Paper C

Competency Assessment: Paper C Sample Case

To help you prepare for your IHRP Certification assessment, view sample case for Paper C.

Duration 3 hours
Coverage Functional and foundational competencies, focus on Mindsets and Behaviours
  • 3 scenarios
  • Each scenario will have 4 short-answer questions
  • Total of 12 short-answer questions
  • Closed-book assessment
  • Questions will be application-based

Fly-Apartment is a start-up venture founded five (5) years ago, based on an online marketplace model that allows third parties to post listings to rent out accommodation spaces for a service fee. Fly-Apartment also has strong tie-ups with local tour providers in the thirteen (13) locations in which it operates, providing a holistic and quality travel experience.

The venture was started by a Singaporean, Rebecca Woo. Soon after graduating from university, Rebecca, together with her younger brothers (Alex and Joe Woo) drew up a business plan for Fly-Apartment, which drew interest and subsequent financial investments from angel investors.

With over 700 listings in 13 countries, Fly-Apartment’s profits have been growing at a reasonably steady pace of 3% year-on-year.

Business Outlook and Plans

1. Focus on enhancing existing offerings to better serve customers

Rebecca is looking to strengthen Fly-Apartment’s niche position, even as other competitors start to venture into this space. The management team would like to focus on enhancing the existing platform, and applications to improve the user experience. There is also an intent to grow the company’s capabilities in data analytics, including mining the rich consumer data to better inform business decisions.

While competent, Fly-Apartment’s team of Web Engineers do not have the requisite skills in data science and analytics.

In addition, Rebecca and the leadership team recognise that Herman (present Head of Technology, and Head of Customer Support & Administration) would not be able to helm two (2) departments.

2. A need for more formal structure, consistency in terms of policies and procedures  

With plans for the company to list in Catalist within the next two (2) years, the leadership team is now focussed on putting in place a more formal structure, with consistency in terms of policies and procedures.

At present, all responsibilities and decisions regarding Human Resources rests on the leadership team with very little definition on policies, process or procedures.  For example, recruitment is done in an ad-hoc manner, and there is no defined process since there has been very little recruitment activity thus far. Where candidates are referred from the management’s personal contacts, they need only have a ‘coffee-chat’ and are hired as long as Rebecca is comfortable with them.

Fly-Apartment’s compensation philosophy is to pay 20% above the market rate for the similar type of position. The ‘start-up’ story has also been the draw for most candidates.

3. Opportunity to enhance staff engagement  

With Fly-Apartment’s flat organisation structure, many of the newer employees who joined over the last six (6) years generally feel that there are limited progression opportunities. There is also a strong sentiment that decisions made by the leadership team, are shared with the ‘chosen few’, the pioneer team of eight (8) staff who have a longer history with the Founders and Fly-Apartment, making the others feel like outsiders.

Organisation & HR Structure

Fly-Apartment operates on a flat organisation structure, where each department reports into a member of the leadership team. The pioneer team of eight (8) staff, are spread across the Technology, Customer Support & Administration, and Sales & Marketing teams.

The Founders; Rebecca and her brothers (Alex and Joe) are part of the leadership team.

You were a HR Director at a MNC in the hospitality industry. The CEO, Rebecca, is your personal friend. At her request, you have recently joined Fly-Apartment as Head of HR.


Max. allocation of marks: 6

To enable Fly-Apartment’s plans to enhance its existing offerings and building capabilities in data analytics, there is a need to recruit suitable candidates to fill those roles as soon as possible.

You are aware that conventional methods such as placing job advertisements in the press or online may not be as effective in sourcing candidates for a start-up venture.

What recruitment channels would you consider and how would you monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these channels?

Max. Allocation of marks: 6 marks

Operational Application

i. Identifies traditional sourcing channels like social media, campus hiring, hiring from competitors

ii. Recommends using traditional KPIs to measure effectiveness of recruitment channels. For example:
a. Cost to hire,
b. Time taken to fill position,
c. Quality of hire (based on review after probation)

Strategic application

i. Identifies non-traditional recruitment channels like
a. Network developed by attending data analytics events
b. Valued contributors in forums on data analytics
c. Recruitment at innovation summits or events
d. Hosting competitions to identify both external talent and hidden internal talent which may have the right skills and could be redeployed

ii. Considers hiring based on skill and experience rather than industry fit; this may involve looking specifically for:
a. Data analytics talent / experts in consulting or technology consulting firms
b. Part time contractors or freelance with agility and entrepreneurship

iii. In addition to the traditional KPIs (identified in Operational Application), also thinks about other KPIs. For example:
a. Quality and performance of candidate hired in the next 2 review cycles
b. Ability to retain
c. Time taken to on-board (given some candidates may come from different industry backgrounds) etc.

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