This document is designed to provide you with a more detailed description of the assessment criteria and project specifications for Assignment
Please keep in mind that you are accountable for the contents of this document when your Assignment 2 is evaluated.
Note: the pages indicated below (as well as in the Individual Assignment 2 Brief Description document) are suggested minimum lengths. There are no penalties for writing more; indeed, you are more than welcome to do so! The number of pages indicated are merely there to inform you as to what is the most likely minimum length in which a given deliverable can be properly addressed. Similarly, while the ‘double spacing’ requirement is included in the assignment description, I am perfectly willing to accept single-spaced papers as well – just so long as you are consistent in your spacing throughout your narrative.
- Overall Approach
This project is not – I repeat: NOT – supposed to be a theoretical, academic essay, but a real-life documentation package or job aid. I am expecting you to offer specific choices and make specific decisions in light of specific real-life data (market, costs, etc.), and not simply to offer me a summary of what the textbook already explains pretty well. Don’t tell me what and how you ‘would’ do something, but how you will do such a project specifically, supposing your manager assigned this task to you today. The emphasis is placed on the application of knowledge and independent research, hence this project should be treated as a documentation of several processes.
You must also keep in mind that these projects (both Individual Assignments 2 and 3) are not designed to document the practices of an organization you are currently working for (or has worked for in the past), but to compel you to experiment with new practices, principles, and models that you have internalized within this course, and thus demonstrate your understanding of them through specific application to specific problems. As such, the assignments will be assessed not based on how closely they conform to the existing practices of an organization, but how closely they conform to the so-called best practices (and HR principles) as they are described in the textbook and the online content, and how well the proposed solutions fit in with the environmental and organizational variables of The Wilson Brothers Limited. If you propose a questionable (or illegal) solution, it will be marked down regardless of how much it may be ‘accepted’ in a real life organization. Yes, the solutions must be realistic (including such details as budgetary limitations), but they also have to showcase the best you have learned in our course.
Finally, keep in mind that the organization for which you are developing this project is The Wilson Brothers Limited; you will find its description under ‘Assignments’ as a separate document, through the link Comprehensive Case Scenario. Please make sure that you are offering solutions and approaches that are optimized (and explicitly take into account) this company’s specific context.
- Individual Deliverables
- Grammar & Spelling
Regrettably, our course does not allow room for teaching the foundations of college-level business report writing. However, if you feel you are not familiar or comfortable with the structure and process of writing such papers, I would strongly encourage you to check out one of the many style- and grammar-guides available in book form in every bookstore. My personal favourite is The Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage from Muriel Harris, but there are literally thousands of others (titled along the lines of ‘Guide to College Writing’ or some such thing) that are equally useful, and they usually provide guidance not only on grammar, spelling, structure, and style, but also on research, referencing standards, how to structure cooperative projects, and a whole host of other important questions.
Introductions usually serve two main (or classic) purposes: first, to gradually ease the reader into reading the material, to establish a natural flow to the narrative so as to facilitate and expedite the absorption of information by the audience; and second, to explicitly disclose and communicate the environmental variables, to put in context the analysis and development of the main deliverables.
In life in general, and in human resource management in particular, whether a step, action, decision, or tool is the ‘right one’ for a problem largely depends not only on the nature of the problem, but also on the environment (organizational and otherwise) in which this problem occurred and needs to be resolved. For example, advertising for an administrative assistant position on Workopolis may be perfectly fine for a large, non-unionized company, but it may well be an overkill (too expensive, and invites too many responses) for a mom’n’pop grocery store, or indeed for a unionized company (may violate the collective agreement).Based on the above, in your introduction you have to provide a description of a) what you are going to do, what your objectives are, and how – using what strategy – you will proceed to achieve them, and b) a short summary of the organization (The Wilson Brothers Limited) with all its relevant details.
The job advertisement you develop must be tailored to one specific venue in one specific medium. You are more than welcome to utilize a variety of venues and media (indeed, monofactorial approaches that rely on a single venue are rarely successful) in your strategy, but you have to specifically identify which single one of those media and venues your ad was designed for in particular. Incidentally, if you choose more than one medium/venue, you still only have to develop one job ad.
Once you chose your medium and venue for which you will develop the ad, you need to design your ad taking into account the format, medium, language, and other characteristics of that venue/medium. You also need to keep in mind for what kind of distribution it would be intended, so you have to formulate the grammar/syntax/paragraph length accordingly (for example, nobody would read a seven-page-long continuous paragraph on their monitor).
What is the difference between one specific venue and one specific medium…?
A medium (media in plural) is a means or instrumentality for storing and/or communicating information. Printed newspapers constitute one medium; Internet another; television (for advertising) yet another; radio again a different one; and so forth and so on.
