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The operations development manager interview(Role playing exercise)

HRsee 2016-12-29 英文案例 1793 ℃

关键词:招聘面试案例

Brief for the tutor

This is a straight forward role-playing selection interview exercise. The briefs for the interviewer and the applicant follow.

Thirty minutes or so should be allowed for participants to familiarize themselves with the case, 30–40 minutes for the interview and 30 minutes for the analysis.

The exercise can be conducted in ‘triads’, with one participant playing the interviewer’s role, a second playing the applicant’s role and the third observing. Or the roles of the interviewer and the applicant can be played by two people with the rest of the group observing.

Observers and the tutor can use the following checklist as a basis for their assessments.

The operations development manager interview(Role playing exercise)


To what extent did interviewers:

1.Put candidates at their ease.

2.Introduce the interview effectively.

3.Demonstrate that they had prepared for the interview carefully.

4.Structure the interview logically.

5.Ask pertinent, clear and unambiguous questions.

6.Probe as necessary.

7.Avoid leading or multiple questions.

8.Allow the candidate to do much of the talking.

9.Keep control of the progress of the interview.

10.Maintain an easy and informal relationship.

11.Complete the interview effectively.

12.Obtain enough information about the candidate to enable them to make a confident assessment of their suitability for the job.

NB. For the purpose of this exercise candidates will not be expected to put questions to the interviewer.

It is suggested that the interviewer could use the following headings to assess candidates, rating them as above specification, meets specification and does not meet specification, or on scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest):

systems development experience;

mail order experience;

order processing experience;

distribution experience;

project management experience;

understanding of customer service;

interpersonal skills, including leadership;

communication skills;

presentation (personal impact);

qualifications.

You may decide on a different system or get the group to draw one up.

Brief for interviewer

You are the recruitment manager of Gresham Mail Order Ltd, a large and successful mail order catalogue business with its London headquarters consisting of 286 staff in the corporate office and merchandising, sales and creative departments, and its Reading servicing and administrative centre with 737 staff – order processing (170), the call centre (80), distribution (390), IT (34), and accounts, management and administration (63).

You are going to interview an applicant for the newly created position of Systems Development Manager (Operations), who will be responsible for developing order processing, call centre and distribution systems in conjunction with line management and, as required, the IT department. You have produced a job/person specification after fairly extensive discussions with the Operations Manager, to whom the Systems Development Manager will report (the Operations Manager reports to the Sales Director). The Operations Manager told you that the reasons for creating this post were that:

the distribution centre was labour-intensive with archaic systems that needed a radical review;

the order processing department had more sophisticated systems but it needed constant monitoring and updating;

the call centre had been established fairly recently and an IT consultancy firm specializing in call centres had installed the system, which was working well within the call centre, but there were problems with the interface between the call centre and the distribution centre;

development projects in the operations function had been serviced by the IT department who were good technically but did not have the level of operational know how required, while line managers in the various departments, although good at their basic managerial functions, lacked the knowledge and experience to contribute effectively to development projects.

You advertised the post on the company’s website and in the technical journals, in the latter case referring readers to the website. The notice on the website and the accompanying job/person specification are set out below. You have not shown the salary as this will to a degree be negotiable. It will probably be in the range of £45,000 to £50,000 a year plus a good flexible benefits package but no company car.

Website notice

Systems Development Manager (Operations)

Are you a systems development expert with relevant experience in developing order processing (fulfilment) and distribution systems, preferably in a mail order environment?

Gresham Mail Order Ltd is one of the most successful catalogue mail order companies in the UK. It is highly profitable, growing fast, and provides excellent opportunities and terms and conditions to its employees.

This is a new post that has been created to satisfy the requirement for the development of even more sophisticated and cost-effective systems than we have at present, with the objective of significantly improving the level of service we provide to our customers. Gresham Mail Order can be described as customer-centric, which is why this position is so important.

You will plan the development of new systems, especially in the distribution department but also in order processing. You will also monitor the effectiveness of existing systems in those departments and the call centre, recommend improvements and advise on how these should be introduced. You will work closely with line managers and the IT department, which will provide you with technical systems analysis support. You will be responsible for full project management from developing business cases to implementation. This will involve defining project objectives in conjunction with line management, planning projects, enlisting whatever support is required, managing project teams and controlling projects to successful conclusion.

