Siemens is a European industrial manufacturing organisation, with over 350,000 employees, generating revenues of 83bn euro in 2017. As a manufacturing organisation, Siemens is reliant on a steady and strong influx of ‘entry-level’ talent (apprentices, interns and graduates) in order to build its future pipeline of engineers. This means that attraction, selection and retention of entry-level staff is a major focus for the organisation’s people strategy.
In 2017, in order to improve attraction and retention of high quality entry-level hires, Siemens shifted its focus for recruitment away from ability and towards mindset and behaviours and in particular, potential, passions and energy.
Entry level candidates have limited work experience and the previously-used competency interviews were found to be too restrictive as they were focused on what candidates had done (drawing upon experience), also leading to rehearsed answers. This had led to poor candidate experience and difficult hiring decisions. Strengths-based interviews were identified as a valid alternative which could better assess for potential, energy and likely fit in the Siemens culture and the entry-level roles on offer.
Strengths-based interview scripts
The Strengthscope team set about undertaking job analyses for entry-level roles, identifying a number of core strengths which differentiated high performers from poor performers, across all entry-level roles. Results from this work drove the development of strengths-based interview scripts and assessor guidance on the new approach required when running strengths-based interviews.
At the same time, the recruitment team at Siemens carried out a series of stakeholder engagement workshops with hiring managers, gathering information on what worked well and less well in the previous recruitment process, in order to build commitment to a new way of recruiting and providing crucial data that would help inform the design of the rollout.
Due to the geographic spread of hiring managers, webinars were produced which provided all those involved in recruitment with a ‘how to’ briefing on the strengths-based interviewing approach, as well as introducing new assessor packs. As the approach was rolled out, the Siemens recruitment team worked alongside hiring managers to ensure that the strengths-based interviews were being used appropriately and that materials provided were easy to use and effective.
Feedback was very positive from recruiters and hiring managers – reported benefits included significantly more information being obtained from candidates, easier hiring decisions and a more engaging candidate experience.
Assessment Centre pass rate increased from 24% to 40-60% depending on business area. The proportion of females passing the Assessment Centre doubled.
82% of Managers either agreed or strongly agreed that strengths-based interviews were fair, consistent, objective and therefore a robust assessment, compared to 58% for competency-based interviews.
82% Managers either agreed or strongly agreed that introducing strengths-based interviews has added value to the recruitment process.
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