A venue is the specific/particular scene of an event or action. A single medium (say, Internet) may (and most of the time does) have a huge number of different venues, even for placing a single job advertisement alone. Within the medium of the Internet, for example, a specific job board (say, Workopolis) would constitute one venue; Monster.ca would constitute yet another venue; the Canada Job Bank yet another; a company’s external website yet again another; and so on. These examples are all completely different venues with completely different requirements and characteristics, yet they all fall within the same medium (i.e. the Internet, or World Wide Web).
When you are developing your recruitment strategy, you have to decide which (and how many) different medium or media you will use, and within each medium which (and how many) specific venues. The hallmark of an effective job advertisement is that it is specifically tailored to the needs, requirements, and strengths & weaknesses of the medium and specific venue in which you intend to publish it, and to that medium/venue alone. A job ad formulated, say, to be published in the Toronto Star’s ‘Classifieds’ section should not also be placed in the exact same format on, say, Monster.ca, since it was not opitmized for the Internet (medium) and definitely not for Monster.ca (specific venue).
In real life one can easily decide to develop his/her recruitment strategy to utilize a series of different media (say, both the Internet and radio), and in each medium a number of different venues (say, Workopolis and Monster on the Internet, and CHFI and CHFM on radio); in fact, many of the best strategies do that! However, if one does so, s/he will have to develop a separate ad for each and every single venue.
In the context of this assignment, I do not want to place too much burden on my students. Accordingly, as I stated above, while I allow my students to propose the use of as many different media and venues in their strategy as they desire (providing the overall strategy is effective and fiscally sound given the market conditions, the profile of the organization, the nature of the position, and a whole slew of other factors). I am not asking you to submit a separate ad for each and every one of these proposed venues. I do require, however, that the one ad you submit as part of your assignment be specifically designed/tailored to fit one specific venue in one specific medium, i.e. that it be optimized for one of your specific choices – and that it be explicitly indicated in your paper which one it is. The operating presumption here is that you developed a different ad for each and every one of your proposed venues (as would be the requirement in real life) but you only submitted one of these to me for assessment.
Finally, remember: a position is not the same as a job. Check out the relevant page in your textbook (p.115): it offers a pretty good explanation of the differences. Keep in mind that you are placing this ad for one job, but that may (and most of the time indeed does) include a number of positions.
This section is where you explain (in considerable detail) where you intend to place your ad (or ads), and why. This is where you elaborate on your strategy; it needs to explicitly take into account a number of factors, which should include:
- a) the characteristics of your intended audience,
- b) demographic and geographic data and considerations,
- c) labour market conditions and statistics,
- d) characteristics of the chosen medium (or media) and venue of advertisement (including e.g. visitor numbers, ranking, etc.),
- e) organizational framework, budget size and restrictions, and the real life costs of placing your ad in each venue, etc. You also want to make sure that you provide a specific numerical estimateon the expected size of the applicant pool; it does not have to be perfect, but it should definitely be more precise than something like ‘large’ or ‘a lot’.
Again, it is critical in this section that you be specific: an ad is NOT placed ‘on the Internet’, ‘on the most popular job sites’, ‘in local newspapers’ or ‘in neighbouring colleges’; an ad is placed on specific websites (by name) or in specific papers (by name) etc. In addition, you have to explain as to why advertising the job where you chose to advertise it is likely the most successful method, and your explanation will have to be well-reasoned and supported by valid HR principles, statistics, and cost factors.
In short: this is the section where you describe and explain how you optimized your recruitment strategy to grab the attention
a) of the greatest number
b) of the most qualified applicants,
c) in the shortest time, and
d) at the lowest costs.
Look at the supplied job description and the job specifications (qualifications) you seek from your candidates.
a) What sort of people are you targeting?
b) With what kind of education and background experience?
c) Do you already have these people working for your company (internal recruitment is always cheaper, tends to be faster, builds company morale and organizational culture, and saves on new employee training costs, but can foster nepotism and ‘tunnel-vision’ in creativity – to mention but a few factors) or do you need to go outside to find the right talent?
d) How hard is it going to be to find the skillset you are looking for? (the more rare the job specifications are, the larger applicant pool you will likely have to generate)
e) Based on ALL the above, which venue or medium will offer the greatest exposure of your ad to your intended audience?
f) What is your budget for this venture? What are your specific advertising costs? How can you pull off this whole affair on the cheap? (ideally, we would use the best and fastest method; realistically speaking, your manager or VP will want you to do the best you can for next to nothing ;^)
Although I will not solve the question for you, let me demonstrate the finer points with an (actual real life) example.
Suppose you are looking for a skilled baker for your large (200+ people) bakery. You sit down and identify the KSAO components you think are essential for a good baker working for your bakery. You will find that there is (as far as I know) no college courses for bakers, but anybody can obtain a license if they worked 2,200 hours within a 2 year period, full time, in a bakery and pass the provincial qualification exam.
