Árpád Vas: Thanks to the personality tests, people are like an “open book” for me
In the work of Árpád Vas, you can see an example where the love of one’s profession is coupled with a love for people. Together with his son, he has already been running the family business with constant success for 25 years, and their biggest advantage over the competition is the approach of their staff. What is his viewpoint on personality testing?
To start, can you give us a short summary of the FAKTUM BÚTOR Kft. Company, along with its mission.
We are a company that produces furniture for children, and we make it specifically to meet children’s needs. Our products can be used by children, from newborn babies to 10- to 12-year-old kids. Our mission is to help parents get the best possible product for their money, to help children develop well, and to provide them with an ideal home environment. It always includes value for money, aesthetics and practicality. Most parents already realize that children cannot grow up among furniture designed for adults.
Does the job strongly demand that you must have not only people who produce furniture but also those who understand the mission, as it is not only wood and screws?
Yes, absolutely. I design furniture myself too. In addition, designers themselves are actual parents; they know parents’ problems with furniture. One of our slogans is: “We make our furniture with such love because we care about our children.”
Can you briefly describe your current position if you take into consideration your competition? What is the biggest difference between you and your competitors?
We are definitely a market leader in Hungary. We exhibit in every sizeable baby-furniture store (e.g. KIKA, BRENDON) in each of the 19 countries where we do business, in every town with more than 50-60 thousand inhabitants. The quality of our furniture this year was also a total fit for the European market; there is also still a lot to be done in the sales area. When it comes to Europe, our products are already in the frontline. The main difference between us and our competitors is that we look at our products from the customer’s and end-user’s point of view.
We are constantly developing, improving and using the latest technologies. It is a big challenge, but it is necessary to follow the application of modern materials and technology. We are able to grow the furniture as the kids grow, and this is what parents and their children really like.
How many employees do you have at the moment?
We are a smaller company. We have 70 people in total, including 4 staff members who work in our own stores. We have 40-50 people in production and 10 people in higher management.
Your company has grown quite significantly over the last couple of years. What do you think is behind your success?
With continuous development, we are able to adapt very quickly to the changes and needs of the market in all aspects (technology, thinking, attitudes), which you can also see in our products – different generations, different habits. We have a brand name and a good reputation, which has a great effect on customers as they believe in our company. We also really pay attention to complaint management and customer service.
This has a human background as well, hasn’t it?
Yes, absolutely. People have always been really important to me and this has its fruits today, because people are returning this treatment. It is an interesting paradox that if you give trust, and people see that you are open and honest, then people try to gain and maintain that trust. I think that in the current labor market you cannot do it any other way.
How often do you look for new employees?
We are almost always advertising, hiring and searching for people for the production area. There is a stronger fluctuation and people are more likely to go and do seasonal jobs – they get a little bit crazy in the summer, and in fall the number of employees always increases. Every two months we are looking for office and administrative staff (including shops, logistics).
When actively hiring, can you give us an approximate number of the people that go through your hands in a month?
It is an interesting question because the CV’s go to Timi, our HR manager, and this is a terribly big number – it could be 100 or more people depending on the job. Timi filters a lot. I only see the final candidates who pass all the previous steps, which means only 2-3 people every month.
You have a license with unlimited access to the Performia online questionnaires. One of these questionnaires is the EXEC U-TEST. What do you use it for?
When we talk about new hiring, we ask the candidate to fill in this test before the second personal meeting. We look at his strengths and weaknesses, and we use them for our questions throughout the interview. We also use the test on current employees, and we look at their current state and how we can help them.
Why did you decide to use the EXEC U-TEST? And what is its biggest advantage for you?
The biggest advantage for me is that I can get to know the candidate much easier and deeper. I can decide much more quickly what job a particular candidate is suitable for. It has happened that the candidate applied for a certain job, we tested him, and then we found another job he could do for us which was more suitable for him.
In your opinion how can a company benefit from knowing its employees’ personalities?
It is most helpful when I can spend enough time and thoroughly study the personalities of employees, so I can communicate and work with them accordingly. Basically, with seventy people there are a lot of qualities and personalities, and I like all my colleagues for something. This is very important. I understand how they operate, so they are an “open book” for me.
In the case of new hiring, I can see from the test their weaknesses, and I know how to personalize their intern program, post-placement and training. It is like a puzzle. In Hungary, it is a very unusual way of managing people.
When you hire a new person, how do you work with the results of the EXEC U-TEST?
I can clearly follow, help and improve his integration, confirm what he is good at and implement him easily within the team. I have a lot of experience in this, so I figure out exactly what I need to be aware of. I can communicate to him the new information in the right way, so he shows signs of relief and knows his function.
Quote in between the text: “Thanks to the EXEC U-TEST results, I can clearly follow, help and improve his integration, confirm what he is good at and implement him easily within the team.”
In your opinion what is difficult when it comes to personality tests in general?
One has to make sure that the candidates fill in the test on their own and do it honestly, and there are some people who do not understand the importance of this. But even if there are negative effects from media (personal data protection, etc.), there are still 80 percent who fill it in, especially when we offer them the possibility of sharing the results of the test with them at the next interview.
Do you have problems finding skillful or qualified people? What do you do to attract new employees?
Yes, for certain positions. It is difficult to find the right people in the specific area where we need experts. This is clearly connected with the lack of training in Hungary. We resolved this situation within the company with internal training.
We also pay a lot of attention to the company’s image. If we need to fire someone or an employee wants to leave, we do the whole process in a correct and honest way, so the company has no enemies. We strive to provide everything (like tools, and a clean and cultured environment) for people, and they feel comfortable in the workplace. This is the reason why they love to come here and spread the good news about the company. We have an intern-employee program as well, so if we announce a position, we talk to existing employees first, and if they bring in a good candidate (and he stays at the company) we reward them. We don’t pretend to be something other than what we really are, and that is also what we advertise.
Performia has a huge role in our recruitment processes, especially the EXEC U-TEST, because it is very useful and has measurable results instantly
What is the thing that helps you when hiring new employees and keeping existing ones?
In selecting, what we have talked about so far. Keeping existing personnel is much harder. We put a lot of work and energy into it. We have an internal post-installation program, and we try to familiarize them with our entire area of operation. With new employees, we have a contract for a trial period. We evaluate their progress every month. After they have been with us for three months, we check what they are able to do. Most of the time, they stay with us.
Performia has a huge role in our recruitment processes, especially the EXEC U-TEST, because it is very useful and has measurable results instantly. I consider Performia training brilliant. It is one of the most applicable and most important leadership tools that can be learnt, and we as managers constantly experience this.
- Árpád graduated university as an agricultural engineer and economist. Before he established Faktum Bútor Kft., he worked as a senior engineer for a company that made wooden toys for kids. Faktum Bútor Kft. was established on the 14th of March, 1994, and operates as a family business today.
- He considers his family to be his greatest success. His children, and the fact that he managed to build a healthy, good workplace.
- In his free time he does a lot of sports, such as squash, yoga, running and swimming. He likes going outdoors, traveling, listening to music and spending time with his family.