Requirements

It is essential that you have proven business analysis skills and are capable of identifying the needs of the business and its customers and how systems can be developed and managed to satisfy them. You will have the experience and technical background to suggest new solutions and challenge unachievable requests. You will be an experienced project manager, although you will work closely with project managers in our IT department. You will also have outstanding interpersonal skills in dealing with a wide variety of stakeholders and other interested parties, all with their own agendas. You will therefore have to build their respect and trust. Importantly, you have to be able to make a significant impact on levels of customer service and satisfaction and therefore the success of the firm.

What we offer

This is an outstanding opportunity to develop expertise, gain experience in a progressive company in high-level systems development projects, and further your career beyond systems development into general management.

Gresham Mail Order offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package. Please follow the link for a detailed job specification.

The task

Your task now is to prepare for the interview. You need to study the advertisement and job specification carefully and assess the extent to which the candidate meets the specification as indicated by the application form. You need to identify strengths and weaknesses; the latter may include any gaps in experience that could prejudice success in the job. For the purposes of this exercise you will not be required to provide any further information about the job or the company apart from that included in the advertisement and the job specification. However, during the course of the interview you may feel that more detail is required, in which case you can make assumptions about what you supply as long as this additional information is broadly consistent with what you have gathered from the brief. Neither will you be expected to answer any questions from the candidate – you may have to spend too much time extemporizing. This is unrealistic, especially as the quality of the questions can often reveal quite a lot about the candidate, but it should not detract from the lessons that can be learnt from conducting the interview.

You should now:

Decide how you will start the interview (putting the candidate at ease, opening remarks, etc).

Decide on any ‘open’ requests for information that will encourage the candidate to talk, eg ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘Tell me about your current job’, ‘Tell me about what you did in your previous job’, ‘Tell me about how you got on at university’.

Decide the more specific questions you will ask:

Probing questions to elicit information not revealed in the application form, particularly about their experience (what have they actually done and achieved, what part did they play, what have been their successes and why, what problems have they had to overcome and how did they do it?); you should especially probe experience to establish what they have really done, how well they have done it and what they have learnt.

Behavioural event questions to establish how the candidate would behave in situations that are critical to successful performance of the job.

Capability questions, asking candidates specifically what they know and can do relative to the requirements in the person specification.

A general ‘completion’ question along the lines of: ‘Is there anything else you would like to tell me in support of your application that has not been covered so far?’

Decide how you will structure the interview (eg biographical, by reference to the person specification) and the order in which you ask the questions.

Examples of possible questions

What have been your major achievements in your present and previous jobs?

I note that you are involved in distribution systems in your present job. Do you think you have the knowledge necessary to deal with order processing systems?

What do you know about call centre systems?

What do you think are the key skills required in a project manager?

What approach do you think is necessary to increase customer satisfaction?

What are you trying to do when you prepare a business case?

What can go wrong with development projects and how do you avoid such problems?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

What do you think you would bring to this job?

What interests you most in your work?

Tell me about a time when you successfully dealt with a major problem at work.

Why do you want this job?

The person playing the role of the candidate will be given additional information, which should help to provide answers to these questions. If this does not help, the advice to them is to answer the question from their own experience or knowledge, or if that is not possible, make assumptions about the answer. If the worst comes to the worst, the advice is to inform you that it is not possible to answer the question from the information available, in which case you should move on.

Assessment of the candidate

You can use the following headings to assess candidates, rating them as above specification, meets specification and does not meet specification, or on scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest):

systems development experience;

mail order experience;

order processing experience;

distribution experience;

project management experience;

understanding of customer service;

interpersonal skills, including leadership;

communication skills;

presentation (personal impact);

qualifications.

Your tutor or the group may have produced an alternative assessment system.


Brief for candidate

You will be playing the role of a candidate for the position of Systems Development Manager (Operations) in the Gresham Mail Order Company. You will be interviewed for 30 or 40 minutes. The interview will be conducted normally except that no time will be spent on answering your questions about the job or the company or in providing additional information to that supplied in the advertisement and the job specification, which are set out below. Your completed application form is also set out below.

You should think about the answers you could give to some of the typical questions that might be put to you such as:

What have been your major achievements in your present and previous jobs?