Next you look around in your company to see if there are any bakery lineworkers who are currently in a lower position, who are ambitious, loyal, reliable, skilled, and career-oriented, who seek a promotion, and who have either a baker’s license or the prerequisites to get one. If you have several such people, it makes sense to do the recruitment internally, providing they do seem to have the required KSAO’s. This also means that advertising this job in the Globe & Mail or on a web board will not make a lot of sense, especially when your internal pool is more likely to read the bulletin board on the shop floor than to browse through the career sections of a large daily whose primary audience is service and white-collar professionals.
What if there are no such people in your organization? Obviously, you will have to take the external route then. Now, what medium of communication is most likely to catch the attention of a licensed baker looking for a job? You can try advertising in newspapers, but you have to keep in mind that just because e.g. you prefer reading the Globe & Mail, your intended audience may (for example’s sake) be more likely to read the Toronto Sun. You can use a web board, but how many – and what type – of workers are most likely to use the Internet, and are skilled enough to know how? Also, bakers in Canada belong to the Bakery, Confectionary, and Tobacco Workers Union, so how about contacting the union? Surely they have their own job board or internal magazine/newsletter, and those will have a) lower advertising costs, and b) a very specific audience of the same kind you are looking for.
Another consideration, of course, is E.I. offices – but you have to keep in mind the market conditions for the profession/trade whose representatives you are trying to find. Are there a lot of licensed bakers who are unemployed? If so, E.I. is a great way to reach them. But what if licensed bakers are in high demand? If so, chances are they will not be lining up at the E.I. (much like you rarely find a quantum physics professor looking for a tenured position through your local Service Canada branch) which means you may attract a huge number of applicants by placing an ad on the Job Bank, but none of these might possess the competencies you need.
These, of course, are just examples, and I mentioned merely the most important points you need to consider. The first phase of any R&S strategy is not unlike good sales: you have a ‘product’ (the position within your company), you are the seller, and you want to locate, reach, and attract your buyers. Finding the right venue is very important. It would not make much sense, for instance, to advertise a candy intended for Canadian preteens during an X-rated movie at 2 o’clock in the morning – on an American local television station, right? You would not want to spend millions of dollars marketing porkrhind to orthodox Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, or vegetarian communities, isn’t that correct?
This is a relatively simple and straightforward deliverable; after all, bad resumes tend to share the same characteristics amongst each other, much like good ones do, and many (though not all!) of these characteristics are easily found both in the online text and in the textbook, not to mention a bit of internet research. There are three important issues here, however, that need to be emphasized.
First of all, please keep in mind that you are not writing this section for an applicant, but for an HR Manager or R&S Specialist. This is not a ‘resume writing workshop’ for prospective candidates, but a handy summary of the principles, processes, and characteristics that need to be applied or paid attention to when doing resume screening.
Second, a portion of this deliverable – a minimum of 2 paragraphs – should focus on the characteristics of fudged/fake resumes (which are not the same as ‘bad’ resumes): how to recognize them, how to deal with them, etc. While writing it, it is critical to remember that you are still in the resume screening (and not the full selection) phase of the R&S process. If you suggest e.g. ‘reference checks’, you need to know if it is feasible to perform such a check on a candidate without a signed consent and release form (did you ask for the latter in your ad…?), and whether you have the capacity to do this on all the hundreds of applicants.
Finally, I also have to stress here that a simple “copy’n’paste” regurgitation of the textbook is not acceptable for this section. You must either paraphrase the textbook’s points (if you have no other source whatsoever), or quote it following the accepted guidelines of citation; and you are actively encouraged to seek – and utilize – alternative Canadian sources on this issue.
In practice, it is impossible to complete Assignment 1 without external research, especially as far as various market/wage statistics/data (to support your Recruitment Strategy), the advertising costs, and the Resume section are concerned.
If and when you do use external sources, however, it is absolutely critical that you reference them – and reference them properly. Regrettably, every single semester I get a few students who try to better their mark by copying text, not infrequently entire sentences or even entire pages (often verbatim, for that matter) from their organization’s own documents, or from documents available on the Internet – and do so without the slightest attempt at referencing these in any way.
When someone uses ‘pre-fabricated’ solutions instead of their own, they tend to turn out less than ideal, since the assignments specifically call for these solutions to be formulated by the students by themselves. None the less, if they turn out to be good I cannot reject them out of hand, and thus they do merit some marks – providing that they were properly referenced. (Yes, you are allowed to consult available materials, but copying verbatim does not equal mere ‘consultation’.) Using any continuous text from any outside source – that is longer than, say, 4 words – without proper referencing is considered plagiarism, and therefore results in a ‘0’ mark on the paper – as well as a permanent note in the student’s academic record. I am very sensitive to this issue, so I must ask you with the utmost respect: please, do not try it.
Generally, quotations can be easily and correctly referenced as either footnotes, endnotes, or in brackets, but there are rules to it. I cannot list all these rules here since:
a) there are various uses of italics and underline depending on whether you are quoting a book, magazine, newspaper article, or volume from a series,
b) there are at least 5 different academic standards, and
c) italics and underline are interchangeable as long as their usage is consistent (e.g. you use either italics or underline for the title, but not both, and you always do it the same way).
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