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HRS' Employee Testing and Selection Solutions: Startups’ Problems?

CASE STUDY, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 8 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

HRS’ Employee Testing and Selection Solutions: Startups’ Problems?

 

“I am convinced that although training and development is important, recruiting and selection are much more important.”

- Stephen R. Covey


On May 25th 2015, Sudhir Gupta and Priyanka Gupta (husband and wife), Founder-Owners of HRSolutions Pvt. Ltd. (HRS) were preparing to celebrate the 1st anniversary of their company when they were startled by a phone call. It was a call from one of their clients to lodge a complaint. The client informed HRS that they were terminating an employee recruited through HRS with immediate effect as he had provided false information related to previous work experience. This was the first and formal complaint that HRS had received in the last one year since its inception. To gauge the intensity of veracity of the lurking problems with other clients, HRS sent out  feedback forms to each one of its clients upon which it received further complaints. The duo thought that these complaints were a question mark on HRS’ credibility. They were disturbed and were in a dilemma on how could things go wrong? What should be the remedial measures?

HRSolutions Pvt. Ltd.

On May 27th 2014, Sudhir Gupta (Sudhir) and Priyanka Gupta (Priyanka) started HRS, their entrepreneurial firm. Sudhir was a software engineer with 14 years’ experience in one of the leading IT companies of India. Priyanka was a senior HR professional with nearly 10 years’ experience across three big Indian IT firms. Having been convinced of the potential, confident of their abilities, and most importantly seeing many a gaps in employee testing and selection, they embarked on their entrepreneurial journey with HRS.................

Termination of an Employee for Furnishing False Information

In February 2015, Sanjeev Singh (Sanjeev) got a placement through HRS as Marketing Manager for a start-up (Farmlands) that produced organically grown vegetables. The small-scale agricultural company operated in the B2B space where it sold organically grown fruits and vegetables to local retail chains. Sanjeev had a degree in horticulture and had worked in sales with one of the FMCG companies for 5 years. He was hired as the Marketing Manager to liaise with leading retail stores in the city to develop the market for Farmlands’ products...........

A Writer, Not a Technical Writer

Prashant Rajput (Prashant) had a bachelor’s degree in communication. After completing education, he worked with a KPO as a content writer for 3 years. After that, through HRS, he was placed as a technical writer at a software startup company (LeVIT) which specialized in developing mobile apps. He joined the team of technical writers and with him on board, there were 5 technical writers who worked closely with the software developers. All the technical writers reported to Sunil Jain (Sunil) who was their Team Leader.............

Project Manager at IT Services Company

Kishore Awasthi (Kishore) joined as a Project Manager at an IT services company through HRS. It was a two-year old company with staff strength of 40 providing IT solutions to several customers in the US. Kishore had been brought in to head a new project in the healthcare vertical. Kishore had relevant experience as he had worked as an Assistant Project Manager in the healthcare vertical at one of the leading IT services companies of India................

Sales Professional at Financial Technology and Advisory Company

Another incident in recruiting an unsuitable sales professional at a financial technology and advisory startup was reported. The company provided high-end financial technological products dealing with Anti-Money Laundering, to banks and financial institutions. It operated in a niche market and required personnel with niche talent – a mix of financial and technological knowledge. The company hired two sales executives – Kiran and Pradeep – through HRS, on the basis of their financial and technological knowledge..............

Call Centre Executives at a Taxi Service Startup

In the initial days of HRS’s inception itself, one of the Taxi-Service start-up companies had recruited 100 call centre executives through HRS, to be stationed at the four metro cities of India. The Taxi service provider had shortlisted only fresh college pass-outs to fill the positions and remuneration was better than the industry standards. The taxi-service provider was able to fill all the positions through HRS as several talented youngsters were registered with HRS.............

Analysing the Feedback

Having received the feedback from its clients, HRS analysed the same to identify the possible errors in its systems and processes and to find solutions for the same (Exhibit IV)............

Assignment Questions

I. Why is it important to carefully select candidates? Discuss with the help of examples cited in the case study.

II. What are the various types of tests? Which of these tests or combination of tests should ideally have been used in selecting candidates for the five job profiles outlined in the case study?

III. ..............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Operating Model of HR Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Exhibit II: Parameters and Processes of Background Check at HRSolutions Pvt. Ltd.

Exhibit III: Feedback Form - HRSolutions Pvt. Ltd.

Exhibit IV: Analysis of Erroneous Employee Testing and Selection

Teaching Note Preview

HRS’ Employee Testing and Selection Solutions: Startups’ Problems?

 

Synopsis

This case study helps understand concepts in employee testing and selection through the predicament of Sudhir Gupta and Priyanka Gupta (Sudhir and Priyanka). The husband wife duo was in a fix nearly one year after they started their entrepreneurial venture – HRSolutions Pvt. Ltd. (HRS) – providing technologically-enabled employee testing and selection solutions. HRS had unknowingly made an erroneous placement. Sudhir and Priyanka took earnest efforts to rectify any mistake hitherto made and streamline their processes to avoid erroneous placements in the future. They however were not sure if they should tweak their proprietary tools.

