Recruiting is the first stage in which organizational plans for staffing come into contact with the labor market for employees. Before making any new recruiting effort, an organization needs to carefully consider the methods available and balance out the costs of each method with the organization’s needs.

The recruiting case provides an opportunity to see how staffing managers develop plans for recruiting efforts. You will develop a recruiting strategy and a recruiting guide for the store associate job. The case also demonstrates how you can use organizational data to determine what the best methods for recruiting are. Finally, you will have an opportunity to develop various forms of recruiting messages that will encourage individuals to apply for jobs as sales associates at Tanglewood.

Primary Concerns Regarding Recruiting

Like any retail organization, there is a constant need for new employees at Tanglewood because of turnover. In a typical year, approximately 50% of the sales associates will turnover. The process of recruiting is therefore of great concern for managers in the field. However, up to this point, the organization has not had any centralized method for recruiting new employees. As part of the consolidation across stores, Tanglewood is now encouraging a systematic review of their recruiting policies that will ultimately result in a better recruiting system for store associates.

Staffing services has made very few decisions regarding how recruiting should proceed. Each store has been encouraged to ensure that their recruiting methods attract a culturally and personally diverse group of applicants. Beyond this general directive from the corporate offices, however, there is not very much direction for stores regarding how they should be recruiting new store associates. Regional managers occasionally discuss ideas for how to recruit new employees, but as you will see, they have some very distinct methods for recruiting in practice.

Methods of Recruiting Available

There are five primary methods of recruiting store associates used at Tanglewood in Washington and Oregon. For additional information regarding these sources of recruiting check Staffing Organizations, Chapter 5, where advantages and disadvantages of each method are described in greater detail. All of the specific strategies for recruiting are supplemented with media-based and in-store solicitations for employment. The media-based strategy includes internet banner advertising, social media messages, and in-store signs informing patrons of potential job availability.

Applicant Initiated
The most traditional method for recruiting used by Tanglewood is through applicant- initiated processes. Job applications are completed through either the internet or an automated telephone process. This allows interested individuals to apply without actually having to go into the stores. Paper applications are still available at stores as well. Media expenses are a combination of initially setting up a contact with a media outlet, developing an advertisement, and the price of processing materials and interviews for each applicant.

Employees are encouraged to refer their friends to apply for work at Tanglewood as well. The referral process is enhanced by providing current employees with $100 for each friend they refer who is hired. Referral expenses are a combination of creating and maintaining records, the price of processing materials and interviews for each applicant, and the payment for each individual who is hired.

An alternative method of recruiting that minimizes processing costs is to have a computerized kiosk in the main entrance to the stores. The kiosks look somewhat like ATM machines, and feature a fully functioning keyboard and touch-screens. Unlike media advertisements and internet applications, the kiosks provide opportunities for applicants to also briefly interact with store employees after they complete their materials. Because the entire application process is completed electronically and scored automatically, there is no material cost, although there is still an initial processing and interview cost. Each kiosk costs approximately $40,000.

State Job Services
In urban markets with higher pools of availability of unemployed individuals, state job services have also been used occasionally to find new applicants. The employment service is provided with a set of qualifications required for work, and the employment services agency assists in providing initial screening and hiring recommendations. Training is partially subsidized through tax incentives. In areas which have less centralized population, the job service option is less feasible. Essentially, the cost of the job service is for creating and maintaining an initial contact, with other costs being roughly half of those for traditional media sites.

Staffing Agency
One method that has been explored recently is the use of an external staffing agency. Essentially, this is outsourcing the actual selection of candidates to StoreStaff, which is a large organization that specializes in locating workers for the retail industry. Many organizations use StoreStaff to find temporary employees, or provide trial employment to StoreStaff employees as part of a temporary-to-permanent arrangement, but for Tanglewood, individuals recruited through StoreStaff are directly hired as part of the core workforce. Because StoreStaff provides some training to their pool of candidates, they are

less expensive to train, but the overhead costs of providing money to StoreStaff for locating and screening these candidates does make this method quite costly.

The Situation at Tanglewood – Four Regions, Four Recruitment Policies

As noted in the introduction, decision making for staffing activities has recently become centralized within the staffing services division. A major question that arises as a result of this consolidation is how to determine which HR policies should be left in the hands of each individual location, and how much should be taken over by corporate HR. The recruiting function is of particular interest since there is such wide dispersion in how individuals are recruited. Data is available from the divisions in the form of numerical estimates of costs per individual processed, employee retention, performance on a pre-hire work-sample test which is given to all employees, and some informal interview data.

