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Selection Plan and Structured Interview Essay

Due to the lack of structure to the selection process for department managers, we have decided to do our research and figure out how to solve this problem. As of right now, department managers are being interviewed and selected the same way that store associates are, but since the position of department manager requires considerably more responsibility and intellectual work, the process has to be fixed. Since we have determined our central problem, the first step in this process is developing a detailed selection plan specifically set up for the department manager. A selection plan concludes what KSA’s are necessary for the position and whether the current methods of assessment are beneficial to finding the right candidates for the job. It also lets us see what KSA’s are not being adequately measured within the current system so that we know what we can include in the new and updated system. Below is the selection plan created for the department manager position.

As you can see in the selection plan above, a few of the KSA’s are not being sufficiently measured by the methods of assessments that are currently being used. This is causing a hiring of department managers that do not have the necessary KSA’s for the position, which is creating problems for the company. To solve this problem, interview questions will have to be created to support the existing selection plan that will focus primarily on the KSA’s that are not being measured. This will include the following: 1. Knowledge of organizational policies and procedures- Department managers have to coordinate department activities with the store’s policies, in consultation with assistant store manager. 2. Skills in judgment and decision making- Department managers always have to be ready to make snap decisions and judgments while on the job.

3. Ability to reason- Department managers have to keep an even mind when dealing with day-to-day situations. 4. Knowledge of customer service principles- Department managers must monitor departmental performance to ensure associates and shift leaders are providing appropriate customer service 5. Communication and speaking skills- Department managers must be able to communicate clearly with staff and customers. They are also an important link between floor staff and management, which requires advanced communication and speaking skills.

Interview Questions and Scoring Keys

Interviews for the department manager position should only be about 30 minutes long. Given this amount of time, 10 questions should be asked, each lasting around 3 minutes each. There are two types of questions that trained interviewers should ask: Behavioral and Situational. Behavioral questions assess past behaviors and experiences that are linked to the prospective job. Situational questions study an applicant’s ability to project what their behavior would be in future, hypothetical situations. Both of these questions are equally important in an interview process because they allow the interviewer to see two sides of the applicants. They are able to see how applicants have handled issues in the past, and how they would handle new issues in the future. The same questions have to be asked of every applicant

During an interview, it is very important for the interviewer to keep a scoring key while asking the applicant the interview questions. This allows the interviewer to keep track of everything the applicant says and how they respond by scoring them on a graduated scale ranging from very poor to very good. A good scoring key is behaviorally specific and reflects real attributes that a person might possess and demonstrate on a job. By using a scoring key, management can compare and contrast all of the applicants. It is very hard for the interviewers to remember every detail of an interview, so the scoring key is a great opportunity to make finding the right person for the job a lot easier.

Due to the fact that the current Tanglewood interview process for the department manager position is identical to that of a store associate, we have decided to design a whole new set of interview questions along with a scoring key. After we studied the selection plan, we saw what KSA’s are not being adequately measured in our current methods of assessment. These KSA’s will now be the focal point of our new interview questions, making sure that we cover all necessary KSA’s for the position. This helps management hire the perfect people for the job.

The following scoring keys will cover the 10 interview questions required for the interview process designed specifically for department manager.

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a situational interview question requiring the applicant to explain their knowledge of organizational policies and procedures.
Performance dimensions
Task: Instruct team or work group on the application of the new policy/idea. Knowledge: Knowledge of organizational policies and procedures, steps to implement new policy/idea. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to communicate effectively, verbally or in writing, the purpose and necessity of the policy. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question

Describe how you would handle the situation if you met resistance when introducing a new idea or policy to a team or work group? Original scoring key 1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description

This is a behavioral interview question requiring the applicant to explain their knowledge of organizational policies and procedures. Performance dimensions
Task: Explain how you handled conforming to a specific policy you did not agree with. Knowledge: Knowledge of the policy, impact upon the business, and consequences of both compliance and non-compliance. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions. Communicating effectively verbally or in writing. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
Tell me about a specific occasion when you conformed to a policy even though you did not agree with it? Original scoring key

1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description

This is a situational interview question requiring the applicant to explain their skills in judgment and decision making.
Performance dimensions
Task: Inform the interviewer of your thought process and actions to making a decision. Knowledge: Knowledge of business practices and procedures, products, and company policy. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions. Communicating effectively verbally or in writing.

Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
List the steps that you would take to make an important decision on the job? Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a behavioral interview question requiring the applicant to explain their skills in judgment and decision making.
Performance dimensions
Task: Communicate a situation when a quick decision needed to be made and why. Knowledge: Knowledge of company policies, procedures, and general business practices. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions. Communicating effectively verbally or in writing. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision? Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a situational interview question requiring the applicant to explain their ability to reason.
Performance dimensions
Task: Explain the reasoning process utilized to cope with the situation. Knowledge: Knowledge of coping mechanisms and techniques to reduce stress. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify cause of stress and techniques available to cope with stress. Communicating effectively, verbally or in writing. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
How would you react if two teammates were embroiled in a conflict that kept the team from completing its task? Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a behavioral interview question requiring the applicant to explain their ability to reason.
Performance dimensions
Task: Explain the reasoning process utilized to cope with the situation. Knowledge: Knowledge of coping mechanisms and techniques to reduce stress. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify cause of stress and techniques available to cope with stress. Communicating effectively, verbally or in writing. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you do? Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would
do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a situational interview question requiring the applicant to explain their knowledge of customer service principles.
Performance dimensions
Task: Explain what steps you would undertake to meet the needs of the customer. Knowledge: Knowledge of store resources and customer service principles. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify the customer’s needs and locating resources to aid in successful communication. Communicating effectively verbally or in writing. Abilities: Critical thinking, problem solving.

Interview question
You are speaking with a customer whose second language is English. He is asking a lot of questions, and he has a strong accent and is speaking quickly. You are having difficulty understanding what he is saying. What would you do? Original scoring key

1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a behavioral interview question requiring the applicant to explain their knowledge of customer service principles.
Performance dimensions
Task: Demonstrate knowledge of customer service principles in how the situation was addressed. Knowledge: Knowledge of customer service principles and company procedure and policy. Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions. Communicating effectively verbally or in writing. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
Tell me about a situation in the past year in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker?
Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a situational interview question requiring the applicant to explain their communication and speaking skills.
Performance dimensions
Task: Describe how you problem solve and utilize conflict resolution skills Knowledge: Knowledge of conflict resolution techniques.
Skills: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions. Communicating effectively verbally or in writing. Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.

Interview question
How would you deal with a colleague at work with whom you seem to be unable to build a successful working relationship?
Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real
input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked.
Interviewer comments

Job title
Department Manager
Item description
This is a behavioral interview question requiring the applicant to explain their communication and speaking skills.
Performance dimensions
Task: Describe your use of communication skills in a past situation.
Knowledge: Knowledge of communication skills and techniques.
Skills: Communicating effectively verbally or in writing.
Abilities: Oral expression, information ordering.
Interview question
Tell me about a time when you had to use your spoken communication skills in order to get a point across that was important to you?
Original scoring key
1 point: The applicant fails to answer the question properly or with any real input. 2 points: The applicant gives little evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked. 3 points: The applicant offers a good amount of evidence as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked, but doesn’t cover all necessary steps. 4 points: The applicant gives a very thorough answer as to what he/she would do if put in the situation asked.

Interviewer comments

Pilot Trial

To test out our newly developed interview questions and scoring keys, we decided to engage in a pilot trial. This included the five of us interviewing or being interviewed by a different random individual so that we could all be on both sides of the interview process. This allows us to determine how well the pilot group can understand the questions being asked and are able to answer them completely, and it also allows us to see if they understand and can follow the scoring keys. By doing this, we are able to know if the interview questions and scoring keys are effective or need any revisions.

