Aspen Case Study: Interview masterclasses


Client Profile

Industry: Insurance

Location: Worldwide


Aspen, the speciality insurance and re-insurance company, is working with leading assessment and selection consultancy, a&dc to provide a masterclass on recruitment and selection techniques in a bid to hire only the best new recruits.  This is part of Aspen’s aim to create a first class recruitment process.


The interview masterclass is delivered by a consultant psychologist from a&dc in partnership with one of the HR team at Aspen.  The masterclass is targeted at all employees who recruit staff, so they not only hire people with the best technical skills, but also ones who fit the organisation’s culture. The training has taken place in London, the US, as well as the company’s head office in Bermuda.

Carole Barlow, Group Talent and Development Manager, Aspen Re, explains, “World class organisations have world class recruitment practices and we were keen to raise the bar in our approach to make sure we recruit the best people we can for Aspen. It is not uncommon for any business to make sporadic hires that don’t work, yet we know we could use the best interviewing processes to closely match not only the technical requirements of a role but also a good fit to the Aspen culture”.

“We’re investing in our people; training them to use the best techniques when interviewing.  So, if we’re looking for leadership, they now know how to ask the right questions to gain evidence of this, alongside filling the technical requirements of the role and the cultural fit of the organisation.”


The recruitment and selection masterclasses have been created as part of an end-to-end review of recruitment practices.   Aspen’s internal career web pages have been updated to become a job network encouraging employees to manage their careers across functions and possibly even locations.

a&dc’s senior consultant, Kate Sobczak, explains, “We conducted deep research with senior executives to understand the exact needs of the organisation.  We needed to find out about current practices, strengths, weaknesses, consistencies and inconsistencies, so that Aspen’s own interview masterclass was created for their overall business needs. So far 70 people have been trained, and further classes are scheduled on a long-term basis for anyone within the company who recruits”.

Each masterclass takes one day and trains 12 people. It is co-facilitated between a&dc’s managing consultant, Mike Murray and one of the Aspen HR team, who details the corporate positioning and local region’s employment law. The classes include sessions on job descriptions, CV selection, competency and behavioural interviewing and how to avoid bias in both interactive discussions and in practice.

There is now a standardised approach to gathering evidence of key behaviour associated with success in target jobs, plus recruiters within the business have a clear idea of the behaviour and attitude that will fit with company values. People who take the course understand the need to set aside more time to prepare for interviews, including defining ‘what good looks like’.  They are also clear that competency based questions are a far better way to interview, rather than getting an impression of a candidate through conversations or focusing solely on the technical elements of the job.