Tanglewood Department stores were first established in the western area of Washington and then moved southwards into Oregon, then spread eastwards into the Rocky Mountain States. Many of the policies implemented in the Western Washington locations were applied directly in the Rocky Mountain States. However, because the initial expansion was less well-coordinated, there is substantial variety in the staffing policies being followed in the stores in Washington and Oregon.

Western Washington (Region 1)
It has historically been the largest and most profitable area, with a total of 25 stores in the region centered around Seattle. In fitting with the organization’s founding philosophy, the stores in Western Washington are run largely autonomously. The current head of the Western Washington division advocates a philosophy of individual autonomy and empowerment. Generally this division has been viewed as highly committed to the core corporate culture, although this passion for the mission has sometimes meant paying less attention to careful management of financial concerns. Because of its size and the large amounts of financial resources available, leadership of this division has been one of the most powerful positions within the organization.

Western Washington uses a variety of recruiting methods. The primary methods of recruiting are referrals from current employees. In the Seattle area, the division also makes heavy use of job services. Over time traditional media methods of recruiting have been reduced, but are still used occasionally. Finally, to fill in those positions that are not met with the other three methods, the kiosk method is used.

Eastern Washington (Region 2)
This was where the company began. The split of Washington into Eastern and Western divisions came early in the store’s history, but their physical proximity and high overlap between management across the areas has led to very similar management styles. The Eastern Washington division is approximately the same size as Western Washington, with 25 total stores. However, with the exception of the area around Spokane, the majority of this area is much more rural.

To a large extent, the Eastern Washington division pioneered all the policies used by Western Washington, although the overall policies have been tempered by geographical differences. The job service method has not been successfully implemented on a wide scale. Instead of using this method, this division uses more traditional media advertising.

Northern Oregon (Region 3)
Unlike Western Washington, there is a very different philosophy of operations in Northern Oregon. Northern Oregon has been run very “professionally” for years, with most decisions carefully weighed against their financial consequences. Administrative decision making is hierarchical, with specific tasks assigned at each level of the organization’s structure. The current top administrator for this area, Steven McDougal, has a reputation for being a technocrat, and has largely worked to maintain the system he inherited when he first took over five years ago. There are 18 stores in this region.

The recruiting methods of the Northern Oregon division fall into three major categories. The main methods are media and in-store kiosks. This division has also used staffing agencies lately. The division explicitly rejects the use of employee referrals, claiming that the use of signing bonuses leads to the hiring of unqualified individuals who are selected without sufficient qualifications due to favoritism.

Southern Oregon (Region 4)
Southern Oregon is unique among the areas within the Pacific Northwest in that it has remained relatively small, with only 16 stores in the division mostly concentrated in the Eugene area. However, there is also a growing push to increase concentration in Southern Oregon as a first step to establishing more stores in Northern California. This area is very innovative across the board in its human resources practices. The innovative character of Southern Oregon is reflected in their recruiting practices. They have relied primarily on a combination of staffing agencies, referrals, and kiosk advertising. All three of these methods were first tried in this region.

Quantitative data

Data are available from the four divisions of the organization on the number of individuals who applied for work, the number of individuals who are qualified for the position, the number who actually receive job offers and accept them, and the number of number of individuals who remain with the organization at the 6 and 12 month point after hire. Complete data on the recruiting metrics is contained in Appendix B.

Table 2.1 Estimated costs for recruiting methods
Fixed costs Applicant Referrals Kiosk Job service Agency
Cost of setup (per store) $ 20,000.00 $ 30,000.00 $ 20,000.00 $ 40,000.00 $ 70,000
Variable costs
Materials cost per applicant $ 5.00 $ 10.00 $ 1.00 $ 5.00 $ 10
Processing cost per applicant $ 30.00 $ 30.00 $ 15.00 $ 15.00 $ 30

Additional pre-hire costs $ 20.00 $ 200.00 $ 20.00 $ – $ 20.00
Orientation and training $ 2,000.00 $ 2,000.00 $ 2,000.00 $ 1,000 $ 1,000.00