After all ten of us were interviewed and acted as interviewer, it was time to debrief. We, as the consultants, first asked our five pilot group members what they liked and disliked about each question and scoring key. All five members gave very similar notes:

Interview question and scoring key #1:

They liked the question, but thought that it lacked direction. Their advice was to make the question more specific. An example would be to ask something like, “You are introducing a new policy that reduces associate hours to 20 hours a week from 25, the employees are frustrated by the cut in hours, how would you handle the situation?” This way the applicant can explain exactly what they would do if put in a specific situation, giving the interviewer a better grasp of their knowledge of policies and procedures and their knowledge of implementing a new policy. In addition, while acting as the interviewer, they thought that the scoring key was easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #2:

After being asked this question, a few of the pilot group members did not like the use of the word “conform.” They felt it was a strong word and that it was asking them to speak of a negative situation. There was a recommendation to add an introduction to the question to put applicants at ease, which would receive more honest, realistic responses. They suggested a lead-in such as, “At work we are faced with things we like and don’t like but have to address anyway. Can you tell me about a specific occasion when you adapted to a policy even though you did not agree with it?” This questions scoring key was also considered easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #3:

There were a lot of different opinions about this interview question. Some believed that there are different steps to a decision-making process, while others thought that there isn’t a process at all and that a decision is just made on the spot. After some thought, we’ve decided that the question needs to be referenced to a specific situation where a careful thought process is needed and where steps do have to be taken. This way the interviewer can see the applicant’s ability to make a decision. Even after tweaking the interview question, the scoring key still makes sense and is easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #4:

All of the trial group members agreed that this question was a useful one, especially when the interviewer is looking to analyze a person’s ability to make a decision. They all believed the question was fair and an important indicator to how an applicant would behave in quick-thinking situations. The members also agreed that the scoring key was suitable for the question being asked and easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #5:

Aside from one member of the trial group, everyone agreed that this question was a good one to ask when looking at an applicant’s ability to reason. The one member that disagreed believed that asking for their reaction to a situation is unnecessary. In that case, we can always reword the question to read “What would you do” instead of “How would you react.” They also believed the word embroiled was confusing, so instead, we could say, “What would you do if two teammates were engaged in a conflict that kept the team from completing its task?” This way, the interviewer can see what they would do when put in a situation like this, instead of how they would react to it. Finally, this trial member disagreed with the scoring key if the question was kept the same, but since we revised the question, the scoring key is easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #6:

Every member of the pilot trial believed that this question was perfect as is and that it was realistic in terms of what may be necessary for the position. There was no confusion or extra clarity needed to address this question for any of the trial members. They all also believed that the scoring key worked well with the question and was easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #7:

Like the last question, all pilot trial members agreed that this was a good question to ask for the purpose of analyzing an applicant’s customer service knowledge. There was no confusion about what was being asked of them and they found it easy to give a sufficient and thorough answer. The scoring key was also easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #8:

All members of the pilot trial agreed that this was a reasonable question to ask when looking for knowledge of customer service principles. The question was very realistic for this specific position, especially since it’s in the retail industry and angry customers or co-workers do happen. The scoring key was also easy to read and implement.

Interview question and scoring key #9:

A few pilot trial members believed the interview question was clearly stated and useful in the interview, but that the scoring key didn’t match what the question was asking. In this case, we can reword the question to be “What would you do if you were in a situation with a colleague at work with whom you seem to be unable to build a successful working relationship?” This way the applicant puts themselves in that specific situation and now the interviewer can use the scoring key and correctly rate the applicant based on their communication and speaking skills.

Interview question and scoring key #10:

All of the members of the pilot trial agreed that the question should be asked during the interview and believed that it allows the interviewer to really see the applicant’s communication and speaking skills. The scoring key was also viewed as useful in scoring the applicant’s answers and was easy to read and implement.

After all of the members of the pilot trial were questioned regarding the interview questions and scoring keys, they were then debriefed about what they thought of the whole process and how they felt during the trial. Overall, they all felt the same. They felt very comfortable both asking the interview questions and scoring an applicant, but also being the one getting interviewed. Aside from a few minor adjustments, the group believed the new interview and scoring key process would benefit Tanglewood in the future.

The only final request that was made was to tweak the scoring keys of the behavioral questions. The scoring keys were set up with a future tense, but since behavioral questions are asking about an applicant’s past experiences, the pilot trial members did think that it would be beneficial for the interviewer to just make these questions have a past tense in the scoring key section. Aside from this last request, the members were very happy with the outcome of the new interview questions and scoring keys.


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