keeping in mind the Bank's recruitment policy. These references are a means for checking pre-employment details about the candidates as mentioned by them in the CVs making use of a detailed third-party background screening which is above the recommended standards for the FSA.
Next, once the CVs of the applicants have been matched with the core competencies required for the job and after shortlisting the candidates being considered suitable are passed on to the interview stage assessing and recording of evidence of competence. Interviews are the most important selection method used for personnel assessment and selection in INVESTEC BANK Plc. The purpose behind the use of interviews is to assess a candidate's technical ability and cultural fit in the organisation. The interviewer consists of either a single person or a group of persons (Line manager, HRM, Head of Department, Peers, Executive(when required) and Organisational Development) depending who can best assess the core competencies mentioned in the Role Descriptions. However, when hiring for senior management and critical positions, the presence of OD is mandatory even if the HR is not present for evaluating the candidates' suitability. The interviewer interviews the interviewee assessing each of the core competencies in the interviewee and keeps all the detailed noted and information about the latter's past performance to look for evidence to back up the assessment reached. This is lieu of the FSA's saying that "if it is not evidenced, it did not happen". Each of the Interviews is mentioned on the Interview Feedback Form again ensuring that the legal and regulatory requirements have been met.
The final selection decision involving choosing the suitable candidate (considered as competent) and recording basis for decision occurs collaboratively with all the people involved in interviewing by gathering the relevant data from the assessment process. Any training gaps are also identified in the chosen candidate with regard to core competencies, and if so happens, the candidate is considered as not competent for Day 1 of the job. The evidence to support the assessment decision is documented on the New Joiner Summary Form. Moreover, the applicants rejected should be given a clear feedback involving detailed and objective reasons for turning them down backed by evidence. The interview evidence should be kept for at least a 6 month period to provide the defence in case any complaint is brought against the Bank.
Hence, finally for new joiners and trainees marked as Not-yet Competent a Development Plan and a Supervision Plan (if necessary) is prepared to help them clear the competency gaps and exams to be re-assessed as competent and FSA Registered. All the above highlighted documents need to be completed to a quality that meets the T&C regulations of the company and should be handed over to the HR before the joining of the employee, who keeps a record of the employee's documentation and personal data maintaining confidentiality.
Although the above two procedures are seen to be dominant ones as mentioned, but there have been some cases (like for the ones where FSA Registration is required), the Compliance Team working with the business tends to identify certain exams and tests need to be given by front-office employees and overseers to be considered competent . Moreover, if the person hired requires FSA registration as an approved person, then the New Joiner Summary Form must and ought to be signed by the Compliance Business Advisor and Chief Operating Officer in the division.
Moreover, according to the HR Consultant, no other selection techniques are used by Investec as an organisation for selection other than interviews in spite of knowing the high reliability and validity of other selection methods like Assessment Centres and Psychometric Tests. However, the organisation is considering
"to promote engagement and management coaching for HR related issues, as a way to improve the organisational environment".
This chapter discussed analytically about INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK) as an organisation, highlighting the entire step-by-step recruitment and selection process of the organisation discussing the recruitment and selection methods used by the Human Resource Department of the company. The conclusion drawn from this chapter was that the company makes use of only two recruitment methods with the primary focus on advertising for senior professionals and external agencies for Graduate Programmes. As for the selection process, INVESTEC Bank Plc (UK) makes use of Cook's 2003 "classic trio" comprising of Application Forms/CVs, References and Interviews. However, the main importance is given to Interviews with it having many steps and no use of the sophisticated selection methods is seen to take place. The following chapter will discuss about the findings relating them to the research questions identifying the problems and challenges faced by Investec.
Discussion of the findings
Relating the findings to Research Questions
The aim of the dissertation as mentioned in Chapter 1 was to help the reader know about the recruitment and selection methods followed in UK organisation in today's climate to know to what extent it has proved effective and has led to what recruitment challenges and problems faced by the firm. Therefore, the objective behind this chapter is to discuss the findings of INVESTEC Bank Plc UK in relation to the literature and note the further interesting points in relation to the research questions regarding the effect on the organisation's objective, the impact of recession on the organisation's resourcing activities and the factors which affect its recruitment and selection process design.
Recruitment and selection stages and process at INVESTEC Bank Plc
Noting the study of the findings mentioned in the previous chapter, it can be clearly said and stated that Investec Bank Plc UK, a UK organisation has not adopted and employed all the methods that other MNCs practice in today's world. However, the company is trying to implement new recruitment and selection techniques by considering MCClaggans Job Matching and promoting engagement and management coaching. Here's a discussion on the stages of the recruitment and selection process at:
As argued in Chapter 2, job analysis is an important stage to ensure the effectiveness of a recruitment and selection process because it helps to generate both the right job as well as the employee requirements which proves beneficial for the company with minimising the chances of a wrong selection. Moreover, this stage helps in shortlisting owing to the matching of core competencies mentioned in the requirements helping to sort out the worthy candidates from the non-worthy ones.
Investec Bank Plc's Human Resource Department practices Job Analysis as the first step of the entire recruitment and selection process. As mentioned by the HR managers interviewed, job analysis is a pre-requisite to identify the key responsibilities and duties of the role, key skills, knowledge and personal attributes required by the candidate to perform a competent role. These role and person descriptions are identified by the HR managers of various departments in conjunction and cooperation with the head of the business unit. However, the Department feels that though they are performing job analysis to a good level, there can still be chances to further enhance and improve it making it better and more effective in future.
Attraction is the second stage of the recruitment process in Investec Bank Plc creating a pool of candidates to recruit from. Again, the previous chapter pointed out that Investec Bank Plc uses a variety or recruitment methods involving CV database, advertising, employment agencies, internal transfers and e-recruitment.