In trying to find solutions to HRS’s problems, the case study helps understand the significance of various employee testing and selection tools. It also throws open a debate on the appropriateness of outsourcing employee testing and selection, an important HR process, for startups in particular. It argues that employee testing and selection could be outsourced to help save time and costs but its effectiveness would depend on the accuracy and appropriateness of the tests being employed.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding and Before the Classroom Discussion

  • • Gary Dessler and Biju Varkkey, “Employee Testing and Selection”, Human Resource Management, 12th Edition, Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd., 2011 – To understand the significance of employee testing and selection and to get acquainted with concepts in testing and selection

 

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for:

  • • MBA program in Human Resource Management course – To sensitize the participants/students to the significance of accurate employee testing and selection
  • • MDPs/EDPs – for HR Professionals – To acquaint them with concepts in employee testing and selection particularly in the start-up ecosystem

 

Assignment Questions

  • I. Why is it important to carefully select candidates? Discuss with the help of examples cited in the case study.
  • II. What are the various types of tests? Which of these tests or combination of tests should ideally have been used in selecting candidates for the five job profiles outlined in the case study?
  • III. What is the significance of background investigation in employee testing and selection? What are the various ways in which an employer can check a candidate’s background? Discuss with reference to Exhibit II of the case study.
  • IV. ...........

 

Suggested Readings

  • • Utkarsh Joshi, “How entrepreneurial innovation is helping HR solve complex problems”, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/newmanager/how-entrepreneurial-innovation-ishelping-hr-solve-complex-problems/article7151216.ece, April 28th 2015 (accessed date: May 19th2015) – To understand how entrepreneurial firms in the HR space are providing innovative solutions to help companies address complex HR issues
  • • Shirin Salis, “Vital instincts: Do recruiters rely too much on instinct while making hiring decisions?”, http://www.itsmyascent.com/hr-zone/Vital-instincts/153083/, May 12th 2015
  • (accessed date: May 19th 2015) – To debate on the futility of various employee testing andselection techniques if the recruiters select candidates on the basis of their instincts
  • • Susan J. Stabile, “The Use of Personality Tests as a Hiring Tool: Is the Benefit Worth the Cost?”, h t t p s : / / w w w. l a w. u p e n n . e d u / j o u r n a l s / j b l / a r t i c l e s / v o l u m e 4 / i s s u e 2 /Stabile4U.Pa.J.Lab.&Emp.L.279%282002%29.pdf, (accessed date: May 21st 2015) – To debate on the use of personality tests as a selection tool
  • • Rica Bhattacharyya, et al., “Problem employee? Follow these best practices to deal with them”, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-03-24/news/60439596_1_disciplinaryaction-behaviour-tech-mahindra, March 24th 2015 (accessed date: May 21st 2015) – To analyze if problem employees could be identified at the time of employee testing and selection itself
  • • “Human Resource Management: Organisations salvage bad hiring calls through training, mentoring”, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/human-resource-managementorganisations-salvage-bad-hiring-calls-through-training-mentoring/articleshow/47683210.cms,June 16th 2015, (accessed date: June 17th 2015) – To understand the ways in which companies can rectify wrong hiring by training and mentoring the employee in question

 

Preamble to the Case Analysis or Case Discussion

The aim of this case study is to acquaint the students/participants with concepts in employee testing and selection. It highlights the role of careful employee testing and selection in achieving overall organizational objectives. Another significant trend discussed in the case study is that of startups outsourcing their employee testing and selection requirements to third parties such as HRS, the company profiled in the case study. Considering these points, the classroom discussion can be orchestrated under three main sections [Exhibit (TN)-I]................

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Abstract


This case study is meant to highlight the importance of the processes involved in employee testing and employee selection. In the backdrop of the problems faced by Sudhir Gupta (Sudhir) and Priyanka Gupta (Priyanka), Founder-Owners of HRSolutions Pvt. Ltd. (HRS), the case study helps in understanding the significance of accurate employee testing and selection. HRS, an HR solutions provider in employee testing and selection for startups, received complaints concerning few candidates it had placed in the one year since its inception. Feedback received from the clients revealed certain errors in HRS’s testing and selection tools, techniques and the processes used. Should HRS make changes to its proprietary tools? If it should, HRS was not sure, how would the changes affect its core product? HRS had to initiate immediate remedial measures to ensure its processes were streamlined to suit the requirements of startups which were its main clients, bereft of which it would not only lose its credibility but the very premise on which this business was built would be lost soon. However, given the problems that the startups encountered in recruiting through HRS, should they outsource the important HR function of employee testing and selection?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand various concepts and processes related to employee testing and employee selection
  • To discuss and debate on the 'accuracy' premise of employee testing and employee selection and examine the efficacy of several tools and techniques employed to achieve the same
  • To debate if employee testing and selection activities should be outsourced or should it be executed in-house, at startups in particular

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for:

  • MBA program in Human Resource Management course - To sensitize the participants/students to the significance of accurate employee testing and selection
  • MDPs/EDPs - for HR Professionals - To acquaint them with concepts in employee testing and selection particularly in the startup ecosystem




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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)


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