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Bitstream – Human resources

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This case study is related with the selection process. To understand our solution it is necessary to know the basic assumptions used in the solving of the given task.

The process of selection is about choosing the right people for the right job. To achieve this goal we can use a wide range of selection methods. We have to keep in mind that if we are selecting managers we usually have to solve the problem of lack of “effectiveness” criteria to develop section test and we have smaller amount of candidates.

In this case we assume that we have already chosen interview as an appropriate instrument to measure candidate’s performance in selection criteria. Our task will be to prepare right questions for the candidates that let us predict the most adequate candidate for the job.

Company Background

Bitstream is a software company that has identified an opportunity to develop and market a new product. The company develops digitalyzed type fonts for display type font for display screens and technology. Their revenues come from retail sales and OEM sales. Jim Sole, the brand new president was hired in 1992 to substitute the former president, the founder of the company. Jim was a very successful professional and had much great experience in this area.

Jim found the organisation needing some changes, like a reorganisation of the structure, a clear clarification of the short/term goals and a need to enhance the teamwork within the company. These problems would be solved with a reorganisation of the bonus plan they have, and to delegate decisions to the employees, to make them have the need to have responsibilities and decision making power.

This company had grown at a rate of 25% and had a forecast of future growth at 15%. The regular growth, plus a 15% nominal turnover in the company shows that almost 40% of people from one year to another are new.

The new project in hand

They come up with the idea of developing a network print manager, related to the work they do in the printing environment. This new product would handle printing times, printing queues or even different specifications of the work to be printed. It requires already market-existing technology but also innovation made by the company.

There is a great eager to the appearance of this product in this market, and is known that there is a market segment to this product easily identifiable.

To complete this task correctly, Jim Sole started looking for the right person to fill the gap of the new project manager. He talked with his friend Peter Dromeshauser, an executive recruiter (“Head Hunter) and gave him some indications concerning the job. Peter then come up with 4 names that we are going to analyse in the following.

Key criteria for filling the position

To ensure that the interview will be valid we need at first review job specification and develop “checklist” with relevant criteria for the job. According to the CVs we have received we can than register our assessment relative to each of the important job dimensions.

Trough the reading of this case, we are given a series of indications that show the key criteria to fill the position. Therefore, we found 7 main points to characterize the four candidates, and gave a scale in terms of importance to them, to have a general overview of their qualities and fitting to the job.

*Decision Making (10)

*Entrepreneurial spirit (flexibility, intellectual curiosity, risk taking) (7)

*Developing and marketing new products (10)

*Experience working with VAR’s ( 8)

*Experience working with Networking (6)

*Salary (yes/no)

*Team work (9)

Key Criteria One by One:

Salary- Encompasses a simple yes or no answer. It is acknowledged that Bitstream offers up to $120 000 in wages. This includes $80 000 in salary, $40 000 for bonus potential plus stock options from the company. This is perceived as the highest bid to offer to candidates since it was seen adequate to the market reality. Additionally, a higher offer could disrupt the salary structure of the firm.

Entrepreneurial Spirit- Within this terminology we consolidated 3 major characteristics that the company looks for: Intellectual curiosity, flexibility and risk taking.

This means that we look for a person who is open minded and willing to learn, who responds well to any given environmental change while regarding risk as a challenge.

Teamwork- Is the ability to work with other people in order to achieve a common goal. This means that it is necessary to partially sacrifice personal ambition and goals.

Decision Making- Regarded to be one of the most important attributes in business management, especially in small organizations. It is the ability to “make the call” and it requires a lot of self confidence, knowledge and courage.

Marketing and Distribution channel- This job will require someone who has experience in the distribution channel. The product needs to be in the right time at the right place. A good Communication channel is also necessary since we will be introducing a new product with a new set of characteristics where advertising and promotion play an important role, therefore making marketing knowledge a valuable tool.

VAR and Network Channels- VAR (value added retail) and Network channels are important since it is the working tool. VAR will be the active channel that the company is going to use, while network channel is the background of the companies activity

Those grades presented in front of the topics are the top punctuation the candidates can have and give a rate of importance we have given to them.

Mr. Mitchell was discarded by us because of the need of a higher salary, which could be a problematic issue with other employees and create a bad environment. Although he has a very impressive CV and many good managerial, social and entrepreneurial characteristics the salary issue is related with the well-being of the company, and therefore it is of our opinion he must be discarded. Adding, he might be the older of the four candidates (according to the year of finishing degree), and as he is working in a big company, he might not have the experience of small company relations and procedures, a point Jim referred would be important.

As we can see in annex 1, the most punctuated candidates are Fred and William; therefore they are our choices to precede to the final selection processes. As we have to choose our person from these two candidates, the best way to complete that procedure is trough personal interviews with each, to have the opportunity to get the necessary information to complete knowledge gaps and to find a little more about both Fred and William. With these interviews we will have the necessary information to “put the right brain in the right place”

Interview strategy

Now we have chosen two candidates who seem to be qualified, at least on the paper. No we need to gain additional information from them to indicate whether they are willing to work and can adapt to our organization.

Very important phase for ensuring the effective interview is the phase of planning. We have some information about candidates received from the CVs. But now it’s necessary to concern with the areas which are important for us as employer but which are not appropriate explained in the CV`s. There is also much information that we can gain only through interview, mainly the questions concerning personal qualities. (Physical appearance, speaking ability, assertiveness are good examples.)

The most important part of this phase is to prepare the questions. At the beginning we will start with some typical questions like:

What are your expectations for this job?

But these kind of general questions do not provide us with much relevant information. So we will move to the more specific questions that are in our opinion not so easy predictable.

At the beginning will concern with job-knowledge questions.

What did you do in your last job, in order to be effective in the organization and planning of work? Be specific.

Describe me the most important project you ever did!

Than we will probe areas in which the candidate may appear to lack certain qualifications, skills or experience. They vary according to the

Did you ever have a problem with a colleague or client? How did you solve it?

What did you do in your last job to contribute to reinforce teamwork? Be specific.

Describe me an occasion, in any job, where you had to face problems or pressures that tested your coping capabilities. How did you react?

How do you pretend to motivate your teamwork?

Describe me an occasion when you had to modify your actions in order to attend to the needs of another person.

Focus three positive and negative aspects of your personality?

What are the most difficult aspects of being a manager?

Notes to questions: Ask candidates to give you specific examples from past experience rather than what they might do in a certain future situation. Do not pre-judge.

At the beginning of the interview we will describe again the position honestly and fairly and ensure the candidate is accurately informed about the duties of the job and the expectations. We will do our best for him to feel comfortable.

We will give the opportunity for the candidate to ask questions. At the end of the interview, we will inform the candidate of the selection process that follows and confirm that we will be contacting the referees supplied and finish on a friendly note.

Annex 1


*Decision Making (10)1096

*Entrepreneurial spirit (flexibility, intellectual curiosity, risk taking) (7)


*Developing and marketing new products (10)61010

*Experience working with VAR’s ( 8)1058

*Experience working with Networking (6)868

*Salary (yes/no)YesYesYes

*Team work (9)5106

Sum and weighted382 (3)426 (1)396 (2)

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