Tell me about a time when you successfully dealt with a major problem at work.

What experience have you had in order processing?

What do you know about call centre systems?

What do you think are the key skills required in a project manager?

What approach do you think is necessary to increase customer satisfaction?

What are you trying to do when you prepare a business case?

What can go wrong with development projects and how do you avoid such problems?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

What do you think you would bring to this job?

What interests you most in your work?

Why do you want this job?

Additional factual information not contained in the application form that you can use in your reply to some of these questions is set out below. In other cases you should answer the question from your own experience or knowledge, or if that is not possible, make assumptions about the answer. If the worst comes to the worst you may have to admit that because of the nature of the exercise you don’t have the information to provide an answer; your interviewer should then move on.

Possible replies to questions:

Major achievements in present job – developing in conjunction with IT an entirely new and successful order-picking system in the distribution centre; streamlining the order assembly line (reducing staff requirements by 20 per cent), improving the flow of information between fulfilment (order processing) and the warehouse.

Major achievements in previous job – taking part in a large two-year project to develop order processing and automated warehouse systems for a retailing group; the project was finished on time and within budget and successfully achieved its objectives.

Successfully overcame a problem in my current firm of getting the members of a project team to work well together by spending time with them discussing problems of cooperation and how they could be overcome.

Order processing – good experience in systems development in previous job; some experience in present job of linking distribution and order processing systems.

Call centre experience – you will have to admit that you have none, but from what you have heard the basic systems are readily available from software houses and, in the sense that a call centre is really an order processing system, you will be able to use the experience you have already gained.

Why do you want the job? You could reply with words to the effect that it would provide the sort of challenge, stimulus and broader experience you want at this stage in your career (by implication, and in case you are asked, this is not available to the extent you would like in your present job, which is why you want to move).

What are your strengths? Extemporize; you know or can assume that Gresham wants someone who is well qualified, is a good project manager, can work well with others and has strong analytical capabilities. But you have to be convincing – don’t just reel off a string of qualities; refer to events that demonstrate you have them.

What are your weaknesses? This is one of the trickier questions you may expect to be asked. You cannot claim that you have none (you will not be believed if you did). However, because negative information often carries more weight with interviewers than positive information, you have to deal with the question carefully. One effective approach is only to admit to one weakness and:

choose an actual trait about your character or personality, eg cannot bear fools easily;

extend that trait until it becomes a weakness;

put it back in the distant past;

show how you have overcome it;

confirm that it is no longer a problem.

Website notice

Systems Development Manager (Operations)

Are you a systems development expert with relevant experience in developing order processing (fulfilment) and distribution systems, preferably in a mail order environment?

Gresham Mail Order Ltd is one of the most successful catalogue mail order companies in the UK. It is highly profitable, growing fast and provides excellent opportunities and terms and conditions to its employees.

This is a new post which has been created to satisfy the requirement for the development of even more sophisticated and cost-effective systems than we have at present, with the objective of significantly improving the level of service we provide to our customers. Gresham Mail Order can be described as customer-centric which is why this position is so important.

You will plan the development of new systems, especially in the distribution department but also in order processing. You will also monitor the effectiveness of existing systems in those departments and the call centre, recommend improvements and advise on how these should be introduced. You will work closely with line managers and the IT department which will provide you with technical systems analysis support. You will be responsible for full project management from developing business cases to implementation. This will involve defining project objectives in conjunction with line management, planning projects, enlisting whatever support is required, managing project teams and controlling projects to successful conclusion.

Requirements

It is essential that you have proven business analysis skills and are capable of identifying the needs of the business and its customers and how systems can be developed and managed to satisfy them. You will have the experience and technical background to suggest new solutions and challenge unachievable requests. You will be an experienced project manager, although you will work closely with project managers in our IT department. You will also have outstanding interpersonal skills in dealing with a wide variety of stakeholders and other interested parties, all with their own agendas. You will therefore have to build their respect and trust. Importantly, you have to be able to make a significant impact on levels of customer service and satisfaction and therefore the success of the firm.

What we offer

This is an outstanding opportunity to develop expertise, gain experience in a progressive company in high-level systems development projects, and further your career beyond systems development into general management.

Gresham Mail Order offers a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package. Please follow the link for a detailed job specification.

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