Another Angle on Recruitment: Manager Focus Groups

As part of the information gathering process, large scale focus groups have been conducted with department managers. Tanglewood contacted a market research firm to conduct the focus groups, and Tanglewood provided a detailed summary of the major findings. While managers differed considerably in their perceptions of the effectiveness of the different methods, their core concerns were generally quite similar, and can be grouped into four major categories:

  1. The most pressing concern for many managers is reducing employee turnover. Although Tanglewood has typical retention rates for a retail chain, the importance of culture and cooperation in the Tanglewood philosophy means that new employees often are not fully integrated into the company’s culture until several months have passed. In short, typical retail turnover is not acceptable for Tanglewood. This is seen as an especially dangerous situation as the company expands, since it threatens to undermine the unique elements of the company’s approach to retail.
  2. There is an excessive lag between the initial contact between many applicants and the actual hiring decision, leading many qualified individuals to drop out of the process. A few managers have suggested that finding a way to concentrate on methods that do not have this problem would be beneficial. The issue of lags in initial contacts and hiring is discussed in Staffing Organizations, Chapter 5.
  3. The recruiting process is administratively cumbersome. Managers want to find ways to reduce the amount of time they have to spend with assessing new candidates. This was partially a point of contention between managers, because some argued that using more computerized applications would be a good idea, while others felt this might give applicants the wrong impression about the organization and its methods.
  4. Many new hires without retail work experience do not recognize the importance of positive customer service for sales, and training is often does not solve the problem. Several managers noted that they had discharged new hires for providing inappropriate customer service. A particularly frequent problem is new employees becoming frustrated with customers and refusing to assist them or behaving in a hostile manner. Some managers specifically suggested that new employees needed a more realistic introduction to the difficulties of the customer service role. Other managers suggest that a more positive message would be helpful, since it will draw in more qualified individuals.
  5. Many managers also report that they would like to see messages more specifically targeted to the types of people who are likely to fit in with the Tanglewood stores culture. Managers note several elements of the organization’s culture (which you read about in the introductory case) that they think should be part of the recruiting strategy.

Specific Assignment Details

Analyze the information from the recruiting data and prepare a report showing the results of the analysis for your director.

  1. Start by developing a strategic vision for recruitment at Tanglewood. First, it is important to specify the types of individuals that need to be recruited. Describe both the ideal types of individuals for Tanglewood based on person/job and person/organization fit factors. Also describe goals for the speed of the process, as well as the time frame over which recruiting will take place.
  2. Evaluate the various methods of recruiting in terms of whether they seem more like “open” or “targeted” recruiting, using the information in the book to help you make this decision. If some methods seem more “targeted,” whom do you think they target? For each method, also describe the extent to which the individuals attracted by each method are likely to match the set of goals for recruitment you provided in response to the first question.
  3. Evaluate the job and organizational characteristics that Tanglewood can offer to candidates. What are the reasons why an applicant might want to work at Tanglewood compared to the other jobs that might be available for similarly qualified individuals? Are there job and organization characteristics that might be less desirable? The question of realism in the recruitment policy has also been raised in focus groups, and some respondents are concerned that the positive features of the organization may not also describe some of the difficulties front-line retail employees face. Write one paragraph proposals for targeted, realistic, and branded recruiting messages for Tanglewood’s customer store associate positions that the company can consider. Conclude by outlining the traditional arguments for and against each recruiting message.
  4. For each division use the data tables provided in Appendix B to estimate how each strategy fares in terms of metrics. Provide a one-page summary of the essential results of the various data tables you have been provided and what it means in practice.
  5. Northern Oregon has suggested that the other divisions of the company use a policy of using kiosks and staffing agencies rather than using the more “touchy-feely” method of relying on referrals. Does this division have a point? What would the effect of other regions increasing their use of the more formal methods of hiring be?
  6. Tanglewood’s top management is highly committed to improving customer service quality, and proposes that simply finding the cheapest way to hire is not sufficient. Besides costs and retention, what other measures of employee performance would be good “bottom line” metrics for the quality of a recruiting method? How might the managerial focus groups’ concerns fit with these alternative considerations?

Do you need urgent help with this or a similar assignment? We got you. Simply place your order and leave the rest to our experts.

Order Now

Quality Guaranteed!

Written From Scratch.

We Keep Time!

Scroll to Top