Recruitment as a business process
A Great Mills case study

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Page 3: Recruitment and selection

Great Mills Diagram 3Advertisement placed Job advertisements form an important part of the recruitment process. It is important to communicate a job advertisement to a targeted audience in order for it to reach those people who have the qualities for the vacancy. The advertisement for the Management Trainee Scheme clearly identifies the sort of people the Company is looking for, not just in terms of qualifications and experience but also according to the abilities and skills they have, as well as their ambitions.

Shortlisting It is not possible to interview everybody, nor is it necessary. Shortlisting is a way of sorting through applications and discarding those which do not meet the required criteria. Preliminary Interview The purpose of this interview is to establish the motivation of each candidate reaching this stage. Motivation is about enjoying the types of activities which make up the store management role. Something which one person finds fun will not appeal to others. Great Mills uses this interview to assess whether a candidate:

  • could be interested in the product
  • would have the potential to encourage people to buy
  • would wish to sort problems out themselves
  • would want to be their own boss
  • would want to see things improve.

This interview lasts about an hour during which candidates are asked questions such as:

  • what attracts you to DIY retailing?
  • how well do you cope when faced with many things to do?
  • how do you enjoy making decisions that affect others?

Assessment of candidates

Candidates need to be assessed against set criteria for a job. It is common practice to ask candidates to complete tests to help provide a better picture of their aptitude.

Great Mills asks its potential management trainees to carry out a ‘Financial Performance Exercise’ which comprises a series of financial information, representing key retailing issues, upon which candidates have to provide an analysis of the issues and a series of recommendations. Candidates are then assessed upon their understanding of issues and their performance throughout the exercise. This is a critical part of the selection procedure, which helps to provide a broader picture of each candidate’s abilities and how they can use their talents to try to solve problems.

Candidates are also required to undertake a perception interview. Perception is about noticing things, but being able to focus on what really matters. This requires alertness and the ability to think in a clear-headed way about what is relevant to the situation in hand. Specifically, Great Mills is looking for someone who uses their common sense to question things, notices important details and notices how people are feeling and behaving. Candidates are taken to a local store, where they have one hour to look around unaccompanied. After the hour, they are joined by an assessor who spends 30 minutes with the candidate walking around the store, assessing what they have noticed about the store in general and more specifically the candidate’s observations. After a break, the candidate will be joined by another assessor who will spend a further 30 minutes with the candidate, who during this time, will be asked to interview at least one member of staff and one customer.

Candidates are also asked to undertake a communication interview. Communication is about being self-confident and being able to relate well to people. This requires the ability to listen, make conversation and get the best out of people. Great Mills is looking for someone who is good at talking to people, believes in themselves, believes in people and is quick to use the best in others. Candidates are asked to approach one member of staff and interview them about their jobs, the things that motivate them and any problems or difficulties they have. They are also asked to approach two customers and by engaging them in conversation to try to create an opportunity to influence them to buy something.

After the assessments have been carried out, Management Trainee places are offered to successful candidates. The recruitment programme is specifically geared to the person Great Mills is trying to attract, with the potential to develop into a manager of the future. When the offer of employment is made to candidates, Great Mills finalises the terms of the offer and agrees with the candidate a suitable date for starting work. A contract of employment forms the formal and legal basis for the appointment.

Great Mills | Recruitment as a business process