INTEGRATING REFUGEES

How to find out if people from crisis areas can work for you


The integration of many hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from war zones and crisis regions is a major challenge for society as a whole and for many companies as well. HR departments are confronted with two hard-to-assess questions: which refugee can we really help and in which position? And: which refugee is suitable for an apprenticeship or a job?

According to information from the Federal Employment Agency, 10% of all refugees registered as seeking for employment have been in higher education. Around three-quarters have not received formal vocational training, and about one quarter have no educational qualifications at all. These are sobering numbers. To make matters worse, the majority of refugees have no professional qualification documents.
However, self-assessments and own reports alone are not an adequate basis for successful placement in a job or a company’s occupational selection process.

For this reason it is so important to find out what refugees really are capable of doing, and where they can be effectively integrated into the labour market.

Andreas Frintrup, CEO, HR Diagnostics AG

The key questions are therefore:

  • Is it possible to employ someone directly and to provide a proper position?
  • What apprenticeship is suitable and of interest to a candidate?
  • And what career path can a candidate follow?


HR Diagnostics has found answers to these pressing issues and developed a tool for competence analysis of refugees.
The psychological test for the diagnosis of refugees is in use in companies and in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency in welcome centres and municipal and private refugee groups. With its help it is possible to find out for what occupations refugees are suitable, what training is necessary and what gaps in education have to be filled in each individual case.
With the special methodology, interdisciplinary skills, language skills and also personal interests are summarised in one diagnostic result. Non-verbal procedures are also used which work exclusively on a graphical basis. Language proficiency is nevertheless a qualifying factor, so linguistic competencies are examinated separately. In order to ensure that no one is at a disadvantage from the start, language-related tests are available in the candidate’s native language, for example in Persian and Arabic.

With this diagnosis I find out what skills a candidate has,
and can define a succession of specific career goals.

Andreas Frintrup, CEO, HR Diagnostics AG

Employees of employment offices and job centres thus have a solid foundation during the consultation process and at an early stage in the placement process. At the same time, they build a profound, scientific foundation for HR decisions in companies and on top of that for an inclusion into the entry qualification (EQ) for refugees.
The professional aptitude diagnostics are an opportunity for both sides: for companies and for refugees. What is special about the methodology is that the strengths and resources of the people represent the focus, not their weaknesses. Even if someone is not able to count because they have not attended a proper school, other talents can be identified that indentified, supporting an integration into the German labour and training market.
It is, however, a sobering thought that the average superficial level of qualification of the fugitives, especially as regards general and special cognitive abilities, is well below the level on the German labour market. Some refugee samples are up to two standard deviations below the average for the German labour market. Some individuals do, however, stand out in a positive way – and precisely these talents should be identified quickly and accurately.

Andreas Frintrup is the author of the reference book “Diversity Management in der Personalauswahl” (= Diversity Management in Personnel Selection / 2014, Springer), and co-author together with representatives of the Federal Employment Agency of another book which will be released in spring 2017 by Springer. Here, he illustrates practical examples of successful integration of refugees in corporations such as Continental, which also use CAIDANCE-R for competence analysis.