Case Study – McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is an organizational consulting firm that focuses on the strategic issues of organizations. In BrainsFirst they found a partner to revise their existing recruitment process in several parts. How? Read below how we helped McKinsey & Company.

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When McKinsey & Company realized in 2016 that their selection process could be more innovative, efficient, and most importantly, effective in attracting a-typical talent, they decided to engage BrainsFirst. The process was insufficiently inclusive and time consuming. As a result, the ROI (Return On Investment) on the recruitment process fell significantly. 

Selection of typical top talent was already doing the company well. The gain should be in recognizing and therefore being able to attract a-typical top talent, which was unnecessarily rejected in the old process. Need for increasing objectivity, adding data-driven & insight into “the invisible” were key. Less noise and often unconscious biases, more informed talent decisions: that was the aim.

After contacting BrainsFirst, they quickly came up with an idea: pre-selection based on data could provide a solution.

EXIT: Labor-intensive recruitment methods full of bias

Before the collaboration started, it went like this: in the 1st phase (1000 applicants for one position – Strategy Consultant – in 3 months) the number of applicants was reduced to just under 200 candidates based on human screening.

An initial screening based on resume and thus full of bias. After this, the process became very labor intensive. The 200 remaining candidates were invited on location for a capacity test, followed by an initial 1-on-1 meeting and role-playing, from which 10 candidates eventually remained for the final round.

Reasons to change the old selection process:

✓ Expensive
✓ Labor-intensive
✓ In-efficient
✓ Full of bias
✓ A-typical talent unnecessarily rejected

ENTER: A fair, effective & efficient recruitment process

Together with the stakeholders of McKinsey & Company, what makes a Strategy Consultant successful in the role was determined at the outset, apart from the container terms in the job description. This was done based on game-based assessment data (NeurO|ympics) from colleagues and expert input (HR, hiring manager). In this way, the ideal brain profile of a Strategy Consultant was established.

When the vacancy was opened, it was decided to use the NeurOlympics games as the 1st step in the process of pre-screening candidates (1000 in 3 months). This way, everyone had a fair and objective chance, McKinsey did not have to spend any time on CV selection, and candidates could be objectively compared with each other. This left 52 suitable candidates based on their brain profile.

In these final rounds, CV and motivation were examined and used as support rather than selection criteria. In the end, the last three rounds were completed with a quarter of the candidates from the old process, and brain profiles were used to ask more questions about concrete behavior, one of the most predictive factors of success in the workplace.

Results of the new selection process:

✓ 75% time savings
✓ €0,3 million saving
✓ A-typical talent including
✓ Bias reduced to minimum
✓ More high-performing candidates from the same funnel

This is what our clients say..

Clients who take their future and that of their talents serious, now opt for brain-based talent management.

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Sander Roege – KNVB Manager Performance & Development


“Humans are unique, multidisceplenary and complex creatures able to surprise themselves continuously. BrainsFirst delivers additional insights into the thinking, decision-making and acting of football player. By nature. This helps us to value a players’ talent and development more fairly.”

Stephanie van Heusden – ABN Amro Talent Acquisition Specialist


“Pre-assessment can be very time-consuming. Besides, it can be very hard to filter out biases. Working with BrainsFirst was fast and very important: we discovered both high and hidden potentials. Talents we normally wouldn’t have invited and picked.”

Jurrit Sanders – PSV Sports Scientist


“Talent is made of various elements. Our aim is to value all the elements in the right way. Brainsfirst’s data offers an extra puzzle piece to the complex talent puzzle itself.”

Tom Schuurmans – Deloitte Director Cyber Risk Services


“Some team members have switched role based on the assessment results. One of our ethical hackers found out his brain matches better with the requirements of a system defender. Now he changed job, he performs better and is happier and more engaged.”

Paul Brandenburg – AZ Hoofd Jeugdopleiding


“BrainsFirst identifies the core cognitive capabilities crucial for playing football. They enable us to pre-assess future potential of possible new players. Besides, we now are able to offer current Academy players an education which is even more tailor-made.”

Lennart Ruigrok – Booming Partner & E-commerce Specialist


“Especially in online marketing, it is very difficult to hire on study background. BrainsFirst enables you to separate the true talents by nature from those who only look like talented professionals by resume.”

Arne Hendriks – NeVoBo Embedded Scientist


“Data helps to filter out subjective biases indecision-making. The cognitive data of BrainsFirst is relevant in order to make the talent detection process more objective and better.”

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