Firstly as seen from the findings, for almost every position, the company relies on its CV database to see if it can find a suitable candidate to take up the position either a fresh one or a one which had been rejected earlier for some other post. The main advantage behind using such a recruitment method is that as this database is renewed every 1 year it doesn't get stagnated with only previous records but also gives the new upcoming and fresh talent a chance to apply by forwarding their CVs to the company branch in UK where they wish to work.
As for senior management and vital positions, the firm makes use of a number of methods involving the use of internal transfers and external advertising mainly. External advertising involving advertisements in nation-wide newspaper helps to generate a large pool of applicants but with the disadvantage of proving expensive and resulting in a large number of unsuitable candidates. Hence, the company prefers the use of internal search to this form of external recruiting when looking for filling senior managerial positions, however, proven that they are competent. The company's Compliance Team checks on the junior level employees and staff to see if they can clear certain exams affiliated by FSA mandate for the post and get them promoted to the senior level. This helps Investec not only to save on recruitment cost by having to look for candidates outside the organisation but also increases its productivity and help achieve its strategic goals as promotion boosts employees' morale making them more committed to the organisation. Yet, it is notable for Investec, that practising this technique of recruitment it maybe resulting in it excluding more competent employees. Therefore, the HRD of the company should realise that promoting candidates from within for higher posts results in them not getting access to fresh candidates with new and innovative ideas.
In addition, the facility of online recruiting helps INVESTEC Bank Plc to save on recruitment costs by generating an application form online as on only medium to fill an application, but this form of recruiting again generates a large pool of candidates for the company who may be unsuitable.
Moreover, as INVESTEC Bank plc, is concerned about compliance with the legal and regulatory policies throughout its recruitment process, it doesn't employ employee referrals/recommendations for recruitment as it believes in hiring applicants based on merit. This is accordance with their discrimination and diversity policy which benefits them from being stagnant with a workforce related to each other with no opportunities for outsiders.
From a study of the findings in the previous Chapter, it was seen that INVESTEC Bank Plc UK practices the Cook's "classic" trio as the selection methods, with interview given a significant emphasis and importance.
Though Application forms are seen as the first step for selecting candidates according to Cook's classic trio, but INVESTEC Bank Plc uses CVs as the first step for selection though it serves the same purpose to an extent. CVs are used for shortlisting purposes and hence they serve as a pathway towards the interview stage. The CVs help INVESTEC to get a good profile of each and every candidate by allowing the latter to present themselves in an attractive manner to the employer but as mentioned in Chapter 2 they score low on validity and reliability. Moreover, admitted by HR managers interviewed admitted that this form of selection can prove disadvantageous as applicants can put in false information about them in the CVs. But, however, the company focuses on the checking of the content in the CVs using references and a third party-screening screening check which is highly above the standards recommended by the FSA.
Interviews sessions take place once the candidates have cleared the shortlisting round as they have the apt competencies required for the role and is used for selecting employees regardless of the post. The interviews are the most popular method of selection and can constitute multi-stages. Although, emphasised by the interviewed HR Professionals of Investec that interviews are the necessary medium used by interviews for assessing a candidates skills for future performance on the job, they even admitted that they can score less on validity owing to the interviewers' lack of skills and their decision-making attitude leading to wrong judgements. Therefore, as mentioned in Chapter two, steps to improve the interview process and its validity involve structuring them, providing training to the interviewing panel and avoiding discrimination to take place. Therefore, INVESTEC Bank Plc has adopted steps to counter problems with the interview process. It has provided voluntary interview coaching to people willing to take interviews helping them gain experience and skills to be able to assist in the selection process. Also, it has given guidance that none of the questions asked should be construed as discriminatory making sure that the interview process is conducted in accordance with the Bank's equal opportunity policf. Furthermore, the questions should only be related to the selection criteria and must only be asked to elicit information which will give a fair assessment of that particular applicant's ability (both technical and non-technical) to perform the tasks and responsibilities required by the vacancy. However, INVESTEC still uses unstructured interviews but believes that its strategy of multi stage interviews mostly involving 5 business people can heighten the validity of the interviews due to the exposure to a number of people.
Letters of references as mentioned again in the findings in Chapter four, are the last form of methods used for selection by INVESTEC Bank Plc to check the information given by candidates in their CVs making sure that they are the right people to employ. "If such pre-employment checks provide unsatisfactory results in circumstances after the commencement of the employee's employment, then it is in the hands of the Bank to consider whether it is appropriate to continue to employ the individual or not". Moreover, if the Banks finds out that an employee has provided false or incorrect information in his application regard to education or pre-employment checks, such issues are handled by the HR which can also lead to the employee's summary dismissal on the ground of misconduct. However, a noteworthy point here is that such references are used as a primary device for hiring the candidates in spite of the fact that they score low on reliability and validity.
As far the last stage of making the section decision is concerned, the decision is taken collaboratively by all the people involved which includes the Heads of Departments, HR Managers, Peers, Executives, Line managers and especially the Organisational Development. The major advantage of having the consent of all the above in the selection decision is the fact that the chances of biasing are limited ensuring the adherence to the INVESTEC Banks Recruitment policy of following the legal and regulatory policies.
Finally, as seen in the previous chapter, that INVESTEC lacks the use of more sophisticated selection methods (assessment centres) despite knowing that they are more reliable, points out that there is a organisational resistance towards change keeping in mind the different factors influencing recruitment and selection. These along with the challenges and problems faced by the organisation as a result of using the current methods and due to the impact of current methods will be now looked at.
Recruitment Difficulties and Challenges
Effect of the current recruitment and selection procedures on INVESTEC's objectives & Reasons for Recruitment difficulties