AC/DC cheaper than an HR agency

publication date 11.05.2019

The Competence Center - assessing the managers´ skills

 It sounds pretty musical indeed, yet it really means assessment and development center. As far as AC is concerned, it assesses a candidate´s suitability for a specific managerial position. An inferior candidate on such a responsible position will cost the company a monthly salary CZK 50k plus and they may also cause irreparable financial damage.   In addition, you will pay the personnel agency a reward worth three salaries of that candidate. Better assessment of a candidate to make sure you have got the right one sounds like a good option here, does not it?

The client establishes the candidate´s quality 

All owners and corporations are in need of quality managers. Nobody can afford hiring repeatedly an unsuitable candidate for a position thus having one specific department managed inadequately for several months. And it is not only that. The very selection process costs the company lots of money. It does not matter whether you choose among the internal candidates (whom you think you already know) or external ones. It is quite often the cast that the candidates are selected and recommended by a personnel agency which typically charges the company 3 monthly salaries of the hired candidate. The charge is even higher when there is a shortage of quality candidates available on the labour market.  

Human resource agencies, in effect, send companies quite a number of candidates of dubious quality. In doing so, they select them on the basis of the client´s inexact requirements, often incomplete, incorrect information, insufficient knowledge about the company, the team and the job position. Moreover, they frequently recommend candidates they know very little about, sometimes only what they have written in their CVs or posted on the public Internet. Their knowledge of the candidates´ "quality" is also founded on one-to-one conversation, or, as is often the case these days, telephone conversation only. Very few agencies do cross-referencing or even testing the candidates. That would be too costly. It is simply better to send them enough candidates and let them choose.

Whom they will choose is entirely up to the company. Hopefully, the chosen candidate will last for the agreed upon period of time. This practice amounts to buying a pig in a poke at least. Could we do it differently, better, revealing the candidate´s real competences measured by those required for the particular job position?  

Ultimately, it is also better for the canadidate himself of herself if they have found a position that fits best their skills and competences. They will make use of their strengths, repaying the company the expended money and effort faster and more safely. This is why there is the AC center in the first place. 

How to prepare AC/DC 

Each job position has its specifics and demands its own combination of competences. The course of preparation of AC is a standardized process consisting of finding the key competences and, once they have been identified, setting them to form a competence model. Here is a brief definition of the procedure: 

  • Identification and analysis of a job position 
  • Creation of a competence model 
  • Scenario and time schedule of AC
  • Matrix of methods and competences - preparation of diagnostic tests, methods and model situations (so that they match the competence model in the best possible manner, reflecting the reality) 
  • Preparation of assessors 
  • Implementation of the Assessment Center (AC) – scope depending on a particular position (1-2 days)
  • Evaluation of the diagnostic tests, methods and conclusions drawn by the assessors 
  • The candidates´ competence profile compared with the position considered (including their strengths and weaknesses) 
  • Management recommendations and feedback to participants

The procedure is truely challenging but you get not just a suitable model of competences, candidates´ profiles (quite often you make a revelation that a particular candidate is not the right one for the position they are applying for but for another one they have not given a thought to. You simply fill two positions at a time), but you also have your managers trained in revealing candidates´ competences, get some insight into the quality of work delivered by HR agencies and other benefits.  

How much is AC - assessment center

The above procedure signifies the preparation and performance are challenging with the involvement of more people. In close cooperation with the client, you need to focus on key competences needed for the position in question. Evaluation of all the tests, methods and data will require a few days (depending on a specific job position and a competence model). The price for 4 candidates ranges around CZK 80.000 excluding VAT, which may look as a huge sum, but that is only the first sight. Let us try to take a look at what happens when we hire an unsuitable candidate. How much it will actually cost us.  

  Manager´s salary  Fee paid to an HR agency  AC/DC price Savings if you choose a candidate through AC/DC
takes up work and functions  CZK 50 000 CZK 150 000  CZK 80 000  CZ K 70 000

If your personnel agency fails to perform an adequate-quality selection for a specific job position and just sends in candidates it thinks they might fit, the resulting quality will be lowered dramatically as will be the probability of choosing the right candidate. The agency will leave verification of suitability to you and it may easily happen during the job interview or a brief assessment that the inferior quality will transpire when the candidate is already in the trial period phase. Some professional deficiencies will only be uncovered after months of the candidate´s working. Here it gets more expensive then, for you are paying them compensation money. If the candidate leaves at the end of their 3rd month, you are going to lose the following: 

  • work and time spent looking for the candidate 
  • training 
  • costs of the candidate working in your company  
  • money paid to a personnel agency  

The expence, your financal loss, normally ranges from CZK 400.000 upwards. Is it not more advantageous to use our Assessment Centrum for CZK 80.000 and have selected a candidate who positively possesses the competences that suit your job position? 

Our experience by way of conclusion 

We have been operating Assessment Centers for many years to have found unsuitable candidates sometimes get uncovered by themselves even before the AC process begins. We send candidates invitations or an assignment the result of which they are supposed to send in advance. Suddenly we see what a particular candidate calls preparation, solution, how they prepare documentation and whether its level is in proportion to the job position they hope to fill. We daresay we can state who can be let into the AC and who cannot as early as at this stage of the selection process.  

Yes, even managerial candidates sometimes take the risk of not preparing themselves. As if they did not really care for the position, just taking chances. It happens very often you get thourghly general answers to a very specific problem. It can be a signal they are lacking competences, experience or motivation. Finding out about insufficient competences for specific management job positions in candidates is not a very rare case.  And that is absolutely unthinkable in these positions. 

Consider if you want such candidates working as managers in your company. You can never be quite sure whether they have done their homework before entering into negotiation with the customer. You will be pretty sure, though, they will come up with a plethora of reasons why something has failed. And what about the agencies? Well, they have delivered candidates whose CVs are in line with your requirements. 

We recommend using AC wherever the quality of work, knowledge and character are absolutely essential for success. Where there is a huge effect on the leadership already from the salary of CZK 35.000 a month. And if a candidate dares to cancel his or her participation in the AC, rejoyce, you do not need a manager who does not confide in themselves or even knows they are unsuitable. The company´s growth and quality crucially depends on quality managers.  

Jiří Střelec

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